“Eradicting poverty and promoting prosperity in a changing world” – The international community meets at the United Nations from 10 to 19 July, 2017 to review the progress that countries have made on development issues
Governments may present their own voluntary reports, but the High Level Political Forum (known by the abbreviation, HLPF) presents a unique opportunity for stakeholders from different sectors of society. They can meet, exchange practices and experiences, and achieve the critical mass necessary to realize genuine progress toward their goals. The HLPF will run from 10-19 July, and will focus on the theme of poverty reduction. Participants will review the following goals Agenda 2030: SDG 1 (Poverty), SDG 2 (Hunger), SDG 3 (Health), SDG 5 (Gender Equality), SDG 9 (Infrastructure), SDG 14 (Oceans) and SDG 17 (Partnerships).
The Sustainable Development Goals: Challenges and Opportunities
Eighteen months after their initial implementation, the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) represent a positive perspective towards achieving sustainable and inclusive development. The SDG successfully combined important human, environmental and institutional issues in a single document. That success helps stakeholders understand those issues and address them comprehensively through governmental development policies.
The Agenda 2030 and the SDGs combine a wide range of goals and issues. Even though governments have made commitments based on the Agenda and SDGs, (perhaps inevitably) they must choose their priorities.
Matters such as culture, migration, mental health, indigenous peoples, the disabled, and other issues appear in different parts of the document. Those sections, however, lack specific objectives and, sometimes, depth and tangible goals. Including these and other issues into the set of objectives can be quite positive. For example, it is essential that multiple objectives incorporate gender equality, as it is obviously part of all development measures.
Stating specific gender equality objectives makes the issue more visible and makes their implementation more concrete. This means that measures involving education, health, employment, etc., also address gender equality. They also generate indicators, funds and specific programmes for their advancement within the framework of SDG 5. For example, to ensure the genuine inclusion of marginalised groups, it is important to be aware of their absence from the document
Stakeholders must also foster broad participation in the processes for implementing, monitoring and reporting SDGs. Only by carrying out effective, inclusive processes can we guarantee that no one is left behind
Despite their flaws, the SDGs are very ambitious. They include many issues that are crucial to the global human rights agenda and the historical, socio-economic demands of people. The SDGs are also important instruments in the fight for that agenda and those rights, which they highlight and transform into action items. Furthermore, the SDGs encourage countries to renew their commitment to rights, which are often overlooked in international human rights treaties.
However, since countries are not bound to comply with the SDGs, their success depends on strong participation from all sectors of society: locally, regionally and globally. Establishing mechanisms that allow governments, civil society, the private sector and academia to act as partners is crucial. By forming partnerships, these institutions can leverage their collective skills and abilities and together achieve as many goals and reach as many targets as possible. Stakeholders must also identify funding sources and build an inclusive process to set priorities and monitor progress. This means setting progressive, measurable and achievable goals, and obtaining disaggregated data for monitoring.
We should use the HLPF to strengthen alliances for making progress toward the SDGs. Together we have a better chance of achieving the goals expressed in Agenda 2030.