Recent summit of global leaders at the UN Headquarters in New York at the end of September were aimed at reviewing the implementation of the 2030 Agenda and its 17 Sustainable Development Goals, SDGs. Besides, it provided a high-level political guidance on transformative and accelerated actions leading to achieving the SDGs by 2030, which was adopted at the outcome of the annual meeting.
The 2023 SDG global summit has marked a new phase of accelerated progress towards the SDGs with high-level political guidance on transformative and accelerated actions leading up to 2030.
At the half-way point to the deadline for achieving the UN-2030 Agenda for sustainable development, this year’s UN General Assembly aimed at responding to the impact of multiple and interlocking crises facing the world.
The 2030 Agenda is a complicated endeavor; at the center of the agenda are five critical dimensions: people, prosperity, planet, partnership and peace, also known as the 5Ps. There are also four main types of sustainability: human, social, economic and environmental, associated with other four SDGs aspects (4 “Cs”): conservation, community, culture and commerce. It means that all sectors of national socio-economic development shall be included in reaching the SDGs.
The SDG-23 summit has brought together nation leaders, government officials, members of international organizations, private sector, civil society, etc. to carry out a comprehensive review of the state of the SDGs, respond to the impact of multiple and interlocking crises facing the world, and provide high-level political guidance on transformative and accelerated actions leading up to the 2030 deadline for achieving the SDGs.
Already in July 2022, the High-Level Political Forum on Sustainable Development called for the Summit-2023 to “mark the beginning of a new phase of accelerated progress towards the Sustainable Development Goals.” The summit culminates about a year of active preparations involving governments, the UN system and other international and regional organizations, the private sector, NGOs, youth, cities, and multiple other actors and people. It benefits from the proposals of an independent group of scientists through the Global Sustainable Development Report, the Secretary-General’s SDG progress report and analysis from the UN system, think tanks, etc.
It has been the second SDG Summit, since the adoption of the 2030 Agenda in September 2015; since then, it was accompanied by 16 previous world-wide SDG’s conferences.
More in: https://hlpf.un.org/sdg-summit
High-level political forum, HLPF
This type of forums meets every year in July under the auspices of the UN Economic and Social Council, bringing high-level representatives of governments and stakeholders to review progress, examine obstacles, exchange best practices, and recommend new actions to achieve the 2030 Agenda and the SDGs.
Global leaders agreed (see, General Assembly resolution 67/290) that every four years, the HLPF would meet under the auspices of the General Assembly at the level of Heads of State and Government.
When the HLPF meets twice in the same year, forum will adopt only one negotiated political declaration (General Assembly resolution 70/299). One of the latest took place during summer 2022-23.
Reference to: https://hlpf.un.org/sites/default/files/2023-07/SDG%20Progress%20Report%20Special%20Edition.pdf
The United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development (Rio+20), through its outcome on “The Future We Want”, established the United Nations High-level Political Forum on Sustainable Development (HLPF) in 2012.
The HLPF is the central UN-wide platform for the follow-up and review of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and the SDGs at the global level. The General Assembly in its resolution 67/290 mentioned above decided that the Forum meets annually under the auspices of the Economic and Social Council for eight days, including a three-day ministerial segment and every four years at the level of Heads of State and Government under the auspices of the General Assembly for two days.
The Forum’s first meeting was held on 24 September 2013; it replaced the Commission on Sustainable Development, which had met annually since 1993, and adopts intergovernmentally negotiated political declarations.
Additional info at: https://hlpf.un.org/
Voluntary national reviews
As part of its follow-up and review mechanisms, the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development encourages member states to “conduct regular and inclusive reviews of progress at the national and sub-national levels, which are country-led and country-driven”. These national reviews are expected to serve as a basis for the regular reviews by the high-level political forum (HLPF), meeting under the auspices of ECOSOC. The regular reviews by the HLPF are to be voluntary, state-led, undertaken by both developed and developing countries, and involve multiple stakeholders.
The voluntary national reviews (VNRs) aim to facilitate the sharing of experiences, including successes, challenges and lessons learned, with a view to accelerating the implementation of the 2030 Agenda. The VNRs also seek to strengthen policies and institutions of governments and to mobilize multi-stakeholder support and partnerships for the SDGs implementation.
More in: https://hlpf.un.org/inputs
Getting ready for the Summit-2024
Present ministerial meeting was aimed at preparing for the September 2024 “Summit of the Future”, which will represent a “once-in-a-generation opportunity to enhance global cooperation to tackle critical challenges”, address gaps in global governance, reaffirm existing commitments, including to the SDGs and the United Nations Charter, and make a multilateral system better positioned to positively impact people’s lives.
The 75th UN anniversary (celebrated in June 2020) coincided with a declaration by the member states which included 12 overarching commitments along with a request to the Secretary-General for recommendations to address both current and future challenges. In September 2021, the Secretary-General responded with his report, Our Common Agenda, a wake-up call to speed up the implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals and propel the commitments contained in the UN-75 Declaration. In some cases, the proposals addressed gaps that emerged since 2015, requiring new intergovernmental agreements.
The report, therefore, called for a Summit of the Future to forge a new global consensus on readying ourselves for a future that is rife with risks but also opportunities. The General Assembly welcomed the submission of the “rich and substantive” report and agreed to hold the Summit on 22-23 September 2024, preceded by a ministerial meeting in 2023. An action-oriented Pact for the Future is expected to be agreed by Member States through intergovernmental negotiations on issues they decide to take forward.
References and more on the “summit of the future” in:
The EU-wide stimulus plan: European efforts
In 2022, Europe elevated its external development aid to € 93 billion, an increase of 30% over the previous year; presently the EU accounts for over 40% of global assistance. However, public funding alone is not enough; the Commission warned that the member states have to explore “all avenues to attract new funding towards developing countries”. And first and foremost, some reforms of the existing system are needed, acknowledged the Commission President; below are some examples.
First, it is necessary to unlock private capital: with the EU’s Global Gateway investment plan, Europe is investing €300 billion in developing economies in the next five years: i.e. in renewable energy, stronger health systems, quality education, green transport and digital solutions.
These measures are aimed at equipping the EU-partners with the resources, technologies, and skills to move up the value chains, to create jobs for their citizens, and to protect the environment.
These efforts include using of a portion of the EU public budget to de-risk private investments, as well as supporting developing and emerging economies to create their own green bond markets in order to attract more financial resources to reach the Sustainable Development Goals.
Second part of reforms is about carbon pricing, which is regarded in the EU as the most efficient and effective part of climate policies. Carbon pricing fosters innovation by the private sector, it makes polluters pay a fair price on carbon and their carbon emissions, while cutting emissions. The acquired revenues can support the clean transition in developing countries.
The Commission President gave some figures: i.e. in 2022, the EU-wide carbon pricing system raised €38 billion, which has been all re-invested into climate actions. However, presently in the global greenhouse gas emissions only 20% are covered by carbon pricing. “Just imagine the global impact, in terms of new revenues, while cutting greenhouse gas emissions, if more countries adopted this strategy and would introduce carbon pricing and dedicate a fair share of their revenues to developing countries and emerging markets”.