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The UN Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) has released a ‘Synthesis of voluntary submissions by functional commission of the Economic and Social Council and other intergovernmental bodies and forums (E/HLPF/2016/5),' which highlights the bodies' contributions to implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development so far.

The synthesis serves as a substantive input to the 2016 session of the High-Level Political Forum on Sustainable Development (HLPF).

ecosoc7022 June 2016: The UN Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) has released a ‘Synthesis of voluntary submissions by functional commission of the Economic and Social Council and other intergovernmental bodies and forums (E/HLPF/2016/5),’ which highlights the bodies’ contributions to implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development so far. The synthesis serves as a substantive input to the 2016 session of the High-Level Political Forum on Sustainable Development (HLPF).

On the HLPF 2016 theme of ‘Ensuring that no one is left behind,’ inputs reflect that the theme “is subject to many interpretations, but is grounded in specific concepts.” The report stresses that the effort is needed as a consequence of globalization and the interdependence of countries, and that it must go beyond the national level: “the threats are inclusive and so must the solutions be.” The synthesis argues that the 2016 theme allows for “addressing inequality, taking a human rights approach, building good governance and peaceful societies, incorporating all knowledge systems and traditions, promoting national and local policies that advance inclusive development and building data capacity.” Each of these topics is elaborated upon in more detail, with specific recommendations.

Inputs describe the HLPF as “the apex platform for the review of and follow-up to the SDGs,” and emphasize that it will need to showcase specific policy recommendations and highlight cross-cutting issues. On sectoral issues crucial to inclusive development, inputs recommend that the HLPF look holistically at nexus issues, and promote policies that enhance coordination in the management of forests, agriculture, food, land use and rural development. The synthesis identifies specific sectoral issues that require ongoing attention in ensuring no one is left behind, including: gender equality; climate change; food security; health; education; water and sanitation; migration; heritage; chemicals; industrialization; oceans; forests; desertification; economic growth; trade; and telecommunications.

On climate change, inputs recommend the HLPF: highlight links between addressing climate change, safeguarding the physical environment and ensuring human rights and social development; provide guidance on aligning climate and sustainable development objectives; and inject urgency into making progress on climate change, particularly within the next five years.

On water and sanitation, the synthesis observes an urgent need for improved cooperation and synergies between sectors and for more sustainable water use. Inputs highlight gaps and priority areas of action, such as: fragmentation of water-related responsibilities across authorities and levels of government; limited capacity in human resources, expertise and infrastructure; improvements in efficiency of water-energy systems; and the effect of water pollution on human health.

On chemicals, inputs suggest the HLPF highlight the lack of political consensus for a number of chemicals, which results in limited support for many developing countries and countries with economies in transition to assess and manage the risks posed by hazardous chemicals. It also increases the vulnerability of those countries to the potential risks that chemicals and pesticides pose to the environment, human health and wildlife.

On oceans, inputs reflect on numerous challenges facing oceans and small-scale fishing communities. Observing that private sector use of the oceans is rapidly expanding, inputs suggest industry is well placed to develop and implement solutions to ensure sustainable marine ecosystem use and reduce impacts.

On forests, inputs stress that achieving forest-related SDGs will require integrated actions across agriculture, forestry and fishery sectors that take into account synergies and trade-offs across sectors. The synthesis reflects on a number of key lessons learned, including: forests as fundamental to food security, improved livelihood, increased community resilience and climate change adaptation and mitigation; and integrated approaches to land use as a way forward for improving policies and practices to address drivers of deforestation and land use conflicts, among other challenges.

On desertification, the synthesis highlights unprecedented rates of land degradation and ecosystem loss, which it states constrains agricultural productivity, threatens food security and livelihoods, and contributes to migration. It recommends multi-sectoral land use planning and greater coordination and cooperation in planning and decision-making across government agencies, enabling policies and incentives and investments.

The 2016 HLPF is convening from 11-20 July at UN Headquarters in New York, US. [Publication: Synthesis of voluntary submissions by functional commission of the Economic and Social Council and other intergovernmental bodies and forums] [Submissions Website] [IISD RS Meeting Coverage]


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