UN HLPF on Sustainable Development: “Ensuring that no one is left behind”

The UN High-Level Political Forum on Sustainable Development was held from 11-20 July 2016 in New York as a platform for the follow-up and review of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and the Sustainable Development Goals.

The two-week event was divided into plenary session and moderated dialogues in week one and a HLPF Ministerial Segment from 18-20 July, which culminated in the adoption of a Ministerial Declaration on the meetings theme of “Ensuring that no one is left behind”.

The 2016 HLPF, the Forum’s first session after the adoption of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, addressed the actual implementation of the 2030 Agenda and attracted close to 1,500 participants. The Forum included voluntary national reviews of 22 countries and thematic reviews of progress on the SDGs, including cross-cutting issues. The key outcome document of the meeting, the Ministerial Declaration, is expected to maintain the momentum of implementing the 2030 Agenda.

Presentations on voluntary national reviews (VNRs) showed that countries have begun implementing the 2030 Agenda, albeit to varying extent, in terms of establishing institutional mechanisms, of integrating SDGs into their national development plans and international cooperation strategies, and of making national data collection and analyses processes relevant for the SDGs. On the other hand several countries voiced that the implementation of the 2030 Agenda also entailed pursuing existing national priorities. It was further noted that the VNRs revealed the universality of the 2030 Agenda, as developed countries shared their challenges in the global forum on an equal footing with developing countries.

The strong interlinkages between climate change and sustainable development were highlighted throughout meeting. The draft Ministerial Declaration welcomed the Paris Agreement, which was declined by Nicaragua due to the country’s concerns about the Paris Agreement not being able to limit global warming to 1.5°C. The first ever vote on one paragraph was called for at the HLPF, resulting in 141 Member States supporting to retain the paragraph (with Nicaragua opposed and three others abstaining).

Negotiations under the UN General Assembly on the follow-up and review of the 2030 Agenda are still ongoing. A draft resolution of June 2016 foresees the following HLPF topics for the coming years: Eradicating poverty and promoting prosperity in a changing world in 2017; transformation toward sustainable and resilient societies in 2018; and empowering people and ensuring inclusiveness and equality in 2019 (source:iisd.ca; sustainabledevelopment.un.org/hlpf).

An overview of the comprehensive official agenda, the 37 side events, regional preparatory meetings and all documents of the HLPF can be found on the website sustainabledevelopment.un.org/hlpf