After three years without being able to celebrate it in person, the 2022 High Level Political Forum took place in New York from July 5th to 15th. In this year’s edition, the main UN meeting to review and follow-up with the 2030 Agenda and the SDGs, had as its main topic “Building back better from the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) while advancing the full implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development” and carried out specific revisions about SDG 4. Quality Education; SDG 5. Gender equality; SDG 14. Life below water; SDG 15. Life on land and SDG 17. Partnership for the goals.
The forum had the participation of over140 representatives from different countries, including six heads of state, more than 130 ministers or prime ministers, as well as other representatives of governments, intergovernmental organizations and civil society. Moreover, there have been more than 280 Side Events, 19 NVR Labs, and 44 countries have presented their Voluntary National Reviews (VNRS), with the aim of facilitating the exchange of experiences and knowledge, as well as how to mobilize the collaboration of different interested parties for the achievement of the SDGs. Such as in other editions, Catesco has participated in the forum with a delegation formed by the president, Eduard Vallory, and the director, Marina Gay, who have taken advantage of the stay to strengthen relations with other organizations within the United Nations NGOs Major Group and to keep in touch with organizations of the Women’s Major Group. In addition, it has also participated in the parallel program by organizing the Side Event “ABPxODS: Action-oriented education for the SDGs” together with Pompeu Fabra University and PBLWorks.
Under a context marked by the pandemic, the war in Ukraine, the unprecedented consequences of climate change, and the numerous setbacks in women’s rights, the ECOSOC’s President, Mr. Collen Vixen, opened the forum with a hopeful message despite the circumstances, encouraging to prioritize equitable access to vaccines, face climate change and food and energy crises, increase investments in social and health protection, especially for women, and review access to financing for developing countries.
Regarding SDG 4. Quality education, the global challenge of transforming education systems in order to face humanity’s and planet’s challenges, became obvious, as it also did the need for education to become a public and common good, available to all human beings. In this sense, the Transforming Education Summit that will take place within the framework of the UN’s General Assembly this September stood out as the key milestone for this global commitment to educational change. At the same time, the session brought to light important discrepancies in economic development, access to technology and national planning priorities between different countries. In addition, among other aspects, the need to establish dignified working conditions for teachers, overcome the digital divide and fight corruption to finance education was underlined. In this sense, the words of the September TES-UN commissioner, Mr. Leonardo Garnier, must be remarked: “We must reimagine and transform education into a passionate and rigorous process of individual and collective self-discovery and self-development, so that every student has the best opportunities to flourish in every sense”.
SDG 5. Gender equality, took centre stage during the sessions of the third day. The participants discussed the challenges that needed to be overcome to achieve gender equality and the importance of national budgets with a gender perspective, access to sexual and reproductive health, ending the division of digital gender, ensuring access to energy for women, ensuring female representation at all levels of governance, as well as the importance of men’s role in promoting gender equality.
During the session about SDG 17. Partnership for the goals, emphasis was placed on two different aspects: the financing of a firm response to the economic crisis and the investment in SDGs, and mobilizing and sharing knowledge about science and technology to maximize its benefits.
Finally, the interventions of the different delegations during the adoption of the Ministerial Declaration that had been negotiated during the previous six months, revealed certain discrepancies regarding the sexual and reproductive rights of women, the exclusion of the reference to the inalienable right to and the role of migrants in achieving the sustainable development agenda.