The SDGs and the High Level Political Forum

The creation of the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) marked a groundbreaking moment for the inclusivity of persons with disabilities in global development goals. Unlike the Millennium Development Goals(MDGs), where no language surrounding persons with disabilities was included, the SDGs were a crucial step in identifying the importance of inclusive sustainable development.  Continue reading

SDGs, HLPF, and Inclusion of Persons with Disabilities

The transition from the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) to the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) was an incredible leap towards effective development that includes persons with disabilities. The identification of actors and their roles in inclusive sustainable development along with the conceptual formalization of development studies provides refection and evaluation on the effectives of development as we understand it now.

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SDG Overview and the High-Level Political Forum

The 2030 Agenda consists of 17 interrelated goals, targets, and indicators to ensure sustainable and inclusive development. The 2030 Sustainable Goals (SDGs) recognize the multidimensionality of poverty and builds upon the 2015 Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) to fully realize the human rights of all peoples. The goals also highlight the need to implement and monitor programs regarding climate change. In comparison to the MDGs, the SDGs are intended for universal application in both developing and developed countries. All countries are considered to be developing countries and to achieve the goals set forth, and all stakeholders must work together in implementation and monitoring processes. Eradicating poverty and zero hunger are the first two goals of the 2030 UN Sustainable Development Agenda. The 2030 UN Sustainable Development Goals aim is to mobilize global efforts and partnerships. The overarching goal is to end all forms of poverty whilst ensuring no one is left behind in development initiatives.

The United Nations High-level Political Forum on Sustainable Development (HLPF) was established at the Rio+20 Conference of Sustainable Development. The HLPF is responsible for the review and follow-up of the 2030 Agenda. Each year, the HLPF decides on goals to focus on. In 2019, the HLPF will focus on empowering people and ensuring inclusiveness and equality. This encapsulates Goal 4, 8, 10, 13, 16, and 17. All 17 goals have convergences and opportunities to build off each other. Empowering people and ensuring inclusiveness and equality requires the voices of marginalized communities to be amplified. Active participation is further needed. The United Nations recognizes this need and formalized nine sectors of society whose participation is essential for UN related activities. The Major Groups represent women, children and youth, indigenous peoples, civil society, local authorities, workers and trade unions, business and industry, and the scientific and technological community.


The Sustainable Development Goals are 17 international development goals set by the United Nations. The SDGs are meant to fill the place of the expired Millennium Development Goals. The SDGs are an improvement upon the MDGs because they are more specific and within each goal are detailed targets and indicators that allow countries to better determine and track their progress. The SDG that relates closely to the field of my interest is SDG 7 which is renewable energy access.

The High Level Political Forum is a platform within the United Nations that aims to respond to the Sustainable Development Goals which are set to be achieved by 2030. The Forum convenes every year and meets over a period of 8 days. The HLPF’s main position is to support and oversee the implementation of the SDGs. There are 9 major groups within the Forum that represent the main constituency groups. These groups are women, NGOs, indigenous peoples, children, local authorities, unions, IT community, farmers, and businesses. These are the major stakeholders in development initiatives and are therefore given a platform for which to voice their concerns, opinions, and best practices to make the implementation of the SDGs a success.

Sustainable Development Goals

The United Nations was formed in 1945, officially coming into existence on October 24. As it stands today, its goals are to save people from war, to affirm human rights to all people, to uphold justice and respect, and to promote social progress as it relates to freedom. This is ultimately to create tolerance to find peace, unite in international peace and security, ensure the limitation of use of armed forces, and to enhance economic and social aspects of all lives.

Through the United Nations today, we have just passed the timeline for the Millennium Development Goals and come into the timeframe of the Sustainable Development Goals. The SDGs span a wide array of goals, economic and social, to benefit humanity as a whole. The 17 goals are:

  1. End poverty in all its forms everywhere
  2. End hunger, achieve food security and improved nutrition and promote sustainable agriculture
  3. Ensure healthy lives and promote well-being for all at all ages
  4. Ensure inclusive and equitable quality education and promote lifelong learning opportunities for all
  5. Achieve gender equality and empower all women and girls
  6. Ensure availability and sustainable management of water and sanitation for all
  7. Ensure access to affordable, reliable, sustainable and modern energy for all
  8. Promote sustained, inclusive and sustainable economic growth, full and productive employment and decent work for all
  9. Build resilient infrastructure, promote inclusive and sustainable industrialization and foster innovation
  10. Reduce inequality within and among countries
  11. Make cities and human settlements inclusive, safe, resilient, and sustainable
  12. Ensure sustainable consumption and production patterns
  13. Take urgent action to combat climate change and its impacts
  14. Conserve and sustainably use the oceans, seas and marine resources for sustainable development
  15. Protect, restore and promote sustainable use of terrestrial ecosystems, sustainably manage forests, combat desertification, and halt and reverse land degradation and halt biodiversity loss
  16. Promote peaceful and inclusive societies for sustainable development, provide access to justice for all and build effective, accountable and inclusive institutions at all levels
  17. Strengthen the means of implementation and revitalize the global partnership for sustainable development

One important thing to notice about the SDGs is that many of these topics can encompass the same issues. For instance, Clean Energy and Climate Action will have many similarities yet are different goals. This allows for two benefits that did not happen under the MDGs. First, metrics and indicators for each are more clear and precise to allow for better project implementation. Second, by allowing goals to have similar targets, there is a greater chance that something will be done when they can be approached from multiple perspectives at the same time.