Transport in Voluntary National Reviews

Sustainable transport is a cross-cutting theme in the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. It supports the achievement of at least 8 of the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and makes direct and indirect contributions to at least 13 SDG targets.

The 2030 Agenda encourages member states to submit Voluntary National Reviews (VNRs) to the United Nations High-Level Political Forum on Sustainable Development (HLPF), which has been convening annually since 2016 under the auspices of the United Nations Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC). The VNR process aims to facilitate the sharing of experiences among countries, including successes, challenges and lessons learned, with a view to accelerating the implementation of the 2030 Agenda.

How much time until 2030?

The 2030 Agenda: Sustainable Development Goals

Since the first HLPF in 2016, the SLoCaT Partnership has been assessing transport references in the VNRs submitted each year. The assessment aims to:

  • Provide a useful resource for policy-makers to better understand the role of transport in achieving the SDGs;
  • Outline recommendations to policy-makers on goal-setting, implementing and reporting on sustainable transport progress;
  • Help the transport community (and other relevant sectors e.g. energy, health) better understand the pattern, gaps and opportunities in reporting sustainable transport in the VNR process.

Throughout the lifespan of the HLPF, countries have been reporting on transport as a vital sector to implement SDGs, showcasing on-the-ground implementation and best practices. Through the VNRs, countries contribute to offer leverage and momentum for the transport sector to move along a more sustainable path.

SLOCAT prepared a document to assess the treatment of sustainable transport in the 22 VNRs submitted in 2016. The analysis shows that although 64% of the VNRs submitted in 2016 contain references to transport, there is still great potential to raise the profile of sustainable transport in this ongoing review process.

Find the 2016 report about transport in VNRs here.

To better understand how transport is reflected in the SDGs review process under the HLPF, the SLOCAT Partnership has released the report, “2017 High Level Political Forum: Limited Focus on the Contribution of Transport toward Realizing the Sustainable Development Goals”, to review the Voluntary National Reviews (VNRs) submitted by countries, the 2017 SDG Progress Report, the thematic papers submitted by the Major Groups and other Stakeholders (MGoS), and the 2017 HLPF Ministerial Declaration. The report finds that while there is progress on transport’s inclusion in the VNRs and other input to HLPF compared to 2016, there is still much work to be done to establish a structured framework that effectively measures the progress made in the transport sector towards achieving the SDGs.

Find the 2017 VNR report by SLOCAT here.

The HLPF in 2018, held from 9 to 18 July 2018, focused on the theme, “Transformation towards sustainable and resilient societies.” SDGs under review at the HLPF 2018 included SDG 6 (Clean Water and Sanitation), SDG 7 (Affordable and Clean Energy), SDG 11 (Sustainable Cities and Communities), SDG 12 (Responsible Consumption and Production), SDG 15 (Life on Land) and SDG 17 (Partnership for the Goals).

More than 80% of VNRs refer to the role of sustainable transport in achieving the SDGs but only 12 out of 40 VNRs (26%) offer considerable information with specific cases and policy examples on sustainable transport. 17% of VNRs cited one or two policy examples related to sustainable transport and 36% of VNRs acknowledge the need for sustainable transport but fall short of offering any concrete evidence and policy measures to demonstrate their commitment to achieve it.

Read the report on the 2018 VNRs here.

The SLOCAT Partnership has released a new report, ‘Sustainable Transport: A Critical Driver to Achieve the Sustainable Development Goals,‘ to summarise how transport has been reflected in the first quadrennial VNR reporting cycle from 2016 – 2019.

During the first quadrennial reporting cycle from 2016 to 2019, 92% of the submitted VNRs have highlighted progress made in the transport sector. Only 30% of VNRs have included explicit references to transport sustainability impacts. The linkages between transport and infrastructure- and energy-oriented SDGs are clear, but further attention must be paid to the social dimension of sustainable development, thus establishing a stronger case as to how transport contributes to the overarching goals of the 2030 Agenda on poverty alleviation, food security, social equity and ‘Leaving No One Behind’.

Find the full report on the results of the first quadrennial VNR reporting cycle from 2016 – 2019 here.