High Level Political Forum Discusses Progress and Future of UN 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development
Picture: This year’s HLPF, “Eradicating Poverty and Promoting Prosperity in a Changing World” was held July 10th to 19th 2017 at UN Head Quarters in New York City.
Last week wrapped up the 2017 United Nations (UN) High Level Political Forum on Sustainable Development, or HLPF, the fourth convening of its kind since HLPF succeeded the UN Commission on Sustainable Development in 2013. Each HLPF session brings together high-level representatives from UN Member States and other specialized agencies to review progress of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and to discuss what needs to be done to ensure “nobody is left behind” on the ambitious journey to 2030.
“Eradicating poverty and promoting prosperity in a changing world” was the theme of this year’s HLPF, which prioritized the review of UN Sustainable Development Goal 1: No Poverty; Goal 2: Zero Hunger; Goal 3: Good Health and Well-Being; Goal 5: Gender Equality; Goal 9: Industry, Innovation, and Infrastructure; Goal 14: Life Below Water (Healthy Oceans); and Goal 17: Partnerships for the Goals.
As the 2017 session closed, various culminating reports expressed the need for accelerated effort to implement the 2030 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). According to UN Secretary General António Guterres, “Implementation has begun, but the clock is ticking… the rate of progress in many areas is far slower than needed to meet the targets by 2030.” The 2017 HLPF discussions identified intensifying war and violence, persistent inequity, and a lack of local action frameworks as some of the obstacles that have hindered advances in the 2030 Agenda. Such candid reflections on the challenges that face the SDGs are significant, perhaps even sobering, but these frank discussions and acknowledgements by the HLPF are crucial in making strategic steps forward.
Amid the varied challenges that the 44 participating Member States shared during the 2017 HLPF, there emerged a general consensus on the need for stronger partnerships at all levels of development. Lotta Tahtinen of the Division for Sustainable Development (UNDESA) explains that implementing the 2030 Agenda will require “all hands on deck, from all different types of sectors,” including “business… local authorities [and] … civil society actors.” Strong partnerships dedicated to sustainable development engender a strong sense of ownership across all sectors and allow for the sharing of knowledge and resources across different partnership groups, allowing for a better, more sustainable future for all.
Local leadership, strong partnerships, and cross-sector collaboration have been the key to the Aloha+Challenge, Hawaii’s statewide sustainability 2030 commitment. The six goal areas of the Aloha+Challenge represent Hawaii’s locally and culturally relevant framework for implementing the UN SDGs and building a more resilient future for Hawaii and Island Earth. The Aloha+Challenge, which is already tracking progress on the 2030 goals through an online open data dashboard, is a testament to the power of partnerships for sustainable development. In the future, the Aloha+Challenge will continue to work with other partnerships across the global stage in order to collaborate, inspire, and advance the 2030 Agenda.