The 2023 High-Level Political Forum on Sustainable Development (HLPF) opened with macro views on the state of efforts to realize the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development (2030 Agenda) and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Delegates then turned to an in-depth review of SDG 17 on partnerships, through the lenses of finance, and of science, technology and innovation.
HLPF Chair Lachezara Stoeva, Bulgaria, President, UN Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC), urged all delegates to keep their eye on HLPF 2023’s objective of accelerating recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic, achieving the 2030 Agenda, and preparing for the SDG Summit in September 2023.
Conveying messages from the Voluntary National Reviews (VNRs), UN Under-Secretary-General for Economic and Social Affairs Li Jinhua outlined some progress and persistent challenges such as data gaps and limited finance, but also several innovative strategies, policies and partnerships adopted to overcome the challenges. Li also presented the Secretary-General’s report on SDG progress (A/78/80-E/2023/64), noting some progress but also some regression linked to the COVID-19 pandemic and the invasion of Ukraine.
Summarizing messages from the ECOSOC system, ECOSOC Vice President Arrmanatha Christiawan Nasir, Indonesia, urged focusing on:
- stressing interlinkages among the SDGs;
- breaking down silos;
- conducting an honest review of gaps at this midpoint toward 2030; and
- scaling up concrete, transformative action going forward.
Edward Ndopu, SDG Advocate and youth representative, South Africa, delivered the first HLPF keynote by a disabled person. He stressed the importance of meaningfully integrating youth in decision-making processes.
In a townhall, panelists from the UN system and Major Groups and Other Stakeholders (MGoS) discussed what transformations are needed to catalyze action towards 2030 and ensure no one is left behind. Among other things, in discussion and response to delegates' interventions, panelists stressed:
- more efficient, resilient, inclusive and sustainable food production systems;
- putting children and young people at the heart of SDG efforts;
- risk-informed decisions that emphasize risk prevention beyond disaster management;
- the importance of country leadership to leverage international partnerships;
- the need to recognize the indivisibility of the SDGs in national and global responses;
- addressing refugees, the displaced, and other highly vulnerable groups to ensure they do not get left behind; and
- considering SDGs data and data infrastructure as an investment rather than a burden.
Addressing the financing crisis response and investing in SDGs, panelists discussed the need for:
- considerably increasing and upscaling private capital mobilization and blended finance;
- debt cancellation;
- financing for climate solutions through mechanisms that are not debt-generating; and
- the need for investments in frontline communities.
On the role of science, technology and innovation in triggering transformation and sustaining a science-driven recovery, the panel discussed messages from the 2023 Multi-stakeholder Forum on Science, Technology, and Innovation (STI Forum), and the role that connectivity, closing the digital divide, and utilization of generative artificial intelligence might play in helping developing countries leapfrog in their SDG achievement.