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UN HLPF on Sustainable Development (2020): The Ministerial Declaration

Sunday, 08 November 2020
The annual session of the High Level Political Forum on Sustainable Development (HLPF 2020), convened, in a virtual format due to the COVID-19 pandemic, under the auspices of the Economic and Social Council, was held from Tuesday 7 July, to Thursday, 16 July 2020 at the UN Headquarters in New York, under the theme Accelerated action and transformative pathways: realizing the decade of action and delivery for sustainable development. In the course of the 2020 HLPF, government officials along with representatives from international organizations, the civil society and other stakeholders, discussed the progress achieved so far on the SDGs implementation, at global and national level, and areas where more action needs to be taken in light of the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. The acceleration of progress towards the achievement of 2030 Agenda at national level was reflected in the voluntary national reviews (VNRs) presented by 47 States members from Friday, 10 July to Thursday, 16 July 2020. 

The closing session of the 2020 HLPF concluded with a Ministerial Declaration, in the context of a three-day ministerial segment taking place from 14 to 16 July 2020. In this Declaration, the Ministers and high representatives reaffirmed their commitment to effectively implement the 2030 Agenda in its entirety through enhancing international cooperation and multilateralism. Having said that they recognized the catalytic role played by the United Nations system in supporting the achievement of the 2030 Agenda and coordinating a global response to the Covid-19 pandemic, based on the principles unity and solidarity. They reaffirmed that eradicating poverty in all its forms and dimensions, including extreme poverty, along with reducing inequalities within and among countries, protecting the environment, combating climate change and achieving a sustainable and inclusive recovery from the pandemic are considered great global challenges and indispensable requirements for sustainable development on which the international community should focus more intensively.
Moreover, the Ministers and high representatives paid heed to the challenges and needs facing the vulnerable countries with regard to the effective and integrated implementation of the SDGs (African countries, least developed countries, landlocked, developing countries and small island developing State), taking into due account the disproportionate effects of the COVID-19 pandemic in those countries. In this context, they called on the international community to pursue actions and measures aimed at promoting the mobilization of multiple financial resources in the developing counties and strengthening their capacity building. In addition, they pointed out that peaceful, just, and inclusive societies is an absolute prerequisite for delivering successfully on the 2030 Agenda, and they committed to step up their collective efforts to prevent and resolve conflicts, to reduce inequalities within and among countries, to provide peaceful and just solutions to disputes, and to protect and fulfil human rights for all, guided by the international law and the principles of the Charter of the United Nations. In the same vein, they placed particular emphasis on promoting a sustainable and inclusive recovery of the global economies, in the context of mitigating the devastating impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, including through ensuring sustainable consumption and production patterns, strengthening health and social protection systems, increasing investments in sustainable infrastructures and technologies, protecting the environment, ensuring equitable and universal access to quality and inclusive education for all, and creating conditions for decent work for all.

Furthermore, the Ministerial Declaration places particular attention to climate change and environmental protection as two of the greatest challenges of our time, which lie at the core of the overall sustainable development governance. Within this framework, the Ministers and high representatives reaffirmed their commitment to take all the necessary legislative and policy initiatives with a view to promoting, inter alia, the mitigation and adaptation to climate change, in line with the 2030 Agenda and the Paris Agreement, restoring ecosystems, halting biodiversity loss and deforestation, advancing the conservation and sustainable use of natural resources (marine and terrestrial), promoting universal access to affordable, reliable, sustainable and modern energy for all, and enhancing the science-policy interface through evidence-based policy and law-making, in consistency with all the relevant international environmental agreements. Finally, they pointed out that the devastating impacts of the pandemic is adding more hardships in the effective and integrated implementation of the SDGs. In order to reverse this trend, the international community and all relevant stakeholders should continue supporting, improving and mobilizing all the necessary SDGs implementation means through increasing the financing for sustainable development, strengthening the national capacity building (administrative, technological, statistical), promoting policy coherence and synergies, and enhancing the stakeholders partnership and cooperation at all levels.

Sources: United Nations, Department of Economic and Social Affairs     
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