High-level speakers discussed progress, missed opportunities, and the value of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development as a guide to build back better from the global pandemic.
Among the agenda items discussed on the second day of the HLPF were the 21 SDG targets that matured in 2020 and have not been fully achieved.
The 2021 session of the High-level Political Forum on Sustainable Development opened on 6 July 2021 with a series of high-level statements regarding progress, missed opportunities, and the value of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development as a guide to build back better from the global pandemic.
As reported in the Earth Negotiations Bulletin, UN Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) President Munir Akram (Pakistan) opened the session and said the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and the Addis Ababa Action Agenda on financing for development can serve as guides to face current challenges.
ECOSOC Vice President Juan Sandoval Mendiolea presented key messages from the ECOSOC Integration Segment, including the need to: restore trust in institutions and rebuild the social compact; leave no one behind; eliminate inequalities; build an economic recovery guided by satisfying human needs and the environment; develop a new more equitable and sustainable model of development; enhance global digital connectivity; and collect high-quality reliable data.
Macky Sall, President of Senegal, called for equal access to vaccines and additional financing for low-income countries, especially in Africa. He noted the need to overhaul the global economic system, including reform of Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) rules on credit export conditions, and clamping down on illicit financial flows and tax evasion. He welcomed the US proposal for a global minimum corporate tax rate.
Tedros Adhanom, Director-General, World Health Organization (WHO), urged for continued commitments through the COVAX initiative to ensure developing countries have access to more vaccines, data, information, resources, and technology and health tools so that every nation can keep its people safe.
Kristalina Georgieva, Managing Director, International Monetary Fund (IMF), described how the IMF analyzed how some countries are falling behind in achieving the SDGs in key areas. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, Director-General, World Trade Organization (WTO), called on Member States to free up vaccine supply chains by lowering trade restrictions, work with developing countries to identify supply bottlenecks, and share intellectual property, technology transfer, and knowledge on vaccine production.
Liu Zhenmin, Under-Secretary-General for Economic and Social Affairs, presented the Secretary-General’s report on progress towards the SDGs, which reveals ways in which the pandemic has undermined decades of development efforts.
Among the agenda items discussed on the second day of the HLPF were the 21 SDG targets that matured in 2020 and have not been fully achieved. The Earth Negotiations Bulletin reports that participants discussed the benefits and drawbacks to potentially updating the targets. Elizabeth Maruma Mrema, Executive Secretary, Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD), noted that the CBD had learned from the challenges in achieving the Aichi Biodiversity Targets and is building on this in the post-2020 global biodiversity framework, which will relate to several of the 2020 targets under SDG 15.
Among the governments taking the floor on this topic, Finland suggested separating targets into three groups: 1) thematic body and experts exist; 2) thematic body exists without experts; 3) no thematic body and no experts. She asked the Secretariat to prepare an analysis of targets and how they might be addressed. Switzerland said intergovernmental processes need to deliver on the 2020 targets, which should be updated to reflect greater ambition for 2030. And the EU stressed not re-opening the 2030 Agenda and never lowering ambition. [ENB coverage of HLPF]