Austria, Senegal to Lead Review of HLPF and ECOSOC

The President of the UN General Assembly has appointed the Permanent Representatives of Austria and Senegal to lead the review of the UN High-level Political Forum on Sustainable Development (HLPF) and the UN Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC).

The intergovernmental review was originally mandated to take place during the 74th UNGA session (2019-2020), to reflect on the HLPF’s “first cycle” and to consider strengthening ECOSOC. The review was launched in February 2020. Member States exchanged views on the scope of the ECOSOC review, critical issues to be addressed in the reviews, ways to improve the Voluntary National Review (VNR) process and thematic follow-up and review, and how to include stakeholders in the thematic reviews.

Priorities that emerged in consultations for the HLPF review (according to the ECOSOC President) included:

  • More time should be provided during the annual HLPF sessions for the presentation of VNRs;
  • Changes should be considered to improve the “in-depth reviews” of each SDG, including examining the 17 Goals in a holistic and integrated manner; and
  • The political guidance role of the HLPF should be enhanced.

In April 2020, consultations were postponed until the 75th session (2020-2021) in order to hold in-depth discussions “after the most acute aspects of the COVID-19 crisis have been addressed and the United Nations has resumed its normal operations.”

In August 2020, the UNGA agreed that the review process should: account for the impact of COVID-19 on the 17 SDGs; consider progress in implementing the 2030 Agenda; address the interlinkages between Goals, to “promote integrated actions cutting across the three dimensions of sustainable development that can create co-benefits, address synergies and trade-offs and meet multiple objectives in a coherent manner, leaving no one behind”; and cover the SDG targets with a 2020 timeline.

Alexander Marschik, Permanent Representative of Austria, and Cheikh Niang, Permanent Representative of Senegal, will co-facilitate intergovernmental negotiations on the review process. Their appointment was announced by UNGA President Volkan Bozkir on 5 November 2020.

A Group of Friends consisting of UN Member States is expected to contribute to the process. The group is coordinated by the delegation of Mexico to the UN.  [UNGA President’s letter on appointment]

Article published at SDG Knowledge Hub.