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Summary report, 30 June – 9 July 2014

HLPF 2014

The second meeting of the High-level Political Forum on Sustainable Development (HLPF) under the auspices of the UN Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) took place from 30 June – 9 July 2014, at UN Headquarters in New York. The forum was attended by the representatives of 193 Member States, intergovernmental organizations and other entities and representatives of the UN system, as well as representatives of Major Groups and other stakeholders.

The theme of the second meeting of the Forum was “Achieving the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) and charting the way for an ambitious post-2015 development agenda including the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).”

During the first week, moderated dialogues took place on ten topics:

•  From Rio+20 to post-2015: towards an integrated and universal sustainable development agenda;

•  Means of implementation for sustainable development;

•  How could sustainable consumption and production contribute to SDGs?;

•  Ideas and trends that can shape the lives of present and future generations;

•  Island voices, global choices – promoting genuine and durable partnerships;

•  Countries in special situations – building resilience;

•  From silos to integrated policy making;

•  Reviewing progress and implementation – making the most of the HLPF reviews after 2015;

•  Unlocking and reshaping development and enhancing implementation – the regional context; and

•  Shaping the forum for post-2015.

During the second week, a Ministerial Segment convened, which included a high-level policy dialogue on macroeconomic policies in support of a post-2015 sustainable development agenda. Ministerial dialogues took place on:

•  A universal integrated policy agenda to implement Rio+20 and realize the future we want;

•  Weaving regional realities and regional priorities into the post-2015 development agenda;

•  Long term measures to make poverty eradication irreversible and reduce inequalities;

•  International cooperation for sustainable development;

•  Preparing the high-level political forum for post-2015:

•  Steering implementation of the development agenda and reviewing progress; and

•  Charting pathways to the future we want.

A multi-stakeholder dialogue on “Multi-stakeholder partnerships and voluntary commitments for sustainable development – ensuring accountability for all” also took place during the second week.

In addition, a dialogue with the Chair of the Board of the 10-Year Framework of Programmes (10YFP) on Sustainable Consumption and Production (SCP) took place; a prototype Global Sustainable Development Report (GSDR) was presented; a presentation on Natural Capital Accounting (NCA) for sustainable development was made by the World Bank; and keynote speeches were made by the President of the UN Environment Assembly (UNEA) and the Deputy Administrator of National Administration of Surveying, Mapping, and Geoinformation, China.

HLPF-2 concluded on Wednesday, 9 July, with the adoption of a Ministerial Declaration.

Participants were mostly in a “wait and see” mode at HLPF-2, recognizing that the real work would only begin after the adoption of the post-2015 development agenda. If all goes according to plan, the Forum could play a lead role in truly integrating the social, environmental, and economic dimensions of sustainable development within the context of the post-2015 development agenda, including the SDGs. Whether the Forum is “high-level” enough and strong enough to live up to these expectations, however, remains to be seen.


Rio+20 called for the establishment of the HLPF in June 2012 in its outcome document, The Future We Want. Paragraph 84 states: “We decide to establish a universal intergovernmental high-level political forum, building on the strengths, experiences, resources and inclusive participation modalities of the Commission on Sustainable Development (CSD), and subsequently replacing the Commission. The high-level political forum shall follow up on the implementation of sustainable development and should avoid overlap with existing structures, bodies and entities in a cost-effective manner.”

COMMISSION ON SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT: The CSD emerged from Agenda 21, the programme of action for sustainable development adopted in June 1992 by the UN Conference on Environment and Development (UNCED) held in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, also known as the “Earth Summit.” Agenda 21 called for the creation of the CSD to ensure effective follow-up of UNCED, enhance international cooperation, and examine progress in the implementation of Agenda 21 at the local, national, regional, and global levels. In 1992, the 47th UN General Assembly (UNGA) adopted resolution 47/191, which established the CSD’s terms of reference and composition, organization of work, relationship with other UN bodies, secretariat arrangements, and guidelines for the participation of Major Groups.

The CSD held its first substantive session in June 1993 and convened annually for 20 years at UN Headquarters in New York. During its first five years, the CSD systematically reviewed the implementation of all chapters of Agenda 21. The second five-year programme of work was organized around sectoral, cross-sectoral, and economic thematic issues. Following the World Summit on Sustainable Development, which convened in Johannesburg, South Africa in September 2002, and reaffirmed that the CSD was the high-level forum for sustainable development within the UN system, the Commission adopted a new multi-year programme of work to be organized as a series of two-year implementation cycles. Each cycle consisted of a Review Session and a Policy Session and considered a thematic cluster of issues and crosscutting issues.

The CSD held its 20th and final session on 21 September 2013, just prior to the first session of the HLPF. Among the CSD’s accomplishments, participants highlighted, inter alia: the innovative, inclusive engagement of Major Groups; its contribution to an improved understanding of sustainable development, particularly by the private sector; and the CSD’s work on SCP. Participants also mentioned shortcomings, including: the lack of means of implementation (MOI); clear targets and indicators; a review mechanism; and flexibility in choosing its agenda.

UNITED NATIONS CONFERENCE ON SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT (Rio+20): During ten days in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, in June 2012—the third and final meeting of the Preparatory Committee, Pre-Conference Informal Consultations facilitated by the host country, and the Conference—government delegations concluded negotiations on the Rio+20 outcome document, titled The Future We Want. The outcome calls for the UNGA to take decisions on, inter alia: designating a body to operationalize the 10YFP on SCP; identifying the format and organizational aspects of a high-level political forum on sustainable development to replace the CSD; strengthening the UN Environment Programme (UNEP); constituting an Open Working Group (OWG) on a set of SDGs to be agreed by the UNGA; establishing an intergovernmental process under the UNGA to prepare a report proposing options on an effective sustainable development financing strategy; and considering a set of recommendations from the UN Secretary-General for a facilitation mechanism that promotes the development, transfer, and dissemination of clean and environmentally sound technologies.

In addition, the outcome document called on the UNGA to take a decision in two years’ time on the development of an international instrument under the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea regarding marine biodiversity in areas beyond national jurisdiction. The UN Statistical Commission was called on to launch a programme of work on broader measures to complement gross domestic product (GDP). The UN system was encouraged, as appropriate, to support best practices and facilitate action for the integration of sustainability reporting. The outcome document also includes text on trade-distorting subsidies, fisheries, and fossil fuel subsidies.

UNGA-67: The 67th session of the UNGA adopted a resolution on the implementation of Agenda 21 and the outcomes of Rio+20 (A/RES/67/203), which outlines the negotiation process for the creation of the HLPF and recommends that the CSD hold a “short and procedural” final session following the conclusion of negotiations on the HLPF. The text also calls for the OWG on SDGs to report to the UNGA at its 68th session and to report regularly, taking into account the convening of the first HLPF. It further called for a special event in 2013 to follow up on efforts towards achieving the MDGs.

RESOLUTION 67/290: The President of the 67th UNGA called on the ambassadors from Brazil and Italy to conduct informal consultations on the format and organizational modalities of the HLPF. These consultations began in January 2013 and concluded with the adoption of resolution 67/290 on 9 July 2013. Resolution 67/290 decided that the HLPF, consistent with its intergovernmental universal character, will:         

•  provide political leadership, guidance, and recommendations for sustainable development;

•  follow-up and review progress in the implementation of sustainable development commitments;

•  enhance the integration of the three dimensions of sustainable development; and

•  have a focused, dynamic, and action-oriented agenda, ensuring the appropriate consideration of new and emerging sustainable development challenges.

The meetings of the Forum will be convened:   

•  every four years under the auspices of the UNGA at the level of Heads of State and Government—for two days at the beginning of the UNGA session; and

•  every year under the auspices of ECOSOC—for eight days, including a three-day ministerial segment.

Both meetings will adopt negotiated declarations.

The Forum, under the auspices of ECOSOC, will conduct regular reviews, starting in 2016, on the follow-up and implementation of sustainable development commitments and objectives, including those related to MOI, within the context of the post-2015 development agenda. The resolution also considers the arrangement of a 2015 HLPF meeting, under the auspices of the UNGA, to launch the post-2015 development agenda.

FIRST SESSION OF THE HLPF: The inaugural session of the HLPF on 24 September 2013 took place under the auspices of the UNGA at UN Headquarters in New York. The session theme was “Building the future we want from Rio+20 to the post-2015 development agenda.” The session was divided into several segments that featured keynote presentations from Heads of State and Government and Ministers and remarks from the floor on the following themes: “From vision to action,” “Global partnerships for development to create jobs and improve sustainable lifestyles,” and “Mapping the way forward for eradicating poverty and achieving sustainable development.” In his inaugural address, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon announced the establishment of a Scientific Advisory Board, to be housed at the UN Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), to strengthen the interface between science and policy.


On Monday morning, 30 June, ECOSOC President Martin Sajdik, Austria, opened the second meeting of the HLPF. Following adoption of the agenda (E/HLPF/2014/1), Amb. Sajdik noted that integration is at the core of the Forum’s mandate and highlighted the Forum’s role in the broader post-2015 agenda. Wu Hongbo, Under-Secretary-General 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, 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, and recognition of the Major Groups. Caroline Usikpedo-Omoniye, Women, Indigenous Peoples, and Workers and Trade Unions, called for a transformative sustainable development agenda that uses gender disaggregated data and indicators to monitor and evaluate the proposed goals. Bolivia, for the Group of 77 and China (G-77/China), stressed the importance of strengthening the role of ECOSOC in implementing the sustainable development agenda.


This dialogue took place on Monday morning, 30 June, and was chaired by ECOSOC President Sajdik and moderated by Manish Bapna, World Resources Institute (WRI). Amb. Csaba Kőrösi, Hungary, and Co-Chair of the OWG on SDGs, 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 carrying the burden.

Amb. Bénédicte Frankinet, Belgium, underlined that the post-2015 development agenda should focus on issues that affect both developed and developing countries. Amb. Antonio de Aguiar Patriota, Brazil, underlined the need for MOI to assist countries to achieve sustainable development. Debapriya Bhattacharya, Centre for Policy Dialogue, Bangladesh, urged moving beyond aid and instituting a global partnership for systemic changes.

Lead discussant Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka, Executive Director, UN Women, highlighted the role of women as agents of change, while listing discrimination and reproductive rights as priority areas.

DISCUSSION: Many countries supported jointly addressing universality and differentiation while considering national circumstances and priorities and the needs of countries in special situations. They also discussed: green economy approaches; mainstreaming the Aichi Biodiversity Targets throughout the UN system; inclusive growth; and a renewed global partnership.

A more detailed account of this session is available at


This session took place on Monday afternoon, 30 June, and was chaired by ECOSOC President Sajdik and moderated by Raymond Saner, University of Basel. Saner noted 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.

 Mansur Muhtar, Co-Chair of the Intergovernmental Committee of Experts on Sustainable Development Financing, described the changing development landscape with declining official development assistance (ODA) and the increasing importance of the private sector, innovation, and entrepreneurship. Claudio Rachel Rojas, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Chile, said innovative financing and national fiscal policies can contribute to reducing economic and social inequalities, within and among countries. Steve Waygood, Aviva Investors, called for: sustainability reporting by actors; a forum to bring together fund managers and finance ministers; and transparent trading.

Lead discussant Louise Kantrow, International Chamber of Commerce, highlighted the role of trade; enabling environments, including sound legislative frameworks and an educated labor force; and country ownership for sustainable development.

DISCUSSION: Delegates discussed how the profit-driven private sector could contribute to sustainable development in an effective and accountable manner; and whether innovative finance could be predictable and stable. They also discussed: incentives; legislation instead of voluntary compliance; standards; transparency; rating and ranking performance by the private sector; and reviewing tax treaties.

A more detailed account of this session is available at


This dialogue took place on Monday afternoon, 30 June, and was chaired by ECOSOC Vice President Amb. Oh Joon (Republic of Korea), and moderated by Peter Hazlewood, WRI.

Amb. 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 20-year track record at the local and global levels.

The dialogue included four lead discussants. 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 Programme, said the Programme provides common tools, codes, and auditing approaches to scale up sustainability of global supply chains.

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; and the importance of maintaining SCP as a stand-alone goal despite being a cross-cutting issue.

A more detailed account of this session is available at


This dialogue on the work of the board of the 10YFP on SCP took place on Monday evening, 30 June, and was moderated by Peter Hazlewood, WRI. Panelists presented country perspectives, the work of the Board of the 10YFP, and specific issues included in the 10YFP.

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.

Amb. Sylvia del Carmen Treviño Medina (Mexico), Chair of the Board of the 10YFP, stressed, inter alia, empowerment of 10YFP national focal points; 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; and addressing ocean energy. Lewis Akenji, Institute for Global Environmental Strategies, on behalf of NGOs, urged the inclusion of stakeholders, particularly religious institutions, and the creation of infrastructure to enhance SCP as preconditions for successful implementation of the 10YFP.

DISCUSSION: Participants highlighted, inter alia, the need to scale up and deliver on SCP, and communicate across sectors.

A more detailed account of this session is available at


On Tuesday morning, 1 July, a panel presentation chaired by ECOSOC President Sajdik considered options for the scope and methodology of the GSDR.

Wu Hongbo, UN Under-Secretary-General for Economic and Social Affairs, outlined three options for the scope and methodology of future editions of the GSDR: a traditional model drafted by UN staff with ad hoc contributions by experts and peer reviewed literature; a more inclusive model with stakeholder involvement linked to voluntary national reviews; and an Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) style model with scientific experts nominated to a writing team by Member States.

Moderator Claudio Huepe Minoletti, Universidad Diego Portales, Chile, called for overcoming language barriers and building trust between natural and social scientists.

Manuel Montes, South Centre, Switzerland, recognized differences in scientific approaches between Western societies and developing countries, and suggested the HLPF facilitate developing country input. Jill Jäger, Sustainable Europe Research Institute, Austria, suggested the report adopt a systemic approach with a multi-level iterative process.

The session included two lead discussants. William Colglazier, Science and Technology Adviser to the US Secretary of State, highlighted the need for the GSDR to, inter alia: cover diverse disciplines; be relevant to policy making; and be peer-reviewed. He proposed an expert body to review the scientific quality of a near-final version.

Keola Souknilanh, Institute of Developing Economies, Japan, promoted the use of remote sensing data to recover data lost during “administrative aggregation,” and to track changes at high spatial and temporal resolution. Peng Sizhen, Ministry of Science and Technology, China, called for, inter alia, the preparation of national sustainable development reports every four years, following the GSDR’s time cycle.

DISCUSSION: Many countries stressed the GSDR should not duplicate efforts, but focus on interlinkages between the three dimensions of sustainable development. South Africa and Sudan called for building the financial and technical capacity of developing countries to collect and produce reliable data. The US and Mexico highlighted the GSDR as a tool for synthesis and integration.

Switzerland called for the report to focus on cross-sectoral linkages and challenges to SDG implementation. Nigeria said the GSDR should focus on measuring progress on the SDGs based on an agreed matrix. Germany said the report should be part of the accountability framework of the post-2015 development agenda. Belgium recommended the report view the implementation of the post-2015 agenda from a long-term perspective.

A more detailed account of this session is available at


This dialogue took place on Tuesday morning, 1 July, chaired by ECOSOC Vice President Amb. Ibrahim Dabbashi (Libya), and moderated by Manuel Montes.

Noting the intergenerational and international dimensions of climate change, Gordon McBean, President-elect, International Council for Science, highlighted the importance of managing risks and uncertainties and the role of the precautionary principle in understanding risks for present and future generations. Nebojsa Nakicenovic, International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis (IIASA), described how the world might look if we achieve a sustainable transition, emphasizing the need to decrease inequalities.

This session included three discussants. Peter Davies, Sustainable Futures Commissioner, UK, described how Wales aligned its national, long-term development goals to the SDG process, to be assessed by a future generations commissioner. Marcel Szabó, Ombudsman for Future Generations, Hungary, recommended referencing future generations at all levels in the SDGs.

Catherine Pearce, World Future Council, welcomed the Secretary-General’s proposal for a High Commissioner for future generations, with advocacy powers, to be involved in policymaking processes at the international level.

DISCUSSION: Delegates spoke on, inter alia: the importance of an intergenerational representative; and best practices in the development of policies on climate change, health, and sustainable resource exploitation.

A more detailed account of this session is available at


This dialogue, chaired by ECOSOC President Sajdik, took place on Tuesday afternoon, 1 July, and included participants from Samoa, via a video link. Amb. Amanda Ellis, New Zealand, who moderated the session, reminded participants that 2014 is the year of small island developing states (SIDS).

Cristina Duarte, Minister of Finance and Planning, Cabo Verde, urged SIDS to effectively manage their exclusive economic zones, encourage inclusive development for long-term sustainability, and promote strong leadership and enlightened “follow-ship.” Anjeela Jokhan, University of the South Pacific, Fiji, stressed engaging institutions of higher education to strengthen resilience.

Taholo Kami, International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN), stressed the importance of natural resources management. Via video link, Letuimanu’asina Emma KruseVa’ai, National University of Samoa, reflected on how to build SIDS’ resilience and called for a SIDS vulnerability index.

Lead discussant Peseta Noumea Simi, Ministry of Finance, Samoa, called for durable and genuine partnerships that are accountable, easy to monitor, and endorsed in the final outcome document from the Third International Conference on SIDS, which will take place in Samoa in September 2014. Women proposed including gender equality, reproductive rights, and commitments on climate change in the document. NGOs recommended reference to Major Groups and NGOs as critical partners in the document.

DISCUSSION: Delegates highlighted taking the needs of SIDS into account in the post-2015 agenda and attracting the private sector to SIDS.

A more detailed account of this session is available at


This dialogue took place on Tuesday evening, 1 July. ECOSOC Vice President Amb. Vladimir Drobnjak (Croatia) chaired, and Margareta Wahlström, Special Representative of the UN Secretary-General for Disaster Risk Reduction, moderated. The discussion focused on addressing needs of countries in special situations as part of a universal development agenda, and building resilience in vulnerable countries.

Sonam Tshering, Ministry of Economic Affairs, Bhutan, emphasized the importance of South-South cooperation and regional solutions to address landlocked developing countries (LLDC) challenges, such as transportation and logistics, but said triangular cooperation was necessary to tackle climate change.

Amb. Jean-Francis Zinsou, Benin, recommended integrating concepts from the Istanbul Programme of Action, which charts a vision and strategy for sustainable development in least developed countries (LDCs) into the post-2015 agenda.

Paolo Soprano, Ministry for the Environment, Land and Sea, Italy, outlined challenges faced by LDCs, Africa, LLDCs, SIDS, and middle income countries (MICs).

Samuel Tumiwa, Asian Development Bank (ADB), described an ADB study on the need for countries in special situations, including SIDS, to overcome the middle-income trap, and to move from agrarian economies into service economies.

Helen Stawski, Islamic Relief, called for increased dialogue between actors working on the post-2015 development agenda and those working towards achieving the Hyogo Framework for Action 2005-2015.

Calling on donor countries to consider vulnerability criteria for SIDS, Lino Briguglio, University of Malta, noted that building resilience is multifaceted, expensive, and needs to be mainstreamed into national sustainable development policies.

DISCUSSION: Participants highlighted, inter alia: the continued value of ODA in helping LDCs and SIDS to achieve the MDGs; and the potential for greater value added from development assistance agencies through strategies such as risk pooling and sharing. Delegates also agreed on the role of strong institutions and quality of governance to allow countries to escape the middle-income trap. The Philippines shared lessons learned from Typhoon Haiyan, stressing development partners should focus resources on pre-disaster assistance rather than post-disaster relief.

A more detailed account of this session is available at


On Wednesday morning, 2 July, ECOSOC President Sajdik opened the session on NCA. Valerie Hickey, World Bank, described the benefits of NCA in promoting growth without liquidating natural capital, saying it could move the world beyond a GDP matrix towards a focus on long-term growth and well-being. Hickey supported a global data revolution, saying NCA provides an agreed framework under the UN System of Environmental and Economic Accounting, and can assist countries in planning and developing indicators to achieve and monitor progress towards the attainment of the SDGs.

A more detailed account of this session is available at

Moderated dialogue: “From silos to integrated policy making”

This dialogue took place on Wednesday morning, 2 July. ECOSOC President Sajdik introduced the dialogue, saying it will explore how to re-organize traditional institutional arrangements to allow for more collaborative approaches to policy making. Moderator David Navarro, Special Representative of the UN Secretary-General on Food Security and Nutrition, said moving from silos to integration would ensure policy making is “fit for governance purpose.”

Joel Netshitenzhe, National Planning Commission, South Africa, said the silo mentality reflects hyper-specialization and recommended moving from coordination to integration, and from “multi-disciplinarity to trans-disciplinarity.”

Indomatee Ramma, Food and Agricultural Research and Extension Institute, Mauritius, called for institutional frameworks for accessing, interpreting, and integrating scientific information into planning.

Amb. Ferit Hoxha, Albania, proposed that the UN develop a common, and possibly single, monitoring and reporting mechanism to measure progress towards sustainable development.

Ousainou Ngum, Agency for Cooperation and Research in Development (ACORD) International, called for visionary, effective leadership that is willing to make tough decisions on trade-offs to achieve transformative sustainable development. Maria Ivanova, University of Massachusetts at Boston, US, shared her experience in creating a new academic programme that crosses disciplines, scales, and geographies.

DISCUSSION: Panelists emphasized governance and rule of law as essential elements of integrated sustainable development; called for the integration of concepts and practices rather than only coordinating them; and called on the UN to be nimble and simple to function effectively.

Delegates also called for a multi-stakeholder approach in development planning, data collection including crowd-sourcing, and monitoring and evaluation to overcome the silo mentality. Zambia noted a problem of nomenclature of terms across disciplines and called for harmonization to promote a common understanding. Norway highlighted the use of green taxation as a successful approach to integration. Albania said system-wide coherence is critical for sustainable development.

A more detailed account of this session is available at


This moderated dialogue took place on Wednesday afternoon, 2 July. ECOSOC Vice President Amb. María Emma Mejía (Colombia), introduced the panel, noting that the HLPF would begin to conduct regular reviews on the follow-up and implementation of sustainable development beginning in 2016 and the UNGA would adopt an accountability framework for the development agenda in 2015.

Amb. Masood Khan, Pakistan, moderated the discussion. He emphasized that the post-2015 agenda must learn from the MDGs, and involve multi-stakeholders to enhance integration.

Amb. Christian Wenaweser, Lichtenstein, noted that a key lesson learned from the MDGs is the need for accountability and an effective review mechanism. Amb. Fatuma Ndangiza Nyirakobwa, Chair of the Panel of Eminent Persons, African Peer Review Mechanism, said that 34 countries in Africa have acceded to this voluntary mechanism, and it has allowed citizens to articulate concerns on, inter alia, corruption, governance, natural resource management, and youth unemployment.

Christian Averous, Division of Environmental Performance and Information, Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), highlighted lessons from the OECD’s country reviews on implementation. Marianne Beisheim, German Institute for International and Security Affairs, proposed a review model that is, inter alia, bottom-up with a multi-level design, includes national and regional reviews, and includes broad participation from diverse stakeholders.

Lead discussant Baba Drame, Ministry of Environment and Sustainable Development, Senegal, said the national level is the most appropriate level for evaluating implementation, and shared examples and lessons learned from three sustainable development reviews in Senegal.

Workers and Trade Unions suggested two minimum conditions for national assessments: full and genuine participation of key stakeholders; and accountability instruments to guarantee fulfilment of commitments.

Children and Youth called on the HLPF to, inter alia: take a human rights approach to strengthen legitimacy and accountability; and build on existing review processes such as the ECOSOC Annual Ministerial Review and the Universal Periodic Review process of the Human Rights Council.

DISCUSSION: Chile said the follow-up processes in the OECD’s review mechanism allows for better formulation of public policy, and supported Germany’s proposal to move forward on MOI for SDGs. Participants called for: regular reviews with monitoring systems at the national and sub-national levels; mainstreaming SDGs throughout government processes; and establishing the GSDR as a strong pillar in the HLPF’s monitoring system.

The Russian Federation said the review should maintain its intergovernmental character; be guided by state sovereignty and the principles of equal participation; and not become an instrument of political pressure.

Responding to comments, Averous stressed the importance of positioning the reviews in the context of a broader economic understanding of world realities. Nyirakobwa said there is no one-size-fits-all review process, and called on the HLPF to focus its review on the ECOSOC mandate.

Offering concluding thoughts, Khan said there is clear support for the review process to be a voluntary exercise. He also suggested that the HLPF should begin its work, and not wait until the SDGs have been finalized.

A more detailed account of this session is available at


This dialogue took place on Thursday morning, 3 July, and was chaired by ECOSOC Vice President Oh, who highlighted the importance of acquiring regional perspectives in formulating a bottom-up, inclusive sustainable development agenda. Moderator Amina Mohammed, Special Advisor of the UN Secretary-General on Post-2015 Development Planning, invited panelists to describe: key priorities that emerged from regional consultations; policies necessary to address these priorities; issues related to MOI, including potential sources of finance; and proposals for monitoring and accountability for the post-2015 development agenda.

Alicia Bárcena, UN Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean, and current Coordinator of the Regional Commissions, identified eradicating extreme poverty and tackling inequality as key priorities, and emphasized the importance of natural resource governance in generating resources for education and health. On policies, she called for a paradigm shift in consumer patterns, away from purely market-driven policies. She also called for a fiscal compact to address resource redistribution; an investment compact to increase value addition across the value chain; a natural resource compact focusing on ecosystems and agriculturally biodiverse areas that need protection; and a sustainable cities compact. On MOI, she identified global taxes on speculative financial flows, debt swaps, a regional financial security mechanism, and an institution for global financial governance. On monitoring and accountability for the post-2015 development agenda, Bárcena emphasized accountability mechanisms at the global and national levels.

Rima Khalaf, UN Economic and Social Commission for Western Asia, highlighted social justice through alleviating poverty, reducing inequality and unemployment; and peace and security, including ending foreign occupations and reducing conflict-related human suffering. On policies, she identified four regional focus areas: addressing vertical and horizontal inequalities; enhancing social protection; economic restructuring towards higher value addition; and regional integration. On MOI, Khalaf highlighted the mobilization of domestic resources by: increasing the tax base; migrant remittances with diaspora bonds; Arab sovereign wealth funds coupled with improvements in investment laws in the region; and curbing illicit financial flows.

Shamshad Akhtar, UN Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP), highlighted the need for ensuring stronger, sustainable, inclusive, and resilient economic growth, and for promoting resource efficiency coupled with effective natural resource management. On policies, she prioritized structural reform and economic diversification; the adoption of demand and supply-side measures to address balanced regional growth; widening social protection; mainstreaming sustainable development into private sector practices; and enhancing science, policy, and innovation in the region. Noting that the Asia-Pacific region needs up to US$2.4 trillion to address infrastructure gaps and US$750 million to address natural disasters, Akhtar proposed several sources, including taxes for MOI. On monitoring and accountability for the post-2015 development agenda, Akhtar noted that fulfilment of commitments on sustainable development depend on the coherency and consistency of the agenda.

Carlos Lopes, UN Economic Commission for Africa, stressed that value addition is a key priority for Africa to achieve structural transformation. On policies, Lopes stressed that Africa needs to: revolutionize agricultural productivity to address poverty; transform the service industry to consolidate gains from urbanization and a growing middle class; and become a solution-provider for climate change. On MOI, he drew attention to illicit financial flows in Africa due to price-fixing; and addressing intellectual property rights and acknowledging the potential sector-specific challenges for African countries. On monitoring and accountability for the post-2015 development agenda, Lopes highlighted: efforts to improve data systems; data collection through mobile technology; building networks and capacity; and production of country profiles.

Andrey Vasilyev, UN Economic Commission for Europe, identified key regional priorities as: reducing inequalities, particularly within countries; addressing gender disparities in the labor market; and designing a universal sustainable development agenda with commitments for all countries. On policies, Vasilyev listed the critical sectors for sustainable development integration, including sustainable cities, transport, forests, water, and sustainable energy. He urged cross-sectoral cooperation as well as local and sub-regional policies to achieve this integration. On MOI, he highlighted the establishment of standards for agricultural produce to allow easier entry into the European markets, and the potential for cooperation among the regional economic commissions as a channel for MOI. On monitoring and accountability for the post-2015 development agenda, Vasilyev noted that while generating disaggregated data is costly, it complements national averages.

The dialogue also included three lead discussants. Shahira Wahbi, League of Arab States, drew attention to common priorities among the regions, particularly peace and security, regional integration, technology transfer, job creation, and social protection systems. She also highlighted the principle of common but differentiated responsibilities (CBDR). Daniel Tygel, Intercontinental Network for the Promotion of Social Solidarity Economy, emphasized a human rights-based approach. Osma Mahomed, Commission on Sustainable Development, Mauritius, called for a human rights-based accountability framework with time bound targets and supportive national plans.

DISCUSSION: During the discussion, countries emphasized: the need for a robust monitoring and evaluation system for the post-2015 agenda; consideration of how decreased ODA to MICs will affect achievement of development priorities; and granting more importance to states than markets. Benin called for 50% of ODA to be allocated to LDCs.

A more detailed account of this session is available at


This dialogue took place on Thursday afternoon, 3 July. It was chaired by ECOSOC President Sajdik and moderated by Amina Mohammed.

Paul Gulleik Larsen, Coordinator for the Post-2015 Process, Norway, stressed that the Forum’s agenda should be guided by the SDGs, and identify gaps and challenges in implementation. Elizabeth Thompson, Former Executive Coordinator of the Rio+20 Conference, proposed that the HLPF take on some functions of a think-tank, generating information on relevant issues to be discussed through genuine dialogue in an open setting. She also called for the establishment of a system to translate global sustainable development commitments to national-level policy.

János Pásztor, WWF International, noted that the UN Secretary-General’s High Level Panel on Global Sustainability prepared an integrated package to guide the work of the Forum, including, inter alia: a basis in science; integrating international and regional financial institutions; and undertaking genuine debate on complex inter-related issues.

The dialogue included three lead discussants. Leena Srivastava, The Energy and Resources Institute, suggested the HLPF delegate the review of individual goals to the UN agencies that focus on the subject. Shantal Munro, Executive Coordinator, Caribbean Policy Development Center, stressed, inter alia: ensuring national coherence across ministries; managing expectations, rather than tackling all issues; and providing resources for civil society participation and capacity building. Michael O’Neill, UN Development Programme (UNDP), noted the potential of the HLPF to bring together the right stakeholders for a cross-cutting dialogue, and encouraged South-South and triangular cooperation to share best practices.

DISCUSSION: During the discussion, delegates called for an inventory of national processes and coordinated and efficient data collection; stakeholder engagement at the national level; a strong review and accountability system; and a politically relevant agenda.

Stakeholders called for their active participation in agenda setting; support for a secretariat and a dedicated bureau for the HLPF; and for the HLPF to adopt ministerial declarations independently from the ECOSOC. They expressed concern over the integration of the HLPF agenda into the ECOSOC agenda, stating that this could jeopardize the participation of ministers of environment.

In response to comments, Thompson said the Forum should be an innovative body addressing implementation. Larsen underlined domestic resource mobilization as the main source of financing for the implementation of the SDGs. Pásztor highlighted integration, participation, accountability, and coordination as important elements for the HLPF.

Mohammed summarized the dialogue, noting calls for, inter alia: strengthening the science-policy interface; focusing on results; bringing sectors together; and not overburdening states with multiple layers of complexity. She drew attention to the challenge of ensuring accountability within a voluntary framework.

A more detailed account of this session is available at


On Thursday afternoon, 3 July, ECOSOC President Sajdik wrapped up the week’s meeting, saying the post-2015 agenda should be integrated, transformative, inclusive, and people-centered. On strengthening the science-policy interface, he noted participants supported: evidence-based policymaking; expanding capabilities of future generations; and multi-stakeholder, multi-sector, and multi-scale approaches. He suggested the GSDR represents an opportunity to strengthen the science-policy interface.

On countries in special situations, including SIDS, ECOSOC President Sajdik highlighted, inter alia: national sustainable development plans; vulnerability indices; changing donor-recipient relationships, including South-South and regional coordination; and conditions for building resilience. On MOI, he emphasized creating a conducive environment, including through good governance, to attract finance for the SDGs. He recognized calls for the HLPF to adopt a review function.

He concluded by informing participants that these messages will be presented to ECOSOC’s High-level Segment.


On Monday morning, 7 July, ECOSOC President Sajdik formally opened the joint ECOSOC High-level Segment and the HLPF Ministerial Segment. Launching the new Millennium Development Goals Report 2014, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said it shows many key targets have been met, but there have been uneven achievements between goals among and within countries, regions, and population groups.

UNGA President Amb. John Ashe (Antigua and Barbuda) lauded the HLPF as a credible umbrella where governments and stakeholders can work towards sustainable development and poverty eradication. He called for the Forum to be nimble in order to be able to address emerging issues.

Esther Agbarakwe, Youth Climate Coalition, Nigeria, underscored the role of youth in producing innovative solutions and their future role in implementing the SDGs.

HIGH-LEVEL POLICY DIALOGUE – “MACROECONOMIC POLICIES IN SUPPORT OF A POST-2015 SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT AGENDA”: On Monday morning, 7 July, ECOSOC President Sajdik chaired the dialogue, and Under-Secretary-General Wu moderated.

Mukhisa Kituyi, Secretary-General, UN Conference on Trade and Development, proposed, inter alia: focusing on the real economy instead of intermediate targets like inflation; and initiating an inclusive dialogue on the regulation of financial institutions. He supported internalizing the adverse spillovers of economic policies.

Achim Steiner, Executive Director, UNEP, highlighted, inter alia: inequality in the context of access to environmental services; and social and economic opportunities generated by environmental solutions, such as employment generation by the renewable energy sector.

Guy Ryder, Director-General, International Labour Organization, outlined the importance of, inter alia: addressing the needs of the unemployed; social sustainability, including the role of work in self-esteem and social protection floors; and environmental sustainability. He called for a rights-based approach to migration in the post-2015 agenda.

Calling for greater coordination of monetary policies to reduce spillover effects, Min Zhu, Deputy Managing Director, International Monetary Fund, recommended: diversifying trade; strengthening resilience through fiscal and foreign reserve positions and structural transformation; strengthening investment and debt management strategies; and supporting inclusive growth.

Yonov Frederick Agah, Deputy Director-General, World Trade Organization, called for facilitation of technology, entrepreneurship, and technical capacity, and making goods cheaper and more widely available.

Mahmoud Mohieldin, World Bank, reiterated the Bank’s commitment to ending extreme poverty, promoting shared prosperity, and supporting partnerships with stakeholders. He stressed the importance of domestic financial development to achieve the SDGs.

Discussion: Delegates noted that developed countries must exercise caution when implementing economic policies that affect economic growth in developing countries; and called for ecological tax reform, towards approaches that tax resource degradation and pollution.

A more detailed account of this session is available at

MINISTERIAL DIALOGUE – “A UNIVERSAL INTEGRATED POLICY AGENDA TO IMPLEMENT RIO+20 AND REALIZE THE FUTURE WE WANT”: ECOSOC President Sajdik opened the dialogue on Monday, 7 July, which was moderated by UNDP Administrator Helen Clark.

Janez Potočnik, European Commissioner for the Environment, said the global partnership should focus on: coherent enabling policy environments; mobilization of all available resources, including private finance; and a strong accountability framework.

Nana Oye Lithur, Minister for Gender, Children, and Social Protection, Ghana, highlighted, inter alia: an effective and efficient coordination mechanism; and inclusion of civil society, youth, the private sector, and women in the planning process.

Yoon Seong Kyu, Minister of Environment, Republic of Korea, urged differentiated and customized national approaches, and accountable, effective, and transparent governance.

Silvia Velo, Under-Secretary for Environment, Land and Sea, Italy, noted that the interconnected challenges facing the world require an innovative culture of governance, based on policy coherence, inclusiveness, and accountability.

The dialogue included four lead discussants. Palouki Massina, Minister, Secretary General of Government, Togo, called for a three- to five-year window for countries in special circumstances to build capacity before implementing a universal development agenda. Federico Ramos de Armas, Vice Minister for Environment, Spain, called for common global objectives with differentiated national goals; viewing poverty and sustainable development together; and mobilizing financing beyond ODA. Amb. Liu Jieyi, China, noted the role of the HLPF in monitoring and integration. Martin Chungong, Secretary General, Inter-Parliamentary Union, called for a social contract that leads to development of all, and a democratic governance goal.

Discussion: Delegates highlighted that democratic governance and rule of law should be the backbone of the post-2015 agenda, welcomed multi-stakeholder approaches, especially the inclusion of parliamentarians, and drew attention to means of implementation.

A more detailed account of this session is available at

MINISTERIAL DIALOGUE – “WEAVING REGIONAL REALITIES AND REGIONAL PRIORITIES INTO THE POST-2015 DEVELOPMENT AGENDA”: On Monday afternoon, 7 July, ECOSOC Vice President Oh opened the dialogue, which was moderated by Juan Somavía, the UN Secretary-General’s Special Adviser on Interregional Policy Coordination.

Olga Marta Sánchez Oviedo, Ministry of National Planning and Economic Policy, Costa Rica, highlighted increasing inequality and vulnerability to climate change, and the need for a new global alliance to achieve sustainable development. Shamshad Akhtar, ESCAP, identified regional priorities to complement universal goals, such as population dynamics and natural disasters; and the importance of long-term planning, policy coordination, and the private sector.

Marcin Korolec, Special Envoy for Climate Change, Poland, supported, inter alia, addressing SCP in line with the 10YFP, and engaging city leaders to tackle climate change. Anthony Mothae Maruping, Commissioner for Economic Affairs, African Union Commission, described alignment between the Common African Position on the post-2015 agenda, Africa’s Agenda 2063, and the SDG process.

The dialogue included four lead discussants. Sihasak Phuangketkeow, Permanent Secretary of Foreign Affairs, Thailand, called for addressing the development gap in the Asia-Pacific region by enhancing development cooperation, and increasing means of implementation. Shahidul Haque, Foreign Secretary, Bangladesh, proposed a hybrid regional organization to manage the implementation of the SDGs. Nassir Abdulaziz Al-Nasser, UN High Representative for the Alliance of Civilizations, urged addressing inequalities and peace and security. Gigi Francisco, DAWN, on behalf of Women, called for, inter alia: corporate accountability to share risks and returns of public-private partnerships; and implementation of commitments on women’s rights.

Discussion: Delegates recommended a prominent role for regional commissions in the post-2015 agenda; and supported the integration of regional concerns into the global agenda even if it led to a greater number of targets. In conclusion, Somavía highlighted the UN’s “enormous installed capacity” at the regional level.

A more detailed account of this session is available here: at

REMARKS BY THE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED NATIONS ENVIRONMENT ASSEMBLY:  This session took place on Tuesday morning, 8 July. ECOSOC President Sajdik opened the session. Oyun Sangaasuren, Minister for Environment and Green Development, Mongolia, and UN Environment Assembly (UNEA) President, reported on the first session of the UNEA, held in late June 2014, emphasizing high-level discussions on: the SDGs and the post-2015 agenda, including SCP; and illegal trade in wildlife. She highlighted the adoption of a Ministerial Outcome Document.

MINISTERIAL DIALOGUE – “LONG TERM MEASURES TO MAKE POVERTY ERADICATION IRREVERSIBLE AND REDUCE INEQUALITIES”: This dialogue took place on Tuesday morning, 8 July. ECOSOC President Sajdik encouraged panelists to reflect on: long-term trends that have had the greatest impact on poverty and equality; successful strategies to reconcile the imperatives of eradicating poverty, reducing inequality, strengthening resilience, and preserving natural resources; and policies that can ensure sustainability of intergenerational gains.

Five panelists participated in this dialogue. María Ángela Holguín, Minister of Foreign Affairs, Colombia, identified poverty eradication, reducing inequality, and changing consumption and production patterns as challenges to sustainable development. On the post-2015 agenda, she prioritized strengthening capacities in countries in special situations, promoting quality education, and incorporating SCP into sustainable development.

Sophie Karmasin, Federal Minister for Family and Youth, Austria, called for placing children at the heart of the post-2015 agenda and highlighted actions in her country to strengthen children’s rights and mainstream these rights in planning processes.

Bathabile Dlamini, Minister of Social Development, South Africa, said the right to development is critical for building more sustainable societies, and shared her country’s actions to address childhood poverty.

Aida Kurmangaliyeva, Ministry of Labor and Social Protection of Population, Kazakhstan, called for a poverty eradication roadmap that includes: productive employment; a stable society sustained by a middle class; access to services; and rural development.

Yong Li, Director-General, UN Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO), highlighted the role of inclusive and sustainable industrial development in eradicating poverty, given its role in reducing inequality and ensuring environmental sustainability.

Two lead discussants made remarks. Paola Bustamante, Minister for Social Inclusion, Peru, highlighted efforts to provide basic services such as health and education to women and youth, and progress on poverty reduction by increasing exports and engaging the private sector. Jim Clarken, Executive Director, Oxfam, highlighted the twin challenges of rising inequality and climate change in reducing poverty.

Discussion: NGOs said control over and access to natural resources is critical for eradicating poverty and reducing inequality. China supported UNIDO’s promotion of inclusive industrial development as well as inclusive social policies and complete health and social protection.

A more detailed account of this session is available at

MINISTERIAL DIALOGUE – “INTERNATIONAL COOPERATION FOR SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT”: This dialogue took place on Tuesday morning, 8 July. ECOSOC Vice President Dabbashi opened the session and Saber Chowdhury, Member of Parliament, Bangladesh, moderated.

Four panelists participated in this dialogue. Fulbert Macaire Amoussouga Gero, Minister of MDGs Policies and Sustainable Development, Benin, stressed that cooperation must be inclusive, based on a shared vision, mutually beneficial, and avoid a donor-recipient relationship.

Børge Brende, Minister of Foreign Affairs, Norway, called for the SDGs to address climate change, biodiversity loss, water and sanitation, education, health, and renewable energy, and noted the need for finance to meet these goals.

Han Seung-soo, UN Secretary-General’s Special Envoy on Disaster Risk Reduction and Water, recommended a dedicated water SDG with three priorities: universal access to sustainable sanitation and drinking water; strengthened wastewater management; and improved integrated water resources management.

Describing the next 18 months as the most crucial period of global negotiations for the planet’s future, Jeffrey Sachs, Special Adviser to the UN Secretary-General on the MDGs, highlighted five key building blocks: the SDGs; a comprehensive climate agreement; MOI; data, monitoring and updating; and governance and accountability.

Hiroshi Imanaga, Deputy Mayor of Kitakyushu, Japan, said local governments can contribute to sustainable cities through intercity cooperation and partnerships.

Two lead discussants participated in this dialogue. Pekka Haavisto, Minister for International Development, Finland, highlighted taxation as a source of finance, including the role of matching funds. Emilia Pires, Minister of Finance, Timor-Leste, called for greater trust and more efficient use of resources.

A more detailed account of this session is available at

MULTI-STAKEHOLDER DIALOGUE “MULTI-STAKEHOLDER PARTNERSHIPS AND VOLUNTARY COMMITMENTS FOR SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT – ENSURING ACCOUNTABILITY FOR ALL”: This dialogue took place on Tuesday evening, 8 July. ECOSOC Vice President Mejía chaired this session and Babatunde Osotimehin, Executive Director, UN Population Fund, moderated.

Juan Carlos Lastiri Quirós, Ministry of Social Development, Mexico, highlighted contracts with civil society aimed at achieving the MDGs.

Dagfinn Høybråten, Chair of the Board, GAVI Alliance, shared lessons on leveraging the comparative advantage of partners and creating innovative partnerships and mechanisms to mobilize resources.

Danny Sriskandarajah, CIVICUS World Alliance for Citizen Participation, urged the creation of a set of clear, fair, transparent norms and practices to govern stakeholder partnerships.

Petra Bayr, Member of Parliament, Austria, said a robust framework is needed for the private sector to play a defined role in achieving the post-2015 agenda beyond the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights, and recommended core standards, including regulations in the interest of people rather than transnational corporations and binding rules under international law.

Three lead discussants participated in this dialogue. Gunnar Bragi Sveinsson, Minister for Foreign Affairs, Iceland, said Iceland’s experience shows that partnerships must be inclusive, progressive, and dynamic to be successful. Amb. Pio Wennubst, Switzerland, said partnerships should: draw upon knowledge from multiple actors; avoid silo effects; and be innovative and forward-looking. Myrna Cunningham, former Chair of the UN Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues, also for the Indigenous Peoples Major Group, outlined preconditions for establishing trust in partnerships with indigenous peoples, including: ensuring indigenous peoples’ rights to land and natural resources; and measures based on a human-rights approach. She recommended a specific section on indigenous peoples in the MDG Report.

Discussion: Participants called for an inclusive, bottom-up approach to partnerships and a conscious, visible approach to include marginalized groups.

A more detailed account of this session is available at

MINISTERIAL DIALOGUE “PREPARING THE HIGH-LEVEL POLITICAL FORUM FOR POST 2015: STEERING IMPLEMENTATION OF THE DEVELOPMENT AGENDA AND REVIEWING PROGRESS”: This dialogue took place on Tuesday evening, 8 July. Opening the dialogue, ECOSOC President Sajdik emphasized the need to focus on action and implementation. Moderator Thomas Gass, Assistant Secretary-General, UN Department of Economic and Social Affairs, asked participants to address ways for the HLPF to: review implementation and progress towards future SDGs; and promote integration of the three dimensions of sustainable development.

Rémi Allah Kouadio, Minister for the Environment, Sustainable Cities, and Sustainable Development, Côte d’Ivoire, described national efforts to implement sustainable development, underlining the importance of technology, financial resources, partnerships, and regional approaches. He urged stronger political will to ensure the HLPF leads to sustainable development, noting the experiences from AIDS and polio show what is possible when political will is mobilized.

Attila Korodi, Minister of Environment and Climate Change, Romania, said the Forum could serve as a locus for accountability and provide policy direction to ensure consistency between various organizations.

Shinji Inoue, Senior Vice Minister of the Environment, Japan, underscored the importance of monitoring mechanisms with contributions from a wide range of stakeholders.

Joseph Moser, Secretary-General, International Organization of Supreme Audit Institutions, described the role of audit institutions in creating accountability at the international and national levels, including their potential role in SDG review mechanisms.

Lead discussant Erik Solheim, Chair, OECD Development Assistance Committee, said the HLPF should be a forum that “digs into” the success stories of government, civil society and business, underlining the existence of hidden success stories. He recommended peer learning and coalitions for action.

Discussion: Participants discussed the importance of a robust, inclusive review mechanism to monitor and evaluate progress and encourage best practices. Some suggested a secretariat to support the HLPF.

A more detailed account of this session is available at

REMARKS BY A KEYNOTE SPEAKER: On Wednesday morning, 9 July, Li Pengde, Deputy Administrator, National Administration of Surveying, Mapping and Geoinformation, China, gave a keynote speech. He presented China’s experience with geospatial planning for sustainable development and said China’s Global Land 30, a global land cover mapping initiative, will be a major source of data to support the post-2015 development agenda. He called for, inter alia, a global geographic census for new data to support sustainable development.

KEY MESSAGES FROM THE PROTOTYPE GLOBAL SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT REPORT: On Wednesday morning, 9 July, Under-Secretary-General Wu delivered key messages from the prototype GSDR. He highlighted the potential consequences of inaction, including a more crowded world with widespread poverty, and the potential results of achieving sustainable development by 2050. Noting that the GSDR sketches pathways towards a more sustainable world and decent quality life for all, Wu highlighted the importance of technology transfer, finance, and capacity building. Stressing country-led approaches, Wu proposed a transparent and inclusive process to facilitate the participation of scientists from around the world in providing input to the GSDR.

MINISTERIAL DIALOGUE – “CHARTING PATHWAYS TO THE FUTURE WE WANT”: Opening the session on Wednesday morning, ECOSOC President Sajdik introduced two questions related to a sustainable future: what is the cost of inaction and what does science tell us about the best policy choices.

Moderator Romain Murenzi, Executive Director, The World Academy of Sciences, highlighted the role of science in dealing with the challenges of a sustainable future, and called on participants to further address how to: build scientific capacity to address these challenges; allow local communities to develop their own solutions; advance the cause of “science for all;” and promote working relationships between scientists, policy makers, and other stakeholders.

Elba Viviana Caro Hinojosa, Minister of Development Planning, Bolivia, called for including Mother Nature as a principal development actor, and underlined the importance of science and technology in promoting sustainable development.

Rita Schwarzelühr-Sutter, Parliamentary State Secretary, Federal Minister for the Environment, Nature Conservation, Building and Nuclear Safety, Germany, underscored the HLPF’s role in reviewing collective progress towards an ambitious post-2015 agenda and said a comprehensive GSDR with input from eminent scientists will be key in bringing the HLPF’s attention to challenges that are not known today. On the role of governments in bringing about economic transformation, she said it is critical to, inter alia: identify and promote drivers for inclusive, sustainable economic growth; create decent green jobs; respect the Earth’s carrying capacity; and use SCP approaches.

Vesna Batistić Kos, Assistant Minister, Ministry of Foreign and European Affairs, Croatia, provided examples illustrating the high cost of inaction, calling for work on prevention and resilience building. She shared key messages from an expert group meeting on the science-policy interface, which resulted in the Dubrovnik Declaration, including on the need to create integrated, inter-disciplinary sustainable development programmes, improve the science-policy interface and support and strengthen inter-ministerial policy coordination for sustainable development.

Three lead discussants participated in this dialogue. Lamenting that only a third of all scientists are women, and that only 0.5% of scientists are from LDCs, Irina Bokova, Director-General, UNESCO, stressed that basic sciences and applied sciences complement each other; science crosses borders and can help lay a foundation for a more sustainable world; science is significant for poverty eradication; and science is a public good and should be considered as such at the national and international levels.

Noting that inclusive sustainable development means eradication of discrimination, including legal discrimination, Irene Khan, Director-General of the International Development Law Organization, called for a level playing field to achieve sustainable development by abolishing all forms of discrimination, ensuring rule of law and access to justice and information for all, and investing in capacity development at institutional and individual levels.

Rolf-Dieter Heuer, Director General, European Organization for Nuclear Research, said the SDGs are useless if not built on a firm scientific and people-centered basis. He urged countries to commit a percentage of GDP to invest in science and scientific education, including possible modulation between developing and developed countries, noting that investments in basic science should be clearly identifiable and directly measurable.

Discussion: Zambia said the cost of inaction is immense. Workers and Trade Unions noted that the path to sustainable development is paved with difficulties but should not preclude a better future.

Hinojosa, supported by Schwarzelühr-Sutter, said the SDGs are unlikely to succeed without solid, measurable indicators, and stressed the importance of property rights. Kos highlighted: access to scarce resources; inequalities, rights-based approaches; and the role of women in science. Bokova called for science, technology, and innovation to be firmly anchored in the post-2015 agenda. Khan emphasized the rule of law in creating access to the benefits of science. Heuer emphasized partnerships between NGOs and academia in early introduction of science to children.

Moderator Murenzi closed the discussion, highlighting the importance of science in promoting critical thinking and changing the way we do business.


ECOSOC President Sajdik opened the closing session of HLPF-2 on Wednesday, 9 July, thanking all panelists, discussants, and moderators for their participation. He introduced the draft ministerial declaration, as contained in an informal paper circulated in the conference room, informing delegates that the Secretariat will finalize the document.

Delegates adopted the draft Ministerial Declaration of the HLPF convened under the auspices of the Council, entitled “Achieving the Millennium Development Goals and charting the way for an ambitious post-2015 agenda, including the sustainable development goals.” The Declaration, inter alia:

•  calls for the urgent implementation of all commitments under the global partnership for development, to overcome gaps identified in the MDGs Gap Task Force reports;

•  emphasizes the need to accelerate progress towards the target of 0.7% of gross national income as ODA by 2015, including 0.15% to 0.20% for LDCs, and also calls upon developed countries to urgently fulfill this ODA commitment;

•  commits to establishing a strong, ambitious, inclusive, and people-centered post-2015 agenda that will build on the foundations laid and experiences gained by the MDGs, complete the unfinished business of the MDGs, and respond to new challenges;

•  reaffirms all principles of the Rio Declaration, including, inter alia, CBDR;

•  underlines the need for a coherent approach in the post-2015 agenda that integrates the three dimensions of sustainable development in a balanced manner, and involves working towards a single framework and set of goals, universal in nature and applicable to all countries, while taking account of differing national circumstances and respecting national policies and priorities;

•  reaffirms that poverty eradication shall be central to the post-2015 agenda;

•  reaffirms the need to achieve sustainable development by, inter alia: promoting sustained, inclusive, and equitable economic growth; reducing inequalities; raising basic living standards; fostering equitable social development and inclusion; and promoting the integrated and sustainable management of natural resources and ecosystems;

•  stresses the importance of economic growth, and social and economic inclusion, in the context of poverty eradication and sustainable development;

•  calls for a transparent intergovernmental process that will include inputs from all stakeholders;

•  resolves to strengthen the science-policy interface, including, inter alia, through a GSDR;

•  reiterates that the HLPF under ECOSOC will conduct regular, voluntary and state-led reviews, starting in 2016, on the follow-up and implementation of sustainable development commitments and objectives, including those related to the means of implementation, within the context of the post-2015 development agenda; and

•  recognizes the vital role that science, technology, and innovation, including the transfer and diffusion of environmentally-sound technologies on mutually agreed terms, can play in achieving poverty eradication and sustainable development and in supporting efforts to address global challenges.

ECOSOC President Sajdik then turned to themes for 2015 and 2016. Delegates adopted the proposed HLPF theme for 2015, “Strengthening integration, implementation and review – the HLPF after 2015,” without amendment. Delegates then adopted the draft report (E/HLPF/2014/L.2).

ECOSOC President Sajdik concluded the meeting by highlighting calls from Member States for the HLPF to be a strong platform for review of the post-2015 development agenda, noting the role of national governments in promoting sustainable development. He closed HLPF-2 at 1:41 pm.


 “It seems very pretty,” she said when she had finished it, “but it’s rather hard to understand! (You see she didn’t like to confess, even to herself, that she couldn’t make it out at all.) Somehow it seems to fill my head with ideas, only I don’t exactly know what they are!”

Through the Looking Glass, and What Alice Found There Lewis Carroll

Still in relative infancy, the HLPF has the potential to lead the international community into a future that has mostly existed in the world of idealistic fantasy so far, glimpsed occasionally through the looking glass. If all goes according to plan, the Forum could play a lead role in truly integrating the social, environmental, and economic dimensions of sustainable development within the context of the post-2015 development agenda, including the SDGs.

It was perhaps the expectation of all the good things that lie beyond, combined with the uncertainties and lack of understanding that characterize any new institution, that resulted in a somewhat “underwhelming” meeting. While delegates were mostly in a “wait and see” mode, it was apparent that lack of understanding of procedures, practices and accessibility of this new Forum confused and frustrated government delegates, representatives of UN agencies and intergovernmental organizations and Major Groups alike. 

Will the HLPF eventually live up to expectations? It is hard to tell at this early stage, especially since the ultimate work and nature of the Forum will not really be clarified until the post-2015 development agenda is adopted. This brief analysis will look at some of the issues that emerged at HLPF-2 and the challenge of translating its potential into action.


“The question is,” said Alice, “whether you can make words mean so many different things.”

“The question is, said Humpty Dumpty, “which is to be master—that’s all.”

Situated between the UNGA and ECOSOC, the HLPF is placed in a position to provide political leadership, guidance and recommendations for sustainable development. Its architects deliberately chose to elevate it from the CSD’s position as an ECOSOC functional commission to this hybrid structure that would have universal membership and a mandate to promote system-wide coherence and coordination of sustainable development policies. The HLPF is supposed to meet every year under the auspices of ECOSOC and every four years at the highest political level under the UNGA. This unique structure was expected to provide continued momentum in monitoring progress in the implementation of sustainable development commitments, while attracting the attention of Heads of State, UN agencies, Bretton Woods institutions, and other relevant international organizations.

HLPF-1, under UNGA, did attract this high-level participation, and was attended by Heads of State and leaders of international economic institutions, including the World Bank and International Monetary Fund. At HLPF-2, under ECOSOC, there were ministers of development, planning, foreign affairs, gender, children and social protection present. It should be noted that HLPF-2 preceded the Development Cooperation Forum, which was also part of the same High-level Segment of ECOSOC. Compared to the CSD, this sequencing could prove an advantage in attracting high-level participation from ministries other than environment, and aiding more balanced participation.

Discussions on system-wide coherence and coordination did take place, but participants questioned whether the HLPF would “integrate” or “orchestrate,” pointing to the differences between the meanings of the two words. “Orchestrating” an unwieldy sustainable development agenda is unlikely to be as effective as “integrating” it—the latter would encompass both, bringing about effective and meaningful collaboration as well as cutting out duplication. The ability to do the latter, in particular, could be a real test of the HLPF’s status.


“Well, in our country,” said Alice, still panting a little, “you’d generally get to somewhere else—if you run very fast for a long time, as we’ve been doing.” “A slow sort of country!” said the Queen. “Now, here, you see, it takes all the running you can do, to keep in the same place. If you want to get somewhere else, you must run at least twice as fast as that!”

UNGA resolution 67/290, which established the organizational modalities of the HLPF after Rio+20, was widely seen as an agreement that built on the twenty years of experience of the CSD, and addressed many of its identified weaknesses. But, as HLPF-2 demonstrated, it is often difficult to change pace, despite good intentions.

As noted above, the low level of political attention received by the CSD was addressed through according a higher status to the HLPF. To improve on CSD’s inability to address new and emerging issues as a result of an inflexible agenda, the HLPF was given more flexibility in agenda-setting so as to be “a dynamic platform for regular dialogue and for stocktaking and agenda-setting to advance sustainable development.” 

Many concerns were raised regarding the CSD review process. While some complained about the lack of tight reporting requirements, developing countries, in particular, pleaded paucity of data and the lack of capacity to assemble information. Others noted that the lack of systematic monitoring and interaction between national and international levels hampered assessments of how effective national sustainable development strategies and indicators are in supporting the implementation of agreements on sustainable development. Some observers also argued that the CSD had difficulty monitoring implementation of its own decisions. UN programmes and agencies rarely sought guidance from the CSD or drew inspiration from its work, and the links between the CSD and the operating entities under the UN system remained tenuous to the end.

With this in mind, the HLPF was given the GSDR to help with its reviews, monitor progress towards sustainable development, and make mid-course adjustments. The HLPF is supposed to start conducting regular reviews beginning in 2016. As these reviews are to be done within the context of the post-2015 development agenda, it is expected that a wider range of actors, particularly from economic and social institutions, will be involved. However, as the regular reviews will retain their voluntary nature, and there is still lack of clarity on reporting requirements, much work remains to be done for an effective accountability system to take root under the HLPF. Several delegates underlined this point during the multistakeholder dialogue on accountability, when it was recognized that political will will eventually determine the success or failure of the HLPF.

However, the idea of adding yet another sustainable development report to the existing landscape of reports on related subjects, like UNEP’s Global Environment Outlook and the IPCC’s climate change assessment reports, was seen as somewhat contradictory to the stated aims of coherence and integration, particularly when many did not see the value added of the GSDR. Many participants felt that a critical next step will be for the HLPF to strengthen the connections between national level reviews, the GSDR, and review of sustainable development commitments by the broader international community. In the context of the national level reviews, one delegate noted that involving stakeholders at the national level in the preparation for national reports could also improve accountability.

On the other hand, the CSD’s stakeholder engagement was seen as a key legacy, and the HLPF was asked to adopt and build on it. However, Major Groups seemed to think that they were losing ground, instead of moving towards the promises made in resolution 67/290, which called for strengthening and improving on the CSD model. Under the resolution, Major Groups are allowed to attend all official meetings of the forum; have access to all official information and documents; intervene in official meetings; submit documents and present written and oral contributions; and make recommendations. However, at HLPF-2, Major Groups found that the two full days of stakeholder dialogue during the CSD were cut down to brief sessions every morning at the HLPF, and they were not given sufficient access to the discussions on the Ministerial Declaration, which were taking place in parallel to the HLPF. They also expressed concern that funds for stakeholder participation were under threat. As one lead discussant said, implementing sustainable development will need stronger and deeper ties with civil society, going well beyond participation in HLPF meetings, to participation in implementation at the national level. A Major Group representative noted that having to fight to regain lost ground could waste valuable time.

So, is the Forum different enough to be more effective? Some participants noted that this may not yet be the case. For example, the organization of the session around a series of dialogues and panels gave occasion for some participants to use the dreaded epithet “talk shop,” which eventually became the CSD’s epitaph. But even the worst critics were willing to be indulgent this early in the process, and say that this could change once the HLPF has an actual post-2015 development agenda to define its work.

The ability of the HLPF to be more than just “an expensive side-event,” as one participant called it, was put to the test by the G-77/China. Some countries within the Group circulated a draft decision, arguing that the HLPF can take decisions on its own as the rules of procedure allow functional commissions (paragraph 9 of 67/290) under ECOSOC to take their own decisions. They therefore asked for a decision to be adopted regarding the GSDR. Other delegations disagreed, however, saying that the HLPF should forward issues to ECOSOC or the UNGA for consideration, or should simply adopt ministerial declarations, as called for in paragraph 7(g) of 67/290 (which does not call for decisions). The G-77/China eventually withdrew their draft decision amidst internal disagreement over how to move forward on the GSDR on the final day of the meeting. It is not yet clear whether this conclusively indicates that the HLPF will not take decisions anytime in the future, and only adopt Ministerial Declarations.


“And what does it live on?”

“Weak tea with cream in it.”

A new difficulty came into Alice’s head, “Supposing it couldn’t find any?” she suggested.

“Then it would die, of course.”

The HLPF has an enormous task ahead of it, if it is to do all that it has been asked to do. One area of concern, raised by several participants at HLPF-2, is the level of institutional support. While resolution 67/290 says that the Forum will be supported by the Department of Economic and Social Affairs (DESA) of the Secretariat, it is not yet clear if DESA’s Division for Sustainable Development or DESA’s Office for ECOSOC Support and Coordination or a new division will provide the necessary support for the HLPF’s work. Without clarity on the level of Secretariat support to carry out its mandate, some expressed fear that the Forum could be “smothered” under ECOSOC’s and the UNGA’s already loaded agendas. Furthermore, asking the HLPF to do more than the CSD with less than the CSD had, did not strike many participants as an effective business plan, as they called for the Forum to be adequately resourced.

The HLPF does not have much time to get its institutional bearings in place. It is scheduled to begin its review of sustainable development commitments and objectives in 2016. At the same time, the post-2015 development agenda will enter its implementation phase, demanding the HLPF’s attention. In 2015, it will be critical to gain clarity on how the support system for the HLPF can be bolstered. 

Without greater clarity on its level of participation, the role of stakeholders, its review process, its ability to address new and emerging issues, its decision-making modalities, and its institutional support, the HLPF may not be able to live up to expectations, run fast enough to stand still, or escape the epithet of a Forum where they “talk of many things: of shoes, and ships, and sealing-wax; Of cabbages, and kings; And why the sea is boiling hot; And whether pigs have wings.”


OWG-13: The OWG will conclude its consideration of sustainable development goals, targets and indicators. dates: 14-18 July 2014  location: UN Headquarters, New York  contact: UN Division for Sustainable Development  phone: +1-212-963-8102  fax: +1-212-963-4260  email: www:

E-Discussion on Building Trust through Enhanced Transparency and Accountability: This online consultation will discuss best practices for companies in measuring their contribution to advancing global sustainability goals, including tools and resources needed to advance standard measurement practices. UNIDO and the UN Global Compact serve as the co-leaders of this consultation. twitter: #privatesector2015.  dates: 14-21 July 2014  location: virtual  contact: Ulla Heher, UNIDO or Kari Pedersen, UN Global Compact  email:  www:

UNGA Dialogue 4 on Technology Transfer Mechanism: In General Assembly Resolution 68/210, UN Member States decided to hold a series of four, one-day structured dialogues to consider possible arrangements for a facilitation mechanism to promote the development, transfer and dissemination of clean and environmentally sound technologies.  date: 23 July 2014   location: UN Headquarters, New York  contact: UN Division for Sustainable Development  email:  www:

Fifth Session of Intergovernmental Committee of Experts on Sustainable Development Financing: The fifth session of the Intergovernmental Committee of Experts on Sustainable Development Financing is scheduled in August 2014. dates: 4-8 August 2014  location: UN Headquarters, New York  contact: UN Division for Sustainable Development  fax: +1-212-963-4260  email:  www:

Major Groups and Stakeholders Forum for Third International Conference on SIDS: The Division of Sustainable Development (DSD) of the UN Department of Economic and Social Affairs (DESA) is organizing this Forum in collaboration with an 18-member steering committee representing the nine Major Groups, and the Caribbean, Pacific and AIMS (Africa, Indian Ocean, Mediterranean and South China Sea) regions. date: 28 August 2014  location: Apia, Samoa contact: Hiroko Morita-Lou, SIDS Unit, UN Division for Sustainable Development  email: www: and

Third UN Conference on Small Island Developing States (SIDS): The Third UN Conference on SIDS will focus on the theme “Sustainable Development of SIDS through Genuine and Durable Partnerships.” dates: 1-4 September 2014  location: Apia, Samoa  contact: Hiroko Morita-Lou, SIDS Unit, UN Division for Sustainable Development  email: www:

UNGA Stock-Taking Exercise on the Post-2015 Development Agenda: The President of the UN General Assembly (UNGA), John Ashe, will convene this stock-taking exercise to pull together events on the post-2015 development agenda. dates: 8-9 September 2014  location: UN Headquarters, New York  contact: Office of the President of the UNGA  www:

World Conference on Indigenous Peoples: The World Conference on Indigenous Peoples 2014 will be organized as a high-level plenary meeting of the 69th session of the UN General Assembly and supported by the UN Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues, to share perspectives and best practices on the realization of the rights of indigenous peoples and to pursue the objectives of the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. dates: 22-23 September 2014  location: UN Headquarters, New York  contact: Nilla Bernardi  phone: +1 212-963-8379  email:  www:

Special Session of the General Assembly on the follow-up to the Programme of Action of the ICPD: An eight-hour Special Session to Follow Up on the Programme of Action from the International Conference on Population and Development (ICPD) is being organized to coincide with the high-level segment of the general debate at the UN General Assembly. date: 22 September 2014  location: UN Headquarters, New York  contact: Mandy Kibel, UNFPA  phone: +1-212-297-5293 email: www:

UN Climate Summit: UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon will convene the Summit with the aim of mobilizing political will for a universal and legally-binding comprehensive climate agreement in 2015. date: 23 September 2014  location: UN Headquarters, New York  www:

World Conference on Education for Sustainable Development: The 2014 Education for Sustainable Development (ESD) World Conference will address, inter alia, how ESD can help move sustainable development policy and action forward to meet different global, regional, national, and local needs. dates: 10-12 November 2014  location: Nagoya, Aichi, Japan  contact: Secretariat of the UN Decade of Education for Sustainable Development, UNESCO  phone:  +33-1-45-68-15-89  fax: +33-1-45-68-56-26  email: www:

Third International Conference on Financing for Development: The third International Conference on Financing for Development will be held in July 2015. dates: 13-16 July 2015  location: Addis Ababa, Ethiopia  contact: UN Financing for Development Office phone: +1-212-963-8379   fax: +1-212-963-0443  email:  www:

Third Meeting of the HLPF: The next meeting is scheduled to take place in conjunction with the 2015 substantive session of ECOSOC. The theme for the forum will be “Strengthening integration, implementation and review – the HLPF after 2015.”  dates: July 2015  location: Geneva  contact: UN Division for Sustainable Development  phone: +1-212-963-8102  fax: +1-212-963-4260  email: www:

For additional meetings, see

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