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UN High-level Political Forum on Sustainable Development: Its 2016 Session

Wednesday, 02 November 2016
The third meeting of the High-level Political Forum on Sustainable Development (HLPF), convened under the auspices of the Economic and Social Council, took place from 11 to 20 July 2016. The HLPF is the central platform for follow-up and review of the Agenda 2030 and its 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDG’s).  This was the first HLPF session since the adoption of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development in September 2015. It discussed a wide range of issues, including on how to ensure that no one is left behind (the core vision of the Agenda 2030), effective means of implementation, mainstreaming the SDGs and creating ownership at the national and local level, delivering the 2030 Agenda for countries in special situations, fostering science-policy interface, and boosting the role of multi-stakeholder mechanisms in SDG’s implementation.

The HLPF 2016 placed particular emphasis on the fundamental message of the Agenda 2030 “to leave no one behind”. It was stressed that inclusion and inequality continue to be key challenges for both developed and developing countries. All the countries and the international community as a whole should address multiple forms of discrimination, including against women, indigenous peoples, migrants, refugees, persons with disabilities and many other groups. In order to leave no one behind, globalization must function for everyone. In that regard, it was outlined that partnership along with disaggregated and reliable data and information, are essential elements for achieving inclusion. In parallel, institutions and policies at the national, regional and global levels are needed to support all the dimensions of inclusion and participation of all. Efforts are also required to enhance the voice of all major groups and stakeholders in decision-making and implementation processes. Besides, the meeting discussed the core challenge of lifting people up out of poverty. In particular, it was highlighted that investments in education and capacity, health and nutrition, livelihoods and resilience to shocks, and increased financial inclusion are critical elements of economic and social empowerment.

Furthermore, the HLPF 2016 emphasized that decoupling economic growth from environmental degradation while ensuring social equity lies at the core of sustainable development. In this context, the focus on interlinkages and the nexus approach in support of food security and sustainable agriculture, climate action, sustainable oceans and terrestrial ecosystems are of paramount importance. It was pointed out that food security in developing countries should continue to be a key priority for policy coherence. Especially, it was suggested that food security considerations should systematically be included in national and international decision-making, particularly in relation to climate, agriculture, food security and trade.
The HLPF 2016 also outlined that delivering on the universal and ambitious 2030 Agenda requires a revitalized global partnership that brings together a wide range of stakeholders and mobilizes diversified resources. Within this framework, international development cooperation has to respond to the transformative nature of the Agenda, building on experiences shared and lessons learned from the implementation of the Millennium Development Goals. Meeting the commitments included in the Addis Ababa Action Agenda of the Third International Conference on Financing for Development, such as on official development assistance, will be of paramount importance. Means of implementation, at the global and regional level, should identify and consider interlinkages and synergies among the SDG’s. Science, technology and innovation have to be further promoted and mobilized in support of the 2030 Agenda, with an emphasis on innovative and knowledge based capacity-building. Many countries reported that they have built or are building indicators based on national priorities and considerations. The capacity of national statistical offices needs to be further refined and strengthened. It was highlighted that data are currently lacking for monitoring effectively a number of SDG’s, in particular in countries in special situations. The progress review on the 2030 Agenda, requires enhancing efforts to collect, disseminate and make disaggregated data accessible to all. Science is needed more than ever to provide a comprehensive and integrated picture and inform the SDG’s implementation. To this end, it was stressed that the HLPF should remain a central platform for enhancing the dialogue and cooperation among different scientific disciplines worldwide.

The HLPF 2016 also discussed the main conclusions of the Global Sustainable Development Report 2016.  This report responds to the mandate from the Rio+20 Conference to contribute to strengthening the science-policy interface for sustainable development. During the HLPF meeting, countries advocated the need for the future editions of the report to make specific references to different group of countries (i.e developing countries, least developed countries, landlocked developing countries and small island developing states). It was also highlighted that more diversified scientific input from multiple disciplines needs to be further mobilized and used.

Moreover, during the HLPF meeting several delegates pointed out that awareness of the 2030 Agenda at the global level should be translated into tangible actions at the national and local level. In particular, it was outlined that creating ownership of the SDGs and boosting synergies and interlinkages will require building on national and local contexts, needs, priorities, and values, avoiding the use of blueprints. A number of countries reported that they have “nationalized” targets for the 2030 Agenda in their national strategies and plans, including institutional structures and financing strategies. They recognized that local and subnational level governments could contribute significantly to the SDG’s implementation, coordination and monitoring. They have, in particular, a vital role to play in securing the safety, well-being and livelihoods of communities, including by providing basic services.

Finally, the HLPF 2016 dealt with the content of national voluntary reviews on the Agenda 2030 implementation elaborated and presented by 22 countries. Through their national reviews, these countries provided useful information about their institutional mechanisms established for coordinating, monitoring and evaluating the SDG’s implementation at national level, the relationship between the SDG’s and their national needs and priorities, the consultation processes already put in place, ranging from interministerial coordination to the wider public consultations, the integration of different SDG’s in their national legislation, strategies and budget processes. These national reviews, which reflected many similarities and differences among the 22 countries, present a wide spectrum of SDG-related priority issues deriving from diverse national contexts and considerations.

Source: United Nations, Department of Economic and Social Affairs
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