High-Level Political Forum on Sustainable Development - 9th Meeting

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SIX OFFICIAL 14-Jul-2017 04:09:59
2030 Agenda’s Integrated nature represents opportunity to increase efficiency and scale of future development, speakers tell high-level political forum.
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The interlinking nature of the Sustainable Development Goals represented an important opportunity to increase the efficiency, effectiveness and scale of future development efforts, speakers said today, as the Economic and Social Council wrapped up the first segment of its High-Level Political Forum.

The balance and details of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development were contained in its targets, which were the “social contract” that had been negotiated between Governments and other stakeholders, said Charles Arden‑Clarke, Head of the African 10-Year Framework Programme on Sustainable Consumption and Production Secretariat at the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP).

Achieving some 49 targets contained within 13 of the 17 Goals depended on a shift to sustainable consumption, said Mr. Arden‑Clarke, speaking in a panel discussion aimed at exploring opportunities for leveraging interlinkages for the implementation of the Goals. A range of targets across the 2030 Agenda highlighted the integrated and synergetic challenges of sustainable development, although designing polices that could adequately address those challenges would require more coherence and coordination among Government departments.

From the world’s experience in attempting to address HIV and AIDS, it was clear that interlinked issues, such as those related to equality, poverty, gender, hunger, governance, education and human rights must be addressed, said Michel Sidibé, Executive Director of the Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS). For example, in Botswana, it was determined that even one year of additional education could reduce one’s risk of HIV infection rate by almost 11 per cent, he told the Forum. Such experiences pointed to the fact that leveraging interlinkages for implementation was a critical issue for all, although it was important to recognize that those issues were often deeply rooted in politics.

Intellectual clarity was needed for implementing the agenda, as well as for establishing conceptual and analytical frameworks for doing so, said Debapriya Bhattacharya, Chair of Southern Voice and a Distinguished Fellow at the Centre for Policy Dialogue. All models of implementation suffered from a major problem in that they focused on the aggregate level — which was the global level — and did not look deeper into national experiences, he continued.

Highlighting that as an intergovernmental organization which promoted the rule of law for the purposes of development, Irene Khan, Director-General of the International Development Law Organization, noted that 14 out of the 17 Goals addressed the need for access to justice or inclusive societies. For example, women’s equal rights to land and natural resources were related to many aspects of food security; yet, in many of those countries, law and policies did not give women equal access to land and resources.

Pointing to a “fantastic amount of data” emerging from a variety of different producers, Roberto Olino, Chief Statistician of Brazil, underlined the need to harmonize those sources in a way that would create more coherence. Speaking in a second panel discussion focused on data and statistics, Mr. Olino said the national challenge of leaving no one behind implied a need for data disaggregation in order to identify “the no-ones”, adding that this spotlighted the need to gather data in order to better understand trends and movements. Noting that talking about data had recently become “trendy”, he said there was nevertheless a real need to consider it more seriously and coherently.

Underscoring the importance of avoiding getting “stuck in the weeds” in discussions on data, Judith Randel, Co-founder and Executive Director of Development Initiatives, said one major challenge was to develop a more sophisticated understanding about how people’s identities made it harder or easier to take advantage of opportunities. “We have to make it really easy” for politicians to understand the 2030 Agenda, she stressed.

Also today, the Forum held a panel discussion on the science-policy interface and other emerging issues.

In closing remarks, Frederick Musiiwa Makamure Shava, President of the Economic and Social Council, and Wu Hongbo, Under-Secretary-General of Economic and Social Affairs, gave a broad overview of the sessions throughout the week.

The Forum will meet again at 9 a.m. on Monday, 17 July, to begin its ministerial segment.
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