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UK Voluntary National Review into Global Goals progress

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Last week (Tuesday 16 July 2019), International Development Secretary Rory Stewart presented the UK’s first Voluntary National Review (VNR) into progress towards the Global Goals (Sustainable Development Goals) at the United Nations in New York.

The review explores the work being done by the UK government, individuals, charities, businesses and other organisations to achieve the 17 Global Goals.

When the VNR was launched in June, the Telegraph, Guardian and Sunday Express all carried stories about this. The Telegraph reported that the “UK is meeting goals in areas such as raising education standards and increasing the number of women and people with disabilities in work”, whilst noting that “a lot more needs to be done on tackling climate change". This reflects DFID's priority of putting climate change and the environment at the heart of UK aid.

To mark the presentation of the VNR at the UN last week, the The Herald and Politics Home published opinion pieces by International Development Minister Baroness Sugg where she said: “the VNR is not the endpoint. It is a moment to take stock. It offers a snapshot in time of how we are doing and what we need to do if we are to achieve the goals by 2030.”

The Telegraph also published an opinion piece on the Goals by DFID’s Permanent Secretary, and former UK Ambassador to the United Nations, Matthew Rycroft. He said: “our first Voluntary National Review sets out not just what the government has been doing, such as committing to net zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050 and fighting the spread of Ebola in East Africa, but also what people from across the UK are doing to help make the goals a reality.”

The Herald reported on the importance of British volunteers learning skills in developing countries that they can bring back home. They featured an interview with Isioma Okolo, an Edinburgh-based doctor who volunteered in Uganda, and featured in a video that was played as part of the presentation in New York. Commenting in The Herald piece, Rory Stewart said: “it’s fantastic to see the impact Isioma has made by volunteering in Uganda to train doctors and nurses, returning with invaluable skills and experience that can also be used in the UK.”

Regional media coverage also included ITV Wales at Six who interviewed climate activist Rebecca Hawkins from The Climate Coalition following her speech at the UN calling on countries to do more to tackle climate change. Other speakers at the UN presentation included Michele Giddens, Co-Founder of Bridges Fund Management and Claire Melamed, Chief Executive Officer, Global Partnership for Sustainable Development Data.

For more information and to view the report in full visit

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