Review of the progress on SDGs in the run-up to UN HLPF (16 – 18 July)

The High Level Political Forum (HLPF) is the main UN platform on sustainable development that oversees the implementation of SDGs at the global level. The forum was established in 2012 at the Rio+20 meeting as a successor to the Commission on Sustainable Development. It holds annual meetings under the auspices of the UN Economic and Social Council, with every four years a two-day meeting at the level of Heads of State and Government under the auspices of the UN General Assembly.

The theme of the 2018 meeting, to be held from 16 – 18 July in New York, is "Transformation towards sustainable and resilient societies" with a focus on an in-depth review of the progress in implementing the following SDGs: clean water and sanitation (SDG 6), affordable and clean energy (SDG 7), sustainable cities and communities (SDG 11), responsible consumption and production (SDG 12) and life on land (SDG 15). As in every year’s meeting, the status of establishing partnerships for SDG delivery (SDG 17) will also be reviewed. In addition, the HLPF will also focus on discussing synergies and trade-offs between different SDGs.

The July HLPF also sets the scene for the next HLPF in 2019, which constitutes a key milestone in the path to 2030 as it includes a four-year review process, including a Heads of State and Government segment. 2019 will also kick off a discussion on how best to reform the HLPF process, which is criticised for its inability to provide an evidence-based global stocktake, on the basis of which corrective collective action should be taken.

The theme for the 2018 meeting touches on current policy issues of particular relevance to the EU. Therefore, it constitutes a window of opportunity to assert influence on the implementation of SDGs in the EU, providing an opportunity to use a range of key current EU initiatives (e.g. the EU circular economy  package, post-2020 biodiversity objectives and 2021 – 2027 EU budget) to advance the SDGs debate. Building on this, the 2019 HLPF will also be of particular importance for the European Union’s approach to the SDGs; the Council has invited the European Commission to prepare a Voluntary National Review for submission to the HLPF in the 2019 meeting.

In the global context, the July meeting will be important to promote linkages between the outcomes of the 2018 HLPF, the forthcoming Global Sustainable Development Report, and other global process of relevance to the environment, including the UNFCCC, the CBD, UNEA, as well as the newly launched negotiations for a global Pact for the Environment. There is a need to set the stage for the environment to become more at the heart for the following HLPFs, especially in terms of the 4-year stocktake in 2019.

IEEP has prepared a briefing for the European Parliament ENVI Committee, to support the preparations for the July HLPF. The briefing provides an overview of key issues at stake in the meeting and progress made on the implementation of SDGs by the EU and globally, with a particular focus on the SDGs to be reviewed in depth at the Forum.

For more information on IEEP’s work on global issues and SDGs, please contact Marianne Kettunen.

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