30 June 2016
Monthly Forecast: July 2016
Photo by IISD/ENB | Pamela Chasek
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In July 2016, the UN High-Level Political Forum on Sustainable Development (HLPF) will hold its first meeting since governments adopted the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

All eyes will be on its discussions regarding follow-up and review of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, and the presentations of the first governments to volunteer for national reviews of their progress in implementing the SDGs.

In July 2016, the UN High-Level Political Forum on Sustainable Development (HLPF) will hold its first meeting since governments adopted the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). All eyes will be on its discussions regarding follow-up and review of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, and the presentations of the first governments to volunteer for national reviews of their progress in implementing the SDGs. These reports will showcase first movers and examples of how countries are embracing the challenge to implement the Goals.

Negotiations on the follow-up and review of the 2030 Agenda at the global level have been ongoing for several months, in an attempt to add specificity to the broad outline agreed in the 2030 Agenda. A resolution of the UN General Assembly (UNGA) on this matter was expected to be concluded in June, but it has been held up, reportedly over a proposal regarding language on “countries under foreign occupation.” Among the key elements included in the latest version of the draft resolution, that HLPF agreement is expected to:

  • outline themes and sets of SDGs to be considered at the next three HLPF sessions. The proposed themes are: Eradicating poverty and promoting prosperity in a changing world (2017); Transformation toward sustainable and resilient societies (2018); and Empowering people and ensuring inclusiveness and equality (2019). In addition, the proposed outcome indicates that means of implementation (MOI), including SDG 17, will be reviewed each year.
  • call on Major Groups and Stakeholders to report on their contribution to the implementation of the 2030 Agenda. HLPF meetings also will be informed by an annual SDG progress report and the quadrennial Global Sustainable Development Report (GSDR).
  • request the UN Secretary-General to enhance the effectiveness, efficiency, accountability, and internal coordination of the UN Department of Economic and Social Affairs (DESA), “considering the need for avoiding overlap of its work, and ensuring that the work of the Department is organized in an integrated, cohesive, coordinated and collaborative manner.”
  • call for the UN Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) high-level segment and the ministerial segment of the HLPF to be convened jointly. In addition to the negotiated ministerial declaration resulting from the HLPF under the auspices of ECOSOC, the ECOSOC President is invited to prepare a factual summary of the meeting’s discussions.

Negotiations on the Ministerial Declaration from this year’s session are currently under way.

We are also keeping track of other intergovernmental agreements that will be under discussion in July, including the New Urban Agenda that is expected to be adopted at Habitat III in October. In addition, the 14th session of the UN Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD 14) will discuss the most appropriate means of delivering on the 2030 Agenda, and the UNGA will hold a high-level thematic debate on “human rights at the centre of the global agenda.”

Several events in July will contribute inputs to global climate change policy making processes. The 7th Petersberg Climate Dialogue will take place in Germany. This event, which has been hosted by the German Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation, Building and Nuclear Safety (BMUB) since May 2010, is now a fixture of the international climate agenda. The Dialogue brings together representatives from all regions of the world for informal discussions in support of the UNFCCC negotiating process. The Dialogues are chaired by Germany and the president of the upcoming COP, which, in 2016, will be Morocco.

On adaptation, the Least Developed Countries (LDCs) Expert Group (LEG) will organize, in collaboration with various bodies and organizations, the NAP Expo 2016, under the theme ‘Advancing National Adaptation Plans post-Paris,’ in Bonn, Germany. The event will feature deliberations on ways to advance National Adaptation Plans (NAPs), and is likely attract attention given ongoing discussions on the possibility of NAPs becoming developing countries’ adaptation communication under the Paris Agreement.

As for mitigation, the resumed 37th Meeting of the Open-Ended Working Group (OEWG 37) of the Parties to the Montreal Protocol on Substances that Deplete the Ozone Layer will convene in Vienna, Austria, followed by OEWG 38 and the Third Extraordinary Meeting of the Parties (ExMOP 3). These meetings are expected to focus on efforts to conclude a hydrofluorocarbon (HFC) Amendment to the Protocol in 2016. HFCs were developed as replacements for ozone depleting CFCs (chlorofluorocarbons), but the global warming potential of HFCs was subsequently discovered to be 3,830 times more potent than that of carbon dioxide, and with a lifetime of 14 years.

In July, UNFCCC Parties will also be busy preparing submissions that were called for during the May Bonn talks. Submissions are expected from Parties and observer organizations by 29 August on issues including the development of modalities for the accounting of financial resources provided and mobilized through public interventions in accordance with Article 9, paragraph 7, of the Paris Agreement. Parties, Nairobi Work Programme (NWP) partner organizations and other relevant organizations are to submit their views on climate impacts on human health. Submissions from Parties are expected on the annual focus area or theme for the Paris Committee on Capacity-building for 2017, and on which representatives of the bodies established under the Convention and of the operating entities of the Financial Mechanism should be invited to the first meeting of the Paris Committee on Capacity-building, with a view to the Subsidiary Body for Implementation (SBI) making a recommendation on this matter for consideration and adoption at COP 22 in November 2016. Submissions from Parties also are expected on possible elements and guiding principles for continuing and enhancing the Lima work programme on gender, taking into account recommendations and insights resulting from activities already completed under the work programme.

The governing bodies for the Committees on Forestry and Fisheries of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the UN (FAO) will convene in July. The agendas for both events will feature topics related to monitoring their respective topics and linkages with the Paris Agreement on climate change and the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. The agenda for the 23rd session of the FAO Committee on Forestry (COFO) also includes discussion of a three-year collaborative programme with Google that is focused on making geospatial and mapping products more accessible so countries can use this technology to fight climate change and for development planning. The ‘State of the World’s Forests (SOFO) 2016‘ and FAO ‘Voluntary Guidelines on National Forest Monitoring’ will be released during this session. The 32nd session of the FAO Committee on Fisheries (COFI) will include a High-level Special Event celebrating the entry into force of the ‘Agreement on Port State Measures to Prevent, Deter and Eliminate Illegal, Unreported and Unregulated Fishing’ (PSMA), which is the first binding international agreement on Illegal, Unreported and Unregulated Fishing (IUU) and is expected to support efforts to ensure responsible fish stock management and sustainable fisheries (and achievement of SDG 14). The meeting will also see the release of the ‘State of World Fisheries and Aquaculture (SOFIA) 2016,’ as well as consider progress in the implementation of the Code of Conduct for Responsible Fisheries and related instruments.


Lynn Wagner, Alice Bisiaux, Faye Leone and Lauren Anderson

We are pleased to bring you the Monthly Forecast. Please contact us with any comments or suggestions on this column. For more information on key sustainable development events in July 2016, please consult our calendar of upcoming events: http://sdg.iisd.org/events/. For information after these events conclude, visit our Policy & Practice knowledgebase: http://sdg.iisd.org/.

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