Community update: Preparedness, DRR, and resilience (July 2019): High-level Political Forum on the SDGs

Malashree Bhargava
Malashree Bhargava
DRR Specialist formerly with the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) and the Office of the UN Resident Coordinator in Indonesia
Malashree Bhargava is a Disaster Risk Management Advisor with more than twelve years of professional experience in organizations such as the United Nations, donors, and NGOs. She did Master in International Humanitarian Action as Erasmus Mundus scholarship by the European Commission. During her most recent assignment (2015-2018), she provided technical leadership to the United Nations in Indonesia, Government of Indonesia and the ASEAN to develop comprehensive risk management approach in Sustainable Development Goals, national policies, and plans.
Community updates provide brief highlights from expert practitioners about what they see as the key developments in a specific area, what resources they would recommend, and what to look out for in the coming months.

Key developments

SDG 16 and the HLPF

The conference on SDG 16 and "peaceful, just, and inclusive societies" was held in Rome on 27-29 May in preparation for the High-Level Political Forum (HLPF) 2019. Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 16 aims to reduce conflict-related mortality, genocide, human exploitation, and physical, psychological, and sexual violence, and to restore the rule of law and justice – including in humanitarian settings. The conference concluded that conflict, violence, and fragility are among the biggest obstacles to the achievement of the SDGs. Moreover, it highlighted that SDG 16 is not just a goal in itself but also necessary for the implementation of all other SDGs and much of the 2030 Agenda. The findings and recommendations of the conference served as an integral input to the SDG 16 deliberations during the HLPF in July 2019 in New York. 

The High-Level Political Forum on sustainable development

The key message of the recently concluded HLPF 2019 is that the global response to implementing the SDGs has not been ambitious enough and needs a renewed commitment and accelerated action to achieve them by 2030. It was a significant event from a humanitarian and disaster risk reduction perspective, as it conducted an in-depth global review of  SDG 13 on climate action and SDG 16 on peace and justice. It also reviewed SDG 17 on partnerships alongside the other SDGs – including SDG 4 on quality education, SDG 8 on decent work and economic growth, and SDG 10 on reducing inequalities.

The in-depth reviews of the SDGs during HLPF 2019 presented a grim scenario on the achievement of the SDGs and Agenda 2030 due to the interplay between existential risks such as climate change-induced disasters, conflicts, food insecurity, migration, inequalities, deprivation of already vulnerable groups, and gross violations of basic human rights in fragile areas. HLPF 2019 noted that no substantial progress has been made until now on SDG 16 on peace and justice, while SDG 13 on climate change is increasingly disrupting national economies and affecting lives. Related to SDG 17 on partnerships for the SDGs, it was highlighted that official development assistance (ODA) is down by 2.7% in 2018 compared to 2017, humanitarian aid fell by 8% in the same period, and aid to the least developed countries and African countries is declining.

47 countries presented Voluntary National Reviews (VNRs) at the HLPF, consisting of their experiences, successes, challenges, and lessons learned, with a view to accelerating the implementation of the SDGs under review. The VNRs seek to strengthen policies and institutions of governments and to mobilize multi-stakeholder support and partnerships for the implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals.

The outcomes of HLPF will inform the SDG Summit in September 2019 and the Political Declaration. The SDG Summit will be attended by heads of states and governments to follow up and comprehensively review progress in the implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and all the 17 SDGs. The event is the first UN summit on the SDGs since the adoption of the 2030 Agenda in September 2015. 

Keep an eye out for...

The humanitarian community needs to keep a close watch on the following events in the coming weeks and months:
Climate Action Summit: UN Secretary-General António Guterres is convening the Summit on 23 September 2019 in New York to meet the urgent need to address climate change and achieve the goals of the Paris Agreement. All UN member-states are expected to present concrete, realistic plans to enhance their nationally determined contributions by 2020, in line with reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 45% over the next decade, and to net zero emissions by 2050. The Summit will bring together governments, the private sector, civil society, local authorities, and other international organizations to develop ambitious solutions in six areas, including resilience and adaptation to climate impacts, sustainable and resilient infrastructure and cities, sustainable agriculture, and management of forests and oceans.
SDG Summit 2019: On 24 and 25 September 2019, Heads of State and Government will gather at the United Nations Headquarters in New York to follow up and comprehensively review progress on the implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). The event takes place every four years and will be the first SDG summit since the adoption of the 2030 Agenda in September 2015. The SDGs under review include the disaster risk management related dimensions such as SDG 13 on disasters and climate action, SDG 11 on urban disaster resilience , SDG 16 on ending violence and genocides, SDG 1 on reducing disaster mortalities and misery, SDG 2 on ending hunger and SDG 3 for creation of disaster-resilient health systems and other relevant targets and indicators in 17 SDGs.
PHAP community updates are written by members of the association and other practitioners in their personal capacity. The views expressed belong solely to the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of PHAP or any other organizations with which the author is associated.