The High-Level Political Forum on Sustainable Development (HLPF)

The High Level Political Forum on Sustainable Development (HLPF) was established in 2013 to act as the new institutional home for sustainable development governance within the United Nations system. The HLPF is the pre-eminent body in the international framework for sustainable development and will ultimately be responsible for the implementation and monitoring of the post-2015 sustainable development goals (SDGs).

On July 2013, the United Nations General Assembly adopted a resolution on the format and organizational aspects of the HLPF. It is clear that the HLPF is meant to be the leading UN body on sustainable development, but a number of points must be clarified to create a strong and successful HLPF. The resolution states that a review of the format and organization of the HLPF will take place during the 70th UN General Assembly, opening in September 2015. The first ‘real’ HLPF meeting took place in 2014, but the first HLPF meeting of a meaningful political agenda will be held in 2016. Therefore, 2015 constitutes an important year to clarify the details of body's mandate and associated means for stakeholder participation.

Although there is still a lot to be defined, the HLPF's mandate primarily involves, providing political leadership, guidance and recommendations for sustainable development, and following-up and reviewing progress on the implementation of sustainable development commitments – including the post-2015 agenda and other commitments made at the Rio+20 conference (2012). Its substantial functions have three main priorities:

  • Agenda-setting
  • Integration
  • Implementation

This includes identifying emerging issues, reviewing progress in the implementation of commitments made at all major UN conferences in the economic, social and environmental fields and continually enhancing the integration of the three dimensions of sustainable development. Additionally, the HLPF is in in charge of the development of an annual Global Sustainable Development Report, which is meant to strengthen the science-policy interface by promoting evidence based decision-making at all levels and improving inter-agency coordination within the UN system.

Most crucially in relation to the post-2015 agenda, it is anticipated that the HLPF will become the institution responsible for the implementation and monitoring of the universal post-2015 agenda SDGs once it is adopted.

The High-level Political Forum meets:

  • Every four years at the level of Heads of State and Government, under the auspices of the General Assembly, resulting in a political declaration to be submitted to the General Assembly for its consideration
  • Every year under the auspices of the Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC), immediately followed by three days at a ministerial level and result in a political declaration, have a thematic focus reflecting the integration of the three dimensions of sustainable development and be in line with the thematic focus of activities of ECOSOC and consistent with the post-2015 agenda.