Project Description

July 6-16, New York.

This year’s High Level Political Forum (HLPF), organized by ECOSOC, was held virtually in New York from July 6 to 16. This forum represents the highest UN-level body for monitoring the implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), and involves, in addition to representatives of States, different interest groups: representatives of NGOs and associations, local governments and international institutions, as well as companies and universities.

The first week of the Forum featured a first cycle of conferences and informal discussions on the progress of the implementation of SDGs 1 (no poverty), 2 (zero hunger), 3 (health and well-being), 8 (decent work and economic growth), 10 (reduction of inequalities), 12 (responsible production and consumption), 13 (climate action), 16 (peace, justice and strong institutions) and 17 (partnerships to achieve the goals), with a special focus on post-COVID19 economic recovery.

At the opening of the HLPF, ECOSOC Vice-President Liu Zhenmin, Under-Secretary-General of the United Nations, presented the UN Secretary-General’s report on progress towards the SDGs and actions taken during COVID19, noting the negative effects of the pandemic on the implementation of the SDGs and the setback it has entailed compared to March 2020.

The second week of the Forum, focused on the review of the Voluntary National Reviews (VNR), culminated in the presentation, on July 16, of the Ministerial Declaration resulting from these two weeks of reflection and debate. The Declaration contains 50 points, highlighting the eradication of poverty as the major goal of the century, the significant impact that the Covid19 pandemic had (and has) on the implementation of the SDGs experienced during the year 2020, in particular on the reduction of hunger and malnutrition, and the need for an economic recovery with the same conditions for all countries, also related to the degree of population with the complete vaccination pattern.

Several stakeholders and observers were very critical of the Ministerial Declaration, due to its lack of specificity and excessively conservative tone. The main reproach of the Major Groups of Stakeholders (MGoS) was that they fear that member states will use the pandemic as an excuse for their delay in implementing the SDGs, in particular with regard to the eradication of hunger and poverty, calling on states to increase multilateral agreements for the implementation of the SDGs.

As in previous editions, Catesco participated (virtually) in the High Level Political Forum with a delegation, due to its special consultative status with the United Nations Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC). Apart from attending the sessions dedicated to various SDGs, specifically focusing on SDGs 10, 16 and 17 (reduction of inequalities, peace and justice and strong institutions and partnership respectively), it also attended some side events, focused on SDG 4 (quality education), with a view to 2022, where it is scheduled to be reviewed.

Reference links

Speech by ECOSOC Vice-President Liu Zhenmin, UN Under-Secretary-General
Video UNICEF – UN High-level Political Forum 2021: Including children in COVID-19 Pandemic Recovery.
Intervention of Victòria Alsina, Minister of External Action of the Catalan Government, at Regions4
Official Ministerial Declaration of the HLPF2021
MGoS statement on the Ministerial Declaration