Draft HLPF and HLS Ministerial Declaration

The silence on the draft High-level Political Forum (HLPF) and ECOSOC High-Level Segment (HLS) Ministerial Declaration was broken by four countries – Australia, Canada, Israel and the United States before the deadline on 11 July.

We understand that Australia and Canada broke the silence because they were dissatisfied with the treatment of gender equality and the empowerment of women and girls in the text, something that we referred to yesterday (see: HLPF and HLS Ministerial Declaration final draft under silence procedure). (While they were negotiating with New Zealand as the CANZ group, New Zealand did not join them in breaking the silence.) The United States was not satisfied with the text on trade in the section on the Means of Implementation, nor that on foreign occupation, which was also a red line for Israel.

Apparently, the Co-conveners will not be re-convening the informal consultations, but will be meeting with the dissatisfied Member States today, 12 July. If there is still no agreement the text will be submitted to the ECOSOC President, who will have a number of options including preparing a new draft; tabling the draft as is, to be voted on rather than adopted as a consensus document; or not to have a Ministerial Declaration.

Editor’s note: The problems over the text on gender equality and women’s empowerment are particularly disappointing as they demonstrate the inability of Member States to move the 2030 Agenda forward on SDG 5 at the global level through the HLPF. It is to be hoped that a solution will be found so that the Ministerial Declaration has a strong paragraph on gender equality that reflects all the SDG 5 targets and not just those that are less controversial. This situation also demonstrates the importance of the focus being first and foremost on implementation at the national level.

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