UN Sustainable Development Goals meeting raises uncertainty

Caritas members were among over 2,000 civil society leaders at the High-Level Political Forum on sustainable development held at UN Headquarters in New York on 9-18 July. The forum, known for short as HLPF, ended with a Ministerial Declaration.

Caritas said:

“The key features of sustainable development, such as the transformative approach to our lifestyles and global economy and the links needed to tackle economic, social, environmental dimensions of sustainable development, seem to be well understood by global policymakers.

But the Ministerial Declaration at the High-Level Political Forum on sustainable development held at UN Headquarters on 9-18 July has prompted uncertainty over whether these principles will be effectively put into practice.”

SDG meeting fails to offer road map to economic, social, environmental reform. Photo credit: Annie Bungerouth/ACT-Caritas

SDG meeting fails to offer road map to economic, social, environmental reform. Photo credit: Annie Bungerouth/ACT-Caritas

Reaffirm commitments for urgent, transformational change

We are making an urgent appeal for governments to reinforce their commitments, direct political will and speed up progress to realise the Sustainable Development Agenda by 2030.

The Declaration fails to convey the necessary sense of urgency. Unilateral attempts have been made to dial back commitments made in 2015. The constraints of the global economy cannot be used as a pretext to cut back Overseas Development Assistance (ODA).

Ensure the process is effective

We need high-level, political accountability to track global efforts and tackle development challenges through multilateral, multi-stakeholder collaboration.

Civil society groups must be included in a meaningful way, to engage together in sound analysis of global situations and policy solutions.

Integrate all pillars of sustainable development

Putting Agenda 2030 into practice is only possible if the three pillars of sustainable development are implemented in an integrated way. Economic prosperity must be shared, social protections must be put in place for all, and the environment safeguarded.

The Ministerial Declaration recognises the synergies between the implementation of the Paris Agreement and the 2030 Agenda. We welcome the adoption of this text, although it does not give concrete guidance on how to implement the SDGs, and the wider Agenda 2030, together with the commitments of the Paris Agreement.

A universal agenda for all

Governments from the Global North have a particular responsibility to deliver Agenda 2030 in a way that their national policies don’t cause harm in other parts of the world. It is essential to take stock of the impact of Governments’ policies and actions on other peoples’ prospects for sustainable development.

The UN must demonstrate leadership and the importance of commitments by its members to safeguard our planet and improve living conditions worldwide. With the foundations of multilateralism under threat, Agenda 2030 must offer guidance and motivation.

The Ministerial Declaration should aim to put global sustainable development back on track.

Read more about our work on the Sustainable Development Goals