The 2017 High-level Political Forum (HLPF) took place from 10-19, with an additional day for the General Debate on 20 July, at the United Nations in New York. The HLPF represents the global platform on the implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and its Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) annually in July. The theme for this year’s HLPF was “Eradicating poverty and promoting prosperity in a changing world.” The set of Goals that were reviewed in depth were the following, including Goal 17. Strengthen the means of implementation and revitalize the Global Partnership for Sustainable Development, that is considered each year:
- Goal 1. End poverty in all its forms everywhere
- Goal 2. End hunger, achieve food security and improved nutrition and promote sustainable agriculture
- Goal 3. Ensure healthy lives and promote well-being for all at all ages
- Goal 5. Achieve gender equality and empower all women and girls
- Goal 9. Build resilient infrastructure, promote inclusive and sustainable industrialization and foster innovation
- Goal 14. Conserve and sustainably use the oceans, seas and marine resources for sustainable development
Alba Gonzalez (IAA) and I (IAA) actively participated in the Forum and supported partners, including Risna Utami (Indonesia), Pratima Gurung (Nepal), Gabriel Ismael Soto Vadillo, RIADIS (Uruguay), and Judith Umoh (Nigeria), and others. Overall, more than 50 persons with disabilities and partners attended the HLPF and represented the Stakeholder Group of Persons with Disabilities.
During the first week, persons with disabilities presented on behalf of the Stakeholder Group of Persons with Disabilities in approximately 85 percent of the thematic discussions of the aforementioned Goals. This provided visibility for the disability movement and highlighted the situation of persons with disabilities at the national level. You can read the policy briefs here that the Stakeholder Group of Persons with Disabilities compiled on the Goals of focus.
During the second week, 44 countries reported on national SDG implementation and presented their voluntary national reviews. The situation of persons with disabilities were referenced in the majority of these oral presentations and participants were able to ask specific country-focused questions on behalf of civil society seven times, including Indonesia, Jordan, Argentina, Uruguay, Ethiopia (twice), and Denmark.
Also during the second week, I supported Colin Allen, Chair of IDA and President of the World Federation of the Deaf, in the Partnership Exchange in which he presented on the IDA and IDDC Partnership for SDGs. Colin stole the show and gave a stellar presentation on this unique partnership in the UN General Assembly Hall! We will continue to build on this partnership as SDG implementation continues.
At the end of the HLPF, the Ministerial Declaration was adopted and includes five references to persons with disabilities in the areas of poverty eradication, implementation of nationally appropriate social protection floors, addressing the multiple forms of discrimination faced by women and girls, collection and coordination of data collection, and the need to localize the SDGs by reaching out to all stakeholders including subnational and local authorities.
This year’s HLPF was accessible in myriad ways, including CART from 10-20 July, International Sign in the VNR sessions and General Debate from 17-19, an accessible sustainable development knowledge platform website, access to roaming microphones and listening devices, accessible seating for presenters and wheelchair users, and more. I would like to give a big thank you to all of the UN staff who worked with me on making the HLPF accessible for persons with disabilities and I hope we can build on this excellent example of inclusion and leaving no one behind.
It is estimated that 70 countries will volunteer to give national reviews at the 2018 HLPF, so this is an area of increased interest and development. Positively, persons with disabilities were incredibly organized and visible in this forum and we can continue to strengthen this work for the inclusion of persons with disabilities in SDG implementation at the local, national, regional, and global levels.
Click here for more information on the 2017 HLPF.