Monthly Forecast July 2018: HLPF and SDGs 6, 7, 11, 12, 15 and 17
Photo by IISD | Lynn Wagner
story highlights

The annual meeting of the High-level Political Forum on Sustainable Development (HLPF) in July has turned this once slower month into the biggest convening event of the year.

The Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) subsidiary bodies are meeting in Montreal during the first two weeks.

The means of implementation discussion that many will remember July 2018 for was the Green Climate Fund (GCF) Board meeting.

For those following policy related to the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, as we at the SDG Knowledge Hub do, July has become the month we wait for each year.

The annual meeting of the High-level Political Forum on Sustainable Development (HLPF) in July has turned this once slower month into the biggest convening event of the year. Several dozen countries use the event as the deadline for preparing their national strategies and/or assessments for SDG implementation (aka Voluntary National Reviews (VNRs)). UN agencies report on data related to SDG implementation, and non-governmental organizations (NGOs) prepare shadow reports and talking points for areas that need further attention.

The 2018 edition of the HLPF has been packed so far with new report and project launches, from the SDG 6 Synthesis Report, through which a UN-Water-led group of UN agencies prepared an assessment of the state of implementation of SDG 6 (clean water and sanitation) to the rebranding and strategy launch for the 10-Year Framework of Programmes (10YFP) on Sustainable Consumption and Production (SCP), as the One Planet Network. Many reports from the 47 countries presenting a VNR this year are being released, and ministers and other national dignitaries will be at the Forum during the second week to discuss their experiences.

On the sidelines of the HLPF (and even in the plenary session, if the first day is to be a guide), we expect discussions to take place on the best format for the HLPF in future sessions. Many speakers during the first “in-depth” review of the HLPF 2018 session – on SDG 6 – lamented that, based on the current schedule, this important goal will only be given three hours of HLPF attention every four years. They recognized that the sub-national, national and regional preparations for this three-hour discussion represented valuable inputs to the global discussion, but the question remains regarding whether the HLPF’s role can be more than to stimulate preparatory discussions and reports.

July 2018 opened with a number of meetings on other issues on the SDG agenda for the month. The Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) subsidiary bodies are meeting in Montreal during the first two weeks. A number of high-level officials focused on biodiversity are expected to attend the HLPF high-level segment, following the CBD meetings, and will provide inputs to the HLPF review of SDG 15 (life on land) at that time. Also relevant to this Goal, the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) will hold the thirtieth meeting of the CITES Animals Committee (AC30) and twenty-fourth meeting of the CITES Plants Committee (PC24). These meetings consider the impacts of trade along with capacities to regulate and conserve the wild animal and plant populations.

HLPF 2018 is also reviewing SDG 17, although for many, July’s more memorable discussion on means of implementation is sure to be the Green Climate Fund (GCF) Board meeting. Following four days of “challenging and difficult” negotiations, the 20th meeting of the GCF Board failed to reach agreement on several issues, including matters relating to replenishment, approval of funding proposals and the accreditation of new partners, and did not approve any new projects. GCF Executive Director Howard Bamsey also announced that he was stepping down, after almost two years in the role. The GCF now looks to the next meeting of the Board, scheduled to convene from 23-26 October, to resolve some of the challenges and move work forward.

We will be watching for the Earth Negotiations Bulletin coverage of the HLPF, especially its final summary, which will seek to make sense on the HLPF’s contributions to SDG implementation and next steps. In the meantime, we are publishing stories on the SDG Knowledge Hub each day during the HLPF, to help you keep up with the new reports and discussions that are driving the SDG implementation agenda.

Lynn Wagner, Elena Kosolapova, Lauren Anderson and Faye Leone


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