HLPF 2016: Solidarity, Inclusion, and Participation

The High-level Political Forum (HLPF) on Sustainable Development is the global follow-up and review platform of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), which was adopted on 25 September 2015 at the UN Headquarters in New York.

The HLPF adopts a Ministerial Declaration and provides political leadership, guidance and recommendations on the 2030 Agenda’s implementation and follow up; keeps track of progress of the SDGs; spurs coherent policies informed by evidence, science and country experiences; as well as addresses new and emerging issues. Read our newsletter for more details on national perspectives on the HLPF from Egypt, Germany, and Madagascar, as well as a global point of view.

The HLPF was organized with the first five days consisting of interactive roundtable discussions revolving around the theme of “ensuring that no one is left behind.” The last three days made up the ministerial segment, which included two final days of National Voluntary Reviews (NVRs) and ended with the adoption of a Ministerial Declaration. This year’s HLPF also showcased a range of side events, a Partnership Exchange event, and SDGs Learning, Training and Practice sessions.

Alt="Ambrose Murangira, Uganda National Association of the Deaf, Uganda presenting at the HLPF 2016"

Ambrose Murangira, Uganda National Association of the Deaf, Uganda presenting at the HLPF 2016

This year’s HLPF was the first convened after the adoption of the 2030 Agenda and thus provides a model for future HLPFs to come. One new aspect this year was the inclusion of a two-day session of NVRs in which 22 countries provided their reviews of national implementation (or a baseline of what will take place) of the SDGs. Persons with disabilities were included in 9 of the 22 NVRs with explicit references from Egypt, Finland, France, Madagascar, Morocco, Norway, Sierra Leone, Samoa, and Togo. Thank you!

Persons with disabilities were incredibly visible and well represented with 22 disability advocates in attendance during the eight intense days representing the Stakeholder Group of Persons with Disabilities. This incredible and successful work was led by the International Disability Alliance (IDA). Thank you for this! For details on each day, please refer to International Disability Alliance’s excellent updates.

During the HLPF, the Stakeholder Group of Persons with Disabilities gave an impressive 16 interventions in the main sessions. One of these interventions was given by Abdulmajid Makni from Morocco who delivered the first civil society intervention on behalf of all Major Groups and other Stakeholders during the national voluntary reviews from Mexico, Montenegro, Morocco, Sierra Leone and Switzerland in the morning of 19 July. Additionally, persons with disabilities presented as panelists in at least 9 side events on themes of education, shrinking civil society, citizen-driven data, human rights, children, leave no one behind, and inclusion in the national review process.

Alt="Michael Herbst, Yetnebersh Nigussie, and José Maria Viera at the side event on the Contributions of Persons with Disabilities in the HLPF National Voluntary Reviews"

Michael Herbst, Yetnebersh Nigussie, and José Maria Viera at the side event on the Contributions of Persons with Disabilities in the HLPF National Voluntary Reviews

 

Monday, 18 July was our big day with two important and particularly relevant side events concurrently taking place. One was the IDA and International Disability and Development Consortium (IDDC) event on the inclusion of persons with disabilities in the national review processes. CBM Germany’s Michael Herbst was one of the panelists discussing the German experience. The second event was over early action to leave no one behind organized by the Netherlands, Kenya, and Overseas Development Institute (ODI). Colin Allen presented on behalf of the Stakeholder Group of Persons with Disabilities and was one of only two civil society presenters in the event. The event was extremely high level with opening words by Erna Solberg, Prime Minister of Norway and Ministers and government officials from many countries, including Albania, Bangladesh, Canada, Colombia, Germany, Kenya, Liberia, Mexico, the Netherlands, Republic of Korea, Rwanda, Tanzania, and the United Kingdom.

Quite positively, persons with disabilities and disability advocates from around the globe came together and collaborated as a group to promote the inclusion and rights of persons with disabilities in the implementation of the SDGs. This was a true example of solidarity, inclusion, and participation of persons with disabilities from the global South and North. Participants (in addition to those of us organizing from New York) hailed from Argentina, Australia, Bangladesh, Canada, Ethiopia, Ghana, Greece, Japan, Lebanon, Morocco, the Philippines, Spain, Uganda, the United Kingdom, and the United States. Thank you to IDA for incredible leadership and organization in this process, we couldn’t have done it without you!

I’ll end with a line from Colin Allen’s final intervention on behalf of the Stakeholder Group of Persons with Disabilities in front of a house full of Ministers right before the closing of the HLPF. Colin reminded Member States that many persons with disabilities were present and that they want to work with governments in the implementation of the SDGs. Yes!

For more information:

UN website on the HLPF

HLPF updates from International Disability Alliance