Government, private and public-sector leaders to attend largest gathering on sustainable development progress

12th July 2019 by Emma Goring

More than two thousand participants, including approximately 100 ministers, as well as business and civil society leaders will attend the High-level Political Forum (HLPF) this month to take stock of progress on the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and discuss plans, successes, challenges and lessons learnt on the road to a fairer, more peaceful and prosperous world on a healthy planet by 2030.

Convened by the Economic and Social Council and called the largest annual gathering on SDG implementation, the Forum will also attract nearly 156 side events over ten days.

The theme of this year’s Forum is “empowering people and ensuring inclusiveness and equality” with a special emphasis on six out of the 17 Goals. The Goals under review this year are Goal 4 (Quality Education), 8 (Decent Work and Economic Growth), 10 (Reducing Inequalities), 13 (Climate Action), 16 (Peace, Justice and Strong Institutions) and 17 (Partnerships).

This year, 47 countries are expected to present their Voluntary National Reviews (VNRs) – with an aim to share experiences with the global community, in efforts to accelerate the implementation of the sustainable development agenda.

From the adoption of the SDGs in 2015 to the conclusion of this year’s HLPF, nearly 142 countries will have submitted their VNRs, showing immense support for delivering on the SDGs. For the first time last year, four cities, including New York City, submitted their Voluntary Local Reviews (VLRs)—complementing VNRs by bridging the gap between local reality and national policies.

The fourth such meeting since the adoption of the SDGs in 2015, the Forum will set the stage for the high-level week during the 74th Session of the UN General Assembly in September, during which the organization will host the Climate Action and SDG Summits as well as the high-level meetings on Financing for Development, Universal Health Coverage and the Small Island Developing States Accelerated Modalities of Action (SAMOA) Pathway—galvanizing support for some of the major issues at the heart of the 2030 Agenda.

Major side events include the SDG Media Zone (9 to 10 July) as well as the launches of the Sustainable Development Report 2019(9 July), the State of Food Security and Nutrition Report (15 July), and the UN Legal Identity Agenda (16 July).

The Sustainable Development Goals Report, to be launched on the opening day of HLPF, will present new data and show how actions undertaken for the SDGs around the world over the past four years have begun to produce results. It will also highlight challenges and setbacks as well as provide estimates on whether we are on track to meet the 2030 deadline.

A series of major special events will happen on the sidelines of the HLPF to engage more stakeholders with the SDGs, including the Higher Education Sustainability Initiative (10 July), the SDGs in Action Film Festival (11 July), the Philanthropy and the SDGs event (16 July), the Lead, Transform, Succeed: Chief Sustainability Officers for the SDGs forum (17 July), and the Local 2030: Local Action for Global Commitments event (16-17 July).