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In preparation for the first meeting of the High Level Political Forum on sustainable development (HLPF) held under the auspices of the UN Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC), which will take place in July 2014, the UN Department of Economic and Social Affairs (DESA) hosted an expert group meeting to discuss the role of the HLPF in the post-2015 development framework, and how the HLPF can promote implementation, integration and monitoring of the future development agenda.

hlpf1 May 2014: In preparation for the first meeting of the High Level Political Forum on sustainable development (HLPF) held under the auspices of the UN Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC), which will take place in July 2014, the UN Department of Economic and Social Affairs (DESA) hosted an expert group meeting to discuss the role of the HLPF in the post-2015 development framework, and how the HLPF can promote implementation, integration and monitoring of the future development agenda.

Held on 30 April-1 May, 2014 at UN Headquarters in New York, US, the meeting consisted of panel discussions, keynote presentations, and small breakout discussions with experts. Martin Sajdik, President of ECOSOC (Austria), opened the meeting, stressing that feedback from stakeholders and experts will be instrumental in setting the agenda for the upcoming HLPF session. He stressed the role and importance of the HLPF in implementing the post-2015 development agenda, and he looked forward to feeding stakeholder inputs into the work of the Forum going forward.

Over the two days, stakeholders delivered presentations and thoughts on the HLPF: agenda, structure, review mechanism, science-policy interface, accountability, and engagement of stakeholders. Raymond Saner, Center for Socio-Economic Development, stressed the need for all aid actors and stakeholders – including donors – to be held accountable to the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), and for the HLPF to enforce monitoring and sanctions. Bhumika Muchhala, Third World Network, proposed the need for third-party monitoring and assessments. Other experts welcomed this idea, and called for a space for civil society reviews alongside the official UN process.

Coral Pasisi, Sustainable Pacific, emphasized the place of the HLPF as one part of a larger sustainable development landscape, which also includes the global sustainable development report, regional mechanisms, and local needs. She suggested using simplified language for resolutions, in order to ensure that they are understood at all levels. Robert Wolfe, Queen’s University, described many review mechanisms in other fora, and called on the HLPF to build and improve on these processes. Felix Dodds, Tellus Institute, supported the creation of National Councils for Sustainable Development and their role in SDG implementation, while also calling for accountability for Major Groups and “partnership clusters” around each of the development goals. On partnerships, Gavin Power, UN Global Compact, said businesses should be natural partners in the achievement of the goals through the formation of country networks for implementation.

After a second day of break-out group discussions, focusing on key questions of HLPF design, Andreas Riecken, Austria, gave concluding remarks. He remarked on the sense of opportunity, realism, opportunity, and direction from the discussions, and highlighted: the need for the HLPF to engage other actors and avoid unnecessary bureaucracy; the importance of a “robust and inclusive” HLPF review mechanism to accelerate progress; the possibilities to build linkages between the Forum and national-level institutions; and the creation of spaces for further multi-stakeholder dialogues. Riecken welcomed these inputs, and said the main points were “very consistent” with the approach of the President of ECOSOC for the upcoming HLPF session. [Meeting Programme] [Meeting Website] [IISD RS Sources]


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