This year’s HLPF is a historic one as it is the last session of the first cycle review. The theme for this year is “Empowering people and ensuring inclusiveness and equality”. It convened under the auspices of the Economic and Social Council from July 9th to July 18th 2019 in the United Nations Headquarters in New York. The SDGs under review include Goal 4, 8, 10, 13, 16, and 17.
HLPF 2019 is vibrant, energetic and moving as it witnessing more young people taking the floor by storm in many of the sessions. From drafting and delivering fiery statements to speaking at panel sessions to engaging in dialogues, young people demonstrated their full determination in claiming their space for meaningful and inclusive engagement around and on the SDG processes.
It is also a more inclusive one as it recognises the LGBT community as one of the major stakeholder groups. They made their first intervention under SDG 4 on education on the very first day of the forum. It was another historic moment.
This year’s HLPF is a special one as it is my first. I had the opportunity to participate during the first week of HLPF including attending thematic review sessions and side events, preparing partners for CSO VNR statements and connecting with key stakeholders, for which the conversations and engagements focused on building and strengthening working relationships.
Overall, the conversations and dialogues during the first week recognised that the world is not on track for achieving Agenda 2030. Despite the efforts, progress is noted to be slow on many of the goals. Inequalities and lack of inclusiveness remain in many countries. By the end of week two (July 15th – 18th), when member states would have completed their VNRs, we will know the extent to which HLPF has lived up to the role that was envisioned for it.
Perhaps, as highlighted by one of the panelists who is also a young mother during the opening session: “What we need is not POWER, but COURAGE for action to achieve sustainable, inclusive and equal development for all.”
by Shamala Chandrasekaran