The High-level Political Forum (HLPF) is the United Nations central platform to follow-up and review on the implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, ensuring the effective participation of all state members and specialized agencies. This years’ HLPF will take place from the 10th to the 19th of July, 2017 at the United Nations Headquarters in New York City, under the theme: “Eradicating poverty and promoting prosperity in a changing world”.
According to the cycle defined for the HLPF (UN General Assembly resolution 70/299), the annual meetings will be composed by two different segments, the thematic reviews and the Voluntary National Reviews. In both, it is mandated to be open and inclusive to the participation of local and regional governments, civil society and other stakeholders.
For 2017, the thematic review will focus on the following set of goals:
- Goal 1. End poverty in all its forms everywhere
- Goal 2. End hunger, achieve food security and improved nutrition and promote sustainable agriculture
- Goal 3. Ensure healthy lives and promote well-being for all at all ages
- Goal 5. Achieve gender equality and empower all women and girls
- Goal 9. Build resilient infrastructure, promote inclusive and sustainable industrialization and foster innovation
- Goal 14. Conserve and sustainably use the oceans, seas and marine resources for sustainable development
- Goal 17: Strengthen the means of implementation and revitalize the Global Partnership for Sustainable Development, which will be considered each year for revision.
Besides, the HLPF will also include report from Member-States conducting Voluntary National Reviews (VNRs) of their efforts for the implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. These reviews aim to facilitate the sharing of experiences and learned lessons and the progress made on the implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals, building on consultation and input collected at the national and sub-national levels. The VNR presentations during the HLPF also seek to provide the opportunity for partnership and dialogue between governments, Major groups and other Stakeholders (MGoS). For 2017, 44 countries have volunteered to present reviews during the HLPF – the full list of voluntary countries may be found at the HLPF website.
In order to facilitate and organize the participation of MGoS in the HLPF, all constituencies have gathered in a permanent Coordination Mechanism. In this self-organized mechanism, MGoS help not only help guide stakeholders through the different opportunities around the HLPF, but also to produce frequent assessments of the whole global process. With that in mind, this mechanism recently presented the MGoS priority recommendations for strengthening the HLPF, which contains useful suggestions for the UN system and Member-States.
Expert Group Meeting: Enhancing MGoS Engagement in National Level Reviews
In preparation for the HLPF, the UN Division for Sustainable Development, in collaboration with the MGoS Coordination Mechanism, organized an expert group meeting, in Bogota, Colombia between the 25 – 26 March, 2017, which sought to discuss how to ensure their effective participation and contribution to the process of national level reviews of the 2030 Agenda and the SDGs. In particular, the EGM aimed to provide an opportunity to discuss strategies and approaches for improved participation in the VNRs at an operational level.
As an outcome of the meeting, it was produced a summary and list of recommendations on the principles and formats the national reviews should adopt to be truly inclusive. Besides, participants also discussed the opportunities and possibilities for the reports produced by the very own Major Groups and other Stakeholders, considering these are also fundamental actors to the achievement of the SDGs at the subnational level.
During the expert group meeting, nrg4SD was represented by the government of São Paulo, through Ms. Martina Muller, International Affairs Officer in the Secretariat for the Environment. São Paulo stands as nrg4SD Vice-President for America and has contributed a lot to the network’s discussions around the fundamental concepts that should drive the implementation of the SDGs in regional governments.
Moreover, São Paulo also shared the experience with the mechanism established by Brazil, one of the voluntary countries to present reviews in the HLPF, consisting of a participatory commission to discuss and prepare the national report. In this commission, the civil society, private sector and especially regional governments part of the Brazilian federation have been invited to designate representatives to contribute to this process.
As in the experience reported by São Paulo/Brazil, other regional governments have also celebrated interesting levels of inclusion in the processes of national reviews. In this regard, the example of Flanders, in Belgium, is an especially interesting case of vertical integration. For the Belgian report – who is also a volunteer for HLPF 2017 -, the government of Flanders, is one of the co-authors for the national report. In this regard, the Flemish government, who is nrg4SD President for the North, is preparing a subnational report, assessing their efforts in the areas of the SDGs, which will then feed into and compose the national one.
In order to collect this and other experiences from regional governments, nrg4SD launched a joint campaign with ORU Fogar to consult member regions in voluntary countries about the perception and level of inclusiveness in national processes. Based on those, the organizations will present a brief assessment report during the HLPF.