Voluntary National Reviews on Implementation of Sustainable Development Goals: Key Lessons from East African Member States

Sylvester Ngome Chisika, Chunho Yeom

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


Regular, inclusive, and country-driven Voluntary National Reviews (VNRs) of sustainable development goals (SDGs) are being conducted by many countries across the globe in the quest to realign development priorities toward Agenda 2030. However, there are limited studies on the progress of the implementation of SDGs. This paper used literature review and document content analysis to review the VNRs from East Africa for the first time in order to explore their reporting practices and document the progress of SDG implementation. Results substantiate that Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania, Rwanda, Burundi, and South Sudan are committed to achieving a high quality of life for their people through periodic VNR reporting. To augment, these positive efforts, countries have established a favorable multi-stakeholder legal and policy environment for SDG implementation. Moreover, remarkable impacts have been witnessed, including; reduced poverty, improved access to basic services, enhanced environmental protection, improved economic growth, improved gender equality, and improved stakeholder participation in sustainable development. Additionally, global best practices on SDG implementation are emerging from the region, especially through the tendency to formulate national strategies and policies targeting specific development sectors and resources. However, results also show that there are numerous social-political, economic, and environmental barriers to achieving the SDGs. As such, this paper recommends increasing SDGs awareness, building technical capacity, leveraging technology, fostering transparency and accountability, encouraging collaboration, addressing cultural barriers, and supporting political stability. Implementing these interventions can help to promote sustainable development in the region.

Original languageEnglish
JournalSAGE Open
Issue number2
StatePublished - 1 Apr 2024


  • content analysis
  • East Africa
  • sustainable development goals
  • United Nations
  • voluntary national review


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