Vision of Civil Society, Leaving No One Behind in Recovering Better
The High-Level Political Forum on Sustainable Development (HLPF) provides an annual check-in on Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) implementation efforts.
The first leg meeting of the HLPF meeting was held from July 5 to 7, under the auspices of Economic and Social Council. The final leg is scheduled between July 11 and 15. This includes the three-day ministerial segment of the forum from Wednesday, 13 - 15 July 2022.
During the meeting on July 11, Liu Zhenmin, UN Under-Secretary-General for Economic and Social Affairs, highlighted the important role of civil society in reaching those furthest behind, and in informing the 2023 Summit, emphasizing “we need to hear your diverse voices everywhere.”
MGoS Coordination Mechanism Co-Chair, Mabel Bianco, President, Fundacion para Estudio e Investigación de la Mujer, recalled the appreciation civil society had felt at the adoption of the 2030 Agenda, but noted progress is lacking.
She urged governments to make meaningful political commitments that leave no one behind.
MGoS Coordination Mechanism Co-Chair, Ajay Jha, Director, Centre for Community Economics and Development Consultants Society, India, moderated the session.
Among civil society’s priorities, he highlighted: improved vaccine equity, addressing the debt crisis, and stronger climate action.
Wezzie Chimwala, Monitoring and Evaluation Manager, Voluntary Services Overseas (VSO), Malawi, called for stronger government recognition of the value volunteers bring to SDG implementation and accountability.
Wali Haider, Focal Point for Farmers’ Major Group at UNEP, prioritized: access and control to land for a more sustainable prosperity; and community farming over corporate, industrial farming.
Emilia Reyes, Women’s Major Group, called out “disaster profiteering,” which prevents vaccine equity, and called for a fourth financing for development conference.
Speaking as a refugee from the war in Ukraine, Svetlana Slesarenok, Founder and Director, Black Sea Women’s Club, Odessa, stressed that the war is directly linked to fossil fuel extraction and urged an end in public investment in oil and gas.
Saad Alfarargi, UN Special Rapporteur on the Right to Development, said the right to development is a holistic, multi-stakeholder process, and underlined the need to revise tax and finance policy to address the concerns of the most vulnerable, including women.
Denison Jayasooria, All-Party Parliamentary Group Malaysia on SDGs, proposed the establishment of a 10-member panel under the auspices of ECOSOC on the status of civil society organization (CSO) engagement and participation.
Participants expressed concern over the diminishing space for civil society and political repression against CSOs in Belarus and Russia.
They stressed the need to: improve education; end discrimination in the workplace and against older persons; improve economic transparency and revise fiscal regulations to curb tax evasion; and promote data collection and adopt data-driven solutions.
Delegates highlighted various efforts to include civil society in national and local SDG processes.
They also noted the need to: address systemic barriers to equality such as misogyny; protect human rights defenders; combat disinformation; shift power to children, and local organizations; and provide girls with high quality education and information on sexual and reproductive rights.