The Voluntary Local Review (VLR) report of Dhulikhel city in Nepal, the first by a city in South Asia, was launched during a hybrid event held in the presence of the city’s Hon’ble Mayor Mr. Ashok Kumar Byanju Shreshta, on the 5th of April 2022.
In his speech at the event, Mr Shreshta said, “For the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), the federal government’s role is not enough; the role of local governments is equally important.”
Dhulikhel has made substantial progress over the past four years in setting strategies for achieving the SDGs. Under the Climate and Development Knowledge Network (CDKN) programme, the city conducted the VLR to identify gaps and redirect efforts for more inclusive and sustainable development of the city, and to help analyse and monitor its strategies to localise and achieve the SDGs. ICLEI South Asia supported the local government in preparing the VLR. The CDKN programme is funded by Canada’s International Development Research Centre and the Royal Netherlands Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
The VLR process followed the methodology outlined in the Asia-Pacific Regional Guidelines on Voluntary Local Reviews, published by UNESCAP. It concentrated on engaging with stakeholders, which was extremely challenging as the work began in December 2020, when the region was still struggling with the COVID-19 lockdowns. Only one in-person consultation could be held, but the core team worked closely through virtual engagements with the stakeholders and individual consultations to make the process as inclusive as possible.
The focus was on four prioritised SDGs for in-depth evaluation: SDG 1 on ‘no poverty’; SDG 3 on ‘good health and well-being’; SDG 4 on ‘quality education’; and SDG 6 on ‘clean water and sanitation. Enabling policies to undertake action on SDGs were identified and existing stakeholder engagement mechanisms used, such as toll committees, citizen awareness centres, ward citizen forums, councils for women, Dalits, youth, tribals, and disabled people, to support the SDG principle of ‘Leaving No One Behind’. The next step will be to encourage other cities in Nepal to take up the VLR reviews and to soon begin work on the remaining SDGs for Dhulikhel.
Dr. Biswo Raj Paudel, Vice-Chairman, National Planning Commission of Government of Nepal, said that the launch of the VLR report was proof that Dhulikhel Municipality was following principles of good governance. “The National Planning Commission has its own set priorities, and reports such as the VLR will contribute to the achievement of these priorities. Other local governments of Nepal can learn from the report,” he added.
Mr. Curt Garrigan, Chief, Sustainable Urban Development Section, Environment and Development Division, UNESCAP, appreciated the efforts made by the Hon’ble mayor, the municipality and ICLEI South Asia in the preparation of the report. “The VLR defines the vision and potential for investment in the SDGs. A short section of the VLR emphasises the need for collective action; it is not the responsibility of the national government alone, but of society too,” he said.
Shri Bimala Kumari Chaulagain Sharma, Hon’ble Deputy Mayor, Dhulikhel, expressed her commitment to complete the VLR of the remaining SDG goals and sought continuous support from ICLEI South Asia and UNESCAP.
The Dhulikhel VLR report can be accessed here: https://bit.ly/3v0NapR