HLPF Concludes with Vote on Ministerial Declaration, Concerns about “Power of Mandate” and Those Left Behind
Americas, Events, August 21 2018
NEW YORK, USA: The UN High-level Political Forum on Sustainable Development (HLPF) concluded its 2018 meeting by voting to adopt a Ministerial Declaration on the theme, ‘Transformation towards sustainable and resilient societies.’ The eight-day session also: heard 46 countries’ Voluntary National Reviews (VNRs), highlighting plans and efforts to implement the SDGs; reviewed six of the 17 SDGs; conducted thematic reviews; held a discussion on progress in “leaving no one behind;” and convened a High-Level General Debate.
On 18 July, the final day of the HLPF session, the Forum adopted the Ministerial Declaration (document E/HLPF/2018/L.2) via a vote, as 164 Member States voted in favor and two Member States (Israel and US) opposed. Prior to the adoption of the Declaration, the US submitted an amendment to replace the words “mutually beneficial” with “international cooperation,” with 107 Member States voting against the proposal, 50 in favor and three abstentions (Norway, Republic of Moldova, and Seychelles). Member States also rejected a second US-proposed amendment to replace language on the promotion of a “universal, rules-based, open, transparent, predictable, inclusive, non-discriminatory and equitable multilateral trading system under the World Trade Organization (WTO)” with language reaffirming that “trade can contribute to the promotion of sustainable development and the alleviation of poverty.” The HLPF also voted to retain two paragraphs relating to: peace and security; and gender equality.
Following the adoption of the Ministerial Declaration, Egypt for the Group of 77 and China (G-77/China) highlighted the need to end hunger and address food insecurity, and stressed the principles of common but differentiated responsibilities (CBDR) and respect for the territorial integrity of states. Austria for the EU expressed “deep regret” that the Ministerial Declaration had been subjected to a vote, especially regarding references to human rights, rule of law and justice at all levels. He called for negotiations on the 2019 Ministerial Declaration to begin earlier than they did this year, expressed regret that the declaration lacks adequate references to environmental challenges, while referring to an “outdated” vision of economic growth and industrialization, and noted that references to renewable energy are weak, while there is no call to reform fossil fuel subsidies.
Taking up the issue of ‘leaving no one behind’ during the HLPF, a discussion on 13 July featured keynote speaker Andrew Gilmour, Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights. Gilmour said the world is not on track with the 2030 Agenda as many people are pushed further behind by the forces of globalization, with risks and burdens borne by the poorest and marginalized. Lead discussant Sakiko Fukuda-Parr, Committee on Development Policy (CDP), said only 14 VNRs presented detailed action plans to leave no one behind. Participants called for: understanding who is being left behind; ensuring inclusion of disabled, marginalized and vulnerable persons in data collection and disaggregation; and increasing attention to critical linkages across the SDGs, among other areas. Several noted the relationship between access to land, water and energy, and poverty and inequality.
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Re-posted with permission