28 April 2020
Draft Resolution Provides HLPF Themes, SDGs, Areas for Acceleration in 2021-2023
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The zero draft under consideration contains proposed themes for ECOSOC and HLPF for 2021, 2022, and 2023.

It also specifies sub-sets of SDGs and areas of acceleration to be reviewed at each of those sessions.

The areas for acceleration correspond to six "entry points" for transformational change - or systems that underlie the SDGs - identified in the 2019 Global Sustainable Development Report.

UN Member States are considering a draft agreement on themes, SDGs, and “areas for acceleration” to be discussed at future sessions of the UN High-level Political Forum on Sustainable Development (HLPF). By the zero draft of the text, SDGs 5 (gender equality), 6 (clean water and sanitation), 16 (peace, justice and strong institutions), and 17 (partnership for the Goals) would be reviewed each year from 2021-2023.

Jean-Claude do Rego, Permanent Representative of Benin, and Kaha Imnadze, Permanent Representative of Georgia, the co-facilitators of intergovernmental negotiations on the review of the HLPF and the UN Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC), circulated a zero draft of a UN General Assembly (UNGA) resolution on 24 April 2020, following a virtual intergovernmental consultation on 8 April 2020. 

SDGs 5, 6, 16, and 17 would be reviewed each year from 2021-2023.

The text contains “only immediate provisions” related to the second HLPF cycle, which covers the four years from 2020-2023. The theme of the 2020 HLPF session had been selected in November 2019: ‘Accelerated action and transformative pathways: realizing the decade of action and delivery for sustainable development.’ The same theme applies to the other segments of the 2019-2020 ECOSOC cycle. 

The zero draft under consideration contains proposed themes for ECOSOC and HLPF for 2021, 2022, and 2023. It also specifies sub-sets of SDGs and areas of acceleration to be reviewed at each of those sessions, as follows.

In 2021:

  • The thematic focus would be ‘Human well-being and the SDGs: Recovering after the COVID-19 crisis.’
  • The SDGs under review would be: 1 (no poverty), 2 (zero hunger), 3 (good health and well-being), 4 (quality education), 5 (gender equality), 6 (clean water and sanitation), 8 (decent work and economic growth), 16 (peace, justice and strong institutions), and 17 (partnership for the Goals).
  • The areas for acceleration would be: Human health, well-being and capabilities; and Sustainable food systems and healthy nutritional patterns.

In 2022:

  • The thematic focus would be ‘Achieving sustainable and just economies and promoting sustainable urban development.’
  • The SDGs under review would be: 5, 6, 8, 9 (industry, innovation and infrastructure), 10 (reduced inequalities), 11 (sustainable cities and communities), 12 (responsible consumption and production), 16, and 17.
  • The areas for acceleration would be: Sustainable and just economies; and Promoting sustainable urban and peri-urban development.

In 2023,

  • The thematic focus would be ‘Universal access to energy in harmony with nature.’
  • The SDGs under review would be: 5, 6, 7 (affordable and clean energy), 12, 13 (climate action), 14 (life below water), 15 (life on land), 16, and 17.
  • The areas for acceleration would be: Achieving energy decarbonization and universal access to sustainable energy; and Securing the global environmental commons.

The areas for acceleration correspond to six “entry points” for transformational change – or systems that underlie the SDGs – identified in the 2019 Global Sustainable Development Report (GSDR). 

If agreed, the in-depth review of the HLPF and ECOSOC would be postponed until the UNGA’s 75th session (2020-2021). The co-facilitators write, “we have gathered that there is broad agreement among Member States that we should postpone the in-depth review process to a later stage.” Per the draft text, the in-depth review will be conducted “after the most acute aspects of the COVID-19 crisis have been addressed and the United Nations has resumed its normal operations.” Proposals for strengthening the HLPF are summarized in this SDG Knowledge Hub policy brief.

The zero draft of the UNGA resolution will be discussed in a virtual consultation on 8 May 2020. [Letter to Member States, including zero draft


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