Sustainable Development Goals Scotland
Scotland's VNR Group

Update: UK approach to the national SDG review

Our Network’s Voluntary National Review (VNR) Working Group have been working hard since the start of November to inform the engagement process for Scotland’s contribution to the UK review on SDG progress. This update looks at the UK approach and what this means for Scotland. Another update will follow on the Scottish approach, engagement plans and next steps.

What we’ve been working towards

Over the past month, the group – which includes Scottish Government – have been considering how a Scottish chapter in the UK review might look and how engagement should be carried out to deliver a meaningful and useful review of Scotland’s action on the SDGs and lay the groundwork for a national plan. This information can be found in the Working Delivery Plan that you can comment on.

Devolved perspectives

I have also been liaising with colleagues in Wales to build links between non-governmental groups in the devolved nations. It is clear that there is general consensus that the devolveds should have their own chapter in the review, allowing for editorial control and the use of a tailored engagement approach suitable for each nation. I’ll continue these conversations when I visit Cardiff in January.

UK approach 

Yesterday, we received notice that UK Government had shared their draft proposal for the outline of the review. Unfortunately, under this proposal Scotland will not have its own chapter. You can compare and comment on the Scottish proposal for its own chapter and the UK Government proposal.

What this means

With the devolved nations having very little control over the content of the review, it is unclear how their voices will be captured. Indeed, it is also unclear how UK-wide civil society will be involved in this review beyond the UK Government’s survey seeking case studies by 11th January. UK-wide non-governmental stakeholders are liaising with UK Government on this.

Scotland approach

The lack of clarity over the review has meant that steps have been taken in Scotland to ensure that, whatever the outcome, Scotland will be in a position to report on SDG progress.

We have posed the question on whether devolved governments would consider writing their own supplementary reviews, but we have also secured the publication and open sharing of all input gathered in Scotland for the official review as well as the baseline assessment on SDG performance that Scottish Government have contracted out and will be available in January.

This partnership approach means that the evidence and information will be publicly available for civil society and others to develop their own shadow report and ensure Scotland’s voice is not drown out.

Next steps

Non-governmental members of the Network’s VNR Working Group are recommending that correspondence is sent to the UK Government when we return next year outlining concerns and recommendations about the overall UK approach. Please consider your own views and we’ll be in touch to see if others would like to sign or support drafting this.

This update will be followed by a Scotland specific update with next steps.

By Paul Bradley, Scotland’s SDG Network Coordinator

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