By Deirdre de Burca, Forus Advocacy coordinator

"The Progressing National SDG Implementation 2019” is an independently commissioned report and Forus has contributed to it over the past three years. It identifies and promotes best practices in national SDG implementation as well as highlights gaps and challenges.

An important opportunity arises this year which will may allow for many of the recommendations of this report and previous reports to influence the function of the High- Level Political Forum (HLPF) a central space for follow-up and review of UN Member States’ SDG implementation.

Civil society has been very active in developing proposals and advocating for a range of reforms to the way in which the HLPF functions. Forus as a global civil society network have developed its own advocacy document on the HLPF Review including the following key proposals:

(1) The HLPF review process must be ambitious and avoid a superficial tweaking

(2) The review must avoid focusing exclusively on the global level and be multi-level

This will mean reforms to the follow-up and review processes at the regional and national levels- VNR processes & those linked to Regional SD Forums.

(3) The review must greatly strengthen the multi-stakeholder dimension of the HLPF, particularly the involvement of civil society as a key stakeholder

Despite positive official talk about how central multi-stakeholder engagement is to the success of SDG implementation, the HLPF remains largely a state-centered and state-driven process. Civil society and other key stakeholders are quite marginal in terms of their involvement in the HLPF

(4) The presentation of VNRs during the HLPF must be allocated more time

The current approach to the presentation of VNRs during the HLPF is flawed and insufficient. Only three ministerial days during the HLPF are available for the presentation of between 40-50 VNRs. The result is that the presentation of each is allocated 15 minutes, which leaves little opportunity for constructive dialogue.

(5) The HLPF must become more policy-oriented

The activities of the HLPF should go beyond review and create space for more in-depth policy discussions. The UN Member States should be supported in accessing clear policy guidance and support in target-setting to achieve greater sustainability across different policy areas at national and regional levels.

(6) A specific multi-stakeholder mechanism for the annual review of Goal17 implementation. 

No specific mechanism has been agreed within the framework of the HLPF to ensure the effective annual review of the Goal 17 by governments and the Major Groups and other Stakeholders (MGoS). Civil society is calling for a specific Goal 17review mechanism to be established by the HLPF as a matter of urgency, and for the MGoS to be fully involved in this mechanism.

Forus has made a wide range of proposals for the review – but these are some of the key ones.

Please do check the Forus Advocacy Paper on the HLPF Review

Click here to check the full report of the 4th of Progressing National SDGs implementation in English