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2019 – a critical year for staying on-track to realize SDGs

As stated in the UN DESA Voice, 2019 will be a critical year for the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. Two High-level Political Forums will take place: one in July under the auspices of the Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC), which will complete its first cycle; and one in September at the summit level under the auspices of the General Assembly.

Many countries can be seen to be aligning their national policies and institutions behind the SDGs. The private sector is taking action to invest in new technologies, opening up new markets, and building the sustainable and inclusive economy of the 21st century. Civil society organizations (CSOs) and other stakeholders are using the SDGs to drive change at all levels and to hold their Governments accountable.

Gaps, however, are evident, with the world remaining on a trajectory of increasing inequality. It is also facing armed conflicts, humanitarian and environmental crises, and economic, financial and climate challenges. The scale and pace of change in public and private investment in sustainable development also remain alarmingly insufficient, with greater financing, investments and technological innovation urgently needed.

In 2019, UN Department of Economic and Social Affairs (DESA) will launch the Global Sustainable Development Report, an analysis by an independent group of scientists undertaken every four years to assess where we stand. In addition, it will release several other analytical reports to assess progress made towards the SDGs to provide context to this year’s high-level discussions. Together with the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), it will co-facilitate a conference in the spring, seeking to amplify the interlinkages between climate action and the broader 2030 Agenda and share best practices on attracting financing for both.

High-level Political Forum in July

The HLPF will be convened under the auspices of ECOSOC from 9 to 18 July 2019 and will address the theme “Empowering people and ensuring inclusiveness and equality”. Fifty-one countries, both developed and developing, will present their Voluntary National Reviews (VNRs), sharing their national experiences, including successes, challenges and lessons learnt, in implementing the 2030 Agenda and SDGs. Of these the following countries are in the UNECE Region: Azerbaijan, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, France, Iceland, Israel, Kazakhstan, Liechtenstein, Serbia, Turkey, United Kingdom.

The HLPF will review progress in the thematic areas of quality education (SDG 4), decent work and economic growth (SDG 8), reduced inequalities (SDG 10), climate action (SDG 13), peace, justice and strong institutions (SDG 16), and partnerships for the Goals (SDG 17). Expert Group Meetings on each SDG are planned to prepare and inform the thematic discussions at HLPF.

High-level Political Forum in September – SDG Summit

The HLPF under the auspices of the General Assembly will be held at the summit level on 24 and 25 September 2019. Heads of State and Governments, together with CSO leaders and those from foundations, the business sector and other stakeholders, will focus on the overall implementation of the 2030 Agenda.

Areas of progress towards the SDGs will be identified and actions for scaling up will be considered. A political declaration of Heads of State and Government is expected to give guidance as to how to accelerate the implementation of the 2030 Agenda and SDGs. The SDG Summit will complement the Secretary-General’s Climate Summit, to be held on the day before.

DESA has launched a call to receive good practices and success stories in SDG implementation by all stakeholders through its SDG Good Practices portal. The main findings of this evidence-based stocktaking will be highlighted and showcased in the lead-up to, and during the Summit.

A series of side and special events are planned to complement the July HLPF and the SDG Summit, aiming at engaging and mobilizing partners around the SDGs. They will include the SDG Business Forum, Partnership Exchange, SDG Film Festival, Chief Sustainability Officers event, Major Groups and Other Stakeholders meeting, an event with universities and higher education institutions, and Local and Regional Governments Forum, which will convene mayors from the world’s major cities to focus on ways to localize the 2030 Agenda.

Other related events

2019, four years after the adoption of the Addis Ababa Action Agenda (AAAA), will also provide an opportunity to review progress on its commitments and the current state of play on the means of implementation of the 2030 Agenda.  The ECOSOC Financing for Development Forum and SDG Investment Fair in April 2019 will provide critical junctures for building momentum in response to emerging risks to the economic outlook and potential opportunities and will feed into the High-level Dialogue on Financing for Development in September 2019.

In September 2019, the UN General Assembly will also hold a one-day high level review of the progress made in addressing the priorities of small island developing States (SIDS) through the implementation of the SIDS Accelerated Modalities of Action (SAMOA) Pathway which will lead to a concise, action-oriented and inter-governmentally agreed political declaration.

For more information: High-level Political Forum on Sustainable Development

Richard Huggard