Workshop on First SDG Reporting Cycle Sets Stage for HLPF in 2019
UN Photo/Eskinder Debebe
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The third workshop in a series explored lessons to be learned from the first cycle of the HLPF.

One participant said the HLPF enjoys high visibility among UN insiders and those who follow the process, but low visibility worldwide and in mainstream press coverage.

The HLPF will convene twice in 2019: in July, under the auspices of ECOSOC, and in September, as a Summit convened by the UNGA.

12 December 2018: A workshop convened by the UN Department of Economic and Social Affairs (DESA) and the Friends of Governance for Sustainable Development presented lessons to be learned from the first reporting cycle of the UN High-level Political Forum on Sustainable Development (HLPF). Participants discussed how the HLPF can be improved ahead of its sessions in 2019 in order to deliver actions and implementation, and accelerate sustainable development worldwide.

Held on 12 December 2018, in New York, US, the workshop was the third in a series on the theme, ‘Advancing the 2030 Agenda: Lessons Learnt from the First Cycle of the HLPF – How Far can We Go?’ Following opening remarks by the leaders of the UN Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) and DESA, participants presented papers on how the 2019 HLPF can strengthen political will for implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, identifying drivers to accelerate change and discussing the extent to which commitments and partnerships should be encouraged.

Per the papers and presentations shared from the workshop, the event featured remarks from several speakers and the discussion explored a number of topics. David O’Connor, International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) and World Resources Institute (WRI), noted that the HLPF enjoys high visibility among UN insiders and those who follow the process, but low visibility worldwide and in mainstream press coverage. He explained that one aim for the preparatory process for the upcoming SDG Summit to be held in September 2019 should be to move outside the “1st Avenue corridor” where most UN buildings are located, to engage those who are not yet aware or supportive of the 2030 Agenda.

Over 60% of the targets in the SDGs will be delivered at the local or sub-national level.

Felix Dodds, University of North Carolina, highlighted that the September 2019 Summit should serve as a catalyst that links to other processes such as those under the UNFCCC. He outlined general guidance that the Summit can provide on the broader review process, and noted elements for inclusion in the expected Political Declaration in order to accelerate implementation, focusing on means of implementation (MoI).

Exploring the role of major groups, non-governmental organizations (NGOs) and local and sub-national governments, participants discussed how to better engage actors outside of the UN system. The workshop agenda notes “that over 60% of the targets in the SDGs will be delivered at the local or sub-national level.”

A discussion on the contributions of the UN regional commissions considered how these bodies, and coordination across them, can promote policy coherence, enhance Member States’ data and statistical capacities, and identify and promote innovative sources of finance for development. Yera Ortiz de Urbina, UN Regional Commissions New York Office (RCNYO), noted that regional assessments, Regional Commissions’ thematic committees, and Regional Fora on Sustainable Development (RFSD) all feed into the HLPF, highlighting common challenges across regions such as mainstreaming the SDGs into national planning processes and filling data gaps. Addressing these challenges in taking forward the 2030 Agenda, she noted, builds on pillars of regional cooperation, from national to regional level and regional to global level.

In 2019 the HLPF will convene twice: in July, under the auspices of ECOSOC, and in September, under the auspices of the UN General Assembly (UNGA) at the level of Heads of State and Government. The July HLPF will review SDGs 4 (quality education), 8 (decent work and economic growth), 10 (reduced inequalities), 13 (climate action) and 16 (peace, justice and strong institutions), in addition to Goal 17 (partnerships for the Goals), which is reviewed each year. This year’s HLPF theme is ‘Empowering People and Ensuring Inclusiveness and Equality.’

Friends of Governance for Sustainable Development is an informal group created in 2011 to enable governments to have discussions among themselves, backed by expert papers, on issues relating to good governance and the Institutional Framework for Sustainable Development (IFSD), particularly in relation to the SDGs and the 2030 Agenda. [ECOSOC President’s Remarks] [Workshop Blog] [Workshop Agenda] [Papers and Presentations from Workshop Series]


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