UKSSD’s SDG Scorecard, published today, assesses the UK Government’s Voluntary National Review (VNR) on progress towards the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) based on UN Voluntary Reporting guidelines and best practice. Although there are positive signs of progress, of the eleven areas considered by partners in UKSSD’s advocacy action group, none receive a green rating to indicate it satisfied the expectations of a VNR process.

Four were considered poor (red), six were unsatisfactory (amber/red) and only one was satisfactory, though lacking in some areas (amber/green). None of the areas warranted a green rating for strong achievement.

Issues of particular concern include the lack of comprehensive analysis of the UK’s performance on the SDGs, the process of stakeholder engagement undertaken as part of the review and the failure to use the VNR as a way to create a step change in the UK’s implementation of the SDGs.

From its eleven recommendations UKSSD is calling for:

  • A Minister in Cabinet with a domestic mandate to lead the UK’s efforts to implement the SDGs

  • A commitment to develop an ambitious and comprehensive plan for the implementation of the SDGs

  • Further clarity on the purpose of the stakeholder engagement mechanism to which the Government committed when it published the review and which UKSSD has welcomed


UKSSD’s co-chair Jeff Twentyman said:

”As the Government prepares for the UN General Assembly next week, we would expect our scorecard to make a significant contribution to its reflections on the experience of producing a Voluntary National Review. We hope that this leads to a more ambitious approach and that the Government really demonstrates its commitment to the Goals as this can only result in positive outcomes for the UK. UKSSD and its partners look forward to working with the Government to accelerate progress on the SDGs in the UK.”

The UK Government is expected to participate in the SDG Summit between 24-25 September during the UN General Assembly in New York. As a leaders summit it is assumed that Prime Minister Boris Johnson will attend, although this is not confirmed at the time of writing.