Spotlight Reports: A Missing Link for Accountability at the High-Level Political Forum

This paper argues that spotlight reports should be better integrated into the HLPF’s 2030 Agenda review processes.

Publication details

Title:Spotlight Reports: A Missing Link for Accountability at the High-Level Political Forum
Type:Making the HLPF More Inclusive
Author:Micah Grzywnowicz
Published:30 June 2021
Licence: All rights reserved

With the adoption of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development in 2015, UN Member States committed to conducting regular Voluntary National Reviews (VNRs), which would be ‘robust, voluntary, effective, participatory, transparent and integrated’. VNR reports are presented at the annual High-Level Political Forum (HLPF), creating a space for peer learning and feedback from different stakeholders.

Although the follow-up and review processes on the implementation of the 2030 Agenda are state-led, they are supposed to be inclusive and consultative, and to welcome inputs from relevant stakeholders. This paper discusses two such inputs to the HLPF process from civil society: shadow reports and spotlight reports.

The paper argues that while spotlight reports do not play any official role in the review processes, they are nevertheless critical tools, especially for stakeholders with limited or no access to cooperation with their governments. In fact, they serve the same purpose as shadow reports and states’ own VNR reports, which is ultimately to improve the implementation of the 2030 Agenda and benefit the well-being of people.


Making the HLPF More Inclusive

This publication is part of a series that aims to contribute reflections on how the HLPF process can become more inclusive of a broad range of stakeholders and more purposefully focused on the implementation of the principle of leaving no one behind.

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