CDP at the High-Level Political Forum (HLPF) 2020
Committee for Development Policy (CDP) members participated in the 2020 HLPF that took place from July 7 to 17 2020. The HLPF annual meeting is the core United Nations platform for follow-up and review of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and its 17 Sustainable Development Goals.
José Antonio Ocampo: “A new multilateralism for the for post-Covid-19”. On July 17, Professor Ocampo, CDP Chair, introduced the Committee’s 2020 report to ECOSOC at the High-Level Segment. On behalf of the Committee, he stressed that even before the COVID-19 pandemic hit, lack of progress in addressing issues that are at the heart of the 2030 Agenda – inequality and climate change – was already holding back the implementation of the SDGs and threatening to reverse advances made. A condition for the success of strategies to recover from COVID-19, address inequality and climate change, and meet the SDGs, Professor Ocampo stated, was a strong, supportive multilateral system, calibrated towards the goals of social and economic stability, shared prosperity and environmental sustainability. The immediate response to the crisis, he said, should include, among other measures, the capitalization of multilateral development banks. Professor Ocampo also referred to the impacts of COVID-19 on least developed countries which the CDP will take into consideration at its 2021 Triennial Review. [Click here for more information]
On July 6, Professor Ocampo participated in ECOSOC’s Integration Segment, in the panel on “Leaving no one behind in the context of COVID-19 and the decade of action and delivery", where he referred to the current opportunity to set the terms of public, private and third sector interaction to achieve equitable and green development and the SDGs, to the importance of a multilateralism that responds to the needs of LDCs and other countries in special situations. [Click here for more information]
Mariana Mazzucato: “We have to do all we can not to go back to normal. Normal is what got us not just in this crisis but in the financial crisis and the climate crisis.” At a panel on “Keeping the focus on the SDGs while combatting COVID-19: progress on SDGs, regional dimensions and countries at different levels of development including middle-income countries” on July 7, Professor Mazzucato discussed the problematic nature of the global financial system, which is based on short-termism and value extraction, with profits not being reinvested in areas critical to the achievement of the SDGs. The remedies to Covid-19, she stated, need to address these problems with a long-run perspective, avoiding short-term solutions that could make things worse. Asked about the key lessons from the crisis, Professor Mazzucato highlighted the importance of distinguishing between the cost of public services, such as health services, and the value that the investment in those services provides; the importance of state capacity, noting that in some countries such as Viet Nam the outcome of crisis response has been significantly better than in countries where the state had been weakened by austerity, outsourcing and privatization; the necessity of “purposeful partnerships” between public and private sectors, with conditionalities linked to bailouts so as to ensure that companies benefitting from support commit to becoming more functional parts of society; and the need to rethink how to bring purpose and stakeholder governance to the collaboration that we need on the health front and in areas such as the digital divide. This is, she concluded, the time for rethinking capitalism and focusing on missions and the SDGs to direct both the public and the private sector investments.
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Arunabha Ghosh: “The urgency of the acute crisis of the pandemic should not take our attention away from the importance of chronic crises like climate change and other planetary shocks”. At a session on “Responding to the economic shock, relaunching growth, sharing economic benefits and addressing developing countries’ financing challenges” on July 8, Arunabha Ghosh called for a new social contract whereby state, citizens, enterprise and the international community come together to address tail-end risks (those with a low probability by with devastating impacts when they do occur), and make a commitment to jobs, growth and sustainability. To address risk and build resilience, he proposed a strengthened multilateralism capable of addressing chronic risks. This would include a global risk-pooling reserve fund; a comprehensive mapping of climate risks at the local level; and the creation of new jobs in a Green Economy by fixing distorted subsidies, focusing on inequalities and taking advantage of the opportunities that exist in infrastructure for clean energy, water and sanitation, sustainable agriculture and mobility.
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Diane Elson: “If anyone is left behind we are all at risk. We need universal social protection and services, solidarity and cooperation.” Moderating the panel entitled “Are we leaving no one behind in eradicating poverty and working towards the 2030 Agenda?” on July 9, Professor Elson opened the session by stressing that many people were not only being left behind but also pushed behind even before Covid-19. Inequalities had been rising and livelihoods and health deteriorating as a result of poorly designed development, land grabs, environmental degradation, global climate change and trade and financial issues unaccompanied by adequate safeguards and social protection. Covid-19 had intensified these failures, showing clearly the neglect of investment in care service, water, sanitation, and had led to setbacks in achieving the SDGs. For example, in relation to SDG5, the burden on unpaid care workers had intensified during the crisis and women´s vulnerability to domestic violence had increased around the world. The response required universal access to social protection and services, solidarity and cooperation. In the same session, Winnie Byanyima, Executive Director of UNAIDS called for a people’s vaccine for COVID-19, available to everyone, everywhere, for free; and a transformation of the system whereby the protection of intellectual property comes before the right to life and health.
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Meg Taylor: “The crisis provided an opportunity to build back better, both greener and bluer”. On July 17, Dame Meg Taylor, Secretary-General of the Pacific Islands Forum (PIF) and also a member of the CDP, delivered a pre-recorded message during the session “Where are we heading: visions and scenarios for the future of the SDGs following the COVID-19 crisis”. After congratulating Pacific Island countries that have undertaken voluntary national reviews (VNRs), she noted the region’s vulnerability to climate change and natural disasters. With border closures, health emergencies responses and economic rescue measures, these small island economies are already encountering higher fiscal burden and debt. The crisis provided an opportunity to build back better, both greener and bluer, for which strong climate action and well-targeted development cooperation were crucial.
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