HLPF 2018: last chance for the UN and its Member States to demonstrate its leadership on sustainable development

Governments around the world must ‘pull out all of the stops’ and demonstrate greater political accountability for the implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals at national level, while enabling the full participation of civil society in planning processes relevant to the SDGs”, says the International Forum for National NGO Platforms (Forus).

Forus and many of its regional and national members are currently attending the UN’s High Level Political Forum (HLPF) in New York at which 47 governments are presenting progress reports on their domestic implementation of the SDGs. This is the successor framework to the UN’s Millennium Development Goals (MDGs).

Increased political accountability and an effective engagement of civil society

Forus is calling on governments to facilitate the full participation of NGOs and broader civil society in national planning processes linked to SDG implementation.

At national level, Forus insists that proper consultation with civil society and other key stakeholders must take place on a regular basis. It is calling for civil society to be involved in developing and implementing national plans for SDGs and for national parliaments to hold a major debate on the implementation of the SDGs at least once a year. “Government’ ownership of the SDG’s should not be considered merely as an option but a mandatory step to reach the goals” says Magda Toma, Director of Forus.

Three years have passed since governments adopted the SDGs in 2015 and made commitments on all of the seventeen goals” says Miguel Santibañez, Forus Chairman. “Unfortunately progress on these commitments, adopted by all UN Member States, has been very slow. The 2018 SDGs progress report of the UN Secretary-General paints a very worrying picture in this regard as the world steadily becomes a more unequal place, a sense of urgency around achieving the 2030 Agenda is lacking and the opportunity to imbue the process with meaningful accountability at all levels is quickly disappearing” he adds.

Leaving No One Behind

Forus claims that while member states continue to pay lip service to the SDG’s guiding principle of “Leave no one behind”, they have largely neglected to operationalize this commitment. “Governments have failed for example to take concrete steps towards reducing inequalities by ending all forms of discrimination or ensuring access to essential services and opportunities” says Santibañez.

The global network points out that Indigenous peoples, LGBT, people with disabilities, and other groups historically disenfranchised and discriminated against need to have special efforts made to include them in national work to realise the SDGs. “There is authoritative evidence available which highlights vast disparities in access to both services and justice based on ethnicity/race, gender, class, or geographic region in both ‘developed’ and ‘developing’ countries” comments Mr. Santibañez.

A turning point for taking urgent action nationally and globally to achieve the 2030 Agenda

Forus claims that the international community now finds itself at a crucial junction – perhaps the last – to generate the political momentum necessary to put in place policy, programs, and funding to reach the shared commitments of the SDGs.

This year’s HLPF is maybe one of the only remaining opportunities to demonstrate the leadership of the UN on sustainable development and the significance of government commitments that have been made within the SDG framework to improve the situation of the planet and all who live on it.

Forus is calling for much greater political accountability by governments for the implementation of this important global agenda and for the full participation of civil society in implementing it to be facilitated, including the provision of adequate resources to allow this to happen.

The upcoming debates & reports presented at HLPF this year will lay the groundwork for a fundamental review of the overall system next to be carried out by the UN general assembly in 2019” says Santibañez. “ Forus will be working hard at this year’s HLPF to ensure that solid proposals are being put forward in order to make the HLPF a much more effective system in the future“.


About Forus

Forus is a Global Network of 69 engaged national platforms and 7 regional coalitions which gather over 22 000 NGOs promoting transformative political, economic and social change to achieve a fair and sustainable world for all.


For further information, please contact:

Magda Toma – toma@forus-international.org / + 33 634 78 05 04

Miguel Santibáñez – miguel.santibanez@accionag.cl / +569 6360 6317