The second meeting of the High-level Political Forum on Sustainable Development (HLPF-2) under the auspices of the UN Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) opened on Monday at the UN Headquarters in New York. Following the opening session, three moderated dialogues took place on: an integrated and universal sustainable development agenda; means of implementation for sustainable development; and the contribution of sustainable consumption and production (SCP) to the sustainable development goals (SDGs). A dialogue with the Chair of the Board of the 10-Year Framework of Programmes (10YFP) on SCP also took place.
Following the adoption of the agenda, Ambassador Martin Sajdik (Austria), ECOSOC President, delivered the opening address. He noted that integration is at the core of the Forum’s mandate and highlighted the Forum’s role in the broader post-2015 agenda; the process of elaborating the SDGs; and charting pathways for futures we want.
Wu Hongbo, Under-Secretary-General (USG) for Economic and Social Affairs, highlighted implementation gaps in the current sustainable development agenda, and noted that the adoption of the post-2015 development agenda in September 2015 would mark a turning point.
In statements by major groups and other stakeholders, Peter Davies, speaking for the Major Group on LOCAL AUTHORITIES, the Global Business Alliance, and the International Council of Science, noted the need for an overarching vision on poverty eradication, and the development of partnerships to sustain a strong science-policy interface. Usman Mushtaq, CHILDREN AND YOUTH, underlined the importance of transparency, accountability, recognition of the Major Groups, and support to ensure participation of vulnerable groups. Caroline Usikpedo-Omoniye, speaking for the Major Groups of WOMEN, INDIGENOUS PEOPLES, and WORKERS AND TRADE UNIONS, called for a transformative sustainable development agenda that addresses poverty eradication and discrimination, and uses gender disaggregated data and indicators to monitor and evaluate the proposed goals. Bolivia, on behalf of the G-77/CHINA, stressed the importance of strengthening the role of ECOSOC in implementing the sustainable development agenda.
MODERATED DIALOGUE: “FROM RIO+20 TO POST-2015: TOWARDS AN INTEGRATED AND UNIVERSAL SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT AGENDA”
The dialogue was opened by Ambassador Sajdik and moderated by Manish Bapna, World Resources Institute (WRI). Noting that the different strands of the post-2015 process are converging, Bapna said the HLPF is a once-in-a-decade opportunity to help frame the next generation of global development goals. He highlighted the need for an integrated and transformative agenda and a universal set of goals.
Ambassador Csaba Kőrösi, Permanent Representative of Hungary to the UN and Co-Chair of the Open Working Group (OWG) on SDGs, called for discipline and cooperation in addressing the post-2015 agenda. He said there will be more political and public support for the agenda if there is a better understanding that change is inevitable; a credible and digestible vision; fair burden sharing; and trust among those bearing the burden.
Bénédicte Frankinet, Permanent Representative of Belgium to the UN, underlined that the post-2015 agenda should focus on issues that affect both developed and developing countries, including youth unemployment and inequality. Antonio de Aguiar Patriota, Permanent Representative of Brazil to the UN, recalled that the Rio+20 outcome document acknowledged that market forces themselves cannot provide a solution to poverty eradication, and stressed means of implementation to assist countries to achieve sustainable development. Debapriya Bhattacharya, Centre for Policy Dialogue, Bangladesh, called governance the glue holding the three pillars of sustainable development together, and urged moving beyond aid and instituting a global partnership for systemic changes. The lead discussant, Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka, USG and Executive Director, UN Women, highlighted the role of women as agents of change while listing discrimination and reproductive rights as priority areas.
In the discussion that followed, countries supported jointly addressing universality and differentiation while considering national circumstances and priorities and the needs of countries in special situations; green economy approaches; mainstreaming the Aichi Biodiversity Targets throughout the UN system; inclusive growth; and a renewed global partnership. SOUTH AFRICA said the post-2015 agenda should be based on the agreed principles of Rio+20, especially common but differentiated responsibilities, and urged inclusion of targets on reforming global economic and political institutions. SWITZERLAND said the SDGs would be the guiding framework, supplemented by country-specific issues, for a new sustainable development strategy being developed in her country. NIGERIA called for the establishment of high-level national offices for the implementation of the SDGs and a focus on the sub-national level. MEXICO called for consistency and synergy among the various post-2015 strands and a strengthened means of implementation. A representative of the International Council on Social Welfare highlighted the dual definition of the term “universality”: the inclusion of all member states, and leaving no one behind.
Responding to comments, panelists emphasised the importance of addressing differentiation when considering SCP; inequality within and between countries; and financial flows to incentivize spending in sustainable development. In their concluding remarks, they highlighted the need to abandon “traditional reflexes” and work together, focusing on a few issues that can advance a transformative agenda.
MODERATED DIALOGUE: “MEANS OF IMPLEMENTATION FOR SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT”
This session was chaired by Ambassador Sajdik and moderated by Raymond Saner, University of Basel. Noting that it will not be possible to implement the SDGs without finance, Saner urged delegates to consider both means of implementation and the cost of non-implementation.
Mansur Muhtar, Co-Chair of the Intergovernmental Committee of Experts on Sustainable Development Financing, described the changing development landscape with declining official development assistance and increasing importance of the private sector, innovation and entrepreneurship.
Claudio Rachel Rojas, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Chile, said innovative financing, which attracts or generates new resources, and national fiscal policies can contribute to reducing economic and social inequalities, within and amongst countries.
Steve Waygood, Aviva Investors, urged greater financial literacy amongst a broader set of actors including brokers, asset owners, shareholders and citizens. He called for: sustainability reporting by actors; a forum to bring together fund managers and finance ministers; and transparent trading.
Louise Kantrow, International Chamber of Commerce, highlighted the role of trade; enabling environments, including sound legislative frameworks and an educated labour force; and country ownership for sustainable development.
In the ensuing discussion, MOROCCO asked how the profit-driven private sector could contribute to sustainable development in an effective and accountable manner. In response, panelists proposed: incentives; legislation instead of voluntary compliance; standards; transparency; rating and ranking performance by the private sector; and reviewing tax treaties. PERU asked whether innovative finance could be predictable and stable. As an example of a sustainable innovative source, Rojas described a solidarity levy on air passengers to raise sustainable funding to address HIV/AIDS, malaria, and tuberculosis in developing countries.
Saner summarised the dialogue, saying that people, as the best drivers of their own development, need better data to understand the importance of the financial sector and how the sector functions.
MODERATED DIALOGUE: “HOW COULD SUSTAINABLE CONSUMPTION AND PRODUCTION CONTRIBUTE TO SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT GOALS?”
This dialogue was chaired by Ambassador Oh Joon (Republic of Korea), ECOSOC Vice-President, and moderated by Peter Hazlewood, WRI. Hazlewood reminded delegates that SCP features prominently in the latest draft of the OWG on SDGs.
Ambassador László Borbély, Romania, said implementing SCP requires national policies based on indicators that are decided in a participatory manner. Ulf Jaeckel, Ministry for Environment, Nature Conservation, Building and Nuclear Safety, Germany, supported the 10YFP as a mechanism to implement SCP and to achieve the SDGs.
Cesar Barahona, Global Resource Efficient and Cleaner Production Network, said it is not necessary to create new institutions to address SCP and described the Network’s twenty-year track record at local and global levels. Kaye Ceille, Zipcar, proposed sharing economy services as a way to meet the SDGs, underscoring a shift from an era of ownership to one of access.
Christian Frutiger, Nestlé, stressed the need to keep the private sector ‘on the table’ and noted that a focus on producers’ livelihoods was key to long-term sustainability of companies.
Didier Bergeret, Global Social Compliance Program, said the Program provides common tools, codes, and auditing approaches to scale up sustainability of global supply chains.
During the discussion, delegates highlighted, inter alia: access to technology for sustainable production; SCP as essential for the fulfillment of basic needs; the essential linkage between SCP and climate policies; the need for developing countries to leapfrog; and the importance of maintaining SCP as a stand-alone goal despite being a cross-cutting issue. Representatives stressed the need to: take into account “ecological overshoot”; address the transition cost associated with changing lifestyles in the pursuit of SCP; and market and brand 10YFP outcomes.
Closing the session, Borbely called for coherent guidelines moving towards a broader development agenda. Jaeckel said the concepts were in place, but mechanisms were needed to translate them into action. Barahona noted the existing space for dematerialization and the role of small and medium-scale enterprises.
DIALOGUE WITH THE CHAIR OF THE BOARD OF THE 10-YEAR FRAMEWORK OF PROGRAMMES ON SUSTAINABLE CONSUMPTION AND PRODUCTION: “SUSTAINABLE CONSUMPTION AND PRODUCTION IN ACTION: THE WORK OF THE BOARD OF THE 10-YEAR FRAMEWORK OF PROGRAMMES ON SUSTAINABLE CONSUMPTION AND PRODUCTION PATTERNS”
Peter Hazlewood, WRI, who moderated, said the session offered an opportunity to discuss the possibilities and limitations of the 10-YFP.
Balthasar Kambuaya, Minister of Environment, Indonesia, described the integration of SCP into Indonesia’s national development planning, highlighting efforts on sustainable supply chains, sustainable public procurement, and consumer information.
Ambassador Sylvia del Carmen Treviño Medina (Mexico), Chair of the Board of the 10YFP, stressed, inter alia, integration of SCP into the national planning processes; empowerment of 10YFP national focal points; enhancing inter-ministerial cooperation to mainstream SCP; and securing predictable and adequate finance in the 10YFP Trust Fund to enhance implementation.
Lisa Svensson, Ambassador for Oceans, Seas and Freshwater, Sweden, highlighted several key messages on oceans and SCP, including: ending illegal, unreported and unregulated (IUU) fishing; recognizing ocean ecosystem services; addressing ocean energy; and transport issues.
Speaking on the preconditions for successful implementation of the 10YFP, Lewis Akenji, NGO Major Group, urged the inclusion of stakeholders, particularly religious institutions, and creating infrastructure to enhance SCP.
During the discussion, participants highlighted the need to scale up and deliver on SCP, and communicate across sectors.
IN THE CORRIDORS
HLPF-2 entered the realm of twilight zones and magic on its first day, as panelists described the post-2015 process as being in a “twilight zone” between fantasy and reality, moving from imagining the future towards managing the future. They agreed that magic would not be needed in this transition – one panelist quoted novelist J.K. Rowling: “We do not need magic to transform our world. We carry all of the power we need inside ourselves already.” However, with the World Investment Report estimating that the cost of meeting the SDGs in developing countries alone could be US$4.5 trillion, some magic may come in handy after all, to conjure the means of implementation.