July 02, 2019     cib    

The fourth High-Level Political Forum on Sustainable Development (HLPF) takes place between 9 and 18 July. This is an annual meeting of the UN where progress on the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) is discussed. This year 47 countries report to the UN and the theme of the forum is “empowering people and ensuring inclusiveness and equality”. Focus is placed on SDG 4, 8, 10, 13, 16 and 17. This year is also an important year in terms of evaluation: where do we stand, 4 years after adoption? And how can we boost progress and document on this?
 Visibility for the localization of the SDGs: the Local 2030 event
Local governments will again be well-represented in New York, through the delegation of the Global Taskforce of Local and Regional Goverments, of which United Cities and Local Governments is one of the members. UN DESA organizes a Local2030 event on July 16 and 17, which will focus on the following topics:

  1. Local financing of the SDGs
  2. Local dimensions of the Global Goals that are central to the HLPF 2019 and
  3. Voluntary Local Reviews (reports prepared by cities instead of by countries). It is intended that local authorities have the opportunity to enter into dialogue with representatives from the private sector, UN organizations and non-governmental sector.

The Global Taskforce of Local and Regional Governments has drafted a programme which includes the Local 2030 event and all other relevant events for local and regional governments. You will find this programme atached to this article. 

International attention to SDG progress
This year will also see the organisation of the SDG Summit in September, aside from the HLPF. This SDG Summit will be convened under the auspices of the UN General Assembly (UNGA) at the level of Heads of State and Government. It will take place in New York,  from 24-25 September 2019.

The political declaration to be adopted at the SDG Summit was circulated last week, with the title: “Gearing up for a decade of action and delivery for sustainable development”. The document has a three-part structure:

  1. Our Commitment: In this section the Heads of States and Governments would commit to “ensure ambitious and continuous action” on the SDG targets with a 2020 timeline – rather than a commitment to achieving them. The text affirms that climate change “is one of the greatest challenges of our time.” It expresses “profound alarm” about the continued rise of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, highlighting impacts on developing countries in particular. It also would have leaders commit to halting ecosystem degradation and biodiversity loss.
  2. Our World Today: This section ” takes note ‘with appreciation of’ – rather than “welcomes” the Global Sustainable Development Report (GSDR) and the Secretary-General’s Progress Report on the SDGs.
  3. Our Call to Accelerated Action: This section calls on the UN Secretary-General to organize an “annual moment to highlight inspiring SDG action” in the context of the UNGA’s general debate each September. It also lists ten commitments, including one to bolster local action to accelerate implementation. The Head of States will commit to empower and support cities, local authorities and communities in pursuing the 2030 Agenda. It says that they recognize the critical role in implementing and realizing the SDGs.

The Global Taskforce of Local and Regional Governments plans to organize a Local and Regional Governments Forum during the SDG summit. More information will be shared shortly.