2022 HLPF Webinar Previews | News | SDG Knowledge Center
An informal virtual briefing on the 2022 High-Level Political Forum on Sustainable Development (HLPF) provided an overview of the themes and challenges of the July session. The webinar aimed to help interested stakeholders “unpack key messages, connect with like-minded peers, and shape their own advocacy and communications at the high-profile event.”
The webinar took place on July 1, 2022, ahead of this year‘s HLPF session, which will be held in New York, USA, from July 5-15, under the auspices of the United Nations Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC). . It was animated by the SDG Lab, cepeiand the International Institute for Sustainable Development (IISD), in partnership with the United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs (DESA) and Acting for sustainable development.
Trine Schmidt, Policy Advisor, Geneva 2030 Ecosystem, IISD, moderated the event.
Edward Mishaud, Senior Advisor, SDG Lab, gave a keynote address. He said the webinar provides an opportunity for governments, the UN and stakeholders to meet before the HLPF to ensure everyone is “on the same page” and aware of the opportunities that the Forum presents. Noting that the world is falling behind on the SDGs, Mishaud hopes the 2022 HLPF will provide the added momentum and urgency needed to achieve the goals by 2030.
Participants then took a short Slido quiz testing their knowledge of the SDGs under in-depth review in 2022, the sessions held at the HLPF in July, the regional distribution of the 2022 VNRs, and the September 2023 SDG Summit.
Irena Zubcevic, Chief, Intergovernmental Policy and Review Branch, Office of Intergovernmental Support and Coordination for Sustainable Development, DESA, said the HLPF will conduct in-depth reviews of five SDGs – 4 (education for quality), 5 (gender equality), 14 (life below sea), 15 (life on land) and 17 (partnerships for the goals). Zubcevic noted that since the HLPF theme, “Building Back Better from Coronavirus Disease (COVID-19) while advancing the full implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development,” was agreed, the geopolitical context has changed, highlighting the impacts of the war in Ukraine and other ongoing conflicts on food security, energy security and trade. She hoped discussions at the Forum would reflect this change, also hoping that the HLPF “will be the place where action is accelerated and solutions are found.”
Zubcevic noted that this year’s HLPF will take place in person, with a “very limited” number of speakers and panelists joining online. She said the sessions will be webcast and streamed live, with international sign language and closed captioning available.
Zubcevic briefly described the official program of the Forum, and drew attention to a children’s choir “singing for hope, accompanied by the SDG piano”. She said of the 44 countries presenting their Voluntary National Reviews (VNRs) in July, 11 are “new” ones who will have more time to present. She also noted that most VNR 2022 presenters were from Africa. Unlike previous years, Zubcevic planned more time for interactive VNR discussions.
The unofficial part of the HLPF, Zubcevic explained, includes seven special events, including learning, training and practicing the SDGs, food security and SDG 6 (clean water and sanitation). She said around 250 side events will also take place and 19 VNR labs will take place “where countries can go deeper into VNRs.”
Evgeniya Altukhova, Member States Focal Point, SDG Lab, Geneva, reviewed key findings from the UN Secretary-General’s annual SDG progress report. She said COVID-19 has reversed years of progress and exposed a three-dimensional food, energy and financial crisis, compounded by the triple planetary crisis of climate change, pollution and biodiversity loss. She outlined the status of the five SDGs under consideration in 2022 and presented “beams of hope” that function as key enablers of sustainable development, including data adoption, accelerating transformation and increased financing for a green and sustainable recovery. .
Javier Surasky, Cepei, warned that as countries run out of time “to deliver on the promises they made in 2015”, there has been a decrease in confidence in their ability to achieve the SDGs by 2030 He said the 2023 HLPF will be a crucial opportunity to show that the UN is “more than just a place for multilateralism”, but a “concrete representation that sustainable development work is possible”.
Surasky said that by 2023, only seven countries will not have submitted their NRVs to the HLPF, including the United States. He observed that if formally the ENVs can be considered a success, there is a need to work on the quality of the reports and to move to cyclical reports and “second generation ENVs”.
Calling on the 2023 HLPF to send a strong message on 2030 ambition and adopt the actions needed to accelerate the implementation of the SDGs, Surasky said this year’s Forum “should be the most forward-looking HLPF session future to date” to facilitate and “recover the spirit” of Agenda 2030.
Drawing on her experience as Chief Negotiator of Sri Lanka’s HLPF in 2016-2017, Uchita de Zoysa, Action for Sustainable Development, highlighted the need for stakeholders and the public to have a sense of ownership of the SDGs if the 2030 Agenda is to become a force for transformation. He said the HLPF should encourage governments to “commit to inclusive transformation and recalibrate the context of honest partnership between state and non-state actors.” Rather than “just going through the steps,” de Zoysa said the HLPF must allow for real dialogue to strategize together.
De Zoysa questioned the veracity of the VNRs, noting that countries, with few exceptions, seem to present an “entirely different picture of what is happening on the ground”. He said any review must be based on process and methodology, and recommended that to access progress and achieve true transformation, the HLPF “recognizes people and avoids further fragmentation.” In this context, he highlighted the Voluntary People’s Review, the Voluntary Subnational Review and the People’s Dashboard of Sri Lanka.
During the Q&A session, speakers addressed civil society participation in the 2023 SDG Summit and ways to ensure high-quality, indicator-based VNRs that comprehensively address localization, policy coherence and the economic, social and environmental dimensions of sustainable development.
In conclusion, Lynn Wagner, Senior Program Manager, Progress Tracking and Acting Director, Earth Negotiations Bulletin (ENB), IISD, highlighted resources that can help those interested in following the HLPF and “staying up to date.” » :
- IISD’s ENB Reporting Service, which will provide daily coverage of the HLPF and issue a summary report at its conclusion;
- IISD’s SDG Knowledge Platform, which tracks daily news on the SDGs and follows the evolution of the HLPF Ministerial Statement;
- Official site of the HLPF 2022;
- UNTV, which will broadcast the HLPF meetings and their recordings live; and
- A post-HLPF webinar, hosted by IISD and its partners, debriefing participants on the results.
Among recent global meetings, Wagner highlighted the UN Ocean Conference, the UN High-Level Meeting on Road Safety, the negotiations on the post-2020 global biodiversity framework, the 11th Forum Urban World (WUF11) and the twelfth meeting of the World Trade Organization (WTO). Ministerial Conference, which resulted in a WTO agreement on SDG 14.6 limiting harmful fisheries subsidies. She said the HLPF will feed into the “Education Transformation Summit” in September and the UN Climate Change Conference in Sharm el-Sheikh, Egypt in November, and hopes to “re-energize the SDGs.” [Webinar Webpage] [SDG Knowledge Hub Sources]