A ‘Voluntary Local Review’ (VLR) is a process whereby local and regional governments voluntarily carry out a review of progress being made in their implementation of the SDGs. This review includes policies, programmes, data, institutional set-ups and stakeholder engagement mechanisms to implement the 2030 Agenda at the local level. VLRs are then developed into follow-up action plans. Inspired by the successful case of Shimokawa, a small town in the northern part of Japan, this handbook provides a hands-on, step-by-step method to conduct VLRs. Despite the town’s relative isolation, small size and limited financial resources, Shimokawa took up the challenge of conducting rigorous monitoring, review and follow-up. Such limitations did not stop the residents of Shimokawa from setting out on an impressive transformative pathway, showing how local actions contribute to the global agenda.
This handbook is comprised of ten steps. Each step highlights a critical aspect needed to successfully conduct a VLR. It also contains the VLR Format for reference. By following the steps, local and regional governments will be able to start a journey to transition to a more sustainable society. Readers may also notice that VLRs are a new process whose components are often part of local administrations. Conducting a VLR provides a way to maximise synergies between existing resources while strengthening implementation of the SDGs. It also shows commitment to the SDGs and the 2030 Agenda. This handbook hopes to inspire regions, cities, towns and villages to work to achieve success with the SDGs.