Almost five years into the SDG era, at least 67 voluntary local reviews(VLRs) from 61 different local governments have been published. The VLR phenomenon expanded significantly in 2020 and early 2021, especially when considering the challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic and the inevitable backlash on local political priorities and the withering resources available to even the most committed or aware of local governments.
Volume 2 of the VLR Series, the Guidelines for Voluntary Local Reviews, provides an overview and analysis of how the linkage between national and local levels is playing out. VNRs and VLRs are inherently complimentary; however, their ability to merge constructively is currently not a given. This Volume explores to what degree the local level, the localization of the SDGs and the untapped potential of local action are acknowledged in national reviews.
UCLG and UN-Habitat have long been partners in supporting local governments willing to engage with this process. Together, they have designed tools, methods and institutional opportunities through which local and regional governments have approached the global agendas and the localization of these common goals. Now, they have devised a VLR Series to provide guidance, definitions and technical support to any local and regional governments aiming to be part of this community.
The outcome is a study on the strategies and possibilities to bridge the gap between the efforts that are being made locally and the more encompassing localization and implementation strategies at the national level, and it does so by building on the contents of the 67 VLRs and the 250 VNRs.