NOTE: This blog post was written by Kayleigh Adams. Kayleigh Adams is a senior Diplomacy and International Relations student with a second major in Economics. She has spent semesters abroad in Germany and in the Czech Republic and is currently interning at the Tinker Institute on International Law and Organizations. She holds several leadership roles on Seton Hall campus and is a member of Alpha Omicron Pi.
The High Level Political Forum (HLPF) under the auspices of the United Nations General Assembly and the Economic and Social Council has been chosen to become the apex during the follow up and review process of the Post 2015 Sustainable Development Agenda. The HLPF holds an extremely critical role in monitoring the implementation of the Post 2015 Agenda, and it will need to confront numerous challenges in the next 15 years. Some of these are detailed below. It is crucial that the United Nations work through a multistakeholder partnership with member states, civil society, and the private sector to hold an effective review mechanism and insure the success of the Post 2015 Agenda.
Accountability from Member States
Starting in September, states have not only committed to implementing the Post 2015 Agenda, but they have also empowered the HLPF to review the progress made on the Sustainable Development Goals. Due to this voluntary nature, states will need to hold themselves and their peers responsible for implementing and having an effective follow up forum where true struggles and failures of states can be openly discussed.
Cohesion at global, regional, national, and local levels
Follow up and review must occur on all levels from the global to local level to guarantee that states are able to discuss how to improve their implementation. Member states will need to hold their neighbors accountable to ensure that they hold regional peer reviews and discussions so that when they reach the HLPF they can discuss challenges as a region effectively. The local level is where citizens will directly feel the effects of the Post 2015 Agenda. Citizens must be willing to communicate with their national governments to discuss what is further needed throughout the next 15 years to ensure that the goals succeed. Without a regional level of cohesion, best practices and policies will not have a chance to be shared effectively during the HLPF where global strategies will be discussed. When best means of implementation can be reiterated from the lowest level up, we ensure that those most vulnerable populations are being reached and heard.
The Need for Disaggregated and Real Time Data
If all member states and partners involved in the Post 2015 Process do not have access to real time data, then the HLPF will be unable to serve as an effective forum to discuss the success and failures of the Post 2015 Agenda. Real time data allows states and the HLPF to monitor the progress in communities as it is happening. Without it, the HLPF will be unable to reach and monitor the vulnerable groups that this Agenda aspires to support. Disaggregated data will give the HLPF the ability to recognize whether women and children are benefiting directly from the Post 2015 Development Goals. They will also allow the HLPF to recognize which groups of people need to be further reached and what needs to be improved to make this happen. The HLPF will be unable to hold states accountable during follow up and review sessions when we are unable to see accurate statistics of what is occurring at the local level.
Active Role for Civil Society and Private Sector
The need for a multistakeholder partnership during all stages of the Post 2015 process is extremely important in ensuring an effective use of all possible resources. With all actors working together towards the goal of achieving the sustainable development goals, they become an attainable vision for our future. In the follow up and review stage that will occur through the HLPF, it is necessary to receive feedback from civil society, since it is most often in the most vulnerable areas at the grassroots level working with those who are seen as most critical for the success of the agenda. This gives civil society the ability to reflect on the policies and practices that are most successful and those that need to be improved or replaced. This informed feedback should be taken into consideration by the HLPF and member states attending the follow up and review sessions.
The private sector also plays a crucial role with the financing of the Post 2015 Agenda and it is vital that it is involved in the follow up and review process because the corporations or groups will want to see that their funds are being used efficiently. The private sector also has access to the most advanced data and tools for monitoring that many vulnerable states have not had the funding to develop. By utilizing the private sector’s data resources over the next 15 years, we can ensure that communities hardest to reach are being monitored and their progress is being discussed by the HLPF.
The Importance of Flexibility in the Next 15 Years
It is important to guarantee that states and their partners keep an open mind to possible necessary changes to the Post 2015 Agenda and the means of implementation depending on what succeeds and what fails over the next 15 years. This will require a valuable multistakeholder partnership to pool resources and knowledge together to come up with new ideas and discuss the changes that may need to be made to ensure a successful implementation and follow up review process.
The HLPF must become an effective middle man between the United Nations, civil society, member states, and the private sector to ensure that communication is effective and plentiful between all the actors involved within the Post 2015 Agenda. When tensions or any issues arise during the follow up and review process, it is the role of the HLPF to ensure that the main focus remains on leaving no one behind and working together through a multistakeholder partnership.