Assessment of the G20 Countries’ Concrete SDG Implementation Efforts: Policies and Budgets Reported in Their 2016-2018 Voluntary National Reviews

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This report assesses the extent to which the G20 countries are making concrete efforts to implement the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Concrete policy measures and budget allocations are the focus of this assessment which is based on a survey of the extent to which the G20 countries reported concrete policy measures and budget allocations in their Voluntary National Reviews (VNRs). Previous assessments of VNRs have not focused on policies and budgets, but rather on the level of countries’ readiness for implementation; level of achievement of goals, targets, and indicators; implementation structures; stakeholder engagement; progress on data and indicators; and attention to specific topics such as “leave no one behind.” Major methodological challenges also make it very difficult to systematically assess efforts and compile the relevant information. Especially, this report finds that countries’ VNRs probably do not provide a complete or comparable measure of policies or budgets, and it is often difficult to distinguish between existing and new ones. Therefore, it is difficult to assess their overall significance and effectiveness. Nevertheless, this analysis shows that the G20 countries which have submitted VNRs between 2016-2018 have reported relatively substantial efforts, especially a large number of policies, and in some cases, significant budgets. Moreover, many of the countries seem to be underreporting SDG related policies and budgets, especially existing policies and budgets contributing to initial levels of achievement of goals and targets. Reported polices and budgets may provide some indication of each country’s intended prioritization. This report does not address the question of the effectiveness of these efforts, which is an important topic for future research. Still it is important to measure efforts, not just results, and countries should continue to report on SDG-related policies and budgets.