11 June 2020
Member States Consider 8-Goal Review for 2021 HLPF
Photo by IISD/ENB | Kiara Worth
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The revised draft of the UNGA resolution on the review of ECOSOC and the HLPF lists eight SDGs for in-depth review during the 2021 session of the HLPF.

More forward-looking discussions would take place during the 75th UNGA session, which begins in September 2020.

A virtual consultation will convene on 15 June for a paragraph-by-paragraph discussion of the revised text.

The Permanent Representatives of Benin and Georgia have revised the draft UN General Assembly resolution on the review of the UN High-level Political Forum for Sustainable Development (HLPF) and Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC). By the latest version of the text, the UNGA would specify eight SDGs for in-depth review during the 2021 session of the HLPF, and hold more forward-looking discussions during the 75th UNGA session (2020-2021).

Kaha Imnadze (Georgia) and Jean-Claude do Rego (Benin), co-facilitators for the intergovernmental negotiations for the review process of ECOSOC and HLPF, explain that they focused the revised draft only on 2021 partly in order to “bridge the gap between the positions of delegations.”

The co-facilitators released the zero draft of the resolution on 24 April, which proposed themes, SDGs, and “areas for acceleration” to be discussed at the next three HLPF session (2021, 2022, and 2023). By that draft, SDGs 5 (gender equality), 6 (clean water and sanitation), 16 (peace, justice and strong institutions), and 17 (partnership for the Goals) would be reviewed each year. Member States discussed the zero draft on 8 May, and several delegations subsequently submitted written inputs: Canada, the EU, Japan, Mexico, the Group of 77 and China, the Republic of Korea, the Russian Federation, Switzerland, the UK, and the US.

The revised version of the text, dated 8 June, now identifies SDGs for review only during the 2021 session of the HLPF. Preambular paragraphs in the revised draft note that the COVID-19 pandemic poses threats to sustainable development, including in the areas of health and the world economy, and that the poorest and most vulnerable people are the most affected. This hampers progress towards the SDGs. The introductory text continues, “implementation of the 2030 Agenda is crucial to help better equip the world for future systemic shocks,” and the SDGs provide a “blueprint” for recovery that leaves no one behind.

The revised draft proposes that the 2021 theme for ECOSOC and HLPF would be ‘Sustainable and resilient recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic: Building an inclusive and effective path for the achievement of the 2030 Agenda in the context of the decade of action.’ The 2021 HLPF would take up three “areas of acceleration”: health and human well-being; sustainable, inclusive and resilient economies; and healthy nutrition patterns.

In-depth reviews would be held on several SDGs – “namely, but not limited to” the eight SDGs most closely associated with these areas: Goal 1 (no poverty), Goal 2 (zero hunger), Goal 3 (good health and wellbeing), Goal 8 (decent work and economic growth), Goal 10 (reduced inequalities), Goal 12 (responsible consumption and production), Goal 16 (peace, justice, and strong institutions), and Goal 17 (partnership for the Goals). The in-depth reviews will address interlinkages between the SDGs to promote actions that “create co-benefits, address synergies and trade-offs, and meet multiple objectives in a coherent way.” They would also account for the impacts of COVID-19 on the SDGs.

By the revised draft resolution, the UNGA would decide to conduct the reviews of ECOSOC and the HLPF during its 75th session, which begins in September 2020. The informal meetings for the review would be open to major groups and other relevant stakeholders.

Discussions during the 75th session also would define the themes for the HLPF and ECOSOC sessions in 2022 and 2023.

A virtual consultation will convene on 15 June for a paragraph-by-paragraph discussion of the revised text. [Revised draft resolution and letter of co-facilitators

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