Following the July 4th Independence Day celebrations in America the United Nations is poised to commence the High Level Political Forum which reviews the implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and the 17 Sustainable Development Goals. For background see my blog of June 14. Registration for JCoR SDG Lab where Congregations are sharing ministries and reporting on their implementation of SDG’s is now open here: https://bit.ly/3OfUqWN
As you will see on that registration page, the schedule of Lab sessions will be as follows:
5 July @ 12:00-13:45 Universal Coordinated Time: Lab Session on SDG 4-Quality Education (part 1 of 2)
6 July @ 12:00-13:45 Universal Coordinated Time: Lab Session on SDG 5-Gender Equality
7 July @ 16:00:17:45 Universal Coordinated Time: Lab Session on SDG 4-Quality Education (part 2 of 2)
11 July @ 12:00-13:45 Universal Coordinated Time: Lab Session on SDG 14-Healthy Aquatic Ecosystems
12 July @ 12:00-13:45 Universal Coordinated Time: Lab Session on SDG `15-Healthy Terrestrial Ecosystems
13 July @ 12:00-13:45 Universal Coordinated Time: Lab Session on SDG 17-Partnerships for the Goals
Good Shepherd are participating on July 5, SDG 4 with a global girls’ panel (India, Sri Lanka, Philippines, Ecuador and Madagascar) speaking to their experiences of education, and reviewing the Voluntary National Reviews (VNT’s) of Sri Lanka and the Philippines. On July 6 Patricia Mosquera (Ecuador) is presenting on SDG 5. On July 7th Genny Dumay from the Philippines is presenting on SDG 4. On July 12th Catharina Indirastuti from Indonesia is presenting on SDG 15 and lastly on July 13th Mary Virgo Espineda from the Philippines is presenting on SDG 17. It is exciting to see such interest and engagement by the Philippines and Sri Lanka in the VNR reports from their countries.
The official website of the HLPF and official program can be easily accessed from the links provided or HERE. All the official programs are live on UN WEB TV and recording will be archived if you wish to review later. A fourth revision of the Ministerial Declaration (the outcome document of the session) has been posed – further consultations took place on June 30. You can check HERE to see the 4th revision and also you will have access to the next version of the document.
The process reviewing the implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) each year is called the High Level Political Forum on Sustainable Development (HLPF). This year the HLPF starts on July 5th and ends on July 15th. Four days are given to thematic review of specific SDGs and three days to country reports – Voluntary National Reviews (VNR). A new website has been launched and it is user friendly. Unfortunately it is only in English. Website it is easy to navigate. These are the pages for the HLPF 2022; The Program; and Details of each day. Five SDGs are being reviewed this year
o Partnerships (SDG 17SDG 4, 5, 12, 14 and 15.) 5 July 3.00 PM – 6.00 PM, EDT o Quality education (SDG 4) 6 July 9.00 AM – 12.00 PM, EDT o Gender equality (SDG 5) 7 July 9:00 AM – 12:00 PM,EDT o Life below water (SDG 14) 7 July 3.00 PM – 6.00 PM, EDT o Life on land (SDG 15) 11, July 9.00 AM – 12.00 PM, EDT
For questions that will provide a panel focus on each SDG See. All sessions will be webcast live on UN Web TV.
The VNRs commence on Monday July 13th. 45 Countries will provide country reports. The list of countries as in the letter of the President of ECOSOC in October 2021 is as follows: Andorra*, Argentina**, Belarus*, Botswana*, Cameroon*, Comoros*, Côte d’Ivoire*, Djibouti, Dominica, Equatorial Guinea, El Salvador*, Eritrea, Eswatini*, Ethiopia*, Gabon, Gambia*, Ghana*, Greece*, Grenada, Guinea-Bissau, Italy*, Jamaica*, Jordan*, Kazakhstan*, Latvia*, Lesotho*, Liberia*, Luxembourg*, Malawi*, Mali*, Montenegro*, the Netherlands*, Pakistan*, the Philippines**, São Tomé and Príncipe, Senegal*, Somalia, Sri Lanka*, Sudan*, Suriname, Switzerland**, Togo***, Tuvalu, United Arab Emirates*, Uruguay*** (Note: Countries with one asterisk * are second timers, those with two asterisks ** are third timers, those with three asterisks *** are presenting for the fourth time, while those without asterisks are presenting for the first time).
Countries were Good Shepherd are present are Argentina, El Salvador, and Uruguay in ECLAC; Italy, and The Netherlands in ECE; Pakistan, The Philippines, and Sri Lanka, in ESCAP and Senegal and Sudan in ECA. By clicking on the link below your country flag you can see the messages and reports that have been prepared and uploaded
The Report of the Secretary General on the Progress towards the Sustainable Development Goals has been prepared and posted. This reports contains an analysis of each of the 17 SDGs. Another report was launched on 2 June entitled Sustainable Development Report 2022: A Global Plan to Finance the Sustainable Development Goals. A dashboard with country ranking has been prepared. Find your country ranking and an interactive map The key findings presented at the launch of the report were 1. Peace, diplomacy, and international cooperation are fundamental conditions for the world to progress on the SDGs towards 2030 and beyond. 2. For the second year in a row, the world is no longer making progress on the SDGs. A global plan to finance the SDGs is urgently needed. 3. At mid-point on the way to 2030, policy efforts and commitments supporting the SDGs vary significantly across countries, including among G20 countries. • 2023 Heads of States SDG Summit should be an opportunity to re-commit to this Agenda. 4. Rich countries generate negative international spillovers notably through unsustainable consumption; Europe is taking actions. 5. The COVID-19 pandemic forced data providers to innovate and build new forms of partnerships; these should be leveraged and scaled up to promote SDG impacts by 2030 and beyond. • Science, technological innovations, and data systems can help identify solutions in times of crises and can provide decisive contributions to address the major challenges of our times. These require increased and prolonged investments in statistical capacities, R&D, and education and skills.
The recording of the launch is available on the UNSDSN YouTube channel. There were two international panelists in conversation with the moderator – Ms. Susanna Moorehead, DAC Chair of the OECD and Prof. Jeffrey D. Sachs, President of the Sustainable Development Solutions Network (SDSN). This was followed by the launch of the report with a PowerPoint presentation. In the last segment Arsène Dansou, Director General of the Debt Management Office, Ministry of Economy and Finance of Bénin and Dr. Simona Marinescu, UN Resident Coordinator Samoa, Cook Islands, Niue, Tokelau shared on promising national experiences.
During the HLPF there will be a number of VNR Labs and Side Event -to date a scheduling of these events has not been posted. You can watch for postings at https://hlpf.un.org/2022
The HLPF will end with a ministerial declaration. This declaration is currently being negotiated. Draft two is available HERE Paragraph 13 reads “We take note with appreciation of the Secretary-General’s report on Progress towards the SDGs. In particular, we note with alarm that years, or even decades, of development progress have been haltered or reversed, due to multiple and widespread impacts of COVID- 19, conflicts and climate change. We are particularly concerned by the rise in extreme poverty, hunger, malnutrition and food insecurity, inequalities, education disruptions, violence against women, unemployment, additional social and economic vulnerabilities affecting in particular those already in the most vulnerable situations, in addition to the increased challenges posed by climate change, biodiversity loss and pollution . We recognize that the multiple and interlinked global crises we are facing are putting the SDGs at great risk and jeopardize the achievement of the 2030 Agenda. We commit to mobilize and accelerate actions for rescuing the SDGs and leave no one behind by to adopting resilient, sustainable, inclusive and low-carbon development pathways for the full implementation of the 2030 Agenda.” The bold print is mine.
UN Women has published “Progress on the Sustainable Development Goals: The Gender Snapshot 2021” This 30 page book provides a good snapshot of the current situation of Gender Equality in relation to each of the SDGs. If you like visuals then you will appreciate the charts and graphs. One interesting one comparing the target with the reality is below. One of our strong advocacy points over the years has been for implementation of Social Protection Floors in line with ILO Recommendation 202. See Article 5 for a definition of Social Protection Floors.
Look at the regions where there is insufficient data and very far from target. Notice the deterioration in Northern and Western Africa and Latin America and the Caribbean and this is prior to COVID 19.
Philip Alston, outgoing Special Rapporteur on Extreme Poverty and Human Rights had this to say “When you look at what COVID-19 has done, which has really been just to pull the Band-Aid off the poverty wounds, we see all too clearly that in fact it was very far from being eliminated,” Read the whole article. The report is entitled “The parlous state of poverty eradication.” An advance unedited version is available. The Special Rapporteur urged moving away from an almost exclusive focus on economic growth as a means to reduce poverty and focus rather on the reduction of inequalities and the redistribution of wealth. Two policies towards this are tax justice and universal social protection floors. He further called for deepening democracy and embracing participatory governance.
Another resource can be accessed here It is the SDG dashboard. Below are the top 7 performing countries and some of the countries doing less well.
A disappointing end to the High Level Political Forum. Throughout the two weeks words abounded calling for accelerated action but the political will of the member states was lacking and we are without a ministerial declaration with committed resources to ‘build back better.’ Remember this was the theme “Accelerated action and transformative pathways: realizing the decade of action and delivery for sustainable development “.
An overall impression of the Forum was provided by Deputy-Secretary of the United Nations, Amina Mohammed. “It is clear from your discussions and from recent progress reports that the left behind are still being left behind. We simply must do more — much more — to reach the most excluded and discriminated in our societies — including migrants and refugees, women and girls, and persons with disabilities. We must respond with greater urgency to the moral shame that is world hunger and to the risks facing hundreds of millions of people living in fragile and conflict affected contexts. We must channel greater investment towards the full empowerment and employment of young people, We must speed up – not fall back – on our push for gender equality. And we truly must come to terms with the requirements of SDG10 – recognizing that extreme inequality is never inevitable” Read the full text or see the Video Recording
The closing words of the President of the Economic and Social Council , H.E. Ms Mona Juul ‘We also want to strongly reaffirm our commitment to multilateralism and international solidarity in the context of the COVID-19 crisis. I think we are close to an agreement on a declaration that will be visionary, well balanced, action-oriented, and focused on the key challenges of our times. I encourage all member states to support a consensus-based adoption of the Declaration very soon – its core messages are certainly more important than ever.’ Full Text
The GSIJP Team – Alexis Schutz and Donatus Lili were active and engaged and captured on virtual platforms.
The templates in vibrant colors drew attention to the theme of the day, the crosscutting nature of the agenda and the intersection of the SDG’s.
while the Tweets send out the messages and calls for action.
Good Shepherd International’s Foundation – Cristina Duranti is a panelist at a webinar on Monday morning July 13 2020 from 1:30 –3:00 pm CEST entitled “Putting an end to greed: The interaction between respect for human rights and the protection of nature. Cristina will focus on the project in the DRC.
The following two events are within the HLPF Program – Tuesday morning July 14 at 8.00 am and Wednesday July 15 at 1.00 p.m. Registration is required.
Voluntary National Reviews (VNR’s) are scheduled to start on the afternoon of July 10th between 2.00 p.m. and 4.00 pm New York time. 47 Countries are scheduled to present. The voluntary national reviews (VNRs) aim to to share national experiences, including successes, challenges and lessons learned in implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals. The presentation of the VNRs seek to strengthen policies and institutions of governments and to mobilize multi-stakeholder support and partnerships for the implementation of the SDGs.
July 10, 2pm – 4pm Armenia, Ecuador, Honduras, Samoa, Slovenia.
July 13, 9am – 12pm Bangladesh, Georgia, India, Kenya, Morocco, Nepal, Niger, Nigeria, Uganda.
July 13, 2pm – 4pm Argentina, Benin, Costa Rica, Panama, Peru.
The High Level Forum that reviews the implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and the 17 Sustainable Development Goals is virtual this year. It started on Tuesday morning, July 7th and will continue until Thursday July 16th. The theme this year is “Accelerated action and transformative pathways: realizing the decade of action and delivery for sustainable development “. The theme was determined prior to the outbreak of COVID 19 calling for a decade of accelerated action. This year the SDG’s are 5 years in operation. Has there been progress? Yes, and no, but now in these COVID 19 times progress is halted and the deep fault lines in current global systems and structures are revealed for what they are – exacerbating poverty. The world bank estimates that between 40 and 60 million people will be pushed into extreme poverty this year (2020) while inequality within and between countries is exposed and magnified.
The Sustainable Development Goals Report was launched on July 7 where it was shared that for the first time in over 20 years there is a rise in global poverty. An estimated 71 million people are expected to fall into extreme poverty.
Pages 6 – 23 are a series of graphics, one for each goal – illustrating before COVID 19 and COVID 19 Consequences. A webcast of the launch can be seen HERE with an overview of the report and a summary presentation of the graphics.
Where does one add one’s voice? Which action, program or intervention is more effective in bringing about a fair future for people and planet? How find this in the midst of multiple words, publication, side event, exhibitions, training sessions, VNR labs, and others?
One of the most interesting session that I have engage in was entitled “Towards a New Global Economic Architecture that works for the People and Planet.” The one hour session featured feminists critical thinkers from the Women’s Working Group on Financing for Development, Third World Network, EURODAD and a speaker from Global Alliance for Tax Justice. Moderator: Emilia Reyes, Program Director, Policy & Budgets, Equidad de Género, Ciudadanía, Trabajo y Familia & Co-Convener, Women’s Working Group on Financing for Development
Speakers: Dereje Alemayehu, Executive Coordinator, Global Alliance for Tax Justice; Ranja Sengupta, Senior Researcher, Third World Network; and Maria Jose Romero, Policy and Advocacy Manager, EURODAD
The presentation really demonstrated how inequalities are continuing to grow and profits are being made on medical supplies and protections required globally during the COVID 19 pandemic while debt increases and trade rules destroy a countries ability to provide for citizens. Private investors are undermine the right to health for all. Governments and public sector services need to at the center.
The panel provided a strong call to the United Nations to take the challenge of leadership and facilitate a UN Economic Reconstruction and Systemic Reform Summit towards a New Global Economic Architecture that works for people and planet. The Principles and Calls for Action are laid out in the two page document.
Access to the recording is on YouTube This is the sort of of global action that is required to facilitate the seismic shift required to reach ‘the furthest behind first’ and ensure that every girl, women and child is assured of her/his rights to the basics for health and well being. This sort of action would favour full implementation of the 17 Sustainable Development Goals while challenging the concentrated power and resources of some countries, including the G7, G 20 and the Bretton Wood Institutions while permitting every country to be at the table. Piecemeal implementation on the basis of single issues or favorite goals is no longer tenable. The COVID 19 Pandemic has shown us this. The world needs sustainable economies focused on people’s needs and planet care, and away from Gross Domestic Product (GDP) and profits for the few.
My assessment of how the global community is doing ‘Empowering the girls, women and children Good Shepherd accompany and ensuring their inclusiveness and equality’ is not too well! The Sustainable Development Goals Report 2019 tells the story The question asked on the front page of the report is telling. ‘We must ask ourselves if our actions today are laying the right foundation to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)?’ The specific set of Goals reviewed this week were SDG 4, 8, 10, 13 and 16. Some of the headlines in the SDG 4 report are: Shockingly low proficiency rates in reading and mathematics signal a global learning crisis’; ‘Early childhood education offers a head start in school, but one third of the world’s children are being left behind’; ‘Progress has stalled in reaching out-of-school children’; ‘Too many schools in sub-Saharan Africa lack the basic elements of a good quality education: trained teachers and adequate facilities’; and ‘Despite progress, 750 million adults still cannot read and write a simple statement; two thirds of those adults are women.’ See SDG 4
I attended the side event SDG 4: At the Heart of Achieving the 2030 Agenda co-sponsored by groups that have education at the heart of their mission. The panelists presented a range of examples of inclusive, quality education. It was noted that injustice is inherent in the educational system.
Sr. Nakato Betty RSCJ outlined some principles underlying quality and inclusive education and depicted the current interaction of the system of education with the student to asking a fish to climb a tree!
Mr. Brian Fitzsimons with International Presentation Association presented a project ‘iScoil Ireland’ begun in 2007 that seeks to addresses the ‘shockingly low proficiency rates in reading and mathematics’ mentioned in the SDG report through interactive, flexible, and personalized learning using technology and multiple modes of assessment leading to a recognized accreditation with 82% receiving a qualification.
Nick Newland, Associated Country Women of the World spoke to the situation of education in conflict affected and fragile states and this should be at the heart of the 2030 Agenda. I was reminded of an article in Global Sisters Report that you may help helpful to situate your self in the reality of the camp with the Society of the Daughters of Mary Immaculate.
The Spotlight Report was launched on Thursday morning. This is the 4th edition of the report which seeks to track progress across the Agenda and the individual goals. The findings are that progress is seriously off track. Progress has not and will not come with accelearation or resources. Rather a major shift in policy is required with serious attention being given to the role of the public sector in line with responsibility for human rights and the public resources required to implement the goals. There is a need for strong institutions and good governance for sustainability. In the Spotlight Report there is a chapter on SDG 4 By Antonia Wulff, Education InternationalThe chapter can be accessed here It gives a very good insight into what is really happening. “In practice, numerous actors are competing for influence, particularly on defining what works in education, as so-called knowledge-based economies, grapple for growth and hunt for quick fixes in education. The SDGs are to be implemented in a political landscape where the UN system struggles to assert its relevance and values; gone are the days when UNESCO was the obvious authority in education, to which countries would turn for policy advice. This matters because agreement continues to be sought as to what the broad priorities within SDG 4 mean in practice, such as quality education or relevant learning. Governments have committed to a shared level of ambition and set of priorities but at the end of the day it is up to each government to translate them into more specific national policy.”
While numerous actors are competing for influence – the World Bank, the OECD, the International Commission on Financing Global Education Opportunity (Education Commission), and the London-based Varkey Foundation – NGO’s are at the cutting edge empowering people and ensuring inclusiveness and equality as demonstrated at the SDG 4 event for individuals and groups within society but who notices, how counts?
I began the week on Sunday July 7th being a panelist at a Water Aid event – presenting an overview of SDG 4. My question to the participants was do we continues to advocate for our separate individual issues in relation to education or do we advocate for structural and systemic change? The Secretary General’s Report had some stark comments: “In 2016, one third of all primary schools lacked basic drinking water, sanitation and hygiene services, affecting the education of millions of school children, but particularly girls managing menstruation.” In 2018, one fifth of the world’s youth were not in education, employment or training… There is a stark gender difference. Young women were more than twice as likely as young men to be unemployed or outside the labour force and not in education or training.” I called for collective advocacy to challenge the unethical dimensions of the financial markets, financial institutions and an unscrupulous sector. When preparing for this I had access to two excellent presentations showcasing what Good Shepherd are doing in the Democratic Republic of Congo focusing on the education of children who were engaged in child labour and in Puket, Thailand with a focus on the education of children whose parents have migrated to Thailand. These programmes demonstrate holistic rights-based education.
NGO’s are often not recognized, not counted, not consulted, not included. But we do what we do best, ‘upholding the dignity of every person in the face of gross inequalities, violations of human rights, and the stubborn persistence of gender based violence against the girl child, women and children.
The 8 days concluded with a Ministerial Declaration. The Ministerial Declaration did not happen by consensus as was hoped for but required a vote. It was adopted by 164 votes in favour and 2 against (Israel and the United States) and no abstentions.
The Russian Federation requested a recorded vote to delete paragraph 16 on gender equality. 134 Member States voted to retrain the paragraph, 10 were against and there were 10 abstentions.
UN Water in its report noted that the world is not on track with water and sanitation READ SDG6_SR_2018_3_highlights_web_ENG and makes suggestions as to what to do. Secretary General, Antonio Guterres addressing the HLPF said that while much progress has been made, the world has also backtracked in areas that are fundamental to the shared pledge to leave no one behind. For the first time in a decade, the number of people who are undernourished has increased, gender inequality continues to deprive women of basic rights, and investment in sustainable infrastructure remains “entirely inadequate” – all amid runaway climate change, eroding human rights and persistent pockets of poverty.