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The Future of Development: UN High-Level Political Forum to Address Key Challenges

2024 HLPF Thematic Review
2024 HLPF Thematic Review

By: ATN News

United Nations: On June 28, 2024, António Guterres, the Secretary-General of the United Nations, delivered a sobering message to the world. "Our failure to secure peace, to confront climate change, and to boost international finance is undermining development," he declared, underscoring the urgent need to accelerate action for the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). His words ring with the gravity of our current global situation: "We don’t have a moment to lose."


Where We Stand


As we stand on the brink of the second half of the journey towards 2030, the year when the SDGs are set to be achieved, the progress so far is alarmingly insufficient. The upcoming High-Level Political Forum on Sustainable Development (HLPF), taking place from July 8 to 18 at the UN Headquarters in New York, is a critical juncture. Under the auspices of the UN Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC), this forum serves as the primary platform for reviewing the 2030 Agenda and the SDGs.


This year's forum convenes under a theme that captures the essence of our times: “Reinforcing the 2030 Agenda and eradicating poverty in times of multiple crises: the effective delivery of sustainable, resilient and innovative solutions.”


The Focus of the Forum


The HLPF will undertake an in-depth review of five pivotal SDGs:

- Goal 1: No poverty

- Goal 2: Zero hunger

- Goal 13: Climate action

- Goal 16: Peace, justice, and strong institutions

- Goal 17: Partnerships for the goals


A significant segment of the forum will be the three-day ministerial segment from July 15 to 17, with the High-Level Segment of ECOSOC concluding on July 18. During this period, over 30 countries will present voluntary national reviews (VNRs) of their implementation of the 2030 Agenda, sharing experiences and best practices. These countries include Armenia, Austria, Brazil, Kenya, Nepal, and Zimbabwe, among others.


In addition, the ministerial segment will feature a general debate titled “From the SDG Summit to the Summit of the Future.” This debate offers a platform for nations to exchange transformative actions and initiatives following the 2023 SDG Summit and to outline priorities and expectations for the upcoming Summit of the Future, set for September 22-23, 2024, in New York.


A Grim Statistical Snapshot


The global challenges we face are starkly reflected in the numbers:

- Poverty and Hunger: Compared to 2019, 2022 saw an additional 23 million people pushed into extreme poverty and over 100 million more suffering from hunger. Nearly 60% of countries experienced moderately to abnormally high food prices.

- Climate Change: The year 2023 was the warmest on record, with global temperatures nearing the critical 1.5°C threshold.

- Conflict and Displacement: Civilian deaths in armed conflicts skyrocketed in 2023, and the number of forcibly displaced people reached an unprecedented 120 million by May 2024.

- Financial Strain: Despite Official Development Assistance (ODA) reaching a new high of $223.7 billion in 2023, sustainable development grants to developing countries fell in 2022. The annual investment gap for developing countries to achieve the SDGs stands at $4 trillion, compounded by exceptionally high debt levels.


The Path Forward

As nations gather at the HLPF, the urgency of their task cannot be overstated. The forum represents a crucial opportunity to galvanize global efforts, reinforce commitments, and implement innovative solutions to accelerate the achievement of the SDGs. The world is at a critical juncture, and the actions taken now will determine the future trajectory of global development.


The road ahead is fraught with challenges, but it is also paved with opportunities for transformative change. With unwavering commitment and coordinated action, the global community can overcome these hurdles and secure a sustainable, resilient, and equitable future for all. The clock is ticking, and indeed, we don’t have a moment to lose.


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