In 2017 the High Level Political Forum (HLPF), which is the United Nations platform for follow-up and review of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, will meet to monitor the implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals. For the first time the HLPF will have thematic reviews around 7 of the 17 goals. The second breakfast dialogue organized by ATD Fourth World in preparation for the Forum was held in April 13 and addressed the role of thematic reviews to monitor goals at the global level, inter-linkages and crosscutting issues.
Among other questions the gap between inputs to the HLPF and outcomes was raised. In 2016, no recommendations to governments on how to move forward with implementation were produced. The HLPF needs to find a way to come up with useful recommendations to address challenges and shortcomings in a politically meaningful way.
The importance of political will to make the HLPF a success was stressed: in 2017 functional commissions have had very weak outcomes so far. This commissions need to feed into the HLPF and should carry strong recommendations. Last year people left HLPF dissatisfied owing to lack of real interactive dialogue and lack of engagement. There is a need to raise to the original ambition of the HLPF space.
Participants spoke about the need to move beyond economics and GDP: HLPF must address issues that leave people behind (e.g. people in poverty, indigenous peoples, poorest women and girls, etc). It is important to be honest about the challenges in reaching these groups.
Participants also addressed the concern that in spite of SDGs 1 and 10, we are still measuring progress in terms of income/GDP only. There is a mandate to move to a multidimensional approach to measure progress. How will national voluntary reviews reflect that?
For many civil society organizations, especially at national and grassroots level, it is difficult to contribute to this process (costly, time-consuming, requires specialized knowledge). Resources and capacity-building are required to ensure this essential input. The frequent mention of multi-stakeholder approach seems to be mostly referring to private sector.
In view that the HLPF includes a private sector forum a very challenging question was raised: Could we also organize a Leave No One Behind Forum, to ensure those left behind contribute their knowledge?