Former ILO Director for Pacific Island Countries, Donglin Li (in blue, middle, standing) with representatives of civil society organisations ; NGOs, community volunteer groups, trade unions and private sector group that participated at the Fiji CSO SDG Forum on the Voluntary National Review Report in May 2019. The two day forum was organised to allow CSOs to compile information for input into the Fiji SDG VNR report. (PC: FCOSS)

The Fiji CSO SDG Taskforce are quering over the unavailability of Fiji’s SDG progress report on the United Nations website.

The taskforce met recently to discuss and analyze their participation and contributions at the 2019 United Nations High Level Political Forum (HLPF) in June in New York.

During their discussions, concerns were raised by members about the unavailability of the 2019 Fiji Voluntary National Review (VNR) Report on the Progress of Implementation on the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) on the SDG online Knowledge Platform. The Platform is a repository of all such reports and ensures that all reports are publicly available.

Taskforce member and Fiji Women’s Rights Movement director, Nalini Singh said the unavailability of the Fiji VNR Report on a website dedicated to ensuring that countries engage in best practice sharing, learning and partnership building related to the implementation of the 2030 Agenda is indicative of government’s lack of genuine engagement and ownership of the goals.

She added that the State represented by our Minister for Economy presented Fiji’s Review Report to the UN and other member states.

The report was available online prior to the event but was pulled out shortly after. She is asking the government why this has happened.

Singh had also highlighted the Fiji CSO’s dissatisfaction of the Fiji VNR national consultation process as “rushed, disengaging and exclusive” in her intervention at the HLPF. Singh also suggested that improvements be made to the multi-stakeholder engagement part of the implementation of the SDGs.

Fiji Council of Social Services director, Vani Catanasiga said because the report was unavailable, the Fiji CSO SDG Taskforce had no way of ascertaining whether CSO contributions were also featured in the country report.

She said the CSO taskforce was established to ensure that the work progress since 2015 and sustainable development would also be included. Despite the challenges faced  CSO’s tried to engage in this process, and are still able to share raw data and contribute to key messages requested of them from the Ministry of Economy.

Catanasiga said it was interesting to note this inconsistency in government’s international representation as it could be revealing of government’s progress on national implementation.

The Fiji CSO SDG Taskforce is planning to organise a Fiji CSO Week on SDG Action next month.

 

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