SDGs and the High-Level Political Forum

In this blog post, I will discuss the SDGs and HLPF and their implications and importance for persons with disabilities.


The SDGs are 17 international development goals that were created by the United Nations as an expansion of the MDGs. The SDGs were considered a valiant next step in continuing world efforts towards development and improved the MDGs in two poignant manners. First, the SDGs allowed for persons with disabilities to have a platform in international documents as in the SDGs disabilities were mentioned 11 specific times compared to the complete lack of acknowledgement in in the MDGs. Additionally, the SDGs were much more measurable than the MDGs and included clear, measurable targets and indicators to easily determine the success of the SDGs.  Each of the 17 goals that are outlined in the SDGs contains numerous indicators that allow individual countries to track their independent progress of the SDGs. The SDGs and the CRPD has some overlap, but the CRPD is still viewed as the main article designed for worldwide inclusive development.

The High Level Political Forum, first created in 2012 is a creation of the UN that aims to assist with the the progress of the sustainable development goals. The HLPF is viewed as the UN’s main platform to assist in the implementation of the SDGs. The Forum, which meets once a year over a period of 8 days works to oversea the implementation of the articles. The HLPF is held every year by ECOSOC, however the UN General Assembly hosts a larger meeting of the HLPF once ever four years. The HLPF is also extremely important to create a dialogue between  stakeholders and independent groups and the UN.  There are 9 major groups that are recognized by the UN that partake in the forum and these groups represent the main constituency groups that need representation to insure their rights are upheld when thinking about Inclusive Sustainable Development. These groups are indigenous peoples, business and industry, children and youth, farmer, local authorities, NGOs, scientific community, women, and workers and trade unions. These groups are considered to be major stakeholders in the world of development and are given a platform for their language to be included in negotiations related to sustainable development.

The creation of the SDGs and the creation of the HLPF is incredibly important for persons with disabilities. The SDGs have a ton of overlap between goals and this intersectionality allows for persons with disabilities to find representation with numerous other stakeholders. There are 11 mentions of disabilities in the SDGs, meaning the language that would allow persons with disabilities to have the standing they need to advocate for themselves is already in place. The amount of overlap between goals also means that persons with disabilities can gain representation with stakeholders from the women’s or children groups and allow for those groups to negotiate with persons with disabilities in mind.