Reviewing implementation of the post-2015 Agenda: UN HLPF debate

Date published on source: 
29 June 2015
Source organisation: 
United Nations
Keyword tags: 

New York: The High-level Political Forum on Sustainable Development began its 2015 annual session (Friday 26th), with a focus on its role in reviewing the implementation of the post-2015 development agenda.

“One thing is certain,” said Rudolf Hundstorfer, Federal Minister for Labour, Social Affairs and Consumer Protection of Austria, in his opening remarks, noting that for the new development agenda to be successful, an effective follow-up and review mechanism was necessary. The Forum, established by a decision in the outcome document of the 2012 United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development, would play a decisive role to that end, he said, proposing that great importance be given to developing suitable indicators, as well as providing reliable data and statistics.

The social dimension was as important as economic and environmental policies in connection with sustainable development and would play a key role in the upcoming follow-up and review process, he said. Eradicating poverty in all its forms must be at the heart of all policies and there was a need for decent work for all. “Employment and an adequate income are the best protection against poverty, and are key in addressing inequality and social exclusion,” he said, also underscoring that social protection and inclusion of disadvantaged and marginalized groups were fundamental for sustainable development.

Martin Sajdik, President of the Economic and Social Council, who chaired the session, said that the Forum met for a second time under the auspices of the Economic and Social Council. It did so in a crucial year, when the world was charting the development path for the next 15 years. Without sustainable development, there could be no lasting improvement in humanity’s well-being. Agreement had already been reached on 17 sustainable development goals. “2015 must not only be a year when leaders share a great dream, it must be a year when world leaders realize that dream — with an all-out effort to implement the sustainable development agenda,” he said.

Thomas Gass, Assistant Secretary-General for Policy Coordination and Inter-Agency Affairs, delivering a statement on behalf of Wu Hongbo, Under-Secretary-General for Economic and Social Affairs, said that the post-2015 development agenda was the work of all Governments and also owned by important parts of civil society. Rio+20 had called for a reform that injected sustainable development into the General Assembly, strengthening the Economic and Social Council and creating a United Nations Environment Assembly. The establishment of the Forum was at the heart of that reform.

Following those remarks, representatives from Major Groups and Other Stakeholders, including those on local authorities, older persons, and children and youth, stressed the importance of their needs incorporated into the mechanism of follow-up and review for sustainable development.

Kadir Topbaş, Mayor of Istanbul and President of United Cities and Local Governments, Turkey, said the United Nations Conference on Housing and Sustainable Urban Development, to take place in Quito in 2016, must be part of the new agenda, as it would be a “missed opportunity” not to make a connection between the sustainable development and urban development. With more than 70 per cent of the world’s poorest people living in cities, most in developing countries, climate change adaptation and disaster risk reduction required an integrated territorial approach that considered urban planning, which local governments were best placed to provide. The new agenda’s success hinged on support that flowed to localities from national Governments, as well as civil society and the private sector involvement.

Frances Zainoeddin, Gray Panthers, New York, said that by 2030 the global population over the age of 60 would reach 16 per cent, from 12 per cent at present. “In agreeing to leave no one behind, Governments must respond to all people, from cradle to grave, with the right mix of policies, underpinned by appropriate investments and data that are disaggregated by age and other variables,” she said. Older people were not a homogenous group for which there was a one-size-fits-all policy; their incomes, living conditions and state of health varied. Vulnerabilities associated with illness and disabling conditions must be addressed by policies that supported and enabled elderly people.

Hirotaka Koike, Japan Youth Platform for Post-2015, said that young people were becoming increasingly disempowered, voiceless and frustrated. The international community could not afford to continue business as usual and must consider the long-term impact of self-interest and unchecked development. As young people were most affected by success or failure in carrying out the sustainable development goals, it was important to implement and monitor those goals.

The Forum also held two panel discussions, one entitled “Shaping the world for 2030: From vision to transformative action” and the other on “The role of business in implementation”.  The Forum will meet again at 10 a.m. on Monday, 29 June, to continue its session.

Discussion consisted of the following: 

  • Introductory remarks
  • Statements of Representatives from Major Groups and Other Stakeholders
  • Panel Discussion I: 'Shaping the world for 2030 - from vision to transformative action'
  • Panel Discussion II: 'The role of business in implementation'


*  An extensive summary of the discussion can be accessed here