On May 18, 2015 the Sustainable Development Solutions Network (SDSN), the Overseas Development Institute (ODI), and the Missions of Mexico, and the United Kingdom to the UN co-hosted a side event on “The Follow-up and Review of the SDGs” as a part of the UN’s fifth round of Post-2015 Intergovernmental Negotiations. Moderated by Ms. Melinda Bohannon (Deputy Director, Post-2015 Development Goals, Department for International Development, United Kingdom), the event featured presentations from Mr. Dámaso Luna, Deputy Director General for Global Issues at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Mexico, Jessica Espey, Associate Director, SDSN, and Claire Melamed, Director – Growth, Poverty and Inequality, ODI. The audience comprised representatives of the UN Member States, academia, and civil society organizations.

The discussion focused on how to ensure high-level Member State participation in robust follow-up and review processes at the national, regional, and global levels. Within the context of the High Level Political Forum (HLPF), the follow-up and review mechanism must promote interaction between countries and be a forum for knowledge-sharing and the exchange of experiences. The regional level of review will enable countries to discuss shared challenges and best ways to address them within comparable contexts.

Speakers agreed that robust data should underpin review processes and help to direct both technical and financial investments. Claire Melamed stressed that the Forum should provide focus for Member States and other stakeholders to understand areas of progress and those where more action, resources, and political attention are needed.

Jessica Espey discussed key principles for follow-up and review: national ownership, universality, and the effective use of quality data. She highlighted the need for an inclusive process enabling the participation of multiple stakeholders, including civil society, academia, and the private sector. To be an effective management tool, the follow-up and review process has to be timely and it needs to take stocks of all inputs, from academia, civil society, and other stakeholders. To ensure credibility of the SDGs review process, an Independent Expert Review Group could be established, to reflect on latest evidence and serve as another forum for multi-stakeholder engagement.

Dámaso Luna focused his presentation on the experiences of Mexico. He stressed the importance of the national context being the cornerstone of the review system. Mr. Luna highlighted the importance of incorporating SDGs into national development strategies. He added that coordination among various government sectors, partnerships with civil society and private sector help drive national ownership, and as a result, progress of the agenda.

The Q&A session that followed focused on the importance of ensuring that the HLPF becomes a truly beneficial forum for the international community and the general public. The annual meetings should galvanize global action to help translate the post-2015 agenda into something compelling for the general public. Therefore, attracting media attention and high-level participation will be essential. In the discussion, there was broad agreement that the national, regional, and global dimensions of the follow-up and review architecture need to be well coordinated and complimentary to each other.

Download the presentations:

Follow-up and Review of the SDGs: Coordinating the Processes to Maximize Outcomes – Jessica Espey, SDSN

presentation forthcoming – Claire Melamed, ODI