Speech by Jan van Zanen at the First Global Webinar for the Voluntary National Reviews at the UN High-level Political Forum for Sustainable Development, 25 October 2021


Excellencies, Prime Minister of Aruba Ms. Wever-Croes, Minister de Bruijn, Mr. Collen Kelapile, President of ECOSOC, and ms. Spatolisano and Ms. Barthelemy of UNDESA,


Dear participants from around the world: Welcome


It is a pleasure to welcome you all at this first Global Webinar on the Voluntary National Reviews (VNRs), to be presented at 2022 United Nations High-Level Political Forum for Sustainable Development


I also want to welcome you to this meeting as mayor of The Hague.

I am proud that The Hague is known as international city of justice and peace.

There are many interesting linkages from the Hague to the topics that will be discussed this week.

For example by housing the International Court of Justice, with a strong attachment to SDG 16.


Sustainable development, peace and justice are closely related.

Those around the world harmed most by climate change, often encounter legal issues increasingly as well.


For instance around land ownership and water use.

Institutes based in the Hague, like the World Resource Institute and

UN-OCHA work on these issues, using exciting new tools and innovations to make the world a better place.

Perhaps they can inspire you as well.


The Hague is also the seat of government in the Netherlands.

In that respect sustainable development is a good example of multi-level governance in which all parties involved are hosted in the Hague, resulting in for example climate policies.

Starting from my own Municipality, the think tanks and international organisations it hosts, the VNG coordinating the efforts of the municipalities, the province of South Holland, as well as the ministries involved.


Dear friends,

As we define our future, we need to do so in a way that promotes a sustainable economy, green infrastructures and public services that create opportunities for all, that reduces the environmental impact of cities and territories, and that is in line with the sustainable transformation that our planet requires.


The Sustainable Development Goals are, ánd remain the most important global framework to jointly give shape and structure to our future and that of future generations.


Central to achieving the SDGs is measuring our progress.

Reporting can help us analyse social and economic differences between localities, to better target policies so as to Leave no one behind.

And by reporting on progress, we can measure the impact of our local and regional SDG policies, assess which changes are necessary, and plan for a sustainable future.


I applaud the fact that the commitment to local, and on an aggregated level: subnational, reporting keeps on growing, with the Voluntary Local Reviews doubling from 2020 to 2021, and with 15 Voluntary Subnational Reviews developed by associations of local and regional governments in the last years.


Being officially adopted by 193 countries at the United Nations and with only nine years left to reach the 2030 Agenda, global action is required more than ever, and reporting and justifying our efforts to make this happen is a crucial step.


And you are contributing to this, thank you for that. Let us intensify our efforts together.


Therefore I am again very glad to welcome you all, connected from around the world, at this start of the Voluntary National Reviews to the HLPF 2022.


Wishing you the best of luck.