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  • Writer's pictureUN-Habitat India

Bhopal becomes the first Indian city to prepare a Voluntary Local Review

08 May 2023: The city of Bhopal in India joined the growing global movement on the localization of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) with the launch of An Agenda for Action: Sustainable Urban Transformation in Bhopal, India’s first city-level Voluntary Local Review (VLR).

Bhopal VLR Report

The report was launched by Mr. Shivraj Singh Chouhan, the Hon. Chief Minister of the State of Madhya Pradesh (Bhopal is the capital city of Madhya Pradesh), in the presence of the Mr. Bhupendra Singh, the Hon. Minister for Urban Development, Mr. Vishvas Kailash Sarang, the Hon. Minister of Medical Education, and Ms. Malti Rai, the Hon. Mayor of Bhopal.

In 2015, all 193 Member States of the United Nations adopted “Transforming our world: the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development” (known as Agenda 2030) comprising of 17 Sustainable Development Goals and 169 targets as a plan of action for people, planet, and prosperity.

Bhopal VLR Report_Web_version
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The member states report their progress towards the achievement of the Goals through a Voluntary National Review (VNR) to UN’s High Level Political Forum (HLPF).

Cities and region have a pivotal role to play in the achievement of Agenda 2030 as at least 60% of the 169 targets could not possibly be achieved. A Voluntary Local Review thus enables cities and regions to localize the Sustainable Development Goals and report their progress. VLRs have emerged as a powerful tool that forefronts local action. New York City became the first city to present its Voluntary Local Review to the UN’s HLPF in 2018. By 2021, some 33 countries had made publicly available 114 VLRs or similar review documents.

Bhopal’s VLR is the result of a collaboration between the Bhopal Municipal Corporation, UN-Habitat, and a collective of over 23 local stakeholders to measurably demonstrate the city’s aspirations for a sustainable and inclusive urban transformation. It incorporated a mix of quantitative and qualitative approaches to the review of SDGs with qualitative mapping of 56 developmental projects--across the three pillars of People (SDGs 1,3,4,5), Planet (SDGs 6,13,15) and Prosperity (SDGs 7,8,11)—and an in-depth quantitative review of SDG 11 (Sustainable Cities & Communities).

“Under the visionary leadership of the Hon’ble Prime Minister of India, Mr. Narendra Modi, India has been championing inclusive growth and development in adherence to the ideals of “Sabka Saath, Sabka Vikas, Sabka Vishwas, Sabka Prayaas” to build an Aatmanirbhar Bharat or self-reliant India. This also complements the nation’s commitment to achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and Agenda 2030 to Leave No One Behind and Leave No Space Behind. Bhopal Voluntary Local Review, which is the first of its kind in India at the urban level, reaffirms our state’s commitment to pioneer SDG localization in the country and set precedence for local championship and action”, said Mr. Chouhan.

"As a community, Bhopal is committed to the objectives of Agenda 2030, and we pledge to work tirelessly in the coming years to achieve the goals. I hope that this VLR enables us to showcase our work internationally and access platforms where we can learn from the global best practices," said the Bhopal Mayor Ms. Malti Rai.

“Bhopal VLR is a result of over one year of combined efforts of the Bhopal Municipal Corporation and UN-Habitat. This report reflects the commitment of Bhopal Municipal Corporation towards the localization of SDGs. And while efforts spanning several months have culminated with the publication of this report, the real work begins now,” said Mr. KVS Choudary, Commissioner, Bhopal Municipal Corporation.

“The Bhopal VLR is the outcome of a long-standing partnership between the Bhopal Municipal Corporation and UN-Habitat to plan and implement sustainable and resilient development pathways. We hope that cities across India will follow Bhopal’s lead and do their own VLRs to their stories to the world in the vocabulary of the SDGs,” said Ms. Parul Agarwala, Country Programme Manager, UN-Habitat India.

“I would like to dedicate the VLR to the people of Bhopal who must carry forward the baton in their own lives to achieve the SDGs and collectively make this world a better place for all”, said Mr. Chouhan.



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