Brainstorming roundtable: “Agenda 2030 for Sustainable Development as a Catalyst for Change through Partnership: in the run-up to the HLPF under the auspices of the UNGA”

Honorable Ministers,Excellencies, Ambassadors,Distinguished Delegates,Ladies and Gentlemen,

On behalf of the Department of Economic and Social Affairs, the UNDESA, I thank the Permanent Mission of Azerbaijan, the Permanent Mission of Belarus and the Permanent Mission of the Russian Federation for hosting this important brainstorming roundtable. I greatly appreciate the opportunity for this group to come together and focus on the 2030 Agenda, and on how we can work in partnership to reach the Sustainable Development Goals. I am pleased to see the focus of this meeting on the accelerated implementation of the 2030 Agenda at country level.

The 2030 Agenda is a universal agenda for all. Achieving the 2030 Agenda is a collective endeavor. It demands strong policy measures and actions, from countries of all income levels and from actors across all sectors. And it has brought a new way of looking at development – as a dynamic endeavor in which all actors:
  •  work towards the same goals,
  •  take advantage of the synergies between their actions,
  •  address tradeoffs in a consensual way, and
  •  push towards our unwavering commitment to leave no one behind.
At the High-level Political Forum in July 2018, we saw the enthusiasm that accompanied the elaboration of the SDGs. We saw actors from all walks of life — government, civil society, businesses, Mayors, the UN system and others. Approximately 2,200 people participated in the HLPF, including more than 125 Ministers and Vice-Ministers. Forty-six (46) countries presented their Voluntary National Reviews.

Diverse communities from various sectors – including energy, cities, and water – came together with the same objective: to accelerate progress towards the SDGs under review.

Globally speaking, the progress of implementation of the SDGs has been slow and uneven. The concern for the poorest and most vulnerable pervaded the discussions at the HLPF.

There was an overall sense that we are improving the situation of many people. But there was also a sense of alarm. We still have a long way to go to reach the Goals, with little time left for action, just 12 years.

As the Secretary-General wrote in his report on Progress Toward the Sustainable Development Goals, I quote: “While people overall are living better lives than they were a decade ago, progress to ensure that no one is left behind has not been rapid enough to meet the targets of the 2030 Agenda”. Unquote.

Indeed, some people are being left behind. And some people are being further marginalized, whether by austerity policies, climate change, environmental hazards, or technological advances. Our poorest and most marginalized communities are often the most exposed to shocks and risks.

We should be guided by an understanding of who are the furthest behind and why, and by a commitment to the human rights and dignity of all people.

Partnerships are a way to bring the various actors together to deliver the response we need. Partnerships are at the core of the strategic efforts towards localizing the 2030 Agenda and amplifying the engagement of and capacity-building for all stakeholders.

Three years into the implementation of the 2030 Agenda, there is growing recognition that we need a systematic stock-taking of what works and what does not.

In this connection, my Department, the UNDESA, launched, last July, the ‘Call for Submission of Good Practices initiative’ – inviting success stories and lessons learned from SDG implementation. The collated stories will be reviewed by a dedicated inter-agency team coordinated by DESA, and the results will be made available online. I invite all here to take part in this endeavor and make our initiative truly value-added.


Now we must look ahead in anticipation of the HLPF under the auspices of the General Assembly in 2019, which will be a meeting by Heads of State and Government.

We should use this summit of the HLPF to reaffirm our shared commitment to realize the SDGs by 2030, and pledge to step up our efforts in areas where we are lagging behind. We need to decide the process of the next cycle of the HLPF. We need to review the progress of the implementation of 17 SDGs in the first 4 years and more importantly, we need to confront the gaps and challenges in the achievement of the 2030 Agenda.

The summit of the HLPF will be the culmination of a series of high-level events, starting with the HLPF in July 2019, and continuing with the General Assembly high-level dialogue on financing for development, and the Secretary-General’s Climate Summit.

We should reflect on how each event contributes to the next, lifts our level of ambition, and paves the ground for agreeing on transformative actions at the Summit.

I see today’s meeting as an important occasion to start this conversation. I would encourage everyone’s continued engagement in the reflection towards the HLPF in September 2019.

I look forward to working closely with you as we move ahead through this year and into 2019.

Thank you.
File date: 
Wednesday, October 3, 2018
Mr. Liu