2023 HLPF: TOSSD can inform Voluntary National Reviews (VNRs) and close data gaps on SDGs financing
Every year in July, the High-Level Political Forum on Sustainable Development (HLPF) gathers the international community to review progress in the implementation of the 2030 Agenda. On this occasion, countries are invited to present Voluntary National Reviews (VNRs) to share information on progress they are making in achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). In 2023, thirty-nine countries presented their VNRs and the HLPF focused on reviewing the implementation of SDG 6 (clean water and sanitation), SDG 7 (affordable and clean energy), SDG 9 (industry, innovation, and infrastructure) and SDG 11 (sustainable cities and communities). SDG 17 on “Partnerships for the Goals” is always included in all thematic reviews.
Data on Total Official Support for Sustainable Development (TOSSD) can be useful for the VNRs as TOSSD measures the full array of resources to promote sustainable development in developing countries. The TOSSD framework currently covers sustainable development support from 2019 to 2021, with more than 1 million activities reported by over 100 official providers (countries and international organisations) over this period. The data are available free of charge on a dedicated data platform (https://tossd.online), which helps developing countries to have a more comprehensive overview of the official support they receive. In 2023, some developing countries started using TOSSD data in their VNRs. For example, Burkina Faso presented in its VNR the volume of TOSSD flows received from 2019 to 2021, together with a breakdown by goal and target (for SDGs 6, 7, 9 and 11).
This data story looks at 20 countries’ VNRs, how they reflected the official development support these countries had received*, and how TOSSD could help close data gaps on financing for development for those countries. In brief**, there were:
- 7 VNRs with data on the volume of official support for sustainable development received: Burkina Faso, Central African Republic, Chile, Comoros, Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), Fiji, Tanzania.
- 3 VNRs with figures on official support received as a share of GNI: Mongolia, Tajikistan, Viet Nam.
- 3 VNRs with data on the official support received for select SDGs only: Guyana, Timor-Leste, Zambia.
- 7 VNRs with no information on official support received: Bosnia and Herzegovina, Cambodia, Maldives, Rwanda, Syrian Arab Republic, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan.
TOSSD could thus have usefully informed 13 VNRs in 2023.
According to TOSSD data, the 20 countries listed above received a total of USD 31 billion (gross disbursements) in official support for sustainable development in 2021, while the total for the 13 countries with limited or no data was around USD 16.8 billion. The figure below presents a breakdown of these resources by country and by financial instrument (grants, loan, other).
TOSSD can complement information collected at national level on development support.
The figure below presents a comparison between, on the one hand, data collected at the country level by Chile, Comoros, the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), Fiji and Tanzania on the support they received and, on the other hand, data available in TOSSD. For Comoros and Tanzania, TOSSD tracked respectively 84% and 96% more disbursements than those reported in their VNRs.
For DRC, Fiji, and Chile, TOSSD provides respectively twice, three times and 200 times more information than presented in the VNR. The case of Chile is particularly striking, since TOSSD is the only international database that provides information on resources that the country receives (Chile is no longer an ODA-eligible country).
TOSSD and the SDGs under thematic review for 2023 HLPF.
The figure below presents the percentages of TOSSD resources associated with SDG 6, 7, 9 and 11, with a breakdown between cross-border flows and global/regional expenditures. In 2021, about USD 130 billion of official support targeted these goals. On TOSSD.online, users can explore the distribution of TOSSD by SDGs, at both goal and target level.
Some final remarks:
At the time of writing, 19 TOSSD recipient countries*** have already expressed their intention to present a VNR at the 2024 HLPF. These countries can use TOSSD data to inform their VNRs and complement information they already have at the country level on support for sustainable development. TOSSD data are available from 2019 to 2021 and new data on 2022 activities will become available early 2024. Along with other tools (e.g. Integrated National Financing Frameworks and the SDG Trade Monitor), TOSSD can help recipient countries fill their data gaps on financing for development.
* The country-level analysis and graphs relate to cross-border flows only (TOSSD Pillar I). Yet, countries may also be interested in regional and global expenditures (TOSSD Pillar II) that contribute to their sustainable development.
** At the time of writing, VNR reports for Cambodia and Viet Nam were not available online. In oral presentations made at the HLPF by the two countries, Cambodia did not make any reference to the official support it received, and Viet Nam provided information on the official support it received, as a share of GNI.
*** Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belize, Brazil, Chad, Colombia, Guinea, Honduras, Lao’s People Democratic Republic, Libya, Mauritania, Federated States of Micronesia, Nepal, Niger, Palau, Peru, Syrian Arab Republic, Uganda, Zimbabwe.
Publication date: 20 September 2023
Author: TOSSD Task Force Secretariat