HLPF 2019 - Trade unions and civil society are crucial for the successful implementation, follow-up and review of the Agenda 2030

On Thursday the 11th, the morning HLPF Plenary focused on the perspectives of civil society on how to strengthen the monitoring and review mechanisms of the Agenda 2030. Yvonne O’Callaghan, from the Irish Congress of Trade Unions, spoke on behalf of the ITUC, find her statement below.

Madame Moderator, thank you for giving me an opportunity to contribute to this debate on behalf of the workers and trade unions group.

As outlined by my the distinguished panellist from the youth and children major group, we know that best practice is not the norm- we need to ensure that it becomes the norm. In doing so we need to ensure that the governance of the VNR process must be strengthened in terms of coherence, engagement and accountability.

In terms of coherence we need the VNR process to report not simply on individual goals but also on the interlinkages between goals. Governments need to ensure that they incorporate the SDGs official indicators into their data gathering for reporting at the national level.

On engagement, official mechanisms must be established at the national level to ensure stakeholder engagement. Mere Consultation with civil society is simply not dialogue-governments must understand that this is not simply a ‘tick the box’ exercise.

More importantly, engagement of the private sector cannot outweigh that of civil society in the multi stakeholder engagement process. States cannot use the role of the private sector to abdicate from their responsibility in the implementation of Agenda 2030.

On accountability, in line with its commitment to promote transparency in the VNR process should allow for:

  1. A process in which stakeholders can submit key recommendations on each VNR panel and actively participate in the follow-up of the HLPFs recommendations at national level.
  1. That shadow/ spotlight reports should be considered and published not only at national level but also in the HLPF process at the global level. Critical analysis from civil society should be seen as offering guidance to governments in striving for best practice and in realizing the goals.

The HLPF process is about providing leadership, guidance and recommendations and thus we must endeavour to do better if we are to ensure that we stay true to our commitment to leaving no one behind.

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