HLPF participants discussed “moving from words to action” on financing for the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) on Monday morning. Reporting on progress, UN Department of Economic and Social Affairs (UN DESA) said official development assistance (ODA) totaled USD149 billion in 2018, down by 2.7% in real terms from 2017; and humanitarian aid fell by 8%. She noted a reduction in aid to least developed countries and African countries, saying donor countries are not living up to the pledge to scale up ODA.
Homi Kharas, Brookings Institution, noted that while more than USD20-30 trillion has been spent on the SDGs so far, this investment has taken place mainly in high- and middle-income economies. He presented research showing that while minimum spending of around USD340 per capita annually is needed in the various sectors to implement the SDGs in low-income economies, with needs rising with country income levels, there is a big gap between this and current spending levels. Delegates discussed, among other things, the importance of implementing the shared vision of the 2030 Agenda through meeting aid commitments; reducing illicit financial flows; improving tax collection; reducing the cost of remittances; ensuring funds are available at the local level; and leveraging the private sector.
Seven countries then presented their voluntary national reviews (VNRs) for the second time, in two panel discussions: Azerbaijan, Chile, Philippines, Sierra Leone, Guatemala, Indonesia, and Turkey. They described progress in nationalizing SDG targets, implementation of priority SDGs, and efforts to engage multistakeholders.
In the afternoon, participants discussed lessons from four years of VNRs. Speakers highlighted challenges related to, among other things: data accuracy, collection, and disaggregation; lack of meaningful stakeholder involvement, and of “civil spaces”; lack of adequate attention to root causes of inequality in VNRs; institutional fragmentation; lack of adequate country ownership; and lack of follow-up, after presentations at HLPF. The role of VNRs in fostering coordination on SDGs and clarifying roles and responsibilities for implementation were also recognized.
This was followed by a wrap-up session of the first five days of HLPF 2019. UN DESA summarized messages from the five days, saying that while governments are on the right track, the level of ambition is not enough to achieve the SDGs by 2030. UN Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) President Inga Rhonda King highlighted, among other things, the importance of investing in data capacity, and the role of science in shaping policies. She urged governments to speed up implementation and kickstart transformative action.
Belgacem Ayed, Ministry of Development and International Cooperation, Tunisia
Thomas Gass, Head, South Cooperation Department, Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation
Moderator Courtenay Rattray, Co-Facilitator, 2018 Financing for Development Outcome Document
Mahmoud Mohieldin, Senior Vice-President, World Bank Group
Voluntary National Reviews
Delegates gather in plenary to listen to the VNRs.
Ali Ahmadov, Deputy Prime Minister and Chair, National Coordination Council for Sustainable Development, Azerbaijan
Ernesto Pernia, Secretary, National Economic and Development Authority, Philippines
Francis Kai-Kai, Minister of Planning and Economic Development, Sierra Leone
Alejandra Candia, Vice-Minister of Social Development, Chile
A delegate listens to the presentations.
Miguel Ángel Moir, Secretary, Planning and Programming for the Presidency, Guatemala
Inga Rhonda King, President, ECOSOC
Bambang Brodjonegoro, Minister for National Development Planning, Indonesia
Naci Ağbal, Minister and Chief of Strategy and Budget of the Presidency, Turkey
Videos are shared during the VNR presentations.
Four Years of VNRs: What Have We Learned on Implementing the SDGs?
Moderator Achim Steiner, Administrator, UN Development Programme (UNDP)
Seán Canney, Minister of State for Communications, Climate Action, and Environment, Ireland
Luis Gerardo González Morales, Statistics Division, UN DESA
Rita Schwarzelühr-Sutter, Parliamentary Secretary of State, Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation, and Nuclear Safety, Germany
Armida Salsiah Alisjahbana, Executive Secretary, UN Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP)
Shannon Kindornay, Director of Research, Policy and Practice, Canadian Council for International Co-Operation, and Sakiko Fukuda-Parr, The New School
Judy Njino, Executive Director, Global Compact Network Kenya
Abel Hibert, Deputy Chief, Office of the President for Analysis and Innovation, Mexico
Chris Derksen-Hiebert, Global Senior Director, Advocacy, Policy and External Relations,
Sugath Yalegama, Director-General, Sustainable Development Council, Sri Lanka
Wrap-up Session of the First Five Days
A wrap-up session was held to provide a broad overview of the sessions that took place during the first five days of HLPF.
Maria-Francesca Spatolisano, Assistant Secretary-General, Policy Coordination and Inter-Agency Affairs, UN DESA
Inga Rhonda King, President, ECOSOC
Civil Society Demonstration
Members of civil society participate in the ‘great debt workout,’ calling on governments to address the new wave of debt crises that is undermining the achievement of the SDGs. They called for a global Debt Workout Mechanism, insisting it is time for governments to ‘work it out.’
Around the Venue
Delegates stand at the back of the room as plenary is filled to capacity.
Courtenay Rattray, Permanent Representative of Jamaica to the UN (left), speaks with delegates.
An exhibition hosted by Ghana highlights the work they are doing to achieve the SDGs.
In celebration of World Youth Skills Day on 15 July 2019, a WorldSkills exhibition at HLPF highlights the importance of promoting technical and vocational skills to support both local and global economies.
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