New York, USA. The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and its Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) have reached the halfway point between their adoption in 2015 and their deadline in 2030. In New York, the UN headquarters hosted the High-Level Political Forum (HLPF), which serves as a platform for monitoring and reviewing the implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals.
Approximately 120 ministers and vice ministers, and other representatives of governments, intergovernmental organizations, policymakers, civil society, and youth attended the meeting to discuss strategies for advancing sustainable development, share experiences, and review progress.
The members of the Claretian Team at the United Nations, New York, participated in the HLPF. The HLPF featured several hundred side events, special events, VNR Labs, and exhibitions in addition to the official programs.
Five SDGs were under review at HLPF 2023: SDGs 6 (clean water and sanitation), 7 (affordable and clean energy), 9 (industry, innovation, and infrastructure), 11 (sustainable cities and communities), and 17 (partnerships for the Goals). Thirty-eight countries presented their Voluntary National Reviews (VNRs) during HLPF 2023. The European Union (EU) presented the first-ever review. The sessions enabled participants to share successes, challenges, and lessons learned from their experiences.
For the HLPF, the Justice Coalition of Religious (JCoR) has designed and conducted six-month accompanying programs for members of the JCoR religious congregations in one of the countries submitting VNRs. Through these series of Zoom calls from late January through the end of July, the participants were given foundational information about religious advocacy at the UN, the SDGs, and the HLPF. 27 Claretians from Canada attended the program, the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), Tanzania, Timor Leste, Venezuela, and Vietnam.
For HLPF, JCoR launched a virtual discussion space called the “JCoR SDG Lab” where Catholic Religious and their partners shared their perspectives on progress and good practices towards sustainable development. The SDG Lab consists of one session dedicated to each priority SDG 2023. Claretian teams from DRC, Venezuela, and Timor Leste participated and shared experiences on SSDG implementation and good practices within their countries.
Like previous years the Claretian Team at the UN, New York, has also organized a Claretian HLPF Parallel event on Monday, July 17, 2023. Around 100 Claretians and collaborators participated in this event. This event and their presentation at the event have given the Claretians from this year’s VNR countries an opportunity to assess their SDG implementation through their ministries and projects in their country and to participate in the process of sustainable development to build a better world through their involvement. The Claretians from DRC, Tanzania, Timor Leste, Venezuela and Vietnam made presentations on “Claretian Contribution and challenges in advancing the implementation of SDG 6 as recovery from COVID-19.”
Br. Benedict Ayodi OFM Cap, the Outreach officer for Franciscans International (FI), an NGO at the United Nations in New York, was the keynote speaker. He highlighted in his address how various religious communities, through their social projects, contributed to the implementation of the SDGs and thereby to the social transformation of the world through initiatives on education, health care, water, sanitation and hygiene, food security, sustainable food production systems, peacebuilding, conflict transformation and supporting the democratic process and good governance.
Fr. Larry Miranda, the Prefect of Apostolate of Rhoel Gallardo Province, moderated the event.
In five presentations, the Claretian Missions addressed the implementation of the SDGs during post-pandemic times and the country’s future with its full implementation.
- Jeremías Nardin CMF – Claretian Mission in Timor Leste and The Implementation of SDG 6: Clean Water and Sanitation.
- Dennis Mukam’Atuhe CMF – Claretian Experience of SDG 6 Implementation in Tanzania.
- Sujey Cuello – Implementation of the SDGs as Recovery from COVID-19: SHARING POST-PANDEMIC EXPERIENCES of the Venezuela Region.
- Stephane Uyungu CMF – Claretian Mission in Congo and SDGs: A Strategic Approach in a Paradoxical Context to Achieve Together the SDG 6.
- Anthony Vo Tung CMF – The Concerns of Water and Sanitation in Vietnam.
The HLPF took place at a very critical time. A COVID-19 pandemic and an escalating global crisis have derailed the ambitious goals agreed in 2015 for people and the planet. Most of the Sustainable Development Goals are not progressing as expected. But most participants refused to give up hope. In her remarks, Lachezara Stoeva, President of the Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC), emphasized the importance of innovation, technology, and high-impact partnerships. “We are halfway to 2030 and yet nowhere near to achieving the SDGs. The bad news is that we’ve lost seven years. The good news is, we still have seven years, and victory is within our reach,” she said.
On 18-19 September 2023 at the UN headquarters in New York, the SDG Summit will be held during the high-level week of the General Assembly. It provides an opportunity to re-ignite global commitment to accelerate the implementation of the 2030 Agenda and provide a reality check.
Source: The Claretian UN Team, New York