Evaluating progress – the role of follow-up and review
Follow-up and review is the process of evaluating progress – seeking to improve accountability, identify challenges, exchange knowledge and establish good practices, and also to support cooperation and mobilize resources. As such, the process is instrumental in guiding and strengthening implementation.
For the follow-up and review process to be effective, it needs to be based on credible and accurate information. The global process will primarily be based on official national data sources, as published in the annual SDG Progress Report. Follow-up and review involves different aspects at different levels, as outlined below:
At the national level: National processes often focus on accountability, to evaluate whether policies are working, progress is happening and commitments are being met. Inclusiveness of all relevant stakeholders, including indigenous people, civil society and the private sector, is essential for ensuring an effective and transparent process. An example of a national follow-up and review process is the joint sector review.
At the regional level: Regional follow-up and review processes focus on peer learning and the exchange of good practices, as well as discussions about shared challenges and opportunities. The processes, which are carried out within existing regional forums, draw on national reviews and contribute to the process at the global level. Examples of regional forums are the African Union (including the African Ministers’ Council on Water), the European Union (including the Water Framework Directive) and the Arab League (including the Arab Ministerial Water Council), as well as the United Nations regional commissions.
At the global level: Global follow-up and review takes place at the High-Level Political Forum on Sustainable Development (HLPF). Each year, the HLPF reviews progress towards the 2030 Agenda through the lens of a specific theme, including an in-depth review of a subset of goals. It focuses largely on the means of implementation and global partnerships, on which progress will be reviewed every year. SDG 6 is subject to in-depth review in the 2018 HLPF, together with SDG 7 (Energy), 11 (Cities and human settlements), 12 (Consumption and production), 15 (Terrestrial ecosystems) and 17 (Means of Implementation), under the theme of “transformation towards sustainable and resilient societies”. The HLPF also includes voluntary national reviews, where each year a subset of countries presents an in-depth review of their progress towards the 2030 Agenda. The aim is for each country to present twice during the entire period of the 2030 Agenda.