Robynne Anderson's Emerging Thoughts on Ag

High Level Political Forum

HLPF replaces CSD

In case there aren’t enough acronyms floating around the UN, the High Level Political Forum (HLPF) has been agreed as a means to replace the Commission on Sustainable Development.

Negotiations on a new body to discuss sustainable development have been bogged down and have just concluded, a month behind schedule. Many of the decisions appear to be compromises that ultimately keep the status quo. The most notable change is the move to a 4 year format for a High Level meeting and annual 8 day events under ECOSOC.

A very complex structure means the HLPF will be convened under both the General Assembly of the UN and ECOSOC.

The meetings organized under the General Assembly are to be convened with Heads of State and Government every four years at the beginning of the UNGA session for a period of two days. The first meeting will be a one day session at the opening of the General Assembly this September.

The ECOSOC meetings will occur annually for a period of eight days, with a three-day ministerial segment in the ECOSOC substantive session, which will replace the Annual Ministerial Review (AMR) in 2016. With a mandate to review implementation of sustainable development agreements, the annual result is to be a negotiated ministerial declaration for inclusion in the report of ECOSOC to the UNGA.

For those of us outside the UN system who wish to participate, the Major Groups system has been reaffirmed which includes the nine groups: science, farmers, NGOs, local authorities, indigenous peoples, women, business, labour, and youth. The entire process will continue to be supported by DESA as the UN secretariat.

Quite aside from the machinations regarding format, the workload remains firmly committed to the three dimensions of sustainable development: social, economic, and environmental. There is also a specific mandate on sustainable consumption and production and to review the Post 2015 development goal implementations. In 2014, there is also an agreement to create a world global sustainable development report.