2 June 2020
Zero Draft of HLPF Declaration Calls for Sustainable, Inclusive Growth
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The Ministerial Declaration to be adopted at the 2020 session of the HLPF has been released in zero draft form.

It asserts that “insufficient efforts” to implement the SDGs have exacerbated the impacts of COVID-19, and it sets out actions for the way forward.

Member States will hold their next informal consultation on 8 June.

The Ministerial Declaration to be adopted at the 2020 session of the UN High-level Political Forum on Sustainable Development (HLPF) has been released in zero draft form. Negotiations on the text will continue in June 2020 with a series of virtual informal consultations.

The co-facilitators for negotiations on the Ministerial Declaration, Georgi Velikov Panayotov, Permanent Representative of Bulgaria, and Amal Mudallali, Permanent Representative of Lebanon, held a virtual informal meeting on 4 May and then collected delegations’ written inputs.

The Declaration would commit to accelerating action to achieve the 2020 targets and requesting them to be updated for 2030.

The zero draft of the declaration includes a section on ‘Assessment of the situation regarding the 2030 Agenda,’ which highlights uneven progress in implementation of the 2030 Agenda, with some areas stalled or reversed (hunger, climate change, inequality) – as reported in the annual SDG Progress Report released by the UN Secretary-General on 14 May.

The draft also acknowledges the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, asserting that “insufficient efforts” to implement the SDGs have exacerbated the pandemic’s impacts (overwhelming health systems, affecting the livelihoods of half the global workforce, disrupting supply chains, and closing schools, while also expected to push tens of millions of people back into extreme poverty and hunger).

The majority of the draft is a section listing ‘Actions to be taken for the way forward.’ Responses to and recovery from the pandemic are woven throughout the text. Among the actions to which Member States would commit, they note that governments:

  • “Will relaunch sustainable and inclusive growth,” reduce income inequalities and address developing countries’ financing challenges. To this end, “our economies will be reconfigured to protect the environment and create conditions for decent work for all” and support micro, small and medium-sized enterprises (MSMEs) to help restore jobs and incomes.
  • Will integrate a gender perspective into emergency social and economic schemes, noting the disproportionate impacts of COVID-19 on women, “who also face increased risks of domestic violence and exploitation.”
  • Pledge to increase their level of ambition to mobilize and effectively use all available means of implementation, in line with the Addis Ababa Action Agenda (AAAA) on Financing for Development (FfD), and to fully implement the agreed conclusions and recommendations of the 2020 ECOSOC FfD Forum. They also express deep concern about high debt levels as countries attempt to withstand COVID-19 and implement the 2030 Agenda.
  • Commit to “maintaining the integrity of the 2030 Agenda,” referring to the SDG targets with a 2020 deadline, including by: ensuring ambitious and continuous action on those targets, accelerating efforts to achieve them, and requesting intergovernmental fora and bodies to review and update them “to reflect a suitable level of ambition for 2030.”
  • Urge the UN to make better use of the Voluntary National Reviews presented each year during the HLPF by national governments, to support accelerated SDG achievement and encourage peer learning. 

The text ends with a commitment to “invest more in human capital, to empower children, adolescents and youth, as critical agents of change, and support their meaningful participation in realizing the vision of the 2030 Agenda.”

Delegations will hold their next informal consultation on 8 June. Each of the Major Groups and other Stakeholders can nominate one representative to participate in the meeting and submit a written statement. Three representatives will be invited to make statements. The consultation will not be webcasted.

Additional informal consultations will convene on 16 June and 23 June, and the co-facilitators then plan to finalize agreement on the draft using the silence procedure.

The 2020 HLPF takes place from 7-16 July. The format is expected to be virtual, although some small, in-person meetings of New York-based participants reportedly have been considered. Registered participants will be able to attend the virtual meetings, while others can follow the meeting through the UN webcast or YouTube. Side events and exhibitions will take place only virtually.

The latest programme for the HLPF was released on 14 May, indicating that the Voluntary National Reviews will proceed on 10 July and from 13-16 July. The presenters include one country making its third VNR, 26 countries making their first VNRs, and 20 making their second-time presentations. (Since our previous update on VNR countries, Zimbabwe no longer appears on the list of second-time presenters). [Co-facilitators’ letter to Member States on 8 May] [SDG Knowledge Hub sources]

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