On July 17, Dominican Republic presented its first national voluntary review. Photo: Mildred Samboy - UNDP Dominican Republic

In the last two weeks the development world marked a milestone in the route established on 2015 for the implementation of the most ambitious global agenda that has been known to date. The member states of the United Nations met in New York City to report at the High Level Political Forum (HLPF) which monitors the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and how public policies begin to guide results towards the achievement of its 169 targets, under the auspices of the Economic and Social Council and the General Assembly.

Under the slogan "Transformation towards sustainable and resilient societies", and with a high-level ministerial segment, governments, civil society, private sector, academia and local governments, reviewed six SDGs linked to water, energy, cities, sustainable production and consumption, land ecosystems and partnerships for development.

In this context, July 17 marked a historic date for the Dominican Republic: the country presented its first national voluntary review, along with 45 other countries that also submitted reports. Why is this review pivotal?

1. It reaffirms the commitment of the Dominican Republic with the 2030 Agenda and proposes a process of national prioritization for "accelerators" of sustainable development, with support from the United Nations System: multidimensional poverty, competitiveness and employment, sustainable production and consumption, resilience to climate change, and a solid and inclusive institutional framework.

2. It provides a baseline for each theme of the Agenda, noting that the SDGs should be addressed in an integrated manner to overcome persistent economic, social, environmental, institutional and policy gaps.

3. It highlights national mechanisms for monitoring and implementation, the evaluation of the availability and feasibility of measuring indicators, and the levels of alignment between goals and national planning instruments.

4. It identifies ongoing efforts and good practices to achieve the objectives: mechanisms are put forward to include the disability issue fully in the public agenda and therefore having no one left behind.

In his closing remarks at the end of the Forum, Secretary General Guterres requested urgent action in the face of persistent and emerging challenges:

·         For the first time in a decade the number of undernourished people has increased (mainly due to conflicts and disasters related to climate change); gender inequality continues to deprive women of rights and opportunities, and investment in sustainable infrastructure remains inadequate.

·         An unexpectedly rapid climate change, a growing number of conflicts and inequality, the erosion of human rights, an unprecedented global humanitarian crisis and persistent pockets of poverty are still emerging challenges.

The ministerial declaration emphasizes that three years after the implementation of the 2030 Agenda progress has been made in some SDGs and their goals, but not at the pace required to achieve them. However, it is encouraging to see the progress in the country. There is much to be done, but the route is drawn and gearing in the right direction.

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