Four years into the 2030 Agenda, the world is getting ready to assess efforts to achieve the SDGs

It is that time of the year again, when the world is gearing up for the largest annual gathering to evaluate global efforts to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Quality education, decent work, equality, a livable climate, justice and partnerships – these are the goals under review this year and 47 countries are ready to take the stage to present their efforts. ECOSOC President Inga Rhonda King stressed that the “2019 High-level Political Forum (HLPF) is a milestone as it finishes the first four-year cycle since the adoption of the 2030 Agenda”. Expected to gather more than a thousand participants from around the globe, this year’s HLPF on Sustainable Development will take place at UN Headquarters in New York on 9-18 July 2019.

“The HLPF is at the heart of the follow up and review of the implementation of the 2030 Agenda at the global level,” said UN DESA’s Under-Secretary-General Liu Zhenmin at a recent expert meeting organized by the European Commission. “It needs to track progress towards the SDGs, understand trends in implementation and key challenges, and promote acceleration of implementation.”

Realizing the promise of the SDGs

In the 17 SDGs the global community has made a promise to the world and to future generations, to end poverty and hunger, boost access to health, education and jobs, while protecting our planet from environmental degradation.

And although we can see that people now are living better lives than ever before, it is also becoming evident that the international community needs to step up efforts and make advancements on the goals much faster and at a greater scale.

Like in previous years, several of the goals will be more closely examined to see where we’re making progress and where gaps need to be filled. This year, the turn has come for goals 4 (quality education), 8 (decent work and economic growth), 10 (reducing inequalities), 13 (climate action), 16 (peace, justice and strong institutions) and 17 (partnerships) to be reviewed.

47 countries to take the stage

The annual SDG forum, this year taking place under the theme “Empowering people and ensuring inclusiveness and equality,” presents a unique opportunity to showcase progress and action at the local and country-levels, and how these efforts can make a greater impact globally.

For the fourth consecutive year, countries are now getting ready to present their Voluntary National Reviews (VNRs), sharing their work, experiences and lessons learned in making the goals a reality on the ground, benefitting people and planet.

47 countries will be taking the stage this year to share their efforts with the international community. This brings to a total over 140 nations that have presented at the HLPF since the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development was adopted in 2015.

Actions for the SDGs to inspire more action

While countries will be presenting their plans and activities to achieve the goals by 2030, there is a wealth of examples of initiatives and projects being carried around the world out to make the SDGs a reality. Last year, UN DESA made a call for input on inspiring breakthroughs and success stories that illustrate SDG realization, which can also be replicated and scaled up. And the results are in with over 400 projects logged and listed in the SDG good practices database.

In the lead up to the HLPF July event and the high-level week in September, UN DESA is aiming to highlight these inspiring initiatives – one project at a time – on the main DESA website. So far, readers can learn about sustainable farming in Turkey; the European Union going circular; student SDG training that brings broader benefits to Brazilian communities; and efforts to beat air pollution for a safe and healthy journey to school in India.

In addition, a new registry for SDG Acceleration Actions has been opened to collect and register voluntary initiatives and actions by countries and other actors to contribute to the urgent realization of the goals. Our UN DESA expert answers questions on the registry here.

Latest SDG data, live stage and special events

During the 8-day event in July, UN Headquarters will be vibrant with different activities. On the opening day of the HLPF on 9 July, the international community can expect to gain insights and learn what the latest SDGs data tell us about the situation around the world. The 2019 SDG Progress Report will then be launched at the noon press briefing.

In addition to plenary sessions and engaging panels and interviews in the SDG Media Zone on 9 and 10 July, close to 150 side events are also being organized. Higher education, philanthropy, local action and the SDGs on the big screen – these are just some of topics in focus for the many special events happening during the forum, putting additional spotlight on the goals from different angles.

“The HLPF has proved to be an integral part of the implementation of the 2030 Agenda,” Mr. Liu said. “The positive feedback from countries and stakeholders on its impact is testament to its success.”

This year’s forum will also be special, as it will set the stage for the high-level week of the 74th Session of the UN General Assembly, featuring many major events including the SDG Summit on 24-25 September 2019, arranged under the auspices of the General Assembly. ECOSOC President Ambassador King has stressed that the two 2019 HLPFs will live up to the mandate of the forum as the central platform for following up and reviewing the 2030 Agenda and the SDGs. “We have it in our hands to use those opportunities and the whole high-level week to put the world on track to realize the vision of the 2030 Agenda”.

For more information:

2019 High-level Political Forum on Sustainable Development, 9-18 July 2019

SDG Media Zone, 9-10 July 2019

Follow the events live via UN Web TV

SDG Summit, 24-25 September 2019

2019 UNGA high-level week