NUR-SULTAN – Kazakhstan remains committed to implementing the sustainable development goals (SDGs) as it prepares its second voluntary national review (VNR), said Alikhan Abakanov, Economic Research Institute (ERI) Deputy Chair, during a Central Communications Service press briefing on Tuesday.
According to Abakanov, the implementation of the United Nations agenda on sustainable development until 2030 becomes ever more relevant after the COVID-19 pandemic provoked an unprecedented economic and social crisis.
“Since independence, Kazakhstan has demonstrated its commitment to the principles of sustainable development. Since the adoption of the 2030 Agenda, our country has been working step-by-step towards sustainable development. To date, Kazakhstan has introduced and effectively operates an institutional architecture to facilitate the achievement of the SDGs,” said Abakanov.
Kazakhstan has a coordinating council on sustainable development that serves as an open platform for discussion across five main areas of SDGs – People, Planet, Prosperity, Peace, and Partnerships – involving all stakeholders.
“In 2019, United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) partnered with the Asian Development Bank on a new initiative to create a multi-stakeholder SDG platform. The platform brought together more than 1,500 stakeholders from the public and private sectors, national and local levels to facilitate dialogue that will support efforts to implement the 2030 Agenda in Kazakhstan,” said UNDP Deputy Resident Representative in Kazakhstan Vitalie Vremis.
In 2021, Kazakhstan launched a discussion on the second VNR to be presented at the UN High-Level Political Forum on Sustainable Development in July 2022, the only Central Asian country to do so at the moment. The Ministry of National Economy with the ERI and with the support of the UNDP is in charge of the preparation.
While the country prepares a draft of the document, the ERI is conducting community discussions nationwide.
“It helped, first of all, to determine which goals we should focus on in the VNR. After all, there are 17 SDGs. For each of them, the review provides a full analysis. The UN recommends five priority goals to countries each year. In the current one, SDG 4 on Quality Education, SDG 5 on Gender Equality, SDG 14 on Marine Ecosystem Conservation, SDG 15 on Terrestrial Ecosystem Conservation, and SDG 17 on Partnerships are identified as priorities. These goals will also be addressed in the preparation of the VNR,” said Bakytgul Khambar, director of the SDG Secretariat at the ERI.
She said people are mostly concerned about health care, quality education, clean water, decent jobs, and economic growth, stable cities and towns, and environmental issues and all of these issues will be addressed in the VNR.
Kazakhstan, which has accelerated its efforts toward sustainable development and carbon neutrality, presented its first VNR at the UN High-Level Political Forum in New York in 2019.
According to Khambar, Kazakhstan has made significant progress in promoting SDGs since then, including measures for targeted social support of the population, a comprehensive national strategy to finance projects in SDGs, and efforts to achieve carbon neutrality by 2060.
The VNR compiles the summary of the country’s efforts and results achieved since the UN adopted the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. Besides other goals, the VNR seeks to strengthen policy and government institutions and garner support from interested parties and build partnerships for the achievement of the SDGs.
On March 29, Kazakhstan launched the Stockholm +50 National dialogue aimed at engaging communities in discussions on the environmental aspects of achieving the SDGs, in parallel with the discussion on the second VNR.
The results of the discussions will be presented this June at the Stockholm+50: a Healthy Planet for the Prosperity of All – Our Responsibility, Our Opportunity international meeting in Stockholm, Sweden. The results of the discussion will also be included in Kazakhstan’s VNR.