On 9-18 July, Arnaud Szanto, ACP YPN’s Partnership and Capacity Building Officer and Brent Robinson, ACP YPN Expert, participated in the 4th United Nations Economic and Social Council (UN ECOSOC) High Level Political Forum (HLPF) at the UN Headquarters in New York. Arnaud represented the organization, which gained member status of the UN Major Group on Children and Youth (UN MGCY) earlier this year (see here). This year’s theme of #HLPF2018 : “Transformation towards sustainable and resilient societies”.
Brent Robinson, ACP YPN delegate (left) and Arnaud Szanto
H.E. Ms. Marie Chatardová, President of Economic and Social Council opened the #HLPF2018, which included 600 side events, 2500 registrations from NGOs, 80 ministers and vice ministers attending, 47 countries presenting their voluntary national review, and six SDGs being discussed (6,7, 11, 12, 15 and 17). H.E. Ms. Chatardová recalled the HLPF’s central role in promoting sustainable development at the international level and insisted on mobilizing our society through inclusive and democratic participation for the purpose of achieving the 2030 Agenda. ACP YPN has been promoting inclusive participation, under SDG16.7 in all of its activities, and was honoured to be represented for the first time at the HLPF.
Arnaud participated in a number of sessions at the HLPF, including 3 HLPF 2018 Thematic reviews -(i) Transformation towards sustainable and resilient societies – Small Island Developing States perspective; (ii) the Review on Perspective of Least Developing Countries (LDCs), Landlocked Developing Countries (LLDCs) and Middle-Income Countries (MICs); (iii) Review of SDG implementation: SDG 12 – Sustainable consumption and production patterns (SCP) – 6 Voluntary National Reviews (VNRs) on implementing the SDGs – by (i) The Commonwealth of Bahamas; (ii) The Republic of Benin; (iii) The Republic of Cape Verde; (iv) The Republic of Guinea; (v) Jamaica; (vi) The Republic of Namibia – as well as 5 side events by international partners on: (i) Vanishing Waters and Drying Lands: Impacts on Migration; (ii) Implementing SDG 12: One Plan for One Planet; (iii) Monitoring SDGs, claiming rights and meaningful participation : Strategies and tools for civil society; (iv) Safe food for sustainable and resilient societies; (v) Better trade 4 SDGs.
Arnaud shared the work of ACP YPN, interacted with key stakeholders and also gave input to the development of UN MGCY positions at the HLPF2018. For example, Arnaud assisted in the preparation of the UN MGCY’s “SDG 11 – Make cities and human settlements inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable” statement that was later presented to Member States at the UN ECOSOC. During this, Arnaud stressed the need to (i) strengthen the development of policies that would allow young people to be aware of their cultural heritage through cultural programmes that promote intercultural dialogue and (ii) to provide opportunities to young entrepreneurs to impact the local development of their regions and communities, across all relevant sectors (agriculture, industry, services, etc.) in order for them to contribute effectively to the development of resilient, safe and sustainable cities and communities. Such policy initiatives can reinforce social bonds, and in turn, this would create value in the context of achieving the SDGs. This is also linked to facilitating the creation and maintenance of multi-stakeholders synergies (international institutions and civil society organization, businesses, universities and others) through enabling participation and partnerships. ACP YPN has been pioneering these synergies since its inception, in particular, in relation to partnership WITH youth (see p.7-9 here) and promoting the new ‘Public-Private-Academic-Partnership’ paradigm (PPAP, see here). As Arnaud put it, “achieving the Agenda 2030 is more than just words, it’s about making sure every child on the planet can still dream of a better future. This can only be guaranteed if everyone is part of the process.”
Arnaud Szanto and UN Secreatary General’s Envoy on Youth, Jayathma Wickramanayake
In conclusion, this was a unique opportunity to make sure that the voice, opinions and examples of initiatives being implemented by ACP youth are represented at this high-level Forum. Moreover, given the importance of achieving the SDGs, it is important that all stakeholders are effectively contributing to achieve the SDGs. As Liu Zhenmin, Head of UN Department of Economic and Social Affairs, rightfully said: “we still have twelve more years to fulfill the transformative 2030 Agenda. These goals are within our reach, it will, however, require an unwavering attention, a laser-sharp focus on the implementation of these goals and a true sense of urgency.”
UN Major Group on Children and Youth
What is the HLPF? The High Level Political Forum is an international platform for discussion on how everyone can contribute to the achievement of the 2030 Agenda. Through collective ideas, solutions and innovations, members of government, youth-led organizations, civil society, academia and other international organization members explored ways to progress on the six SDGs (6,7, 11, 12, 15 and 17) under review this year. In addition to this, 47 countries have presented their Voluntary National Reviews (VNR) with the aim to facilitate the sharing of experiences, including successes, challenges and lessons learned, with a view to accelerating the implementation of the 2030 Agenda. The VNRs also seek to strengthen policies and institutions of governments and to mobilize multi-stakeholder support and partnerships for the implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals. Representatives included top universities, specialists, CEOs of companies, Major Groups, Members of government and NGOs also joined with the objective to share their knowledge, their stories and struggles, to discuss transformation and express their ideas on how to build sustainable and resilient societies while making sure no one is left behind. See more here.
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