ECOSOC High-level Segment to Consider Long-term Trends, Planning Beyond 2030
UN Photo/Manuel Elías
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ECOSOC will hold its High-level Segment with a focus on future trends and scenarios, and trends' long-term impacts on realizing the SDGs.

The concept note for the Segment is now available and includes a draft programme, noting that the Segment will draw on the UN Secretary-General’s reports on ‘Long-term impact of current trends in the economic, social and environmental areas on the realization of the Sustainable Development Goals’ and on the 2019 ECOSOC theme of ‘Empowering people and ensuring inclusiveness and equality’.

ECOSOC President Inga Rhonda King will provide a briefing on the HLS and related meetings on 26 June 2019.

June 2019: The UN Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) will hold a High-level Segment for the first time since Member States’ decision on strengthening ECOSOC. The High-level Segment is now tasked with focusing on future trends and scenarios, and trends’ long-term impacts on realizing the SDGs, on its final day. The 2019 HLS will conclude on 19 July, immediately following the UN High-level Political Forum on Sustainable Development (HLPF).

According to the concept note for the 2019 HLS, which is now available in the ‘Inputs and Background Notes’ section of the HLPF website, the Segment serves as the culmination of the 2018-2019 cycle of ECOSOC meetings. UNGA resolution 72/305, agreed in July 2018, tasks the HLS to focus on future trends and scenarios, as well as long-term impacts of current trends on the realization of the SDGs, accounting for the annual theme of ECOSOC and the HLPF, which in 2019 is ‘Empowering people and ensuring inclusiveness and equality.’ Resolution 72/305 also says that discussions should be informed by the UN Secretary-General’s reports on: ‘Long-term impact of current trends in the economic, social and environmental areas on the realization of the Sustainable Development Goals’ (summarized here) and on the 2019 ECOSOC theme of ‘Empowering people and ensuring inclusiveness and equality.’

The HLS will consider whether the SDGs will be achieved if current trends continue.

Addressing this theme, the concept note recalls that the UN’s World Economic Situation and Prospects 2019 report warns of “risks and imbalances” underlying global economic growth, and “fragilities and setbacks in many developing economies” that global growth trends conceal. It notes that growing inequalities, lack of access to social protection and stagnating income growth conspire to push the targets on eradicating poverty and creating decent jobs further from reach, and also threaten the achievement of other SDGs.

The HLS will consider whether the SDGs will be achieved if current trends continue, and policy actions that could be taken to address trends with a negative impact and to accelerate progress. According to the draft programme for the 2019 HLS contained in the concept note, the morning sessions will address:

  • Trends and scenarios: Crucial transformational changes for achieving the 2030 Agenda and the SDGs, existing trends related to SDG implementation, longer-term visions such as Africa’s Agenda 2063, ASEAN’s Economic Community Blueprint 2025, and Europe 2050, as well as national long-term development plans; and
  • How can future trends and scenarios influence the course of SDG implementation? Prominent future scenarios and trends with high probability to affect global efforts to realize the 2030 Agenda.

The afternoon sessions will cover:

  • Empowering people to adapt to future trends: How future trends in economy, society, public institutions and technology can be used to empower and engage people in decision-making and maximize benefits; and
  • What do inequalities mean for countries in special situations, including fragile countries and vulnerable groups? Implications of different levels of inequality and exclusion; how to narrow the gap.

Both sessions may drawn on relevant examples from the Voluntary National Reviews (VNRs).

As of the decisions made in July 2018, the High-Level Segment is part of a cluster of meetings on the ECOSOC annual calendar that provide overall policy guidance and foster progress in the implementation of the 2030 Agenda, contribute to the overall review of the 2030 Agenda at the HLPF and look to the future of the advancement of sustainable development. The meeting cluster also includes the one-day “integration segment” directly before the HLPF (on 8 July), and the annual meeting of the HLPF under ECOSOC’s auspices (9-18 July).

ECOSOC President Inga Rhonda King will provide a briefing on these three meetings on 26 June 2019. [Concept Note for 2019 High-level Segment]


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