Presentation of the Secretary-General’s report on critical milestones towards coherent, efficient and inclusive follow-up and review at the global level at the informal meeting of the General Assembly
Ladies and gentlemen.
I join the Deputy Secretary-General in thanking the President of the General Assembly for convening this informal session for a preliminary exchange of views on the report of the Secretary-General prepared in response to paragraph 90 of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.
The report was prepared in consultation with Member States; it also benefited from ample inputs from the UN system; and it took into account contributions by major groups and other stakeholders. I would like to present some of the highlights of the report.
First, the global review architecture.
The report starts from Member States’ decision that the high-level political forum on sustainable development (HLPF) will be the central follow-up and review platform.
The report outlines how the review architecture should work.
It recognizes the role of the General Assembly as the highest intergovernmental body of the United Nations. It also notes that the General Assembly needs to adapt its own agenda and working methods to the 2030 Agenda.
The report recognizes the role of ECOSOC as the central coordination body supporting the General Assembly, emphasizing its role in overseeing UN system support to implementing the 2030 Agenda.
It makes proposals aimed at using various parts of ECOSOC for contributing to global review at the HLPF, such as the ECOSOC forums on youth, partnerships or the ECOSOC integration segment.
The report points to the important role of functional commissions and other intergovernmental bodies in reviewing the implementation of Agenda 2030. It recommends that these bodies take steps to ensure that they adequately contribute to reviewing the implementation of the 2030 Agenda.
This includes incorporating the SDGs and their most relevant targets into their work. It also includes reviewing their working methods – as currently done by the Commission for Social Development and the Commission on Population and Development.
Taken together, the reviews conducted by all intergovernmental bodies should contribute to shaping an overall vision of progress, gaps and necessary political guidance at the HLPF.
The report also stresses the importance of the regional review. The regional commissions and other regional institutions have an important role.
To enable meaningful participation and contributions by all these bodies and forums in the HLPF, the report notes that the ECOSOC and HLPF themes need to be strongly aligned, and that they need to be decided early on – preferably on a quadrennial basis.
This leads me to the second major focus of the report which is how the HLPF could best work to deliver on its role as central review platform.
First, the report examines how to maximize the usefulness and impact of national reviews of implementation. It distinguishes between country-led national and sub-national reviews and voluntary national reviews by the HLPF.
It makes detailed suggestions on how the HLPF can conduct its reviews and ensure that they are followed-up.
In the annex, the report proposes possible voluntary common reporting guidelines for voluntary national reviews at the HLPF.
Secondly, the report makes specific proposals on the focus of the thematic reviews of the SDGs at the HLPF. It proposes two options: one is to review all goals at the same time through the prism of a single transversal theme. Another is to first look at all the goals through one transversal theme, and then to review a small number of goals, goal by goal.
The importance of science and data is also featured in the report as well as the Global Sustainable Development Report and SDG Progress report that will inform the discussions at the HLPF.
The report underscores the importance of ensuring that all reviews are inclusive. It examines how this may be done and shows various engagements by the UN system, the Regional Commissions, the major groups and other stakeholders in the process.
The report also highlights the important role of partnerships. It underlines that all actors need to be around the table in order for the political guidance to be given at the HLPF.
The report ends with a series of recommendations and options for consideration by Member States.
In preparing the report, we are aware that there is much diversity of views.
The report does not attempt to provide definitive answers. Instead, it seeks to stimulate debate, and provide options. I hope in that respect, the report has lived up to the expectations of Member States.