HLPF 2022 Side Event

Asia-Pacific Regional Review of Knowledge and Experiences on Environmental Dimension VNRs

7 July 2022 18:30-19:35 (Bangkok Time)

How have countries in the Asia-Pacific region approached reporting on the SDGs generally, and on the environment specifically?


Many countries in the Asia and Pacific region have conducted at least one Voluntary National Reviews (VNR), while several have carried out more than one.

Annual reports by the United Nations show that the Asia-Pacific region is falling behind on the SDGs. At current rates, the SDGs are slated to be achieved by 2065, or 35 years behind schedule. The trend is especially worrying for the environment-related SDGs.

There are many known reasons for slow or stalled progress. Some of the well-understood causes include a consistent lack of data and indicators, especially for the environment, which are a crucial compass for stocktaking, progress and review, and planning. An added challenge is that many of the items set out for measurement under the SDGs have never been assessed. This is especially the case in areas of development that integrate socio-economic and environmental concerns or areas that require data disaggregation.

Despite the general lack of progress, some countries exceed others on the SDGs, particularly concerning the environment.

This side event shared key findings of a collaborative project between the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) and IGES, with funding from the Norwegian Government, aimed at reviewing 50 VNRs produced by 36 Asia-Pacific countries, which were submitted to the UN High-Level Political Forum (HLPF) on the SDGs between 2016 and 2021. We also looked into the VNRs experience in Indonesia with a particular focus on reporting on the environmental aspects of the SDGs.

Apart from raising awareness of the SDGs and the need for more progress on the environmental dimensions, we hope to harness the knowledge and experiences from the VNRs as a vehicle to strengthen the implementation, monitoring and reporting progress of environmental SDGs and related targets.



Introduction of Speakers:


Dechen Tsering

Dechen Tsering, Ph.D.
Regional Director and Representative Asia and the Pacific Office United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP)

Ms. Dechen Tsering was appointed as the regional director of United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) in Asia and the Pacific in March 2017. As the regional arm of UNEP, headquartered in Nairobi, Kenya, the Asia-Pacific office works with governments, local authorities and the private sector to develop and put into place cleaner and safer policies and strategies that encourage the efficient use of natural resources and reduce risks for humans and the environment.

Ms. Tsering has held management and leadership positions with the United Nations and has over 30 years of experience in national government and intergovernmental organisations. She has been actively involved in intergovernmental negotiations as a key negotiator for least-developed countries and contributed to the establishment of the Least Developed Countries Fund and the Least Developed Countries Expert Group. She also has experience in the management of complex development projects. She comes to UNEP from the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) secretariat, where she served as director of the Finance, Technology and Capacity-building Programme. In that position, she supported international co-operation on mobilisation of finance, technology development and transfer, and capacity building to enable countries to take enhanced action on climate change. Prior to that position, she was the deputy regional director of UNEP in Asia and the Pacific.

Ms. Tsering holds a PhD in forest economics and policy from the Federal Institute of Technology, Zurich. She also has a master’s degree from Georgetown University and undergraduate degrees from the University of California, Berkeley.


Vivi Yulaswati
Senior Advisor, Minister of National Development Planning for Social Affairs and Poverty Reduction

As a Senior Advisor to the Minister of National Development Planning for Social Affairs and Poverty Reduction, Vivi’s main responsibility is doing analysis and providing advises to the minister on social issues and poverty reduction and strategies. She has long experience in designing Indonesian anti poverty programs including Community Driven Development, Conditional Cash Transfer, and some subsidy reforms. She has major contribution in the development of the National Social Security System, National Strategy for Financial Inclusion, Government to Person (G2P) payment transformation, and comprehensive Social Protection framework.

She is currently also as the Head of the National Secretariate for the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). She led the development of the Indonesia’s VNR, SDGs Road Map, and SDGs National Action Plan.

She holds PhD in Planning and Development from University of Southern California (2004), Master in Urban and Regional Planning from University of Wisconsin-Madison, USA (1999), bachelor from University of Indonesia (1991); and took many courses in social protection, evaluation, change management, and digital transformation.


Event Details

7 July 2022 18:30-19:35 (Bangkok Time)


United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP)

E-mail: [email protected]

Presentation Materials

Bangkok Time

Moderator Miki Fukuda IGES


Opening remarks

Dechen Tsering, Regional Director and Representative for Asia and the Pacific, UNEP
Kazuhiko Takeuchi, President, IGES

Key findings of the Regional VNR Review

Simon Hoeiberg Olsen, Senior Researcher, IGES
Experience from VNRs in Indonesia, with a special focus on reporting on the environmental aspects of the SDGs.
Vivi Yulaswati, Senior Advisor to the Minister of National Development Planning for Social Affairs and Poverty Reduction

Open floor for Q&A

19:30 Closing remarks Matthew Hengesbaugh, Policy Researcher, IGES  

Recorded Video