HLPF on Sustainable Development

The High Level Political Forum (HLPF) was created at the Rio+20 Conference held in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil in 2012. State leaders at the Conference decided to replace the Commission on Sustainable Development with the Forum so as elevate the consideration of sustainable development to the attention of Heads of State and Government.  It follows up and reviews the implementation of sustainable development commitments and the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, including the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). It addresses new and emerging challenges; promotes the science-policy interface and enhances the integration of economic, social and environmental dimensions of sustainable development. The HLPF aims to attract and engage world leaders and Major Groups, non-governmental organizations (NGOs), civil society and relevant stakeholders, keeping sustainable development high on national, regional and global agendas.

The Forum meets every four years at the level of Heads of State and Government under the auspices of the General Assembly and every year under the auspices of the Economic and Social Council for eight days, including a three-day ministerial segment.

The first High-Level Political Forum (HLPF) since the adoption of the 2030 Agenda and the SDGs took place in New York from 11 to 15 July 2016, followed by a three-day ministerial meeting of the Forum on 18-20 July 2016. The Forum focused on the theme of “Ensuring that no one is left behind”.[1]

The three-day Ministerial segment of the Forum had as central feature voluntary national reviews (VNRs) by 22 countries[2] on the steps they are taking towards the implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, including the SDGs. The  VNRs differ considerably in terms of size, quality and thematic depth, as well as the degree of civil society participation  and, only six months after the SDGs having entered into force, they say little about progress in their implementation.

During the two weeks of the meeting many representatives of civil society organizations attended, but not much advocacy took place mostly due to the working and negotiation modalities of the meeting. During the first week, a brief plenary session was followed by official moderated dialogues and side events. Civil society groups and networks also presented initial shadow or spotlight reports at side events of the meeting, pointing to the obstacles to the achievement of the 2030 Agenda, stressing the need for an accountability mechanism

A central message from the Forum was the need to reach out to the most vulnerable in order to leave no one behind and the importance of involving all citizens and stakeholders in the realization of the agenda. Better data and information had been highlighted as critical for the achievement for the SDGs, as the mobilization of resources at the local, national and international levels. Inclusiveness and the need for coherence and integration across governments were further important points made during the discussions on implementing the SDGs on the national level. The launch of the first SDGs Progress Report and the presentation of the 2016 Global Sustainable Development Report were further highlights of the meeting. More than 1500 Major Group and other Stakeholder representatives participated in the eight-day Forum, and a ‘Partnership Exchange’ event and SDG Business Forum were held, engaging non-state actors essential for implementing the SDGs.

During the closing session, UN Members States adopted a Ministerial Declaration that commits, among other things, to focusing development efforts on empowering and protecting the most vulnerable parts of the population, such as youth, indigenous peoples, refugees, migrants, and peoples living in areas affected by complex humanitarian emergencies.


Further information:

High-Level Political Forum: https://sustainabledevelopment.un.org/hlpf

The Sustainable Development Goals Report 2016: http://unstats.un.org/sdgs/report/2016/

Statistical Annex: http://unstats.un.org/sdgs/files/report/2016/secretary-general-sdg-report-2016–Statistical-Annex.pdf

Global SDG Indicators Database: http://unstats.un.org/sdgs/indicators/database/

Global Policy Watch: https://www.globalpolicywatch.org/

Spotlight on Sustainable Development 2016: www.2030spotlight.org

Reflection Group on the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development: www.reflectiongroup.org


[1] In 2017 the topic will be “Eradicating poverty and promoting prosperity in a changing world (Goals 1, 2, 3, 5, 9, 14) ; in 2018 “Transformation toward sustainable and resilient societies” (Goals 6,7,11,12,15); 2019  Empowering people and ensuring inclusiveness and equality”, (Goals 4,8,10,16)

[2] Egypt, China, Germany, Estonia, Finland, France, Georgian, Colombia, Rep. of Korea, Madagascar, Morocco, Mexico, Montenegro, Norway, Philippines, Samoa, Switzerland, Sierra Leone, Togo, Turkey, Uganda, Venezuela