The Global Compact Network South Africa recently hosted a private sector info session on the Voluntary National Review on the SDGs.This was the first in a series of engagements that will identify the private sector’s contribution on Sustainable Development Goals.
The VNR process serves as a voluntary accountability mechanism established by the United Nations to assess and present national progress towards the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, encompassing the 17 SDGs. South Africa previously presented its first VNR in 2019 and is scheduled to report again to the United Nations High-Level Political Forum (HLPF) in July 2024.
By participating in the VNR process, businesses have a unique opportunity to collectively showcase their impact on sustainable development at a time when South Africa is undergoing a rolling energy crisis. The VNR engagement can foster cross-industry and cross-sector partnerships with the potential for business growth and innovation. In a 2015 report by the Business and Sustainable Development Commission, Economists estimated that SDG-related opportunities amount to USD 12 trillion, offering significant potential for economic advancement. The GCNSA believes that business participation in the VNR process will enable the private sector to form a strong collaborative voice that creates a common direction for business while generating SDG data and trends necessary for SDG action and impact.
During the dialogue, Mr. Lusanda Batala, a Senior Sector Expert at the National Planning Commission Office in the DPME, and Ricardo Gottschalk, a Senior UN Economist who represented the UN Resident Coordinator in South Africa, reflected on the lessons learned from the 2019 VNR process and shared insights on the methodology, engagement process, and anticipated outcomes of the 2024 VNR.
The roles of government, civil society, and the private sector were explored, with a strong emphasis placed on the crucial role of private sector engagement.
Concluding the event, Dr. Achieng Ojwang reaffirmed the ongoing commitment of GCNSA and its partners to mobilise and encourage private sector involvement in the 2024 VNR process. Through active participation in the VNR process, South African companies can contribute to a stronger national narrative on the National Development Plan and the SDGs and generate valuable data and trends to inform further scaling of SDG initiatives.
The call-to-action has been sounded, and The Compact Dialogues on the Voluntary National Review on the SDGs marks a crucial step in forging a collaborative voice within the private sector, united by a shared commitment to drive sustainable development in South Africa.
For 2024 reporting to the UN Member States in New York, GCNSA is planning a strong collaborative showcasing of South Africa’s SDG impact.
If you are a business large or small and would like to contribute to the VNR, please email us at VNR2024@globalcompactsa.org.za