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Insights from the High-Level Political Forum 2021

The annual High-level Political Forum (HLPF) is the United Nations central platform for follow-up and review of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). It was held in hybrid form, both in person at the UN HQ in New York and virtually, from 6 July to 15 July 2021, under the auspices of the Economic and Social Council.

The Forum focused on the theme of ‘Sustainable and resilient recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic that promotes the economic, social and environmental dimensions of sustainable development’ To that end, the Forum reviewed progress on the following SDGs:

  • SDG 1: No poverty
  • SDG 2: Zero hunger
  • SDG 3: Good health and well-being
  • SDG 8: Decent work and economic growth
  • SDG 10: Reduced inequalities
  • SDG 12: Responsible consumption and production
  • SDG 13: Climate action
  • SDG 16: Peace, justice and strong institutions
  • SDG 17: Partnerships

A clear rallying call which echoed throughout the event was summarized by UN Secretary-General António Guterres: ‘Let us renew our determination to build a strong, sustainable and inclusive recovery from the pandemic, and to take decisive action together to defeat the climate crisis and keep the promise of the 2030 Agenda.’

The COVID-19 pandemic has triggered the worst global recession since 1930, caused immense suffering, and set back efforts to achieve the 2030 Agenda and its SDGs. Yet at the same time, many said the solutions exist to recover and build back better. Panellists focused on the importance of social protection systems, sustainable agriculture, digitization, creating new debt relief and financing architecture, and stronger partnerships between civil society, the private sector, governments and the international community, among others, as the way to get back on track.

This decade of action calls for accelerating sustainable solutions to all the world’s biggest challenges — ranging from poverty and gender to climate change, inequality and closing the finance gap.

Business participants in particular noted the need for innovation, competitiveness and a reliable environment for business. The past year has shown how rapid and successful private-public partnerships can be. We are at a true inflection point which brings challenges, but also an opportunity to be seized. Business can enhance the scale, speed, and efficiency of partnerships and put a much needed focus on essential public goods.

IPIECA representation

IPIECA Executive Director Brian Sullivan presented at two panel events discussing the role of business in supporting the SDGs.

Business & Industry Major Group side event: The private sector as a crucial partner in achieving the 2030 agenda

UNDESA & WBCSD side event: Chief Sustainability Officers for SDGs - Time to transform

Focusing on how business can lead the transformations needed to realise the SDGs

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