A High Level Political Forum that Recognises and Supports Decentralised Action, and National and Local Ownership
UN Photo/Cia Pak
story highlights

At the heart of the HLPF are the National Voluntary Reviews (VNRs), which offer a critical space for peer-learning.

As the UN central platform for review, the HLPF is a locus that must strengthen the accountability to the people, building on work done at the regional and national levels, supported by the whole UN system.

Inclusive, accountable and innovative international cooperation at all levels can help us overcome these challenges and strengthen the coherent linkages among various development interventions.

We are at a crucial moment in our collective effort to build sustainable, equitable and inclusive societies.

The High-level Political Forum on Sustainable Development (HLPF), which begins on 10 July, will take place just prior to the second anniversary of the General Assembly adoption of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. Leaders around the world continue to encourage early and rapid action for its implementation. And there is momentum. At the heart of the HLPF are the National Voluntary Reviews (VNRs). This year, 44 countries will share their progress, experiences, challenges and best practices to date – double the number that did so in 2016.

These VNRs offer a critical space for peer-learning. By sharing valuable first-hand experience – whether in integrating the SDGs into national and regional plans, mobilizing resources, building capacities, or engaging stakeholders – there is no doubt of the value this will provide to other countries.

So far, the VNRs reveal a number of global trends. For example, countries are making considerable progress in incorporating SDGs into their national strategies and plans; many have conducted baseline studies and gap analyses in order to identify national priorities for action, and many are including civil society, the private sector, municipalities and other stakeholders in the planning and implementation of the SDGs. Of course, statistic systems have to be strengthened to set strong benchmarks and monitoring capabilities, and ensure adequate disaggregation for gender, age and vulnerability. In most countries more efforts are needed to ensure the general public is aware of the government’s commitment and efforts to implement the 2030 Agenda, and engaged in the review of progress.

Because of the comprehensive reach and the level of ambition of the SDGs, a vital role of the HLPF will be to imbue a sense of subsidiarity to the implementation of the 2030 Agenda. We must move decisively towards a paradigm that mobilizes and empowers. A paradigm that recognises and supports decentralised action, and national and local ownership.

As the UN central platform for review, the HLPF is a locus that must strengthen the accountability to the people, building on work done at the regional and national levels, supported by the whole UN system.

The interconnected nature of the Agenda requires us to look closely at the inter-linkages between sectors – between various levels of Government, and among the multiple actors of civil society and the private sector – and break down the silos that stop us from working together. It compels us to better understand specific national and local situations, and tailor our actions accordingly. Indeed, each strand of policy cannot be pursued independently of the other. Policies will need to take into account their various dimensions, leverage synergies, and navigate trade-offs.

The 2030 Agenda reminds us that the countries of this world are interdependent, and that sustainability cannot be achieved unilaterally.

It entails looking much more seriously at the coherence of policies that shape our international relationships, such as trade and the rules that govern our value chains, fiscal policies, migration, etc. and gauge them against the 2030 Agenda.

We face tremendous challenges in our efforts towards more integrated implementation of the SDGs. But inclusive, accountable and innovative international cooperation at all levels can help us overcome these challenges and strengthen the coherent linkages among various development interventions.

This also means that implementation cannot be approached as a classic centrally-managed global development project. It will require the participation, ideas and drive of everyone.

Probably the most significant change in paradigm brought about by this new Agenda is the commitment to leave no one behind. We are well beyond measuring poverty only in GDP terms. In a manner of speaking, the 169 targets underpinning the SDGs are 169 ways of explaining how no one is to be left behind.

This implies that we need to know who the most vulnerable are, understand the threats and challenges they face, and systematically build their resilience and empowerment into our national, regional and local development strategies.

No doubt, the key responsibility for implementing the Agenda lies with national governments. That is why the highest level of government must remain committed and engaged in implementing the SDGs.

If the SDGs are to be achieved they have to become the basis of a new social contract – a commitment from leaders, to the children of this world and to future generations, that the 2030 Agenda is not just a new deal among nations, but a solemn promise to its people.


related events


related posts