The 2016 meeting of the High-Level Political Forum on Sustainable Development (HLPF) under the auspices of the UN Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) convenes today at UN Headquarters in New York. The HLPF is the central platform for the follow-up and review of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development (2030 Agenda) and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), adopted at the UN Summit to adopt the post-2015 development agenda (UN Sustainable Development Summit) on 25 September 2015.
The first week of the meeting will provide space for Member States, UN agencies, Major Groups and other stakeholders to exchange experiences and lessons learned and hold interactive discussions leading to political guidance and recommendations. Moderated dialogues will take place on a number of issues related to the theme of the 2016 meeting, “Ensuring that no one is left behind.” The three-day ministerial segment from 18-20 July will build on the first five days, and result in a ministerial declaration.
The meeting will also reflect on the science-policy interface, mainstreaming the SDGs, monitoring progress and implementation of the SDGs, multi-stakeholder engagement, and the challenges with mobilizing means of implementation (MOI), among other issues.
A BRIEF HISTORY OF THE HLPF
The HLPF was called for by the United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development (Rio+20) 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, 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.”
UNGA-67: The 67th session of the UN General Assembly (UNGA) adopted a resolution on the implementation of Agenda 21 and the outcomes of Rio+20 (A/RES/67/203), which outlined the negotiation process for the creation of the HLPF. The text also called for the Open Working Group (OWG) on SDGs to report to the UNGA 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 Millennium Development Goals (MDGs).
RESOLUTION 67/290: The President of the 67th UNGA called for 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 resolutions called for the meetings of the Forum to be convened:
- every four years under the auspices of the UNGA at the level of Heads of State and Government, during 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 the MOI, within the context of 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, and focused on the theme of “Building the future we want from Rio+20 to the post-2015 development agenda.” The session featured keynote presentations from Heads of State and Government and Ministers and remarks from the floor on moving 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.
2014 SESSION OF THE HLPF: The second session of the HLPF, under the auspices of ECOSOC, convened from 30 June to 9 July 2014 at UN Headquarters, and focused on “Achieving the MDGs and charting the way for an ambitious post-2015 development agenda including the SDGs.” A Ministerial Declaration was adopted that, inter alia: called for urgent implementation of all commitments under the global partnership for development to overcome gaps identified in the MDGs Gap Task Force reports; emphasized accelerating progress towards the target of 0.7% of gross national income as official development assistance by 2015; committed to establishing a strong, ambitious, inclusive, and people-centered post-2015 agenda; reaffirmed all principles of the Rio Declaration, including, inter alia, common but differentiated responsibilities; reaffirmed that poverty eradication shall be central to the post-2015 agenda; and called for a transparent intergovernmental process that will include inputs from all stakeholders.
2015 SESSION OF THE HLPF: The third session of the HLPF, under the auspices of ECOSOC, convened from 26 June to 8 July 2015 at UN Headquarters, and focused on “Strengthening integration, implementation and review – the HLPF after 2015.” Moderated discussions took place during the first week, including on: supporting national action through HLPF outcomes; keeping science involved in SDG implementation; the Global Sustainable Development Report (GSDR) as a bridge between the SDGs and the scientific communities; and tracking progress through existing mechanisms. During the ministerial segment, moderated dialogues took place on, inter alia, the HLPF in the next 15 years; reviewing and monitoring progress; and realizing the SDGs. A Ministerial Declaration was adopted at the end of the Forum.
INTERGOVERNMENTAL NEGOTIATIONS ON THE POST-2015 DEVELOPMENT AGENDA: Eight sessions were held at UN Headquarters from January to August 2015 to prepare the outcome of the UN Sustainable Development Summit in September 2015.The seventh and eighth sessions took place together (20 July - 2 August 2015), and finalized and agreed on the agenda to be adopted at the Summit.
THIRD INTERNATIONAL CONFERENCE ON FINANCING FOR DEVELOPMENT: The third International Conference on Financing for Development (FfD3) took place in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, from 13-16 July 2015. Eight plenaries were held, in addition to six multi-stakeholder roundtables on two themes: global partnership and the three dimensions of sustainable development; and ensuring policy coherence and an enabling environment at all levels for sustainable development. Approximately 200 side events also took place. The Addis Ababa Action Agenda (AAAA) was adopted on the final day of the Conference. The AAAA includes three main sections on: a global framework for financing development post-2015; action areas; and data, monitoring and follow-up. The second section, on action areas, includes seven sub-sections: domestic public resources; domestic and international private business and finance; international development cooperation; international trade as an engine for development; debt and debt sustainability; addressing systemic issues; and science, technology, innovation and capacity building.
UN SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT SUMMIT: The Summit took place from 25-27 September 2015 at UN Headquarters. It adopted “Transforming Our World: The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development,” containing a preamble, a declaration, 17 SDGs and 169 targets, a section on MOI and the Global Partnership, and a framework for follow-up and review of implementation.
INTER-AGENCY AND EXPERT GROUP ON SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT INDICATORS: The UN Inter-Agency and Expert Group on Sustainable Development Goal Indicators (IAEG-SDGs) was established by the UN Statistical Commission in March 2015 to develop an indicator framework for the monitoring of the goals and targets of the post-2015 development agenda at the global level, and to support its implementation. The IAEG-SDGs met three times over the course of 2015 and 2016. During its first two meetings, the IAEG-SDGs prepared a list of global indicators for SDG monitoring that were agreed by the UN Statistical Commission at its 47th Session in March 2016. At its third meeting, from 30 March to 1 April 2016 in Mexico City, the IAEG-SDGs started work on a tier system for the global indicators, defining global reporting mechanisms, and establishing procedures for the refinement of indicators and review of the indicator framework.
REGIONAL FORA: In preparation for HLPF 2016, five regional fora were held: the Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific Regional Forum, 3-5 April 2016, in Bangkok, Thailand; Economic Commission for Europe Regional Forum, 10 May 2016, in Geneva, Switzerland; the Economic Commission for Africa Regional Forum, 17-19 May 2016 in Cairo, Egypt; the Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean Regional Forum, 23-27 May 2016 in Mexico City, Mexico; and the Economic and Social Commission for Western Asia, 29-30 May 2016, in Amman, Jordan. These meetings provided regional input to HLPF 2016, including elements for regional roadmaps, and proposals for the form, function and modalities of the Forum.
HIGH-LEVEL DEBATE ON ACHIEVING THE SDGs: A High-level Thematic Debate on Achieving the SDGs took place on 21 April 2016, at UN Headquarters, with national statements on the theme “Action at All Levels: National Implementation.” Panel discussions also took place on “financing poverty eradication and sustainable development” and “technology and data for SDGs.”
SCIENCE, TECHNOLOGY AND INNOVATION FORUM: The first annual Multi-stakeholder Forum on Science, Technology and Innovation (STI) for the SDGs took place on 6-7 June 2016, and focused on “realizing the potential of science, technology and innovation for all to achieve the sustainable development goals.” As a component of the technology facilitation mechanism mandated by the 2030 Agenda and the FfD3 outcome, the AAAA, the Forum provides a venue for facilitating interaction, matchmaking and the establishment of networks between relevant stakeholders and multi-stakeholder partnerships in order to identify and examine technology needs and gaps, including with regard to scientific cooperation, innovation and capacity building, and also in order to help facilitate development, transfer and dissemination of relevant technologies for the SDGs. A Chair’s summary of the Forum was prepared for the HLPF.
REVIEW OF THE 2030 AGENDA: Negotiations on the follow-up and review of the 2030 Agenda at the global level have been ongoing, to add specificity to the broad outline agreed in the 2030 Agenda. A text was produced through a series of informal and informal-informal consultations with Member States and other stakeholders in April, May and June 2016. A resolution of UNGA on this matter was expected to be concluded in June but is still the subject of informal consultations.
MINISTERIAL DECLARATION: Informal consultations on the zero draft of the HLPF 2016 Ministerial Declaration began on 16 June 2016, based on a list of potential elements issued by the co-facilitators of the informal consultation of the HLPF outcome, Gillian Bird (Australia), and Gustavo Meza-Cuadra (Peru).