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The Future of the High-level Political Forum: Fit for Purpose? Stakeholder Forum’s First sdg2030 Series Report

Stakeholder Forum’s First sdg2030 Series Report –

The Future of the High-level Political Forum: Fit for Purpose?

On Monday, 14 September 2020, Stakeholder Forum launched the first in its sdg2030 Series reports: The Future of the High-level Political Forum – Fit for Purpose?

The future of the United Nations High-Level Political Forum on Sustainable Development (HLPF) has been a matter of debate since it was created out of Rio+20, and before the negotiations for the Sustainable Development Goals. The resolution establishing the HLPF (UNGA resolution A/67/L.72, adopted on 9 July 2013) agreed to review it, and one such review was due 2020.  This has now been moved to the autumn of 2021.

This report, a summary of the ideas presented during the 13 July 2020 ‘Pop-up Side Event’ at the 2020 HLPF: ‘Lessons from the Proposal for a Sustainable Development Council for the UN General Assembly (from Rio+20) for the Future of the High-level Political Forum,’ captures the inputs from the speakers and respondents from the ‘Pop-Up’ event, all of whom were active during Rio+20 and the creation of the HLPF.

Our speakers were Jan-Gustav Strandenaes and Mohamed Khalil, and our respondents were Paula Caballero, Albert Butare, and Marianne Beisheim.

By looking at ideas suggested then, we hope it offers insights for the negotiations over the Future of the HLPF during the next fifteen months.

The report was introduced by Jan-Gustav Strandenaes, Senior Advisor, Stakeholder Forum, and the session was moderated by Felix Dodds, Adjunct Professor Water Institute, the University of North Carolina.

You can view the launch event here.

You can download the report here: SDG 2030 Series Report No 1 The Future of the High-level Political Forum-Fit for Purpose (Sept 2020)



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The Future of the High Level Political Forum 'Pop-Up' side event

Future of the HLPF: Lessons from the proposal for a Sustainable Development Council for the UN General Assembly from Rio+20 for the future of the High Level Political Forum


On 13 July 2020, a ‘Pop Up Side Event’ webinar during the 2020 High-level Political Forum on Sustainable Development, developed and delivered by Stakeholder Forum, revisited the ideas that were suggested by the Member States and stakeholders in the preparation for Rio+20 concerning the issue of what body should be created to replace the Commission on Sustainable Development.

In particular, the webinar looked at the proposal for a Council on Sustainable Development within the UN General Assembly.  Are there any ideas that might help Member States in their present review of the work of ECOSOC and the UNGA second committee?

The HLPF has just completed in 2019 its first four-year review, and 2020 is the 75th anniversary of the creation of the United Nations.  This virtual UN HLPF side event offered a chance for open discussion on the best way for addressing sustainable development in the follow up to Rio+20 and the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.  It looked back at the ideas that were being suggested in 2012 to see if they offer any insights for the way forward.

The webinar recording can be found on the Stakeholder Forum YouTube channel, and the presentation here: Lessons from the Proposal for a SD Council for the UN GA for the Future of the HLPF (13 July 2020)


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Climate Friendly Travel Think Tank

The inaugural SUNx Malta 2020 Climate Friendly Travel Think Tank with 35 global thought leaders met from 24th - 28th February in Qawra, Malta. It operated in the context of the long-term transformational vision of the late Maurice Strong for sustainable development that responds coherently to the climate crisis.

The First “Climate Friendly Travel” Sector Report, co-produced by SUNx Malta and the World Travel & Tourism Council (WTTC) in September 2019 and issued on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly was reviewed and strongly endorsed, along with its key messages:

The Climate Crisis is eXistential.

Climate Action is Urgent

Climate & Carbon Ambitions Globally must increase

Travel & Tourism Sector Climate Ambition must intensify

Climate Friendly Travel can be a solution

We must Act Now. We must Act Fast.

The Initiative of the Government of Malta to become a global Centre of Climate Friendly Travel was warmly welcomed. As was the leadership of the Minister for Tourism and Consumer Protection, Hon. Julia Farrugia Portelli.

One of the key outcomes from the workshop was "

The highest importance must be given to the immediate distribution and rapid scaling up of currently available solutions to substantially reduce aviation fossil fuel reliance. There is a need for renewed commitment from the sector to radically increase financing of synthetic fuels. Current fuel suppliers were called on to apply full financial and corporate commitment to a solution, as well as to give the highest priority to synthetic aviation fuel production. In addition, states may wish to consider including international Aviation in their Paris Agreement Nationally Determined Contributions."

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GreenBiz 2020

GreenBiz Conferncer 2020

I had the pleasure of attending my first GreenBiz conference in February in Phoenix - never been to the State before but definitely want to go back. One of the reasons for goign was the launch of the UN Global Compact's SDG Action Manager. 

Although important progress has been made by the business community, we have a lot more work to do to achieve our vision of a better and more sustainable future for all.

Not only do the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) identify where we should be in 2030 to create the sustainable world we seek, but they also provide a unique chance for all sectors to rally around a common global agenda – one that unites us to take responsibility to improve people’s lives and save our planet.

For this reason, the United Nations Global Compact is introducing the SDG Action Manager to provide all types of businesses with an opportunity to learn about, manage, and directly improve their sustainability performance.

Developed in cooperation with B Lab, the SDG Action Manager is a web-based impact management solution to enable businesses to take action on the Sustainable Development Goals through 2030.

The SDG Action Manager brings together B Lab’s B Impact Assessment, the Ten Principles of the UN Global Compact, and the Sustainable Development Goals, to enable meaningful business action through dynamic self-assessment, benchmarking, and improvement. It is informed by the work and feedback of a range of stakeholders, including experts in corporate sustainability, civil society, UN, and academia; and it is inspired by the Certified B Corp community and participating companies of the UN Global Compact.

The SDG Action Manager is available in English, French, Italian, Portuguese, and Spanish.


SDG Action Manager enables a company to:

Find your starting point. Learn which SDGs matter most to you based on your company profile, and how to take action today.

Understand and share your impact. Get a clear view of how your operations, supply chain, and business model create positive impact, and identify risk areas for each SDG.

Set goals and track improvement. We have 10 years to achieve the SDGs. Stay motivated and visualize your progress on the dashboard.

Collaborate across your company. Invite colleagues to join the SDG Action Manager, contribute expertise, and see real-time progress and performance.

Learn at every step. Determine high-impact action based on thought-provoking yet actionable assessment questions, benchmarks, and improvement guides.

Trailblaze together. Join a global movement of companies working to build a better world for people and planet by 2030.


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December 2019

The UK election was a disaster for the UK and for my chance to be part of the UK team for the Glasgow UNFCCC. The leave the EU side led by the Conservatives secured a huge majority and those of us that supported remaining in the EU couldn't agree among ourselves which our candidates should be in the different constituencies. Although there was a majority for remain candidates that wasn't the case as far actual MPs due to the UK having the first past the post system. I managed to triple the vote and increase ti by 6.1% but when the Brexit party withdrew from the constituency it meant that the remain vote was split between the Libe Dems, Labour and the Greens.  History will not be kind on those party leaders who could not agree on a joint platform.

In the UK - Im not sure what happens in other countries the candidates stand on the stage as the election results are read out and the TV cameras capture the whole event. The Mid Derbyshire  result was the last one of four being read out at the count and happened at 530am in the morning zzzzzz



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September 2019

While the Heads of State were meeting in New York for the review of the Sustainable Development Goals and the Climate Summit  I had the chance to meet up with former UK Foreign Secretary David Miliband and give him a copy of my new book 'Stakeholder Democracy: Represented Democracy in a Time of Fear.


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August saw the published of the paper: Misaligned SDG Targets: How to Handle Target Dates Before 2030; written with Jamie Bartram and  Gastón Ocampo. 


FULL paper downloadable from Juniper Publishers - International Journal of Environmental Sciences & Natural Resources (IJESNR) here


Transforming Our World: the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development was adopted by the 193-member states of the United Nations in September 2015. It includes 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), which are accompanied by 169 targets, 107 of which are considered output targets and 62 are designated ‘means of implementation’.


While the SDGs are associated with the period 2016 - 2030, twenty-three targets (14%) have dates for completion before 2030. For twenty of those targets the date is 2020 and for the remaining three it is 2025. The affected targets are associated with 232 individual indicators. Not addressing the issues that arise because of this has the potential to create two classes of targets.


In most cases other UN processes will recommend continuation, modification, abandonment or replacement of expiring targets - outside the SDG framework. The updating of targets outside the SDG framework and therefore the emergence of two classes of targets has the potential to threaten the overall cohesion of the SDG enterprise; and there is some risk that resources will benefit one class of targets, those within the SDG framework, over the other, regardless of whether target conditions have been achieved.


The time window to prepare for the earliest-expiring target (2020) is short. We identify four option-types and summarize their pros and cons. None is perfect and some blend of them may be preferable. For all affected targets, monitoring is in hand within the SDG framework and in several cases established or potential processes would facilitate analysis and decision making as to abandonment, renewal, modification or replacement of targets and associated indicators.


“Sustainable development is the pathway to the future we want for all. It offers a framework to generate economic growth, achieve social justice, exercise environmental stewardship and strengthen governance.”


Keywords: Sustainable development; Maternal mortality; Technological expertise; Future Abbreviations: MDGs: Millennium Development Goals; SDGs: Sustainable Development Goals; ACC: Administrative Coordination Committee; CEB: Chief Executives Board; OWG: Open Working Group; INC: Intergovernmental Negotiating Committee; WSSD: World Summit on Sustainable Development; SAICM: Strategic Approach to International Chemicals Management

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