ECOSOC Begins Revamped Cycle with 2022 Partnership Forum | News | SDG Knowledge Center

The United Nations Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) has convened the 2022 Partnership Forum with a renewed focus on integrating stakeholder priorities and insights into other meetings throughout the year. The Forum marked the start of the 2022 cycle of ECOSOC meetings and events – the first cycle since governments decided on a package of reforms to strengthen the Council. The cycle will culminate in July at the annual session of the United Nations High-Level Political Forum on Sustainable Development (HLPF).

In June 2021, the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) passed two resolutions outlining changes to ECOSOC and the HLPF. Pursuant to ECOSOC resolution 75/290A, governments decided to structure the segments and forums of the Council into four clusters per year, comprising the annual cycle of meetings. The groupings are:

  • The Partnership Forum and Coordination Segment, to take place in early February each year;
  • The follow-up to the Forum on Financing for Development (FfD), the Multi-Stakeholder Forum on Science, Technology and Innovation (STI) for the SDGs, the Youth Forum and the Forum for Development Cooperation (every two years – the next DCF takes place in 2023);
  • Segments related to the implementation by the United Nations development system of the 2030 Agenda and humanitarian assistance: operational activities for development, humanitarian affairs and the transition from emergency assistance to development; and
  • Segments and forums providing broad policy guidance and fostering progress and review of the 2030 Agenda: the HLPF and the ECOSOC High Level Segment.

Regarding the Partnership Forum, governments agreed that it would be organized in consultation with stakeholders, that it would allow for interactive discussions among all stakeholders on the main theme of the Council and the HLPF for this year, and that it would focus on the exchange of new ideas. , expectations and priorities for the work ahead for the Board cycle and the HLPF.

In line with the mandate to organize the forum in consultation with stakeholders, the UN Secretariat set up in November 2021 a consultation process to collect proposals and views from stakeholders via an online form. The consultation ran from November 16 to December 3, 2021 and received 265 contributions from stakeholders from 56 countries. The largest number of contributions came from Africa and the majority represented NGOs. Other sectors included education and academic entities, children and youth, business and industry, and local government.

According to the summary of contributions published in December 2021, regarding the types of policies needed to build back better after COVID-19 while advancing the 2030 Agenda, stakeholders identified health, education and inclusive participation as areas key policies. Stakeholders also highlighted the need to develop, strengthen and support local policies. The summary also indicates that stakeholders: highlighted the need for evidence-based environmental policies and climate action; stressed the need for disaster management policies to be put in place as disasters become more extreme and more common; and called for accountability in implementing SDG-related policies.

They also asked for suggestions for new actions or partnerships to be initiated during the 2022 Partnerships Forum. The summary of responses notes that stakeholders suggested actions, commitments or partnerships related to six categories: involving vulnerable groups; gender equality at heart; focus on childcare; increase youth participation; ensure quality education; and inclusive and accessible health care.

To advance inclusive preparations for the 2022 Partnership Forum, ECOSOC has established an informal multi-stakeholder advisory group to the President, comprised of both Member States and other stakeholders. The group met virtually in December to provide input on the program, format, and stakeholder ideas to present. The Group’s discussions are summarized here.

This year’s Forum took place on 2 February 2022 under the theme “Building back better after coronavirus disease (COVID-19) while advancing the full implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development”. – which is also the theme of the 2022 HLPF and the ECOSOC cycle as a whole. Opening the Forum, ECOSOC President Collen Kelapile expressed hope that it would provide “inspiration for the many subsequent forums, segments and other events of ECOSOC and its subsidiary bodies that will take place in the coming months”. He said the recommendations from the stakeholder consultations have been taken into account in the design of the program.

Kelapile also reflected on current challenges, noting that the most vulnerable groups are those who are “bearing the brunt of the pandemic”, and that we are also facing three planetary crises (climate change, biodiversity loss and pollution), as well as to an increasing number of conflicts. He said the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and its 17 SDGs must guide the recovery efforts of all governments and actors.

The Forum program is available here, and a summary of the discussions is expected to be published. [Forum website]

Donald E. Patel