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The 2016 meeting of the High-level Political Forum on Sustainable Development (HLPF) under the auspices of the UN Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) adopted a Ministerial Declaration, focusing on the meeting's theme of 'Ensuring that no one is left behind.'

hlpf2016_20jul22 July 2016: The 2016 meeting of the High-level Political Forum on Sustainable Development (HLPF) under the auspices of the UN Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) adopted a Ministerial Declaration, focusing on the meeting’s theme of ‘Ensuring that no one is left behind.’

HLPF 2016 took place from 11-20 July, at UN Headquarters in New York, US, with the participation of nearly 1,500 Member States, Major Groups and other stakeholders, and intergovernmental and UN organizations. Participants convened in a series of moderated dialogues and, as part of the two-day Ministerial Segment, heard presentations from 22 countries on their voluntary national reviews (VNRs). According to the Earth Negotiations Bulletin, key messages of the meeting included the importance of: implementing the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) in their entirety; reaching out to the most vulnerable; better data collection; mobilizing resources at the national and international level; and coordination, coherence and integration.

The Ministerial Declaration: recognizes the importance of peace and security for sustainable development; that factors giving rise to violence, insecurity and injustice such inequality, corruption, poor governance, and illicit financial flows are addressed in the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development; the importance of rebuilding efforts to resolve or prevent conflict, and to support peace-building; recognizes the importance of regional and sub-regional forums on sustainable development; the need for accessible, timely, reliable and high-quality disaggregated data; the importance of participatory and inclusive implementation, follow-up and review of the 2030 Agenda at all levels; the importance of universal respect for human rights and human dignity; and the crucial role of gender equality and the empowerment of women and girls in achieving the SDGs; and welcomes the inaugural Financing for Development (FfD) Forum and its intergovernmentally agreed conclusions; work of the Inter-Agency Task Force and the progress made under the Technology Facilitation Mechanism; and the decision of the Statistical Commission on the global indicator framework for the SDGs and targets.

On the Paris Agreement on climate change, the Ministerial Declaration welcomes the Paris Agreement and recognizes the specific challenges related to climate change faced by each country, in particular, the most vulnerable countries; the global challenge of reducing vulnerability to climate change; synergies between the 2030 Agenda and the Paris Agreement; and mobilization of resources to support implementation. The paragraph relating to the Paris Agreement on climate change was put to a vote. One hundred forty-one countries voted to keep the paragraph, one voted against, and three abstained. The declaration was adopted with the paragraph intact.

The Ministerial Declaration also includes a GSDR Annex that describes the report as an important part of the follow-up and review process for the 2030 Agenda and its role in providing an evidence-based instrument to support policy makers. In the Annex, the HLPF decides inter alia, that: the scope of the GSDR will be universal, consider all three dimensions of sustainable development, and provide guidance on the state of sustainable development from a scientific perspective; the GSDR will be produced every four years; the methodology will be guided by principles of, among others, objectivity, independence, inclusiveness and scientific excellence and integrity with the GSDR representing a dialogue among scientists on sustainable development, with balanced geographical participation and assessment of existing assessments; and the complementary and distinct nature of the SDGs Progress Report and the GSDR with the Progress Report prepared on the basis of a global indicator framework and the GSDR focused on the science-policy interface.

In its brief analysis of the 2016 HLPF, the Earth Negotiations Bulletin notes that as the first Forum since the adoption of the 2030 Agenda, it set an example for future years. The VNR process, it suggests, “has the potential to be the centerpiece of the HLPF going forward” but much will depends on the extent to which governments can “localize” the 2030 Agenda. [UN Press Release] [UNISDR Press Release] [IISD RS Meeting Coverage of HLPF] [HLPF 2016 Website]


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