The Group of 7 (G7) will convene under the presidency of Canada from 8-9 June, to address themes that closely parallel several SDGs.
In June, many countries will release their VNRs, which will be presented to the annual session of the HLPF, providing the main blueprint for national implementation of the SDGs.
Key events related to water, oceans and sustainable development finance will also feature this month.
The annual meeting of the Group of 7 (G7) Leaders’ Summit will take place early in June, bringing a focus on where these seven world leaders agree, and agree to disagree. The Canadian G7 Presidency has selected themes that map onto the SDGs, so we will be watching this meeting closely for insights on where the SDG discussion is moving. Also in June, countries will begin releasing the Voluntary National Reviews (VNRs) that they will present during the July session of the High-level Political Forum on Sustainable Development (HLPF). These Reviews will offer insights into how the 47 UN Member States see their national governments coming together to implement the SDGs. Water, oceans and finance will also feature on the June 2018 SDG agenda.
Leadership Advancing the Agenda?
The Group of 7 (G7) will convene under the presidency of Canada from 8-9 June, to address themes that closely parallel several SDG issues. Canada’s selected themes for the 2018 G7 (and related SDGs) are: investing in growth that works for everyone (SDGs 8 and 10); preparing for jobs of the future (SDGs 8 and 9); advancing gender equality and women’s empowerment (SDGs 5 and 10); working together on climate change (SDG 13), oceans (SDG 14) and clean energy (SDG 7); and building a more peaceful and secure world (SDGs 16 and 17). Whether and how this group of countries will inject new ideas and momentum into these issues remains to be seen. Ministers from the G7 countries have been preparing for this summit over the past year, with many anticipating that the practice in the 2017 final communique to note that some issues were not matters of consensus would continue in the 2018 outcome.
The VNRs that countries present to the annual sessions of the HLPF provide the main blueprint for national implementation of the SDGs. These reports can reveal the engagement at all levels of national leadership in the 2030 Agenda, and have been the focus of studies for best practices and commitment to implement the SDGs. With the largest cohort of countries planning to present their VNRs at the July 2018 session of the HLPF – 47 to be exact – we anticipate a lot of buzz as these Reviews are released, regarding what they say about the leaders and innovators for SDG implementation.
HLPF 2018 SDGs and 2017 Follow-up
June will bring a particular focus on the sub-set of SDGs to be reviewed at HLPF 2018, namely SDG 6 (clean water and sanitation), SDG 7 (affordable and clean energy), SDG 11 (sustainable cities and communities), SDG 15 (life on land) and SDG 17 (partnerships for the Goals). For example, the International High-Level Conference on the International Decade for Action on Water for Sustainable Development, which will be organized by the UN and the Government of Tajikistan, will seek to facilitate the implementation of the Decade (2018-2018), discussing implementation nationally, regionally and globally, as well as recommendations for achieving SDG 6 and related targets.
Related to SDG 17, UN Headquarters in New York, US, will play host to a triple header on technology issues. Back-to-back meetings on science, technology and innovation (STI) for the SDGs include: the Global Solutions Summit, the third annual multi-stakeholder forum on STI and a special event of the Global STI Conference (G-STIC). Meanwhile, in Singapore, the ‘UNLEASH Sustainable Development Goals Innovation Lab’ will convene 1,000 young leaders in different sectors to design and deploy scalable solutions for the SDGs.
Later in the month, the SDG on means of implementation for the 2030 Agenda (Goal 17), which includes a chapter on technology, will be the subject of an expert group meeting in preparation for the HLPF. This expert group meeting follows similar sessions on SDG 15, SDG 12 (responsible consumption and production) and interlinkages among the SDGs, as well as other meetings and processes to assess challenges and implementation status for the HLPF 2018 review.
With World Oceans Day celebrated on 8 June annually, June is usually a big month for ocean-related announcements. This time last year was of particular importance for ocean policy, as the UN Ocean Conference brought together the international community to focus on SDG 14, and concluded with 1,300 commitments. June 2018 will host a number of ocean-related events, including the UN Open-ended Informal Consultative Process on Oceans and the Law of the Sea, which facilitates the General Assembly’s review of ocean affairs and will focus on “Anthropogenic underwater noise.” In addition, the 5th International Marine Conservation Congress (IMCC, #IMCC5) will convene to advance discussions on marine conservation science and policy. World Environment Day, celebrated on 5 June, will focus global attention on another ocean-related theme: “Beat Plastic Pollution.”
Financing International Objectives
A number of key discussions on sustainable development financing will also take place in June. UN General Assembly President Miroslav Lajcak has said that he hopes the event he is convening titled, ‘Financing for SDGs – Breaking the Bottlenecks of Investment, from Policy to Impact,’ will act as a platform for stronger public-private partnerships (PPPs), and will explore ways for the UN to better align with the “rapidly changing world of international finance,” as well as support the 2030 Agenda and the Addis Ababa Action Agenda (AAAA).
European Development Days 2018 will focus on the overall theme, ‘Women and Girls at the Forefront of Sustainable Development: Protect, Empower, Invest.’ Participants will no doubt also reflect on the recently released ‘EU budget for the future,’ as well as the Commission’s proposals to “enable the EU financial sector to lead the way to a greener and cleaner economy.”
June 2018 will close out with a focus on financing issues, as the Sixth Assembly of the Global Environment Facility (GEF) convenes. Among other issues, this body will consider the results of negotiations on the seventh GEF replenishment, which resulted in nearly 30 countries pledging a total of US$4.1 billion to the GEF. Open plenary sessions of the Assembly will discuss the state of the global environment, and the transformations needed to protect it, as well as how implementation of GEF-7 can contribute to needed change.
Lauren Anderson, Faye Leone, Lynn Wagner