Ministerial Declaration of the 2016 High-level Political Forum on Sustainable Development convened under the auspices of the Economic and Social Council on the theme “Ensuring that no one is left behind”

 Ministerial Declaration of the High-level Segment of the 2016 session of the Council on the annual theme “Implementing the post-2015 development agenda: moving from commitments to results”

We the Ministers and high representatives, having met at the United Nations Headquarters in New York,

1.Pledge that no one will be left behind in implementing the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. In this first High-level Political Forum for Sustainable Development following its historic adoption, we underscore the need for its 17 Sustainable Development Goals and 169 targets to be met for all nations and peoples and for all segments of society. We stress that the 2030 Agenda is people-centred, universal and transformative and that its Goals and targets are integrated and indivisible and balance the three dimensions of sustainable development – economic, social and environmental. It is a plan of action for people, planet and prosperity that also seeks to strengthen universal peace in larger freedom, to be implemented by all countries and stakeholders acting in collaborative partnership. We reaffirm all the principles recognised in the Agenda, and that eradicating poverty in all its forms and dimensions, including extreme poverty, is the greatest global challenge and an indispensable requirement for sustainable development.

  1. Emphasizethat the High-level Political Forum is called to provide political leadership, guidance and recommendations for the implementation of sustainable development commitments, and that it has a central role in overseeing a network of follow-up and review processes of the 2030 Agenda at the global level, working coherently with the General Assembly, the Economic and Social Council and other relevant organs and forums, in line with existing mandates. It will, inter alia, facilitate the sharing of experiences and best practices and promote system-wide coherence and coordination of sustainable development policies, considering that the 2030 Agenda is applicable to all, taking into account different national realities, capacities and levels of development, and respecting each country’spolicy space, and to be implemented consistent with the sovereign rights and obligations of States under international law and with the Charter of the United Nations.

3.Welcome early efforts in implementing the 2030 Agenda at all levels, building on the achievements of the Millennium Development Goals and seeking to address their unfinished business. We are encouraged by these efforts and, in this first year of its implementation, look forward to further progress in, inter alia, revitalizing and enhancing the Global Partnership for Sustainable Development, aligning existing policies with the new global plan of action, increasing policy and system-wide coherence and integration for achieving the Sustainable Development Goals and targets, addressing existing and emerging challenges, enhancing national capacities for evidence-based and data-driven decision-making, and favouring participatory, cooperative and enabling environments at all levels. We take note with appreciation of the Secretary General’s first annual progress report on the Sustainable Development Goals.

  1. Have considered the theme of the 2016 High-level Political Forum, “Ensuring that no one is left behind”, and highlight in this regard that the dignity of the human person is fundamental, and that we endeavour to reach the furthest behind and the most vulnerablefirst. For ensuring that no one is left behind, we are working to eradicate poverty and hunger and achieve sustainable development in its three dimensions, inter alia, through promoting inclusive economic growth, protecting the environment and promoting social inclusion in an integrated manner. We will ensure gender equality and women’s and girls’ empowerment. We will also promote peaceful and inclusive societies, respect and promote all human rights,and an equitable global economic system in which no country, people or person is left behind, enabling decent work and productive livelihoods for all, while preserving the planet for our children and future generations. We strive for a world of peace, free of fear and violence, free from terrorism. We pledge to make this world a reality.
  1. Commit, in our endeavour to ensure that no one is left behind, to focus our efforts where the challenges are greatest, including by ensuring the inclusion and participation of those who are furthest behind. We deem of critical importance, in this regard, to protect and empower people who are vulnerable.We recallthat those whose needs are reflected in the 2030 Agendainclude all children, adolescents, youth, persons with disabilities, people living with HIV/AIDS, older persons, Indigenous peoples, refugees and internally displaced persons, migrants and peoples living in areas affected by complex humanitarian emergencies,and peoples in areas affected by terrorism and conflict.
  1. Emphasizethat to ensure that no one is left behind, we are committed to make real a world free of poverty, hunger,disease,want and environmental degradation, where all life can thrive. A world with universal literacy, with equitable and universal access to quality education at all levels, to health care and social protection, where physical, mental and social well-being are assured; where we reaffirm our commitments regarding the human right to safe drinking water and sanitation and where there is improved hygiene; and where food is sufficient, safe, affordable and nutritious.
  1. Recognizethat sustainable development cannot be realized without peace and security; and peace and security will be at risk without sustainable development. The 2030 Agenda recognizes the need to build peaceful, just and inclusive societies that provide equal access to justice and that are based on respect for human rights, including the right to development, on effective rule of law and good governance at all levels and on transparent, effective and accountable institutions. Factors which give rise to violence, insecurity and injustice, such as inequality, corruption, poor governance and illicit financial and arms flows, are addressed in the Agenda. We must redouble our efforts to resolve or prevent conflict and to support post-conflict countries, including through ensuring that women have a role in peacebuilding and State-building. We call for further effective measures and actions to be taken, in conformity with international law, to remove the obstacles to the full realization of the right of self-determination of peoples living under colonial and foreign occupation, which continue to adversely affect their economic and social development as well as their environment.

8.Also emphasize that universal respect for human rights and human dignity, peace, justice, equality and non-discrimination, is central to our commitment to leave no one behind. Our commitment also includes respect for race, ethnicity and cultural diversity, and equal opportunity permitting the full realization of human potential and contributing to shared prosperity. We are committed to a world that invests in its children and youth and in which every child grows up free from all forms of violence and exploitation. We envision a world in which every woman and girl enjoys full gender equality and all legal, social and economic barriers to their empowerment have been removed. We will strive for a world where young women and young men are key agents of change, supported by a culture of innovation, sustainability and inclusiveness, to enablea better future for themselves and their communities. A just, equitable, tolerant, open, creative and socially inclusive world in which the needs of the most vulnerable are met.

9.Further emphasize our commitmentto make real a world in which every country enjoys sustained, inclusive and sustainable economic growth and decent work for all; in which consumption and production patterns and use of all natural resources are sustainable. A world in which development is climate-sensitive and respects biodiversity, where we restore and conserve and sustainably use all ecosystems and strengthen our cooperation to prevent environmental degradation, and promote resilience and disaster risk reduction. A world where human settlements and the application of technology are inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable and where there is universal access to safe, affordable, reliable and sustainable transport and energy systems. A world in which humanity lives in harmony with nature and in which wildlife and other living species are protected.

10.Stress that realizing gender equality and the empowerment of all women and girls will make a crucial contribution to progress across all the Goals and targets. Women and girls should enjoy equal access to quality education at all levels, health care services, economic and natural resources and civil and political participation as well as equal opportunities with men and boys for employment, leadership and decision-making at all levels. We will work for a significant increase in investments to close the gender gap and strengthen support for institutions in relation to gender equality and the empowerment of all women and girls at the global, regional and national levels. We strive for a world where all forms of discrimination and violence against women and girls will be eliminated, including through the engagement of men and boys. The systematic mainstreaming of a gender perspective in the implementation of the 2030 Agenda is crucial.

11.Welcome the numerous contributions made by the United Nations and other relevant intergovernmental bodies and fora to the implementation of the 2030 Agenda, including the General Assembly and the Economic and Social Council, the UN development system, and the UN specialized agencies. In the context of the High-level Segmentof the Economic and Social Council, we welcome its annual works, including those of its functional and regional commissions and segments, which have been guided by the theme “Implementing the post-2015 development agenda: moving from commitments to results”. The Council is key in supporting our efforts to ensure than no one is left behind by, inter alia, addressing existing and emerging challenges, facilitating multi-stakeholder participation and promoting system-wide coherence and coordination. We highlight the important contributions made by its Fora on Youth, on Partnerships, and on Development Cooperation; its Segments on Operational Activities, on Integration, and on Humanitarian Affairs; its Special Meetings on Inequality, on theEl Niño Phenomenon, and on the Zika Virus; and its Dialogue on the longer-term positioning of the United Nations development system in the context of the 2030 Agenda, called to inform the upcoming Quadrennial Comprehensive Policy Review; amongst other activities related to the implementation of the 2030 Agenda. We look forward to the contributions of the Council and other relevant intergovernmental fora and bodies in the coming years, including on the thematic reviews of the 2030 Agenda.

  1. Stress, in regards to the thematic discussion of the Council’s High-level segment on “Infrastructure for sustainable development for all”, the attention given by the 2030 Agenda to building resilient infrastructure and its particular connection with the promotion of inclusive and sustainable industrialization and the fostering of innovation. We are committed toaddress infrastructure gaps, by inter alia,improving investments and further building capacities within a coherent policy framework, and consider this keyfor reducing inequalities within and amongst countries. We further stress that infrastructure should be safe, accessible and people-centred, and promote economic integration and connectivity, for ensuring that no one is left behind.
  1. Recognize that the scale and ambition of the 2030 Agenda requires a revitalized and enhancedGlobal Partnership for Sustainable Development to ensure its implementation, working in a spirit of global solidarity, in particular with the poorest and with people who are vulnerable. We are fully committed to this, and to move from all commitments to results, working with all stakeholders.The provision of means of implementation, particularly as outlined under Goal 17 and under each Sustainable Development Goal, supported by the concrete policies and actions outlined in the Addis Ababa Action Agenda on Financing for Development, which is an integral part of the 2030 Agenda, are critical for achieving our ambitious goalsand ensuring that no one is left behind.

Welcome in these regards, inter alia, the holding of the inaugural Forum on Financing for Development; take note of its intergovernmentally agreed conclusions and recommendations, and look forward to further advancement in the follow-up process. We also welcome the works of the United Nations Inter-agency Task Force. We further welcome the progress made in operationalizing the three components of the Technology Facilitation Mechanism and the holding of the inaugural Multi-stakeholder Forum on Science, Technology and Innovation for the Sustainable Development Goals, which is important, inter alia, to help facilitatethe development, transfer and dissemination of relevant technologies for the Sustainable Development Goals. We look forward to the establishment of the online platform as part of the Technology Facilitation Mechanism. We also welcome the progress made in operationalizing the Technology Bank for the Least Developed Countries.

15.Highlightthe importance of participatory and inclusive implementation,follow-up and review of the 2030 Agenda at all levels. We acknowledge the primary responsibilities of governments in these regards. We also acknowledge the contribution of parliaments, subnational governments and all other relevant stakeholders, including the private sector, civil society, academia and philanthropic organizations.Their participation supports accountability to our citizens and enhances the effectiveness of our action, fostering synergies, multi-stakeholder partnerships and international cooperation, and exchanging of best practices and mutual learning. We welcome the participation and contributions of Major Groups and other relevant stakeholders in the High-level Political Forum and encourage their continued engagement in ensuring that no one is left behind.

  1. Stress that the availability and use of accessible, timely, reliable and high-quality disaggregated data underpins our efforts to leave no one behind by, inter alia, identifying inequalities. Such data should measure poverty in all its forms and dimensions as well as progress on sustainable development, to reveal inequalities, gaps, progress and recurrent challenges, identify innovative solutions and inform the implementation of the 2030 Agenda at all levels. We are committed to developing broader measures of progress to complement gross domestic product. We urge Governments, international organizations, including the United Nations system, international financial institutions and other relevant stakeholders, to assist developing countries to furtherbuild and strengthen capacities for data collection, disaggregation, dissemination and analysis at all levels, taking into account that the global review of the 2030 Agendawill be primarily based on national official data sources.We welcome the decision of the United Nations Statistical Commission on the global indicator framework for the Sustainable Development Goals and targetsprepared by the Inter-Agency Expert Group, which is a practical starting point,and look forward to its implementation and continual improvement in an inclusive and transparent manner.

17.Commend the 22 countries[1] that presented voluntary national reviews at the 2016 High-level Political Forum, and highlight the commitment and leadership shown by these countries in their early steps for implementing the 2030 Agenda, including by integrating it into their national development and sustainable development strategies. Country-led reviews at the national level should be the foundation for voluntary reviews at regional and global level, as appropriate. Consistent with the 2030 Agenda, such reviews can promote inclusive participation of all relevant stakeholders in its implementation, fostering national and sub-national ownership, and thus enhancing our efforts to ensure that no one is left behind. We stress the importance of building national capacities for follow-up and review, and the usefulness of making assistance available for preparing for the national voluntary reviews at the High-level Political Forum, including through voluntary guidance and methodologies to address issues as the interlinkages amongst the Sustainable Development Goals.We encourage countries to take into consideration experience gained and lessons learned from these 22 State-led voluntary reviews, and to volunteer in coming years.

18.Recognize the important role that regional and sub-regional fora can have in supporting the implementation of the 2030 Agenda, including its follow-up and review process by, inter alia, promoting peer learning and cooperation including south-south and triangular cooperation as appropriate, and helping to link the national and global levels of implementation. In this regard, we welcome the identification, development and convening of appropriate regional and sub-regional fora on sustainable development.

19.Stress that reducing vulnerability to climate change is a global challenge faced by all, and in particular those living in poverty. We recognise the synergies of the Paris Agreement with the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. We welcome the Paris Agreement, under which all Parties will take urgent action to address climate change,and in that regard look forward to its prompt ratification, acceptance, approval or accession, and its early entry into force and implementation. We also look forward to the mobilization of resources to assist its implementation. We recognise the specific needs and special circumstances of developing countries, especially those that are particularly vulnerable to the adverse effects of climate change[2].

  1. Reiterate that each country faces specific challengesinits pursuit of sustainable development. The most vulnerablecountries and, in particular, African countries, least developed countries, landlocked developing countries and Small Island Developing States deserve special attention, as do countries in situations of conflict and post-conflict. There are also serious challenges within many middle-income countries. In these regards we welcome the progress made to date and reaffirm support for the Istanbul Programme of Action for Least Developed Countries, the Small Island Developing States Accelerated Modalities of Action (Samoa Pathway), the Vienna Programme of Action for Landlocked Developing Countries, and reaffirm the importance of supporting the African Union’s Agenda 2063 and the Program of the New Partnership for Africa’s Development, for ensuring that no one is left behind.We also take note of the principles set out in the New Deal by the Group of Seven Plus, countries that are, or have been, affected by conflict.

21.Look forward toall ongoing and upcoming intergovernmental processes which will contribute to the implementation of the 2030 Agenda, including, inter alia, the Third UN Conference on Housing and Sustainable Urban Development, to be held in Quito, Ecuador, in October 2016;the United Nations High-level Meeting on Refugees and Migrants, to be held in New York, in September 2016; the 13th Conference of Parties of the Convention on Biological Diversity, to be held inCancun, Mexico, in December 2016; and the 2016 G20 Leaders’ Summit, to be held in Hangzhou, China,in September 2016.We recommend that these processesand other efforts including, inter alia, the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction 2015-2030 and the 10-year Framework of Programmeson Sustainable Consumption and Production Patterns, should focus on ensuring that no one is left behind. We stress the importance of system-wide strategic planning, implementation and reporting in order to ensure coherent and integrated support to the effective implementation of the 2030Agenda by the United Nations development system, taking into account itsintegrated and indivisible nature.

  1. Endorse the outcome of the process of consultation, on the scope, methodology and frequency of the Global Sustainable Development Report as well as its relation to the Sustainable Development Goals progress report, as laid out in the Annex to the present Declaration.

23.Are encouraged, despite varied new challenges emerging after the adoption of the 2030 Agenda, by the enthusiasm, innovation and dedication of the wide array of actors already engaged, in collaborative partnerships, in its implementation, showing that this is an Agenda of the peoples, by the peoples, and for the peoples. In these regards, we look forward to its continued inclusive implementation and urge that all efforts are taken to reach the furthest behind first and to ensure that no one is left behind.

Annex

Global Sustainable Development Report:

 Scope, Frequency, Methodology, Relationship between the annual SDG-Progress Report and Global Sustainable Development Report

 Scope

Recalling para 83 of the 2030 Agenda on Sustainable Development.

Stress that the Global Sustainable Development Report is one important component of the follow-up and review process for the 2030 Agenda on Sustainable Development.

Further stress that the Global Sustainable Development Report will inform the high-level political forum, and shall strengthen the science-policy interface and provide a strong evidence-based instrument to support policy-makers in promoting poverty eradication and sustainable development.  It would be available for a wide range of stakeholders, including business and civil society as well as the wider public.

Resolve that the report should incorporate in a multi-disciplinary manner scientific evidence, considering all three dimensions of sustainable development, in order to reflect the universal, indivisible and integrated nature of the 2030 Agenda. With its universal scope, the report should also consider the regional dimension, as well as countries in special situations. The report will provide guidance on the state of global sustainable development from a scientific perspective, which will help address the implementation of the 2030 Agenda, provide lessons learned, while focusing on challenges, address new and emerging issues, and highlight emerging trends and actions. The Global Sustainable Development Report should also focus on an integrated approach and examine policy options in view of sustaining the balance between the three dimensions of sustainable development. These policy options should be in line with the 2030 Agenda to inform its implementation.

Frequency

Resolve that a comprehensive, in-depth report will be produced every four years to inform the high-level political forum convened under the auspices of the General Assembly.

Resolve that each year in order to strengthen the science-policy interface at the high-level political forum convened under the auspices of ECOSOC, scientists who work on the report could be invited to provide scientific input into the discussion, including on the theme of the forum.

Methodology

Stress that the main principles to guide the methodology of the report should be objectivity, independence, transparency, inclusiveness, diversity, scientific excellence and integrity, and policy relevance. The report represents the result of an ongoing dialogue among scientists from all relevant fields on sustainable development worldwide, ensuring a geographically balanced participation, assessing existing assessments, including the relevant reports on sustainable development from a variety of sources including from the UN system, as well as bringing together dispersed information.

Request therefore the creation of an Independent Group of Scientists to draft the quadrennial Global Sustainable Development Report.

This Independent Group of Scientists comprises fifteen experts, and representing a variety of backgrounds, scientific disciplines and institutions, ensuring geographical and gender balance. The Independent Group of Scientists will be appointed for each Global Sustainable Development Report by the UN Secretary-General in open, transparent and inclusive consultations with member states, including the possibility of taking nominations from member states.

This Independent Group of Scientists will commence its work by the end of 2016.

The Independent Group of Scientists will be supported by a task team, co-chaired by one representative each of UN Secretariat, UNESCO, UNEP, UNDP, UNCTAD and the World Bank, with the logistical support by the UN Secretariat. The task team will co-ordinate inputs from a network of existing networks, representing the UN, private sector, civil society and academia. Inputs can also be posted onto the HLPF Online Platform annually.

Relationship with the SDG progress report

Acknowledge the distinct but complementary nature of the SDG Progress report and the Global Sustainable Development Report, both contributing to the high-level political forum from different perspectives.

The high-level political forum will be informed by the annual SDG Progress Report, which is to be prepared by the Secretary-General in cooperation with the UN System, based on the global indicator framework and data produced by national statistical systems and information collected at the regional level.

The Global Sustainable Development Report will be more scientific and analytical, focused on the science-policy interface and will also inform the high-level political forum.

[1]China, Colombia, Egypt, Estonia, Finland, France, Georgia, Germany, Madagascar, Mexico, Montenegro, Morocco, Norway, Philippines, Republic of Korea, Samoa, Sierra Leone, Switzerland, Togo, Turkey, Uganda and Venezuela (Bolivarian Republic of).

[2] As provided for in the UNFCCC.