Nations across the world now have an “unprecedented opportunity to talk to each other and learn from each other”, Inga Rhonda King, President of the UN Economic and Social Council (ESOSOC), said on Tuesday, kicking off the annual High-level Political Forum on Sustainable Development (HLPF) in New York.
The HLPF is the chief global forum for reviewing successes, challenges and lessons learned, on the road towards reaching the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) by 2030.
This year, the annual meeting is being held under the theme "Empowering people and ensuring inclusiveness and equality".
“This is a global moment where we are all together”, she spelled out. “We need to use it to its utmost… [and] actively interact with each other. Let us all profit from it”.
The Forum will assess progress made over the past four years, since the Goals were adopted by all Member States at UN Headquarters, and decide what needs to be done moving forward and “where we are collectively in SDG implementation, globally, regionally, nationally and locally”.
Ms. King explained that “this meeting is not an end in itself” but “a global platform” to showcase experiences and forge partnerships. “We all learn from each other so that we can go back enriched with new experiences” to achieve “the ultimate goal for people, planet and prosperity”.
She also made clear the “special” nature of this year’s HLPF, which will inform the upcoming SDG Summit in September.
“We also hope that all countries and actors will announce SDG Acceleration Actions at the summit”, she said. “We must demonstrate our continuing commitment to the 2030 Agenda”.
ECOSOC Vice President Valentin Rybakov updated the meeting on key messages from Monday’s Integration Segment, which flagged the need to ensure inclusiveness and equality while empowering citizens across the world.
He drew attention to the strong link between the 2030 Agenda and what he dubbed the “Five Ps”, namely people, planet prosperity, peace and partnership.
“Achieving the SDGs require an immediate change in course”, he said. “We need to address deep rooted inequalities and vulnerabilities across the economic, social and environmental dimensions of sustainable development” by focusing on policies that “aim to lead no one behind” and address the mechanism lead to the “concentration of wealth and power at the top”.
Mr. Rybakov made the case that “antidiscrimination legislature remains an important tool” to help even up gender equality while pointing to the need to address “the burden of unpaid care and domestic work” on women and girls, “which hinder their participation in education and employment”.
“The subsidiary bodies and UN system recognize that all this means that we need a profound over hall of our current development models”, he remarked, including to replace “silo thinking” with “integrated policies”, particularly in dealing with hunger and poverty.
“It is time to step up efforts to achieve empowerment, inclusion and equality and to realize the SDGs”, concluded Mr. Rybakov.