HLPF/ECOSOC Joint Ministerial Declaration – consultations begin

On 26 May 2017, Member States provided their initial views on the Joint Ministerial Declaration of the High-level Political Forum on Sustainable Development (HLPF)2017 and the High-Level Segment of the UN Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC), during consultations on the draft elements paper for the Declaration. The paper was issued on 23 May 2017 by the co-facilitators for the consultations, Ambassador Jan Kickert of Austria and Ambassador Courtenay Rattray of Jamaica.

In introducing the paper, Kickert noted that it includes several “strategic issues.” A zero draft of the Declaration should be ready by 7 June 2017 and the Declaration should be finalized by the end of June 2017. It should then be adopted by the HLPF on 19 July 2017, as well as at the High-Level Segment of ECOSOC on the following day.

Most UN Member States expressed the hope that the Ministerial Declaration will be concise, easily readable and understandable, substantive, action-oriented and inspiring. At the same time, some asked to avoid re-opening conclusions reached at former meetings, eg the 2017 session of the ECOSOC Forum on Financing for Development Follow-up (FfD Forum), and stressed the importance of data, including accessible, reliable, high-quality disaggregated data.

In response to requests from others for the SDG Progress Report to be made available as soon as possible, as an input for negotiations on the Ministerial Declaration, Juwang Zhu, UN Department of Economic and Social Affairs (DESA), said he hopes it will be issued during the first week of June.

Ecuador, on behalf of the Group of the 77 and China (G-77/China) said that the Ministerial Declaration should reaffirm the principles emphasized in the 2030 Agenda, in particular common but differentiated responsibilities (CBDR); enhance references to means of implementation throughout the document; include South-South cooperation as a complement, but not as a substitute to North-South cooperation; and avoid references to “monitoring.” On language in the elements paper on “reforming the UN development system to be fit for purpose,” the HLPF is not the appropriate forum to discuss that topic.

The European Union stressed the need for the Declaration to refer to human rights; democracy; the rule of law; universality; accountability; importance of combatting climate change for the all the SDGs; inclusiveness and participation of all stakeholders; and policy coherence for sustainable development.

Australia, also for Canada and New Zealand (CANZ), requested the inclusion of language on diversity, pluralism and tolerance. They and other Member States emphasized the importance of integration, stressing the need to avoid considering the SDGs in isolation.

Zambia for the landlocked developing countries (LLDCs) highlighted the importance of human rights; poverty eradication; providing support to LLDCs and other countries in special situations to implement the SDGs, including infrastructure; promoting diversification and supporting industrialization; desertification and land degradation; partnerships; and official development assistance.

Japan highlighted youth involvement, localizing and communicating the SDGs at the grassroots level, and partnerships.

Switzerland highlighted more specific language on gender equality and women’s empowerment, and a reference to the Global Sustainable Development Report (GSDR). All Member States, moreover, should present their VNRs within the current four-year cycle of the HLPF, and the thematic platforms should foster an integrated view of the 2030 Agenda.

USA called for the HLPF to drive collective, local and national action, with the Declaration clarifying the links between the Global Partnership for Sustainable Development Data and the HLPF. There should be no programme budget implication associated with the Declaration.

The Russian Federation noted caution in referring to the SDG indicators, insofar as they have not yet been adopted by the UN General Assembly.

Mexico stressed the importance of “exponential technologies” for achieving the SDGs.

UN Major Groups and other stakeholders were invited to share views on the draft elements via a webinar on 26 May 2017.

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