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The Sustainable Development Goals in South Africa: Transitions Are the Hardest Part


Year published: 2022
Categories: Book Chapter
URL Link: https://link.springer.com/chapter/10.1007/978-3-030-95979-1_2

Author / Authors:

  • Alexis Schäffler-Thomson



Building on the lessons learned by the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) have generated a sophisticated data reporting structure designed to monitor new goals that were introduced, as well as the interactions across goals. The expanded SDG framework requires localization, and the most useful channel for reporting is the Voluntary National Review (VNR), which holds important insights into how countries deal with goal integration and sub-national dynamics. This chapter reflects on how the VNR process unfolded in South Africa for SDG 6, 14, and 15, which are key environmental resources goals that have prominence in the country. These three goals show the extent to which goal interconnections and downscaling issues are understood by the VNR custodians in South Africa and thus highlight what is needed institutionally for achieving this kind of understanding. The chapter argues that the preparation of the VNR highlights the capacity of a government to generate and assess complex data for the VNR, providing a proxy for how well the country can manage the interconnected drivers of transformation across the SDGs.

Keywords - SDG 6, SDG 14, SDG 15, Voluntary National Review (VNR), SDG reporting, SDG interactions, South Africa


  • Book Chapter