The NGO Major Group position paper, submitted to DESA in advance of the 2019 HLPF in July, examines progress on the six SDGs under review at the HLPF and related challenges, and calls on UN Member States and UN institutions to take a series of actions on these Goals.
The paper stresses the need to ensure that civil society is guaranteed an “active, substantive and meaningful role” in decision making, planning, implementation, evaluation and assessment related to the SDGs to ensure accountability and leave no one behind.
The paper is expected to be made available online, on the UN Sustainable Development Knowledge Platform.
8 April 2019: The Non-Governmental Organizations (NGO) Major Group has submitted its position paper to the UN Department of Economic and Social Affairs (DESA) as a contribution to the 2019 session of the UN High-level Political Forum on Sustainable Development (HLPF) that will take place under the UN Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) auspices in July 2019. The Group calls on the global community to implement a “holistic, coherent, multi-sectoral, and multi-stakeholder approach” to “all decisions and actions” in the process of implementing and achieving the SDGs.
The HLPF under ECOSOC will take place from 9-18 July, and will consider the theme, ‘Empowering People and Ensuring Inclusiveness and Equality.’ It will conduct in-depth review of six SDGs, namely: SDG 4 (quality education), SDG 8 (decent work and economic growth), SDG 10 (reduced inequalities), SDG 13 (climate action), SDG 16 (peace, justice and strong institutions) and SDG 17 (partnerships for the Goals).
As DESA explains in a presentation, Major Groups and other stakeholder organizations are invited to submit coordinated sectoral position papers related to the theme of the HLPF and the SDGs under in-depth review. The papers are considered official inputs to the HLPF, and the executive summaries of all submitted papers are translated into the six official UN languages.
Major Groups and other stakeholders include representatives from Business and Industry, Children and Youth, Farmers, Indigenous Peoples, Local Authorities, NGOs, Scientific and Technological Community, Women, Workers and Trade Unions, Persons with Disabilities, Volunteers, the Ageing, and Education and Academia.
NGOs continue to observe siloed practices on the ground and cherry-picking of specific SDGs while missing the bigger picture.
The NGO Major Group’s position paper calls on UN Member States and UN institutions to take a series of actions on the six SDGs under review at the July HLPF and on the interlinkages across the Goals. It also outlines challenges and progress achieved on the Goals. Among other considerations, the paper notes that although the positive impacts of a holistic approach to the SDGs have received considerable attention during the HLPF, NGOs continue to observe “siloed” practices on the ground and “cherry-picking” of specific SDGs while missing the bigger picture.
As examples of interlinkages between the Goals, the paper notes that co-benefits of climate change adaptation and mitigation (SDG 13) can be seen across a wide range of SDGs, including: the reduction of health risks like malaria (SDG 3); the development of renewable energy (SDG 7); jobs creation (SDG 8); conservation of life below water (SDG 14) and life on land (SDG 15); peace (SDG 16); and increased sources of financing for poor countries (SDG 17).
On SDG 16, the paper notes that wars, internal conflicts and community violence not only damage institutions, justice systems and the rule of law, but also harm societies and social structures (SDGs 10, 11, 12), increase poverty (SDG 1), make people more vulnerable to disease, malnutrition and hunger (SDGs 2 and 3), interrupt education (SDG 4), leave millions without livelihoods (SDG 8), disrupt ecological systems (SDG 13), and affect ecosystems and biodiversity (SDGs 14 and 15) and natural resources (SDG 7), including access to clean water and food (SDGs 2 and 6), among other SDGs.
On the specific Goals examined in the paper, the NGO Major Group remarks that using gross domestic product (GDP) as a measure of economic progress presents a challenges as it does not provide a complete picture of human progress, and fails to count the contributions of the 60 percent of the world’s employed population that earns their livelihood in the informal economy in urban and rural areas, and the contributions to a country’s economic stability that are provided through the “unpaid work of caring for others.” Among other recommendations, it stresses the need to add indicators of well-being as a measurement of progress in development, and to review and revise current indicators of national growth to reflect and include the realities of marginalized people.
Among the SDG implementation challenges, the paper identifies: the lack of disaggregated data on gender, age, geography and disability status; weak accountability mechanisms; poor vertical integration of perspectives from villages, cities and remote rural regions for regional and national planning; corruption; shrinking spaces for civil society organizations (CSOs) and journalists; and the persecution of human and environmental rights defenders. It notes that monitoring and evaluation of the SDGs have the potential to identify major opportunities and gaps in the 2030 Agenda implementation, and calls upon governments to ensure that civil society is guaranteed an “active, substantive and meaningful role” in decision making, planning, implementation, evaluation and assessment to ensure accountability and leave no one behind.
The paper is expected to be made available online, on the UN Sustainable Development Knowledge Platform. [DESA Presentation on Inputs and Outcomes of the HLPF for Major Groups and Other Stakeholders] [SDG Knowledge Hub Sources]