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Highlights and images for 8 July 2024

New York, United States of America

Delegates gather in the UN General Assembly for the opening session of HLPF

HLPF 2024 opens in the UN General Assembly hall

With the warning that progress on one third of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) has either stalled or is going into reverse still ringing in their ears, delegates gathered at UN Headquarters for the 2024 High-level Political Forum on Sustainable Development.

Want to dig deeper into today's talks? Read the full Earth Negotiations Bulletin daily report.

The session opened with a series of keynote addresses introducing this year's theme of reinforcing the 2030 Agenda and eradicating poverty in times of multiple crises, and the effective delivery of sustainable, resilient, and innovative solutions (A/DEC/77/553). The 2024 session is the first meeting of the HLPF under the auspices of the UN Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) after the 2023 Sustainable Development Goals Summit - convened under the auspices of the UN General Assembly in September 2023.

Delegates assembled in the wake of the newly-released 2024 SDG Report, which highlights that nearly half the 17 targets are showing minimal or moderate progress.

A slide highlights that only 17% of the SDG targets are on track

A slide from the UN Department of Economic and Social Affairs (UN DESA) highlights that only 17% of the SDG targets are on track

Paula Narváez, President of ECOSOC, invited delegates to seize the opportunity to identify policy priorities to address long-term global challenges and chart a sustainable, resilient path where no one is left behind. Amina Mohammed, UN Deputy Secretary-General, described how institutions are struggling under the weight of rapid technological change and political polarization. She invited reflection on the continuing toll of conflicts, from Sudan to Gaza and Ukraine, and underlined the need to reform the international financial architecture to accelerate SDG achievement.

In a townhall on delivering resilient and innovative solutions following the SDG Summit, panelists addressed the importance of honoring past commitments, including those of leaving no one behind and of divesting from industries and partnerships that are destructive to the planet or counter to the aims of the 2030 Agenda. Among other things, they also emphasized the importance of localized assessments in developing fit-for-purpose solutions, noting that “one size does not fit all,” and underlined that migration is a catalyst of sustainable development.

Amina J. Mohammed, Deputy Secretary-General of the UN

Amina J. Mohammed, UN Deputy Secretary-General

During a session on unlocking investment in the SDGs, panelists outlined pressing challenges, including barriers to market access, prohibitive debt servicing, a decline in foreign direct investment flows, and the growing gap in trust between citizens and decision-makers and the latter's capabilities to meet the SDGs. Regarding solutions, they shared national and multilateral experiences of innovative finance tools, urging focus on debt-distressed countries and reforming the global financial system.

Concluding the first day’s sessions, delegates addressed the role of science, technology, and innovation in triggering transformation and sustaining science-driven solutions. Discussions converged on: the need to bridge capacity gaps, including the digital divide; the importance of high quality and up-to-date disaggregated data for evidence-based decision making; and the opportunities and challenges of artificial intelligence, including the need to tackle misinformation.

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All ENB photos are free to use with attribution. For HLPF 2024, please use: Photo by IISD/ENB | Kiara Worth.