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2020 High-Level Political Forum on Sustainable Development (HLPF 2020)

Accelerated Action and Transformative Pathways: Realizing the Decade of Action and Delivery for Sustainable Development

7-16 July 2020 | UN Headquarters, New York

Highlights for Wednesday, 8 July 2020

The second day of the online HLPF 2020 focused on how COVID-19 impacts small-island developing states (SIDS), and how to "build back better" to have the greatest impact on achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

COVID-19 has uncovered several shortcomings in both global and national systems, and the calls for reform were repeated during the second day of the HLPF. Discussions continued under the umbrella theme of “Building back better after COVID-19 and acting where we will have the greatest impact on the SDGs.”

  • Arunabha Ghosh

In a session on “Responding to the economic shocks, relaunching growth, sharing economic benefits and addressing developing countries’ financing challenges” in the morning, experts called for measures such as: “a global risk pooling reserve fund” to cushion vulnerable countries against chronic risks, including climate change; social protection; and labor protection floors. In the discussion, governments shared national efforts to address the impacts of COVID-19, while describing global solidarity as the “only antidote” to its devastating impacts.

  • Alicia Bárcena

The “everyday challenges of smallness and isolation” of small island developing states (SIDS) were in sharp focus during the session on “Mobilizing international solidarity, accelerating action and embarking on new pathways to realize the 2030 Agenda and the SAMOA Pathway.” With tourism at a standstill, delegates from SIDS described themselves as “walking a tightrope” between vanishing revenue streams and a major pile-up of debt that needs servicing. Most of them are locked out from access to concessional finance because they fall into the middle-income country (MIC) category. The situation is “untenable,” and a number of speakers – not only from small islands – agreed that income indicators are too narrow as criteria for access to official development assistance (ODA) and other forms of concessional finance. Instead vulnerability, with all its dimensions should be the focus, said one delegate.

  • Terri Toyota

The session on “Protecting the planet and building resilience” discussed the importance of moving from disaster response to prevention, and of integrated approaches across the 2030 Agenda, the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction, the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD), and the Paris Agreement on climate change. The importance of prioritizing local traditions, needs, and aspirations to protect the planet was recognized. Governments were urged, among other things, to ensure that their recovery efforts: “do no further harm” to the health of people and nature; employ subsidies, incentives, investments, and regulations to encourage positive behavior; and mainstream the health of people and nature into all sectors of the economy.

  • Adjany Costa

Finally, a session on “Sustaining efforts to ensure access to sustainable energy” highlighted the synergies between efforts to achieve SDG 7 (access to affordable, reliable, and sustainable energy) and the 2030 Agenda, plan post-pandemic recovery, and address climate change.

  • Kitty Sweeb

For more details on the day’s negotiations and to read what delegates said in the cyber-corridors, see our daily Earth Negotiations Bulletin.

Images from the Meeting

Videos from the Meeting

Carolina Sánchez-Páramo, Global Director of Poverty, World Bank
Elizabeth Mrema, Executive Secretary, Convention on Biological Diversity
Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum, Attorney-General, and Minister for Economy, Civil Service and Communications, Fiji
Sheila Oparaocha, Executive Director, ENERGIA (International Network on Gender and Sustainable Energy)
Francesco La Camera, Director-General, International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA)
Eva Svedling, State Secretary at the Ministry of Environment, Sweden

HLPF Resources

IISD ENB/ENB+ Meeting Coverage

IISD Resources