By Momodou Jarju
The Ministry of Finance and Economic Affairs is engaging stakeholders on a two-day consultative meeting from Tuesday to Wednesday December 18th 2019, to deliberate on the National Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and Voluntary National Review (VNR).
The event which is held at a local hotel in Kololi, aims to sensitize stakeholders on SDGs and the VNR process, as well as get feedback on the work of different Ministries, Agencies and Departments (MDAs), the private sector, as well as NGOs/CSOs contribution to the acceleration of the SDGs’ implementation in the Gambia.
Speaking at the opening ceremony, the Deputy Permanent Secretary at the Ministry of Finance and Economic Affairs Juldeh Ceesay, said the Gambia has actively participated in the formulation of the 2030 Agenda; that following the change of Government in 2016, President Adama Barrow-led executive formulated a National Development Plan that mainstreams the SDGs.
She said after the Gambia produced an SDG baseline report in 2017, she received approval in May 2019 from the United Nation’s Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) to present its VNR in July 2020.
“The VNR is part of the formal intergovernmental follow-up and review process on Agenda 2030 and is presented at the UN High Level Political Forum (HLPF),” she said.
She further said that the objective of the VNR is to facilitate the sharing of experiences including success stories, challenges and lessons learned, with a view to accelerate the implementation of Agenda 2030.
For her part, the United Nations Development Program’s country representative Aissata De, said ‘‘the consultation meeting is timely and that the entire UN supports the process;’’ that this is a significant milestone in ensuring the Gambia achieve the 2030 Agenda of the SDGs.
“Voluntary National Reviews allow countries to share best practices, success stories, challenges and lessons learned amongst each other, vis-à-vis achieving Agenda 2030 Agenda, especially at the local level,” she said. She said VNR is a process by which countries take stock and assess progress, challenges and implementation of the goals and targets.
“I am pleased to see that the VNR process has been inclusive and participatory with the involvement of all major stakeholders as has been done in the NDP process. And recently, we held a forum on the localization of the SDGs,” she said; that data is necessary in producing VNR of the highest standard; that this will showcase the Gambia at the world stage.
Meanwhile, the VNR report is voluntary and country-led and focuses on universal, integrated, and interrelated goals and targets including its means of implementation.