The HLPF held a dialogue with civil society representatives during the morning. Twelve VNRs were presented during morning and afternoon sessions.
Some noted that, with the Major Groups celebrating their 30th anniversary at the UN, it was only fitting that Tuesday morning’s discussions began by spotlighting the role of civil society in helping to deliver the 2030 Agenda.
Panelists stressed, inter alia, “there is no peace without sustainable development and no sustainable development without peace.” They also noted the need for: Member States to fulfil their UN funding commitments and to prevent “corporate capture such as UN Women’s partnering with Blackrock”; integrating volunteering into national plans; and political will, courage, and cooperation to achieve the SDGs.
Major Groups and Other Stakeholders (MGoS) Coordination Mechanism Co-Chair, Ajay Jha, Director, Centre for Community Economics and Development Consultants Society, India, concluded the discussion noting that “the world is burning” and expressed concern that the UN conference rooms do not reflect this urgency. He called for unprecedented efforts to implement the SDGs, a stronger UN and multilateralism, and implementation of right-based approaches.
VNRs were presented by eSwatini, The Gambia, Belarus, Greece, Mali, United Arab Emirates (UAE), Eritrea, Argentina, Ghana, Latvia, the Philippines, and Switzerland. Most VNR presentations focused on the SDGs under review by this HLPF on education, gender, the ocean, biodiversity, land and forests, and partnerships.
Following the presentations, some commented on the hard-hitting questions from observers. Inquiries on a presenting country’s status as a tax haven, the need for another to safeguard labor rights, another’s need to strengthen its protection of human rights, and another’s lack of disaggregated data in its reporting helped showcase the vital watchdog function of civil society in holding governments to account in their implementation and monitoring of the SDGs.