SDGs: Why validation of Voluntary Local Review has become a catalyst for change – Finnih
Dr. Oreoluwa Finnih
Published By: Kazeem Ugbodaga
The Lagos State Government has concluded the maiden edition of Voluntary Local Review (VLR) Validation Workshop for Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) in line with the dictates of the Global ambition on the 2030 agenda.
The event, which was held at the Providence Hotel, GRA, Ikeja was the first validation exercise on the global agenda in Nigeria as a whole.
Speaking at the programme, the Special Adviser to the Governor on Sustainable Development Goals, Dr. Oreoluwa Finnih explained that the initiative marks a pivotal moment in the collective aspirations of the state toward achieving the Global Goals and co-creating an inclusive, just, and prosperous future for all residents of Lagos State.
According to her, the Voluntary Local Review as a sub-national endeavour holds profound significance for the future of our dear state and the country at large as it continues to demonstrate the local capacity and commitments of cities and regions to foster SDGs in rural communities.
Orelowula, who noted that the review has become a catalyst for change, inspiring innovative solutions and driving transformative action, confirmed that the participation of the local entities are not only contributing to the achievement of the SDGs but also enhancing their resilience, well-being, and quality of life.
While sub-national reviews of the 2030 Agenda have intrinsic value as part of the implementation process, they can also contribute to the national-level Voluntary National Reviews (VNRs) and reinforce vertical coherence. The VLR mechanism provides an avenue to assess progress and shortcomings in implementing the SDGs through an inclusive process that involves all relevant actors”, the Special Adviser noted.
Emphasizing on the importance of embedding the process and its findings into existing implementation efforts and planning for effective follow-up, Oreoluwa pointed out that the VLR report will guide the path towards the realization of the Lagos of our dream, without leaving anyone behind.
“Since the adoption of SDGs in 2015, Lagos has ambitiously moved to pursue this transformative global agenda by actively promoting its localization, institutionalizing its relevance across MDAs and build cross-sectoral partnerships for all the Goals.
In her word, “By being the first state in Nigeria to establish the Office of SDGs as a Cabinet Office and incorporating the framework into our development plans, the the state has established civic engagement initiatives and platforms such as the Lagos State Volunteer Corp and the Lagos SDGs Youth Alliance has enabled citizens to become active participants in governance.
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Highlighting the significance of the validation exercise, Dr. Oreoluwa affirmed that the report will empower the state with objective insights and constructive feedback which will enable government to fully understand the wins, close the gaps and provide potential opportunities to accelerate the attainment of the Goals.
This remarkable initiative, according to her, has improved the state database through the aggregation of verifiable information on progress made in each goal.
“Significantly, this exercise will project how Lagos is addressing the three dimensions of sustainable development -economic, social, and environmental in an integrated manner with examples of actions and policies aimed at unveiling interlinkages, enhancing synergies, and avoiding trade-offs in the implementation of the SDGs”, she affirmed.
Oreoluwa positioned that pressing sustainability challenges must be overcome through concerted efforts as collaborative endeavors will unlock the full potential of Lagos as a Centre of Excellence.
Analyzing the methodology for the review, the Project Consultant, Mr. Olayinka Majekodunmi, noted that the VLR process has highlighted priority areas for the state government to accelerate local SDGs achievement.
Olayinka submitted that additional inputs of various stakeholders will enrich the report and collective knowledge and inform policies and actions for a more sustainable and equitable Lagos.
The workshop had in attendance some members of the State Executive Council; Body of Permanent Secretaries; Chairman of Onigbongbo LCDA, Hon. Olakunle Oladotun; the General Manager of the Lagos State Office of Disability Affairs, Mr. Oluwadamilare Ogundairo and other government officials.
Relevant stakeholders, including development partners, private sector leaders, agencies of government, civil society representatives, academia, non-governmental organizations, and vibrant community of volunteers were also present to review key findings from the data-driven VLR report, which benchmarks Lagos State’s progress on the 17 SDGs.