Subscribe here to receive future issues of Linkages Update.

Editor's Note: 2020 Planning 

Issue #284 | 13 November 2018

Like Share on Facebook  IISD Reporting Services on Twitter  Share on Google Plus

By: Lynn Wagner, Ph.D., Group Director, SDG Knowledge, IISD <>

As we near the end of 2018, we are already seeing a focus on planning for events and decisions to be taken in 2020 as well as key moments expected in 2019.

The year 2019 will close the first “cycle” of SDG review, in which progress towards each SDG will have been considered by Member States during an annual session of the UN High-level Political Forum on Sustainable Development (HLPF). The year 2019 will also bring the first session of the HLPF meeting under the auspices of the UN General Assembly since the 2030 Agenda has been in effect. The resolution establishing the HLPF called for such an event every four years. Anticipation and planning for the September 2019 session of the HLPF is underway, with co-facilitators for the preparation of a political declaration having been announced: the permanent representatives of Bahamas and Sweden. The day prior to the September HLPF meeting, the UN Climate Summit and the High-level Dialogue on Financing for Development will meet in parallel, making for three days of attention to key SDG issues at the Heads of State and Government level.

While these events in 2019 present numerous opportunities to move SDG implementation forward, several events in 2020 are already commanding attention. Some SDG-related processes had established 2020 deadlines prior to the adoption of the 2030 Agenda on Sustainable Development and were brought into the SDGs with their 2020 deadlines, such as targets based on the Aichi Biodiversity Targets. Some SDG targets, seen as preconditions for achieving others, also were given earlier target dates.

Among the processes for evaluating and renewing these targets will be the deliberations emerging from the 2018 UN Biodiversity Conference (CBD COP 14), which is about to open in Sharm el-Sheikh, Egypt. This 2020 process will culminate in October 2020 at the UN Biodiversity Conference in China (CBD COP 15). SDG Knowledge Hub stories related to this process can be found here.

The preparations for the next meeting of the International Conference on Chemicals Management (ICCM), which is expected to take place in October 2020, will also consider 2020 and post-2020 targets. SDG Knowledge Hub stories related to this process can be found here.

In addition, we are watching preparations for a second Ocean Conference in 2020, following up on the June 2017 UN Ocean Conference. Countries will also be evaluating their climate strategies in 2020, based on the Paris Agreement requirement for parties to submit new or updated Nationally Determined Contributions by 2020, and the invitation for parties to communicate mid-century long-term low GHG emissions development strategies by 2020.

And we will be watching work that was presented during the 2018 UN World Data Forum in Dubai and in the lead up to the 2020 UN World Data Forum in Bern, Switzerland, particularly as it relates to an issue that IISD works closely with communities to achieve: By 2020, enhance capacity-building support to developing countries, including for least developed countries and small island developing States, to increase significantly the availability of high-quality, timely and reliable data disaggregated by income, gender, age, race, ethnicity, migratory status, disability, geographic location and other characteristics relevant in national contexts (SDG target 17.18).

We hope that our efforts to help you track SDG progress, whether through community indicator systems at the local level or through stories such as those included in this issue of Linkages Update, will help you to situate the lessons and next steps in the most appropriate context as you plan your engagement in SDG implementation through the coming years.