World Leaders, Policymakers, and Key Stakeholders Gather to Discuss Strategies for Advancing Sustainable Development

United Nations

For the past ten days, global leaders, policymakers, and essential stakeholders met to assess progress, exchange experiences, and devise plans for furthering sustainable development. The High-Level Political Forum (HLPF) served as a primary platform for tracking and analyzing the implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) that all UN Member States adopted in 2015. These objectives encompass a wide range of topics, such as eliminating poverty, boosting gender equality, guaranteeing access to quality education and healthcare, and safeguarding the environment.

This year’s HLPF was centered on the theme of ‘Sustainable and Resilient Recovery from the COVID-19 Pandemic’, acknowledging the unprecedented challenges posed by the global health crisis. The pandemic has had far-reaching effects on all aspects of society, intensifying existing disparities and impeding progress towards the SDGs. The forum sought to identify solutions and plans for constructing a better future in a post-pandemic world.

Admitting that the world is ‘gravely behind schedule’ to achieve the SDGs by the 2030 deadline, top UN officials, ministers and policy makers, as well as representatives from the private sector and major public groups, deliberated on methods to propel the implementation of five out of the 17 SDGs. They evaluated progress made so far in achieving universal access to clean water, sanitation and power, and discussed ways to capitalize on new technology, as well as the critical role of urban development.

Lachezera Stoeva, President of the Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC), who spearheaded the work of the Forum, emphasized the importance of innovation, technology, and high-impact partnerships. ‘We are halfway to 2030 and yet nowhere near to achieving the SDGs. The bad news is we’ve lost seven years. The good news is, we still have seven years and victory is within our reach,’ she said.

Throughout the HLPF, participants engaged in over 200 high-level panel discussions, interactive dialogues, and Voluntary National Reviews. Thirty-nine countries provided data on their progress towards achieving the SDGs – one of the key components of the development agenda.

One of the key outcomes from the HLPF was the realization that attaining the SDGs necessitates a collective effort involving governments, civil society, businesses, and individuals. It is essential to foster multi-stakeholder partnerships and mobilize resources to quicken progress towards the goals. The private sector, in particular, has a vital role to play in driving sustainable and inclusive economic growth through responsible business practices and investments. 

As the HLPF comes to an end, it is crucial to carry forward the momentum generated during this week, participants concluded. The deliverables laid bare at the Forum, are essential for the success of the SDG Summit in September. 

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