ECOSOC Functional Commissions Submit HLPF Input
Photo by IISD | Lynn Wagner
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The UN Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) functional commissions provided a synthesis of their voluntary submissions prepared as inputs to the HLPF.

The synthesis provides a detailed analysis of the SDGs to be reviewed by the HLPF in 2018.

It notes that current trends are not compatible with achieving the 2030 Agenda in its given time frame.

14 May 2018: Despite some progress made, the world remains on a trajectory of increasing inequity and inequality, both in terms of economic resources and vulnerability to environmental degradation, the UN Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) functional commissions reported with regard to the SDGs.

The commissions provided a synthesis of their voluntary submissions prepared as inputs to the High-level Political Forum on Sustainable Development (HLPF). The submissions highlight contributions towards the implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and support the HLPF’s upcoming thematic review. The HLPF will take place from 8-19 July 2018 at UN Headquarters in New York, US.

The synthesis notes that current trends are not compatible with achieving the 2030 Agenda in its given time frame, especially for some of the key elements of “leaving no one behind,” including trends in poverty (particularly in rural areas and low-income countries in Sub-Saharan Africa), education, and housing as well as others. The text notes that the continued exclusion of vulnerable groups from the benefits of growth and from political processes in general has increased their vulnerability and decreased their resilience.

Not only are people and countries being left behind, the synthesis says, but in many different contexts, they are being pushed further behind by a variety of forces, including globalization, technological developments, climate change and other forms of environmental degradation. Many countries, it stresses, and in particular, the least developed countries (LDCs), still lack the productive capacity needed to put them on a path towards sustainable development.

By the text, recent data indicates that the world is moving backwards on hunger and the on elimination of all forms of malnutrition. Conflict appears to be the main force reversing the long-term trend of improved global food security. Further, global progress on stunting and wasting continues to be slow, while rates of anemia among women of reproductive age are on the rise, as are overweight and obesity.

The synthesis emphasizes that leaving no one behind requires focus on conflict-affected countries. A significant and increasing share of the extreme poor live in conflict-affected areas, with women and children, the elderly and disabled most affected. This requires not only addressing the root causes of violent conflict, the text notes, but also ensuring that progress on the SDGs is made with respect to the marginalized, the excluded and the difficult-to-reach populations.

The text also identifies, inter alia, land degradation and biodiversity loss as barriers to leaving no one behind. It explains that 40% of the world’s poor rely on degraded lands for essential services, and that restoring this productive capacity would significantly reduce their economic vulnerability and help promote long-term development. The synthesis also explains that, for indigenous peoples, forest-dwellers, fisher folk and others who rely directly on the products of forests, rivers, lakes and oceans for their food, fuel and medicine, environmental harm can and often does have disastrous consequences. It discusses high rates of biodiversity loss and how the decline of biodiversity-dependent ecosystem services disproportionately affects people who are vulnerable for other reasons, including gender, age, disability, poverty or minority status.

After providing a synopsis of the progress made on and barriers to leaving no one behind, the synthesis provides a more detailed analysis of the SDGs to be reviewed by the HLPF in 2018: SDG 6 (clean water and sanitation), SDG 7 (sustainable energy for all), SDG 11 (sustainable cities and communities), SDG 12 (sustainable consumption and production), SDG 15 (life on land), and SDG 17 (partnerships for the Goals). It then identifies several lessons learned and areas where political guidance by the HLFP is required, including on: policy coherence and integration; synergies and trade-offs; best practices; connecting people and upholding multilateralism; and strong data and statistical systems. [Publication: Synthesis of voluntary submissions by functional commissions of the Economic and Social Council and other intergovernmental bodies]

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