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Nepal SDGs Forum held its third round of discussion on preparation of civil society report on Voluntary National Review (VNR) of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) on 6 February 2020 at NGO Federation of Nepal's office at Buddhanagar, Kathmandu. The participants represented civil society federations, networks and organizations; development partners including UN and INGOs; National Planning Commission (NPC), and the development activists. Member organizations of Nepal SDGs Forum, including the conveners and co-conveners for SDGs, and Major Groups and Stakeholders participated in the meeting.

The background information and presentations basically on process and priorities on VNR by NGO Federation of Nepal (NFN) team triggered the discussion. President of NFN highlighted the objectives and focus of the CSOs in VNR. Deputy Secretary General of NFN presented how VNR is associated with international plate-forms including the UNGA and HLPF. He also the reviewed the engagement of NFN and Nepal SDGs Forum from local government to province and national levels in localization of SDGs and acceleration of Agenda 2030. Drawing lessons from earlier practices in which civil society came up with its own report on SDGs, Executive Director of NFN Mr BB Thapa said that NFN will coordinate and facilitate all the efforts and the NFN's meeting hall will be a common venue for anyone who wish to discuss and work in order to contribute to VNR. Mr Hum Bhandari, Program Manager at NFN, focused on the priorities and the information to be collected for VNR report.

Notably, NFN represents civil society on National Steering Committee on SDGs led by the Prime Minister and all thematic committees of National Plaining Commission. Thus, NFN has been raising the voice and concerns of the people and CSOs or bridging civil society and Government.

Aimed at contributing to accelerate implementation of 2030 Agenda, and in this process to underscore priorities and concerns of civil society or of the poor, vulnerable and marginalized communities with further specific focus, the meeting has developed a common understanding about going forward and coming up with a consolidated report of the civil society or CSOs in Nepal.

Although some thematically focused organizations and networks have been working for contributing to VNR, they have agreed to share their findings and recommendations to Nepal SDGs Forum to produce an integrated report. Apart from this, efforts and actions that different organizations have planned will be undertaken in a collaborative and coordinated way so as to build synergy, avoid overlaps and duplications and streamline the process resulting in a common report that everyone has ownership and the government and stakeholders will give due consideration.

The participation and inputs from NPC, UN bodies, and INGOs have been encouraging and fruitful. As representative of National Planning Commission (NPC) which is the lead government agency for SDGs and VNR, Mr Dev Raj Joshi, Program Director at NPC, shared the Government's plans and timetables for preparation of VNR. He advised how the civil society report can be more timely and coherent with the Government's so that contents of the civil society report can be duly considered and be incorporated in Government's VNR report.

Likewise, Mr Subhash Nepali, Economist and SDG Advisor at United Nations Resident Coordinator's Office, shared that UN bodies are working closely with Government of Nepal and will collaborate with civil society in SDGs and VNR in order to make interventions and results participatory and inclusive. Besides, representatives from UNDP have committed to supporting for data and information sharing and analysis.

Various INGOs— including VSO, World Vision International, TDH Germany, CARE Nepal, and WHH—have offered support in VNR initiatives to coordinate and collaborate with of Nepal SDGs Forum. An advisory group is to be formed in which such development partners will be joining.

The representatives of various CSOs have expressed interest to lead or contribute to the VNR report preparation. They will share their plans with Nepal SDG Forum's Secretariat at NFN which will coordinate with everyone.

Based on the interest and expertise, different groups will be proposed and communicated soon. The next step would be formation of working groups and expedite the information collection and report writing process. Interested organizations and experts may voluntarily express their interest to contribute by contacting Mr. Hum Bhandari (Email: hum@ngofederation.org; phone:  01-4782908) at NFN.

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