“Eradicating poverty and promoting prosperity in a changing world”

The High-Level Political Forum on Sustainable Development  is the central platform of the United Nations for the follow-up and review of Agenda 2030 for Sustainable Development and The Sustainable Development Goals, adopted at the United Nations Summit on Sustainable Development on September 25, 2015.

This is the official annual United Nations-organized review of the progress governments are making in delivering to the promise of sustainable development. Now on its second year, HLPF17 is taking place in New York July 10-19. It starts with a full week’s thematic review of the overall status of sustainable development goals. During the second week, 43 countries will undergo a voluntary national review (VNR) process. “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’ (paragraph 79). 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.” (https://sustainabledevelopment.un.org/hlpf#vnrs)

The theme of the 2017 session of the High-level Political Forum on Sustainable Development is “Eradicating poverty and promoting prosperity in a changing world.” The session will also review in-depth the following SDGs:

Goal 1. End poverty in all its forms everywhere;

Goal 2. End hunger, achieve food security and improved nutrition and promote sustainable agriculture;

Goal 3. Ensure healthy lives and promote well-being for all at all ages;

Goal 5. Achieve gender equality and empower all women and girls;

Goal 9. Build resilient infrastructure, promote inclusive and sustainable industrialization and foster innovation;

Goal 14. Conserve and sustainably use the oceans, seas and marine resources for sustainable development;

Goal 17. Strengthen the means of implementation and revitalize the Global Partnership for Sustainable Development.

The Forum is expected to provide political leadership, policy initiatives, guidance and recommendations on the implementation of Agenda 2030; to monitor the progress of the Sustainable Development Goals; promote coherent evidence-based policies, science and country experience and address emerging issues. Through the adoption of a negotiated Ministerial Declaration (outcome document) the forum will capture states-reaffirmed SDGs commitments. The Ministerial Declaration will highlight gaps and challenges identified by state leaders, based on inter-governmental consensus building. Its contents will set the framework for development priorities in the coming year.  This is a very complex agenda and we, the members of the civil society, are very attentive and active to contribute in its development.

Let me present some elements of the positions of the NGO Major Group on eradication of poverty before the HLPF.  Some of the branches of the Vincentian Family at the UN are a part of this Major Group.

We understand that the imperative of “Eradicating poverty and promoting prosperity in a changing world,” is also a prerequisite for sustainable peace.  Achieving these aims will not be possible unless the structural and systemic barriers to achievement – and root causes of exploitation and degradation of the environment – are addressed.

Current neoliberal macroeconomic policy is a major driver of unequal distribution of wealth and power and the destruction of natural resources, and must be reconsidered and replaced. Notions of development based entirely on economic growth present a myopic view of progress and must be discarded, and corporations must be held to account for their social and environmental records. We call for a new development paradigm which furthers the well-being of humans, nature and animals, and which sees as its aim the achievement of equity and justice, to “leave no one behind.”

The practical contributions of civil society are a distinct and important element of this process. The NGO Major Group therefore calls on the United Nations and its Member States to increase the engagement of civil society.

The NGO Major Group recommends the following regarding the SDGs under review in 2017:

Goal 1: Addressing the causes and manifestations of structural poverty requires holistic, context-specific solutions interlinked with all other goals. Governments should report on their efforts to increase opportunities, wellbeing, and resilience among all sectors of society.

Goal 2: To end hunger and all forms of malnutrition, we must change our agricultural production from high-input, industrial exploitation towards systems that support smallholders’ livelihoods and preserve cultures and biodiversity.

Goal 3: Efforts to achieve health-related targets should prioritize the full spectrum of services from promotion, prevention, treatment, rehabilitation, and palliation. Governments, through a multi-sectoral and multi-stakeholder approach, must endeavor to remove social, cultural, and economic barriers to ensure full access to affordable, quality physical and mental health services for all.

Goal 5: Obstacles to the actualization of gender equality and the fundamental rights of women and girls should be overcome through implementing laws and policies that prohibit discrimination, redistribute unpaid care work, promote equality in access to resources, education, and decision-making, in alignment with internationally agreed conventions and standards.

Goal 9: All governments, including regional and local authorities, should promote inclusive, ecologically-sound industrialization and the provision of basic infrastructure that incorporates the protection of nature and participatory decision-making.

Goal 14: SDG14 must be a keystone in protecting the oceans as a substantial part of the biosphere, a unique ecosystem, an integral part of human civilization and major food provider, and a common good with equal and fair access rights. In keeping with the commitment to “Leave No One Behind,” the full position paper of the Non-Governmental Organizations’ Major Group details the ways in which the SDGs are interconnected, locally applicable yet requiring universal commitment, and essential for the eradication of poverty and promotion of prosperity for all.

We the members of the Vincentian Family worldwide face new and fascinating challenges today.  We can effectively contribute to the monitoring of the implementation of the SDGs in our countries and our communities…  In anything we do we can include efforts to advocate for the implementation of the SDGs so that “no one is left behind.” We can connect our local and national efforts to the implementation of the SDGs. Let us begin there to decentralize our agenda and to put humanity and planet first!

Guillermo Campuzano, CM is the Congregation of the Mission UN representative


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