Sustainable development

Necessary changes to make the SDGs a reality

The 2019 HLPF has been held from 9 July to 18 July at UN Headquarters in New York

  • 23/07/2019
  • 2 mins reading time
Photo: Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), UN

“Meeting 2030 agenda and the SDGs hinges on creating stable societies and empowered populations,” delegates have stressed, as the 2019 HLPF concluded. Likewise, Deputy Secretary-General has called for doing “much more” to reach the world’s most vulnerable people, including migrants, women, and children.

According to the United Nations (UN), as the ECOSOC’s High‑Level Political Forum (HLPF) drew to a close, youth delegates, speaking on behalf of their Governments during the Forum’s general debate, have stressed that the successful implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and its 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) will hinge first and foremost on safe, stable societies, empowered populations and the active engagement of young people. Participants have also heard the last of 47 voluntary national reviews (VNRs), a mechanism designed to assess the progress of each UN Member State in achieving the SDGs, and have approved a draft procedural report outlining the organisational aspects of its session.

There is progress, but generally not at a sufficient speed to realize the SDGs by 2030,” President of the ECOSOC Ms. Chatardová has said. Despite that backdrop, she has argued that the 2030 Agenda has been translated into concrete policies and measures: “It seems new ways of making policies are taking root, with many examples of more inclusive and evidence-based approaches.” Furthermore, stressing the importance of science and technology in advancing the goals, she has sketched out how they are being used to close gaps, such as on investing in renewable energy production and lowering prices; and countering major challenges in cities, including boosting housing affordability and accessing public spaces.

For this part, the Deputy Secretary-General of the UN Anima Mohammed has said that “the Forum remains a critical element of the 2030 Agenda’s follow‑up process,” as highlighted by the UN. Taking into account the importance of inclusion, Mohammed has stressed that “much, much more” must be done to reach the world’s most vulnerable people, including migrants, women, and children: “The international community must listen closely to the voices of the world’s young people, who are very clearly expressing their expectations.”

Taking the floor, several youth delegates have spoken on behalf of their Governments, underscoring, among other concerns, broad demands for immediate climate action to combat the effects of climate change. The representative of Denmark, for one,  has warned that the multilateral system is still not geared to the kind of change needed for a sustainable future, remarking that young people around the globe lack the support they need and could lose faith in the UN system.

As reported by the UN, several speakers at the Forum’s general debate have also emphasized that wars, civil conflict and security challenges wrought by extremist groups have seriously hindered their Governments’ ability to implement the 2030 Agenda and the SDGs. Mali’s representative has said that his country “still suffers from a multidimensional crisis brought on by poverty, youth unemployment and a lack of basic services.” Indeed, “the main development challenges facing Mali and the wider region stem from threats to peace and security, combating the effects of climate change and the need to expand State authority,” he has remarked.

Also, another central theme has been the importance of State institutions and good governance, as well as the crucial issue of political commitment, according to the UN. Deputy Secretary-General of the UN has underlined the need for transparency and accountability, stressing that world leaders will have the chance to accelerate their commitments at the Sustainable Development Goals Summit to be held next September.

About the HLPF

The High‑Level Political Forum (HLPF) is the United Nations central platform for follow-up and review of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Under the theme “Empowering people and ensuring inclusiveness and equality,” this year’s edition has focused on SDG 4, aimed at ensuring inclusive and equitable quality education and promote lifelong learning opportunities for all; SDG 8, aimed at promoting sustained, inclusive and sustainable economic growth, full and productive employment and decent work for all; SDG 10, to reduce inequality within and among countries; SDG 13, to take urgent action to combat climate change and its impacts; SDG 16 to promote peaceful and inclusive societies for sustainable development, provide access to justice for all and build effective, accountable and inclusive institutions at all levels; and SDG 17 aimed at strengthening the means of implementation and revitalize the global partnership for sustainable development.

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