HLPF 2024 update: day one

9 July 2024


During HLPF 2024, GNDR is in New York representing civil society, advocating for our members’ call to action messages and supporting Sendai stakeholders in integrating disaster risk reduction into the sustainable development goals. 

Becky Murphy, GNDR’s Policy Lead and Marcos Concepcion Raba, GNDR’s Executive Director, are in New York and will be sharing an HLPF GNDR members briefing throughout the week.

These are the key messages coming from the first day’s key sessions:

Monday 8th July 2024

Our Agenda:

  • 8:30am: Major Group Briefing Session: (daily conference room F) 
  • 10am: opening ceremony and high-level session 1: effective delivery of sustainable, resilient and innovative solutions 
  • 1:15pm: SEM side event on loss and damage: Adessou Kossovi and Sophie Rigg speaking on behalf of GNDR & the Sendai SEM
  • Meet and greet: briefing with GNDR member: José Ramón Ávila, board member Sophie Rigg 
  • 3pm: Afternoon high-level session: unlocking investment

Major Group/ MGoS Briefing focussed on:

  • Logistics
  • Increasing level of shrinking space for civil society/non-member state stakeholders
  • Side event support: daily major group side event at 1:15 pm in conference room F 

Opening segment:

During the opening ceremony and first session, Becky represented GNDR, observing from the floor, with the support of Marcos from the observation balcony. 

  • Acceleration and implementation – cooperation & data 

Opening remarks: by H.E Paula Narvaez, president of ECOSOC:

  • The forum marks the end of the annual cycle and will set the scene for the year ahead
  • Our focus is on eradicating poverty by creating sustainable and resilient communities
  • An outcome that will be circulated will include the SDG progress report on hunger, peace, and climate change (check SDG focus)
  • There will be a focus on countries facing conflict, with a call to look at the roots of conflict and the importance of peacebuilding in sustainable development, so that conflict does not destroy progress made in development  
  • National level implementation 
  • Link to the Summit for the Future
  • Specific call for gender equality, which is essential for economic growth – this means equal access to education and employment. Gender equality is an essential cross-cutting issue that must be included in all segments 

KEYNOTE – Amina Mohammed, Deputy Secretary General of UN, called for:

  • The rights of women and children
  • We must keep a focus on women’s rights
  • Reiterated conflict as a focus
  • Less than one fifth of the SDGs are on track – this is unacceptable, we must address this and find the solutions and political will to turn our words into action 

Kairat Umarov – Vice President ECOSOC: 

  • Coordination of sustainable, resilient development in times of multiple crises 
  • Key focus on collaboration for the 2030 Agenda 
  • Inadequacy of current food systems – millions still lack access to safe and nutritious food 
  • The rights-based approach including gender equality and children’s rights is essential to ensure access to food
  • Nature-based solutions and meaningful inclusion are critical 
  • We must harness the necessary financing for loss and damage – this is essential 
  • Evidence-based decision-making is reliant on cutting-edge technology in developing countries. So we must tackle the digital divide to make sure no one is left behind. Technology must be a bridge, not a barrier for peace 
  • Rights-based approach is essential 
  • Data driven policy is essential with diverse stakeholders 
  • Words must be turned into action

Observation from GNDR: there are multiple high-level statements on the importance of diverse stakeholders – yet it is increasingly hard to engage in this space as a stakeholder.

Segment 1: Effective delivery of sustainable, resilient and innovative solutions

Li Junjua – Under-Secretary-General for Economic and Social Affairs, Department of Economic and Social Affairs (DESA), United Nations

  • The amount of people living in poverty is increasing 
  • Education remains greatly threatened 
  • A fifth of young people in the world are not in employment, education or training
  • High levels of violence against women and girls persists
  • ODA has hit a new high 
  • Debt levels remain unprecedentedly high
  • We are failing to protect our planet 
  • Conflict is increasing and destroying SDG progress 
  • Glimmers of hope: child mortality is declining, HIV rates are still declining and accessibility of mobile signals is increasing 
  • However, we must take action on peace, to reduce conflict if we are going to make progress on the SDGs
  • We must tackle issues in the financial architecture, we need a surge on implementation, and a surge in investment and we must dismantle gender barriers and empower women and girls 

We just have six years left until 2030 – we must act now and act boldly 

Sherwin Bryce-Pass – moderator 

  • The rubber should have hit the road on this. We are failing in the implementation of the SDGs
  • The lingering effects of COVID-19, conflict, and climate change are all aggravating inequality
  • Hunger rates are rising
  • These are the building blocks for revolution and increasing conflict 
  • We need peace, solidarity and cooperation to implement the SDGs
  • Value proposition – we must translate words today into real solutions
  • This session is on practical implementation 
  • Improve well-being through investment 

Paulo Rangel – Foreign Minister, Portugal: 

  • Practical recommendations – we need to accelerate the pace, adequate financial investment, all of society approach and involve local authorities, local level is significantly more efficient 
  • We must tackle the political constraints around conflict 
  • But there are areas we must move forward on: education, sustainability 
  • We must reform the UN system to ensure peace

Geraldine Fraser-Moleketi – Chair of the Committee of the Experts on Public Administration (CEPA), former Minister for the Public and Administration of South Africa, and Chancellor, Nelson Mandela University:

  • We need political will. We must deal with rising poverty and inequality – through five actions: (1) SDGs must be seen as the policy framework for the future, beyond 30 years (2) we must promote sustainability through national budgeting and procurement (3) we must change the mindset and invest in a people first (4) must close the gap of understanding and applying the SDGs and (5) we must apply good governance principles 
  • We must walk the talk and bring political will and the financing required
  • Let us look at where the financing is going right now
  • Political will is at the highest level but it is not reaching national plans 
  • Political hesitation – political economy gets in the way – we allow ourselves to get distracted into crisis mode and we cannot build crisis decision-making in a sustainable, SDG way
  • We must stop seeing the SDGs as a reporting mechanism to the UN. We must integrate them into our national plans in their own right
  • 2030 is not the end game, it is the goal but we must go beyond this

Amy Pope: Director-General, IOM; Coordinator, UN network on Migration

  • We need to build migration into national strategies, not see it as a problem to be solved but recognise the positives of human mobility, connecting opportunities 
  • If we stop immigration, development will stop
  • We need to stop seeing it as a problem to be ended
  • We must see it as a catalyst for development and leverage human capacity 

José Manuel Salazar-Xirinachs – Executive Secretary, Economic Commission for Latin America and Caribbean

  • Data monitoring is essential – UN country teams, regional platforms, with UNDP,  must take it to country and regional level. 
  • Financing for development – we must assess whether financing is reaching where is needs to reach
  • Data is essential to know where we are going

Major Group for Children and Youth

  • We are experiencing Intergenerational injustice and call for: the $500 billion gap identified must be addressed and governments must stop funding wars and redirect financing to the SDGs. 
  • Resources must go straight to communities at the local level, we must invest in our planet, involve children and youth as a rights-based approach, and include youth indicators in national plans and targets
  • It’s very interesting and important to compare the national and local reviews 
  • Localisation is very important
  • Localisations in country are essential 
  • You have to be with the people, with civil society 
  • 16 peace and justice and 17 cooperation 
  • VNR and VLR reporting should be a way of involving citizens not reporting to them
  • We MUST focus on leaving no one behind 
  • Need to include big data for the SDGs to understand and address gaps in data 
  • Must look at the gender gap, we must invest in care, there must be a fiscal commitment to gender equality 

SEM side event: Resilience in the face of crisis: unpacking SDG 13 and loss and damage

  • We then took part in the official Sendai Stakeholder Engagement Mechanism side event exploring the topic of resilience in the face of crisis: unpacking  DG 13 and loss and damage
  • Here, our very own Adessou Kossovi, GNDR’s climate lead, shared intel on the Santiago Network and championed our GNDR Call to Action, specifically the urgent need to listen to the community and invest at the local level
  • We were also lucky to have our GNDR global board member, Sophie Rigg, as a speaker, who shared a stock take on the Santiago network
  • This was supported by a speaker from UNDRR and Marcie Roth from the disability major group of the SEM
  • Key quotes from  the session from the UNDRR “We are not safe until we are all safe” Ismail Zahir, New York Office UNDRR 
  • “Those closest to the problem must be closest to the power!” Marcie Roth, SEM’s disability constituency
  • “Local communities on the frontline are the experts” Adessou Kossovi 

We then met with our GNDR member representative Jose Ramona from Honduras and prepared for our GNDR side event on Thursday and discussed Jose Ramona’s opportunity at the high level session tomorrow morning to make a three-minute intervention on behalf of civil society.

Afternoon: High Level Session: SDG 17 and interlinkages with other SDGs – partnerships for the goals and unblocking investment and then science and technology – triggering transformation and sustaining science driven solutions 

  • In the afternoon: Marcos, GNDR’s ED represented GNDR on the floor, observing the session on international cooperation, with Becky supporting from the observation balcony
  • Here the session focused on financing for development and the importance of the role of international financial institutions such as Multilateral Development Banks (MDBs) in driving transformative progress 
  • MDBs must increase lending for national development needs whilst also supporting global public goods
  • UN discussions must help to bridge existing finance gaps and scale up public and private investment in climate action
  • Here, Marcos connected with the Spanish delegation to find out more information about the fourth financing for development conference happening in Madrid next year
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