The United Nations High Level Political Forum on Sustainable Development (HLPF) is the UN body responsible for monitoring the progress of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). The SDGs were adopted on September 25, 2015 as part of a new sustainable development agenda to “end poverty, protect the planet, and ensure prosperity for all,” which will run until 2030 (UN). The SDGs are much more inclusive than their predecessor, the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), which ran from 2000 until 2015. There was no mention of anyone with disabilities in any of the Millennium Development Goals, whereas in the Sustainable Development Goals, there are 11 specific references to persons with disabilities. I would argue that this is a reflection of the growing awareness in the international community that it is important to include persons with disabilities. I think the inclusivity of the SDGs is a positive step in the right direction towards achieving full inclusion of persons with disabilities.
As we discussed in class, the High-Level Political Forum on Sustainable Development is the ‘most inclusive and participatory forum at the United Nations.’ This is largely due to the ‘Major Groups and Other Stakeholders High Level Political Forum Coordination Mechanism’ (MGoS HLPF Coordination Mechanism) which is responsible for ensuring “broad, open, transparent and inclusive participation in the HLPF” (UN MGoS). All representatives of the nine Major Groups and all other active stakeholders in sustainable development are eligible for membership in this mechanism. This major groups framework allows for the participation of groups of people that are especially vulnerable, as the nine major groups are: women, children and youth, indigenous peoples, NGOs, local authorities, workers and trade unions, business and industry, scientific and technological community, and farmers.
It is so important for the body in charge of monitoring the progress of the Sustainable Development Goals to be as inclusive and participatory as the HLPF is. This goes back to the idea of “nothing about us without us” that we have discussed since the first class; those who are being affected by an agenda should be able to have a say in it. The MGoS HLPF Coordination Mechanism ensures that all groups and stakeholders involved are included and able to participate in the monitoring process of the SDGs.
- High-level Political Forum .:. Sustainable Development Knowledge Platform. Retrieved from https://sustainabledevelopment.un.org/hlpf
- Major Groups and Other Stakeholders High Level Political Forum Coordination Mechanism Terms of Reference. Retrieved from https://sustainabledevelopment.un.org/content/documents/12947HLPFMGoSCM-ToRJan2017.pdf