HLPF adopts declaration of commitment to ambitious people-centred post-2015 agenda
The High-level Political Forum on Sustainable Development closed its eight-day annual session on 8 July with the adoption of a declaration that committed ministers from around the world to establishing a “strong, universal, ambitious, inclusive and people-centred” post-2015 development agenda that completes the unfinished business of the Millennium Development Goals and responds to new challenges.
Through the text, Forum ministers welcomed what had been achieved through the Millennium Development Goals, which had set out a common vision and contributed to “significant and substantial advances” in several areas.
They requested the President of the Economic and Social Council to issue summaries of discussions in the Forum and in the Council’s high-level segment, running until 10 July, to the Third International Conference on Financing for Development, which convened from 13 to 16 July in Addis Ababa.
“Our meeting was convened under a heightened mindfulness of the forthcoming post-2015 development agenda,” said Council Vice-President Mohamed Khaled Khiari (Tunisia) in closing remarks, the most ambitious one yet at the United Nations. Delegates had covered much ground, with substantive and practical deliberations on how to make the Forum fit for supporting implementation of the new agenda.
Throughout the session, he said, debates had shown that the Forum could be what Heads of State and Government attending the 2012 Rio+20 Conference had envisioned: one that provided leadership and political guidance, brought enhanced coherence to the institutional framework for sustainable development, served as the apex of follow-up and review of the new agenda, and offered a strengthened science-policy interface.
“We will need to continue these discussions so we can hit the ground running,” he said, noting that several participants had suggested elaborating a road map to prepare the Forum for delivering on its role as soon as the agenda was adopted.
Managing the transition from MDGs to SDGs
The declaration capped a day that featured the Forum’s adoption of its 2015 report, as well as two panel discussions. In the first — on “Reviewing and monitoring progress: What have we learned and how can it advance implementation?” — delegates weighed how national reviews to be conducted by the Forum starting in 2016 could best advance implementation of the sustainable development goals, with many advocating that existing review mechanisms be used to maximize impact.
The second, on “Realizing the sustainable development goals: Matching ambitions with commensurate means of implementation — resources, technology and capacities”, focused on financing, trade, debt sustainability and capacity-building as ways to advance the new agenda.
The Forum’s programme dovetailed with that of the Council’s high-level segment, which was held in parallel meetings under the main theme of “Managing the transition from the Millennium Development Goals to the sustainable development goals: what it will take”. The segment featured continued general debate on how to prepare the Forum for peak performance in 2016 and the start of two-day deliberations in the Annual Ministerial Review, the Council body established in 2007 to assess the Millennium Development Goals.
During the Council’s general debate, speakers highlighted steps to make a successful transition to the new agenda, with some advocating a “fresh look” at the Forum’s sessions. It should focus, they said, on its key mandates, such as identifying best practices, new trends and challenges, and strengthening the science-policy interface. Conversations must be broad in scope, engaging the civil society, business and scientific communities.
Several delegations welcomed the 2015 edition of the Global Sustainable Development Report as a way to drive substantive discussion, with Egypt’s delegate cautioning that it should not be used as a monitoring tool.
Twitter chat puts spotlight on new sustainable development agenda
Just following the HLPF, UN DESA’s Assistant Secretary-General for Policy Coordination and Inter-Agency Affairs, Thomas Gass, invited the online community to join him in a Twitter chat on 10 July, focusing on the new proposed sustainable development goals (SDGs) and how we can turn our vision for 2030 into reality.
The event saw great engagement from the online audience, which used #SDGsChat to engage with Mr. Gass on a number of topics related to the SDGs. Mr. Gass enjoyed receiving some 150 questions and comments on a number of issues including on youth involvement, food security, industrialization, inequality and the role of governments, civil society, the private sector and ordinary citizens in this joint global effort for an inclusive and sustainable future that leaves no one behind.
“I want to make sure that people know why their leaders are coming to New York in September,” said Thomas Gass. “It is not for the photo-op, but to promise to the people that the SDGs vision is for them.”
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