Voluntary Local Reviews

Hall 4, Room C

In 2018, the concept of the Voluntary Local Review (VLR) was developed by the City of New York under the leadership of the NYC Mayor’s Office for International Affairs.  The VLRs, which are modeled after the Voluntary National Review (VNR) that Member States submit during the United Nations High-Level Political Forum (HLPF), allows local governments the opportunity to report their progress towards the implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) directly to the United Nations.

In 2019, cities such as Los Angeles, Helsinki, Bristol, and Buenos Aires joined New York in submitting their VLRs to the HLPF. During a launch event at the United Nations General Assembly in September 2019, the concept of the VLRs was further endorsed through the creation of the Voluntary Local Review Declaration, an official document of the City of New York that allows sub-national governments to formally commit to reporting and supporting the SDGs. Subnational governments representing nearly every continent signed on to the principals of the VLR and agreed to the following:

Commitment 1: To identify how existing strategies, programs, data, and targets align with the Sustainable Development Goals

Commitment 2: To provide at least one forum where stakeholders can come together to share experiences, lessons learned, and information gathered using the framework of the Sustainable Development Goals

Commitment 3: To submit a Voluntary Local Review to the United Nations during the United Nations High-Level Political Forum.

  • To discuss the importance of subnational leadership and subnational commitment to the SDGs
  • A better understanding of the purpose and impact of the VLR
  • Lessons learned from cities who have engaged in the process
  • Conversion of cities who have not yet started the VLR process to VLR signatories
  • Greater visibility of the VLR amongst sub-regional governments
Guiding Questions
  1. Why is it important for subnational governments to engage in the implementation of global initiatives such as the 2030 Agenda?
  2. What is the VLR and how was it created?
  3. How has reporting on the SDGs through the VLR process helped your local government? How has it led to efficiencies in the way you serve constituents?
  4. The SDGs turns five this year and we’re a decade away from the 2030 deadline—how can subnational governments continue to innovate and accelerate change to ensure we meet our objectives?
  5. The VLR is a tool for all subnational governments, regardless of their size, locations, and availability of resources. Tell us the ways you used you were able to participate in this process and why it’s important to ensure a low-barrier of entry.

Session Speakers