14 November 2019
UN Member States Considering Theme for 2020 HLPF, ECOSOC
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Governments received a non-paper outlining the background and rationale for a possible theme for the 2020 HLPF session and the 2019-2020 cycle of ECOSOC: ‘Transformative pathways to realize the decade of action and delivery for sustainable development'.

Facilitator Craig John Hawke (New Zealand) notes that this theme would allow for building on the 2019 GSDR report and the ten cross-cutting areas for action contained in the SDG Summit outcome document.

The UNGA President will convene the Assembly to adopt the theme as soon as it is agreed.

As governments work to identify a theme for the 2020 session of the UN High-level Political Forum on Sustainable Development (HLPF), the facilitator for the process has suggested a possible theme for consideration: ‘Transformative pathways to realize the decade of action and delivery for sustainable development.’

The HLPF theme each year also serves as the year’s theme for the UN Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC), as decided in a 2018 UN General Assembly (UNGA) resolution.

Craig John Hawke, Permanent Representative of New Zealand, has been appointed the facilitator for consultations on the theme for the 2019-2020 cycle of the UN Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) and the HLPF in 2020. Themes for the 2016, 2017, 2018 and 2019 HLPF sessions were identified in a UNGA resolution (70/299); 2020 is the first year for which no theme has been previously identified.

In a letter to UN Member States on 31 October 2019, Hawke said the proposed theme would allow the HLPF and ECOSOC to follow up on the September 2019 SDG Summit and build momentum for accelerated action to realize the 2030 Agenda. Hawke also provided a non-paper with background information and rationale for the proposed theme. The non-paper stresses the urgency of setting a theme to facilitate preparations for ECOSOC segments and the HLPF, noting that the current ECOSOC cycle began in July 2019.

The rationale notes that the proposed theme:

  • Is relevant to all countries and actors;
  • Emphasizes the transformation that is at the heart of the 2030 Agenda as well as the start of a “decisive decade” for accelerated action;
  • Allows the HLPF to “build on the Global Sustainable Development Report” (GSDR 2019) including its recommendations on accounting for the interlinkages between the SDGs and targets; and
  • Provides for examining “measures related to the ten cross-cutting areas” contained in the SDG Summit’s political declaration

The non-paper also notes the importance of consistency with the theme of the 2020 high-level event on the UN’s 75th anniversary: ‘The Future We Want, the UN We Need: Reaffirming our Collective Commitment to Multilateralism.’

As soon as Member States reach agreement on the theme, UNGA President Tijjani Muhammad-Bande said he intends to immediately convene the Assembly to adopt it. [Facilitator’s letter to UN Member States]

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