High-Level Political Forum 2021: We will not overcome the crisis with words

“With very few exceptions, the Voluntary National Reviews and their reports show no improvement. The quality and availability of disaggregated data are stagnant”. 

“Voluntary Local Reviews are gaining relevance in the Forum discussions and presentation exercises. However, UN Member States still refuse to publish them in their official websites”. 

Javier Surasky

July 30, 2021

This analysis by Cepei to the United Nations High-Level Political Forum on Sustainable Development 2021, presents the main results of the most relevant meeting at the global level on the follow-up of the 2030 Agenda and the SDGs. 

The United Nations 2021 High-Level Political Forum was held from July 6 to 15, under the theme: “Building Resilience through hope to recover from COVID-19, rebuild sustainably, respond to the needs of the planet, respect the rights of people, and revitalise the United Nations.”

The SDGs under thematic review were Goals: 1. No Poverty; 2. Zero Hunger; 3. Good Health and Well-Being; 8. Decent Work and Economic Growth; 10. Reduce Inequalities; 12. Sustainable Cities and Communities; 13. Climate Action; 16. Peace, Justice, and Strong Institutions; and 17. Partnerships for the Goals.

This year, the Forum also received 42 Voluntary National Reviews (VNRs, see Annex), from 8 European countries, 10 African countries, 11 Latin American and Caribbean countries, and 13 Asian and Pacific countries.

Main Findings

The Executive Office of the Secretary-General considers that the ongoing UN reform process is a key tool for efficiently supporting the efforts of the UN Member States in overcoming the pandemic and implementing the SDGs.

For the first time, a Forum meeting faced the nonfulfilment of the “2020 SDGs targets”, mainly but not exclusively related to environmental issues. A special session was dedicated to this subject, but no clear guidance was provided as to how to proceed.

The Ministerial Declaration did not provide the necessary political guidance to better move forward and accelerate the fulfilment of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

About the author

Javier Surasky

Ph.D. in International Relations (La Plata National University, Argentina) Master in International Development Cooperation and Humanitarian Action (International University of Andalucia). He has taught international cooperation courses at different postgraduate careers in Latin America and European universities.