In a time when COVID-19 continues to wreak health and economic havoc in the world, it is no surprise the United Nations’ High Level Political Forum (HLPF) will focus on accelerating the UN’s 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). You may be familiar with the Goals, which were approved the same day Pope Francis addressed the UN in September, 2015. They call for measures which are vital as people globally suffer from the pandemic’s consequences. Such efforts include ending poverty, hunger, and inequalities; ensuring health and wellbeing for all; making sure all have access to education; meaningful employment, and more.
The HLPF is the primary way that the UN assesses countries’ efforts to implement the 17 Sustainable Development Goals. It will take place from Tuesday, July 7, to Thursday, July 16. This year’s event will be entirely virtual. It includes a three-day ministerial meeting from July 14-16. In addition, about 47 nations will participate in Voluntary National Reviews (VNRs) of how they have implemented the 2030 Agenda. The HLPF will adopt a Ministerial Declaration on the Forum’s final day.
The Forum is organized by the UN’s Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC). The President of ECOSOC, Mona Juul, of Norway, will deliver a summary on the Forum’s final day, providing key takeaways from the meeting.
The Forum’s official theme is: “Accelerated action and transformative pathways: realizing the decade of action and delivery for sustainable development.”
VINCENTIAN FAMILY STATEMENT
You may ask how the Vincentian Family was able to participate. The Vincentian Family, as part of the Working Group to End Homelessness, was among other nongovernmental organizations who submitted a statement to the ECOSOC Ministerial component of the HLPF. Though such statements can be very limited in words allowed, the Vincentian Family called for addressing and ending homelessness, particularly in a COVID-19 environment.
SECRETARY GENERAL: COVID-19 IMPACTING PROGRESS IN ENDING POVERTY
UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres issued a report ahead of the Forum, which indicates statistics, including those related to poverty, have been impacted by COVID-19. The Report can be accessed by clicking here.
Until the close of 2019, progress was made in some areas, the Report states. “Global poverty continued to decline, albeit at a slower pace; maternal and child mortality rates were reduced; more people gained access to electricity; and countries were developing national policies to support sustainable development and signing international environmental protection agreements,” it continues. “In other areas, however, progress had either stalled or been reversed: the number of people suffering from hunger was on the rise; climate change was occurring much faster than anticipated; and inequality continued to increase within and among countries.”
“After a decline from 15.7% in 2010 to 10.0% in 2015, the pace of reduction of extreme poverty slowed down with a ‘nowcast’ rate of 8.2% in 2019,” the Secretary General’s Report indicates. “The pandemic is reversing the trend of poverty reduction. According to latest estimates, the global extreme poverty rate is projected to 4 be 8.4-8.8% in 2020, which is close to the level in 2017. This means that an estimated 40-60 million of people will be pushed back into extreme poverty, causing the first increase in global poverty in more than 20 years.”
The Report reflects that, “The poorest and the most vulnerable people are affected disproportionally by the pandemic, including women, children, older persons, persons with disabilities, migrants and refugees and informal sector workers. Similarly, vulnerable countries, including least developed countries (LDCs), land-locked developing countries (LLDCs), Small Island developing States (SIDS), and countries in humanitarian or fragile situations, stand to be hit hardest in the long term…”
HLPF DISCUSSION TOPICS
Some high level discussions during the HLPF will revolve around topics such as protecting and advancing human wellbeing and ending poverty (afternoon of July 7) and an accelerated framework launch on July 9. Issues such as whether anyone is being left behind in the process of trying to end poverty, women’s human rights, multilateralism, building back better after COVID 19 and more will also be addressed during the nine-day event. The Forum’s docket also will examine issues such as hunger, education, climate change, natural disasters, technology, and much more.
LIST OF HLPF EVENTS
In order to review the list of events (all virtual), go to this link, click on the dates in the boxes, and scroll down to see events for a particular day.
Side events may be accessible by clicking on the event and thereby going to a more detailed description and registering. There may be limitations on some registration for side events. Although registration for high level events is very limited, some may be seen on UN Web TV which can be accessed here.