UNGA Holds Third Informal Consultation on HLPF

21 March 2013: The third informal consultation of the UN General Assembly (UNGA) to discuss the High Level Political Forum (HLPF) took place at UN Headquarters in New York, US, on 21 March 2013. Member States continued to discuss the format and organizational modalities of the Forum.

In opening remarks, Co-Facilitator Cesare Maria Ragaglini, Permanent Representative of Italy, summarized elements from past discussions, including a potential “hybrid” design for the Forum, which would create: yearly Forum meetings at the ministerial level during the high-level segment of the Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC); and a meeting of Heads of State and Government every four years during the high-level segment of the UN General Assembly (UNGA). He also noted a proposal for an annual ten-day meeting of a HLPF Preparatory Committee, in May, along with regional preparatory meetings held prior to this meeting. The proposed outcome of the ministerial meetings would be a President's summary, while for the Heads of State and Government meeting  a “concise political declaration” would be the suggested outcome.

Member States expressed varying views on the proposed elements. On the subject of the hybrid design for the Forum, many States supported a body with links to both UNGA and ECOSOC. Universal participation in the meetings was stressed, however, with many delegates voicing concern at the limited membership of ECOSOC and the need for equal participation. The form of outcome for each meeting was discussed, with some States supporting a “Chair's summary” and others supporting intergovernmentally negotiated outcome documents.

On the proposal to hold a ten-day meeting of the Preparatory Committee in May, some delegates called for a meeting of three weeks. Some delegates cautioned against this design, stating that it closely resembles the meeting format of the CSD. A proposed special day dedicated to the issues of small island developing States (SIDS) received some support, but delegates asked for more specifics as to how this day would respond to the needs of SIDS. Other States suggested considering the situations of all vulnerable countries.

The proposals to organize regional preparatory meetings and engagement of Major Groups were supported by most delegates, with some calling for enhanced involvement at both levels. Speakers stressed a need to avoid duplication of roles among institutions, and some called for the Forum's preparatory work and secretariat to be housed within ECOSOC.

In her closing remarks, Co-Facilitator Maria Luiza Ribeiro Viotti, Permanent Representative of Brazil, indicated that another informal meeting will be scheduled soon.  [Letter from Co-Facilitators on Third Meeting] [Lessons Learned from the Commission on Sustainable Development: Report of the Secretary-General] [IISD RS Sources] [IISD RS Story on  Second Informal Consultations on HLPF] [UN Webpage on HLPF]