What is a Voluntary National Review (VNR)?
The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development encourages member states to conduct regular and inclusive reviews of progress, which are country-led and country-driven. These national reviews serve as a basis for the regular reviews at the UN Economic and Social Council. Reviews are voluntary, state-led, undertaken by both developed and developing countries, and involve multiple stakeholders. It will be the first time that South Africa has undertaken a Voluntary National Review.
Does participation in the South African VNR have a cost?
There is a participation cost of R50,000 in order to fund the cost of reporting and the production of individual and consolidated outputs. The fee also includes the cost of events and webinars. Bigger organisations are offering to sponsor smaller businesses that form part of their ecosystem, to ensure well rounded participation of companies of different sizes. Additionally, further avenues of funding are being investigated. There are options for organisations to contribute subject matter expertise, tools and other services.
What does my business get for participating?
Participation in the reporting process will give your organisation access to the VNR collaboration platform and process which will deliver an individual report, as well as input to the consolidated VNR report. CEO and leader quotations will be utilised in awareness communications about the South African transformation work associated with the 2030 Agenda. Additionally, each participant will input to and receive a 3-minute UN Global Compact branded case study about the positive impact it is making. These will be hosted on the GCN SA website and can be shared on social media and company websites. The fee also includes 3 key events during the process, and access to webinars and virtual forums that arise as a part of the 2030 Agenda. Most importantly, participation is the opportunity to collaborate with key private and public sector stakeholders on priorities for the South African National Development Plan and other initiatives designed to transform and innovate South Africa. These agendas are critical to showcasing South Africa as a country with a prioritised plan for overcoming the challenges of today to ensure growth and a better future.
Why should our business sponsor participation of a smaller business?
South Africa is unique in a global context because of its commitment to broad-based black economic empowerment (BBBEE). Stakeholders in the domestic and international community are largely unaware of the work being done in the private sector to accelerate transformation due to poor reporting and compliance. The VNR process is designed to tell a story, rather than report on numbers, and is an opportunity to demonstrate how larger organisations are investing in suppliers, economic development and socio-economic initiatives. Champion participants have indicated that there is a strong case for making the positive contributions of South African business more transparent. By including companies from your business ecosystem, further richer case studies can be exposed, demonstrating the dynamics of transformation, providing role model examples for positive change.
Can my business play a role in facilitating or adding value to the process?
There are many organisations that have capabilities, processes and tools that can accelerate sustainable development in other businesses, making transformation and sustainability easier for new adopters. Additionally, there are many organisations that offer services in the sustainability space. The VNR is an opportunity to highlight and share existing capabilities and service offerings, creating a marketplace. If your organisation would like to contribute that would enrich the process, please let us know.
How has the reporting process been designed?
The baselined reporting process was designed based on the vision of the DPME for a best practice reporting methodology that is inclusive of all sectors and stakeholders. Best practice global reports were analysed into a prototype methodology which is currently under testing with Champion participants who are piloting the process to ensure it is practical, effective and in line with the objectives and aim of the VNR initiative.