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UN Forum meeting on post-pandemic recovery and sustainable development goals

Published: 12.07.2023

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· A meeting of the High-Level Political Forum on the Sustainable Development Goals, in which Poland, among others, participates, is taking place in New York.

· The subject of its deliberations will be some of the goals set out in the Agenda 2030 framework.

· The Agenda 2030 program has been the subject of much controversy due to, among other things, the pushing of so-called reproductive and sexual rights.

· The New York meeting will discuss goals relating to, among other things, recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic, access to water and energy sources, and improving infrastructure.

From July 10 to 20, the High Level Political Forum (HLPF), a special global platform to strengthen and coordinate the UN's Agenda 2030 sustainable development policies, is meeting in New York.

The 2030 Agenda is the abbreviated and commonly used name of the UN resolution known formally as "Transforming Our World: the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development with Sustainable Development Goals" (The Sustainable Development Goals). It contains a plan of action set by the UN and member states that includes an agenda for solving the most pressing, in the opinion of its authors, economic, social and environmental problems of the world today. The document in question establishes 17 such goals and 169 tasks, relating to matters related to various and very broad issues such as people, planet, prosperity, peace or partnership. All of them are to be achieved by 2030.

The 2030 Agenda is a highly controversial document, due in part to the language used there and the vague and ideologically charged terms. These include, first and foremost, terms such as "reproductive rights" or "reproductive and sexual health," which, according to the wording of many international documents, include within their scope the so-called right to abortion. 

The theme of this year's regular meeting will be recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic and implementation of Agenda 2030 for sustainable development.

The Forum's upcoming meeting will discuss 5 goals:

Goal 6 Ensure access to water and sanitation for all through sustainable management of water resources.
Goal 7. Ensure access for all to sources of stable, sustainable and modern energy at an affordable price.
Goal 9 Build stable infrastructure, promote sustainable industrialization, and foster innovation.
Goal 11 Make cities and human settlements safe, stable, sustainable, and inclusive.
Goal 17 Strengthen the means of implementation and revitalize the global partnership for sustainable development.
Much attention is drawn to the use of very general and imprecise language used to formulate the text of the resolution containing the goals set under Agenda 2030. The terms used therein, especially in the context of the articles cited, are ambiguous. Significantly, the 2015 resolution does not include definitions explaining the meaning of each term. In addition, many of the 5 goals mentioned overlap, at least in part, in terms of their meanings, such as the identical environmental provisions in Tasks 6.6 and 11.4, respectively.

Secondly, a large part of the issues under discussion relate to developing countries in the broadest sense, as well as to completely failed states. For it suffices to mention the provisions relating to issues of lack of access to drinking water or sanitation (Tasks 6.1 and 6.2), or the explicitly expressed need for developed countries to support developing countries (Task 17.2).

In addition, the 2030 Agenda is accused of a lack of coherence between its various elements, which refers especially to the differences that exist between socio-economic goals and those relating to environmental protection. The biggest controversy, however, is over the aforementioned vague issues relating to gender, sexual and reproductive health or sexual education contained primarily in goals 3 and 5, which are not the subject of the meeting to be held in July.

At the upcoming meeting of the High Level Political Forum (HLPF), the goals under discussion will be presented in very general terms, often in terms of links to other goals and against the background of selected and equally generally portrayed selected issues. There will also be a series of side events organized in connection with the Forum meeting. 

At the upcoming meeting of the High Level Political Forum (HLPF), the discussed goals will be presented in very general terms, often in terms of links to other goals and against the background of selected and equally generally portrayed selected problems. There will also be a series of side events organized in connection with the Forum meeting. 

During the meeting, a representative of the Republic of Poland will speak on Wednesday, July 19, presenting the so-called VNR, or Voluntary National Review. This is a report on a country's progress and achievements on the subject of achieving the goals set under Agenda 2030.

 "The subjects of the Forum meeting that has just taken place are matters that should not cause much controversy. This is because they relate primarily to issues related to environmental protection in the broadest sense, energy and infrastructure, which do not evoke as much emotion as the highly problematic and ideologically-driven provisions contained in some of the other goals of Agenda 2030." - Patryk Ignaszczak of the Ordo Iuris Center for International Law points out.

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