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UN High-level Political Forum on Sustainable Development: Its 2018 Session

Wednesday, 06 February 2019
The annual session of the High Level Political Forum on Sustainable Development (HLPF 2018), convened under the auspices of the Economic and Social Council, took place from 9 to 18 July 2018 at the UN Headquarters in New York. This was the third HLPF session since the adoption of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development in September 2015. This HLPF session brought together government officials as well as representatives from international governmental and international organizations and the civil society with the aim to take stock of progress on the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). The five-day experts' meeting took place from 9 to 13 July and it was followed by a three-day Ministerial Meeting convened from 16 to 18 July as part of ECOSOC's high-level segment.

The HLPF 2018 addressed the theme "Transformation towards sustainable and resilient societies". In this context, it conducted an in-depth review of SDG 6 (ensure availability and sustainable management of water and sanitation for all), SDG 7 (ensure access to affordable, reliable, sustainable and modern energy for all), SDG 11 (make cities and human settlements inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable), SDG 12 (ensure sustainable consumption and production patterns), SDG 15 (protect, restore and promote terrestrial ecosystems, sustainably manage forests, combat desertification and reverse land degradation and halt biodiversity loss) and SDG 17 (strengthening the means of implementations and the global partnership for sustainable development).

The closing session of the Forum concluded with a Ministerial Declaration overwhelmingly adopted by 164 votes in favour, 2 against (US and Israel) and no abstentions. In this Declaration, the Ministers and the high officials reaffirmed their commitment to effectively implement the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development for all people, everywhere and stressed that the 2030 Agenda has “people-centered”, universal and transformative nature. Furthermore, they reaffirmed their commitment to eradicate poverty, expressing concern that poverty remains a principle cause of hunger worldwide. Moreover, the participants welcomed the Paris Agreement and its early entry into force and encouraged the Parties to the Agreement to fully implement it. In addition, they reaffirmed their commitment to implement the Addis Ababa Action Agenda. Although the participants acknowledge the progress made towards the implementation of some of the SDGs, they highlighted the need to accelerate the implementation of those SDGs with 2020 timeframe.

Under the Ministerial Declaration, the participants are committed to embrace diversity in cities and other human settlements, and to strengthen social cohesion, intercultural dialogue and tolerance.  They also acknowledged that due to rapid urbanization, many cities and local authorities face challenges in providing access to adequate housing and that migration and forced displacement further exacerbates these challenges. In this context, they called all stakeholders to adopt a sustainable-food systems approach and develop effective strategies to reduce food waste.  Simultaneously, they underlined the challenges related to plastic waste and highlighted the key role that science, technology and innovation play in achieving the SDGs. Besides, the participants stressed the efforts required to strengthen multi-stakeholder partnerships so as to ensure the international implementation of the 2030 Agenda. In the same vein, the participants recognized that sustainable development cannot be realized without peace and security and stressed that peace and security will be at risk without sustainable development. They further reaffirmed their commitment to gender equality, the empowerment of all women and girls and full realization of the human rights of all women and girls. 

Lastly, the participants commended the 46 countries that presented Voluntary National Reviews (VNRs) at the 2018 High-level Political Forum and encouraged all countries to make use of the lessons learned from these reviews so as to enhance the domestic implementation of SDGs and support the international implementation of the 2030 Agenda.


Sources:United Nations, Department of Economic and Social Affairs

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