Sommet sur les objectifs de développement durable : 24-25 septembre 2019, siège des Nations Unies, New York
“The SDG Summit ... marking the half-way point to 2030, is a critical moment to deliver a global plan on ways to accelerate SDG implementation. On that path, I invite you all to draw on the universal promise, impulse and energy of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights which turns 75 this year. We must rise higher to rescue the 2030 Agenda – human rights – all human rights - are the lever to do so.”
Volker Türk, UN High Commissioner for Human Rights at the Human Rights Council’s fifth intersessional meeting on human rights and the 2030 Agenda
2023 SDG Summit marks the half-way point to 2030 and provides an opportunity to serve as a reality check and a rallying point for reigniting global commitment to accelerate 2030 Agenda implementation. This acceleration is to be achieved by identifying key levers for transformative change (game-changers) and mobilizing and unlocking high-impact initiatives and commitments.
At the SDG Summit and its preparatory processes, UN Human Rights is looking to spotlight human rights and human rights approaches as game changers and problem-solving tools that provide fundamental levers for rescuing the 2030 Agenda and its SDGs, re-building trust, and delivering on a renewed social contract.
OHCHR key messages for the SDG Summit:
UN Human Rights key messages for the 2023 SDG Summit revolve around the following six priority advocacy areas:
- Building a human rights economy
- Placing human rights at the heart of care and support systems
- Creating a more equitable international financial architecture
- Enhancing environmental action, in particular climate action
- Anchoring ‘leaving no one behind’ implementation in equality and non-discrimination
- Empowering people as active agents of sustainable development
Building a human rights economy
What is a human rights economy? A human rights economy seeks to address and redress root causes and structural barriers to equality, justice and sustainability by integrating human rights principles and obligations, and SDG commitments, into economic decision-making to yield better outcomes for people and planet. In a human rights economy, economic policies, investment decisions, consumer choices and business models are guided by human rights, resulting in measurably enhanced outcomes for all. A human rights economy introduces guardrails for fiscal and monetary policies, including budget decisions, tax policies, debt servicing, and related anti-corruption efforts. It also calls for human rights-enhancing industrial and trade policies, promoting consumption and production patterns, investment decisions, and business models that contribute sustainable development, to a clean, healthy, and sustainable environment, and an adequate standard of living for all. It requires transparency and accountability, expands space for social dialogue, scrutiny, and participation, especially for affected individuals, groups, and communities.
Placing human rights at the heart of care and support systems
Why are care and support systems a matter of human rights? Socially unrecognized unpaid or underpaid care work reinforces exclusion and discrimination faced by women and girls throughout their lives, with a significant impact on net income of households with members with support needs as they must resign to engage on an economic activity to support them. The deficiencies in care and support systems affected particularly those facing discrimination, such as migrants, racial, ethnic and other minorities, indigenous peoples, those living in rural areas, and those working in informal sector, among others. We need to reshape our understanding of support and care systems and recognize the economic and social value of care and support work. Unpaid or informal care and support work should be reduced in a way to support autonomy of care receivers (e.g., by providing support, accessible transports, adequate housing or assistive devices) while keeping healthy community support structures through a co-responsibility . Roles and responsibilities for support and care must be redistributed between men and women, families, communities and States and based on human rights.
Creating a more equitable international financial architecture
Why do we need a new and more equitable international financial architecture? Because this is a key lever for redressing inequalities within and between nations which requires transforming governance arrangements at all levels, including through reforming global economic governance, creating lasting solutions to debt issues, and reshaping international public finance. Advancing effective multilateralism through people-centered international cooperation and global partnership to constantly improve the well-being of all individuals and peoples in all countries, amplifying the voice and strengthening policy space and representation of developing countries, and securing the allocation of sufficient resources (including debt relief) for sustainable development and climate action are all vital elements of the solution 'and are integral to fulfilling the right to development. The right to development provides the overarching normative framework for everyone to participate in, contribute to, and enjoy the benefits of development in an inclusive, equitable and sustainable manner, meeting the developmental, and environmental needs of present and future generations, and UN Human Rights is asking States to powerfully strengthen efforts to realize it.
Enhancing environmental action, in particular climate action
How is environment connected to human rights? A clean, healthy and sustainable environment is a universal human right. Our planet – and our future – is in crisis. We have heard repeated calls to take concrete and tangible action to protect the environment and address the triple planetary crisis of climate change, pollution and biodiversity loss before it is too late. All States have obligations to respect, protect and fulfil human rights. This extends to protecting people from foreseeable and preventable human rights harms caused by all forms of environmental degradation. All human rights depend on a healthy environment. We cannot be healthy, eat adequate and nutritious food, drink clean water and breathe clear air without it. Recognition of this fact, and of the right to a healthy environment, strengthens existing systems that are already in place to protect people from environmental degradation and its human rights impacts.
Anchoring ‘leaving no one behind’ implementation in equality and non-discrimination
Are we delivering on the pledge to leave no one behind? Leave no one behind is the central promise of the 2030 Agenda. It represents the unequivocal commitment to eradicate poverty in all its forms, end discrimination and exclusion, and reduce the inequalities and vulnerabilities that leave people behind and undermine the potential of individuals and of humanity as a whole. The promise also directs that those furthest behind need to be prioritized. However, LNOB is still often used as an empty but popular phrase rather than a policy imperative that leads to concrete transformative action. To deliver, we need to start with investing in more reliable disaggregated data, followed by an analysis that leaves no one behind, leading to recommendations on transformative action that focus on uplifting those who are worst off. If we are to leave no one behind, we need to ensure the inclusivity of everyone and strengthen our efforts to prioritize those furthest behind.
Achieving gender equality and women’s empowerment is not optional. It is a key game changer and integral to each of the 17 SDGs goals and the 2030 Agenda itself. This has been recognized in the 2030 Agenda as well as the UN Secretary-General’s Our Common Agenda and his priorities for 2030. Yet, the promise to achieve gender equality is under threat as it is facing a persistent pushback due to the rise of conservative narratives relegating women’s role to the family and procreation, and emerging challenges such as the COVID-19 which have reversed gains obtained in the last decades, such as with respect to maternal health. Only by ensuring the full range of human rights of women and girls across the sustainable development goals and across any accelerated actions to that end, we will be achieving justice and inclusion, economies that work for all and a sustainable environment for us and for future generations.
Empowering people as active agents of sustainable development
Why is meaningful and inclusive participation important? Meaningful and inclusive participation is a game-changer for SDG implementation. Delivering on the 2030 Agenda while leaving no one behind requires investment in as well as expansion, systematization and diversification of engagement with civil society at all levels, from local to global, around all issues. A particular focus should be given to reaching out to those most at risk and those furthest behind as they are still too often not heard, left without a seat at the table, or subject to tokenism. This includes persons discriminated because of age, gender, disability or any other diversity dimension. Meaningful participation should be at the heart of development, human rights, and peace efforts. Participatory approaches make the voices of diverse and often marginalized constituencies heard, which can make all the difference, and the SDG Summit can lead by example by celebrating and acknowledging contributions of civil society to the implementation of the 2030 Agenda.
- OHCHR webpage on the 2030 Agenda
- OHCHR webpage on the High-level Political Forum
- Human rights-based approaches to data and statistics
- Human Rights Council intersessional meeting for dialogue and cooperation on human rights and the 2030 Agenda
- Key messages of the UN System (including OHCHR) to the 2023 SDG Summit Political Declaration