HLPF Consultations Address Core Issues

HLPF10 June 2013: Informal informal consultations on the high-level political forum on sustainable development (HLPF) continued on 10 June 2013, at UN Headquarters in New York, US, with UN Member States discussing key negotiation issues and institutional aspects of the forum. The issues included: the role and structure of the forum, participation in the forum, modalities for including stakeholders, consensus decision-making, and periodicity of forum sessions.

The co-facilitators reminded delegates of the short time-frame for agreement, calling for flexibility and compromise, and suggested that “the time for tactics is over.”

On the role and structure of the HLPF, delegates debated whether the new forum should be “the main forum” for sustainable development, or if this function could be filled by other UN charter bodies. Delegates stressed the need for the UN to address sustainable development in a focused and sophisticated manner. Some expressed concern about the creation of a new body, and preferred a greater focus on process.

On participation in the forum, many delegates emphasized the need to attract high-level participation. The nature of “high-level” participation was a subject of debate, and some delegations called for a specific textual reference to heads of states and governments.

On the modalities for including stakeholders, some advocated for creating a “steering group” of stakeholder advisors, with others proposing more streamlined, intergovernmental leadership.

The issue of consensus in HLPF outcomes was discussed at length. Some delegations insisted on a specific reference to consensus in the text, while others viewed this as unnecessary.

On periodicity, delegations suggested that the forum meet either every two or four years, to align with the UN operational cycle, or every five years to maintain consistency with historical high-level development meetings.

Consultations on these issues is expected to continue throughout the week. [UN Website on HLPF] [IISD Story on Previous HLPF Consultations] [IISD RS Sources]