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High Level Political Forum 2017

Update 2018-06-25


Once a year, key figures gather at the United Nations to give an annual update of SDG progress at the High Level Political Forum (HLPF) and share good practices for implementing SDGs. The HLPF takes place each July in New York to generate recommendations on how to implement the agenda and follow it up, to evaluate progress made to date, and address any current issues.

The HLPF will be held at regular intervals: 

  • Every year under the auspices of ECOSOC: a different theme will be chosen each year and the status of a certain number of SDGs will be reviewed.
  • Every four years at the United Nations General Assembly: Heads of State will provide an overview of all the SDGs.

Each country now has the task of applying the SDGs internally, tracking progress that is made every year, and reporting back to the HLPF. They will provide a series of international indicators that will then be rolled out at the regional and national levels. A UN agency is responsible for each indicator.


The 2017 Forum took place from 10 to 19 July in New York, on the theme, “Eradicating poverty and promoting prosperity in a changing world” and gathered close to 2,450 attendees, including 77 Ministers. The SDGs analyzed that year were: 1 Poverty; 2 Hunger; 3 Health; 5 Gender; 9 Infrastructure; and 14 Oceans;

Features included:   

  • 142 side-events, 3 Special Events, 167 debates and 10 courses.
  • The publication of the 2nd SDG progress report . This annual report issued by the Secretary-General provides a general overview of the situation of the sustainable development goals. 
  • In addition: a publication entitled “Sustainable Development Goals Report 2017”  takes up the components of the above-mentioned report and explains them to the wider public.

In terms of water, these reports repeat the main information included in the 2016 report. They mention the main statistics regarding access to water and sanitation (dating from 2015) and observe that water stress currently impacts over 2 billion people around the world. North Africa and West Asia are subject to water stress of more than 60%, which means that the risks of water shortage are very high in these regions. For integrated water resources management, 65% of the 130 countries that responded to an IWRM survey in 2012 stated that management plans had been set up at national level.

Outcome documents: The HLPF produced the following:

  • A ministerial declaration that features the main language elements from the 2030 Agenda, with little new material.  
  • A report on the HLPF’s work.  

Voluntary National Reviews: At this session, 43 countries volunteered to present a national review of their progress in implementing SDGs (almost twice as many as at the previous HLPF). These reports are very different in nature and generally provide a description of the current situation. Regrettably, they rarely mention any weaknesses identified and do not detail anticipated action plans. The countries that will be presenting their VPN at the next Forum have not yet been announced.

Independent reports produced by civil society. The most substantial include: “Spotlight on Sustainable Development 2017