New York, USA. “The Agenda 2030 remains our shared roadmap to achieve the future we want”, said Mona Juul, President of the Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) at the close of the two-weeks of the High-Level Political Forum (HLPF) 2020. During her speech, Mona Juul, who is also the Permanent Representative to the United Nations, said that recovering better also means protecting the planet, by addressing climate change and the alarming rate of biodiversity loss and land and forest degradation.
The High-Level Political Forum on Sustainable Development, one of the most important forums held annually at the United Nations, is held in July of each year. This year, the meeting was held from Tuesday 7 July to Thursday 17 July 2020, under the auspices of the Economic and Social Council. The theme of HLPF 2020 was “Accelerated action and transformative pathways: implementing the decade of action and commitment to sustainable development”. In the light of the current COVID-19 pandemic, all official meetings and all special and side events of the High-Level Political Forum were held virtually. At all round tables and other events, participants debated their stand on the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) in light of the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. They also discussed the various responses to the pandemic that can put back on track the implementation and the achievement of the SDGs. One of the strongest ideas of the Forum was, ‘Build Back Better’ (BBB) and ‘Greener’.
To accelerate progress in the implementation of Agenda 2030 and the SDGs, the Decade of Action (2020-2030) was launched. During the Forum 47 countries presented their National Voluntary Reviews (NVR) along with 150 speakers in the thematic sessions.
Among the 47 countries that presented their National Voluntary Reviews (NVR), the Claretians are present in, Austria, Argentina, Costa Rica, Panama, Honduras, Democratic Republic of Congo, Ecuador, India, Kenya, Uganda, Mozambique, Nigeria, and Peru. The Claretian Team at the United Nations invited the Claretians of these countries to participate in HLPF 2020. This participation was possible thanks to the virtual format of the Forum. 52 Claretians and Claretian Associates from 13 Major Organisms, representing 11 countries, participated in different sessions of the HLPF.
To plan the participation of these persons, the team organized an online meeting with the Prefects of Apostolate and the SOMI/JPIC Coordinators of the 13 Major Organisms on June 27, 2020. After the meeting, each Major Organism assigned its local teams to participate in the Forum. On July 4, 2020, the team held an online orientation on the HLPF for all those who were selected to participate in the Forum.
At the end of the two-week Forum, on July 17, the Claretian participants of the HLPF met via Online, to share experiences and learnings and to plan future action and networking among the JPIC teams. The participants thanked the Claretian Team at the UN for facilitating Claretian participation in this important UN forum. Many expressed that it was the first time they had the opportunity to witness and participate in a program of this nature.
The MICLA and ACLA teams have also prepared a message for the Claretians in their Conference and are downloadable below. The Indian participants expressed regret that they were unable to prepare a message for their region.