Major Groups and other Stakeholders at the UN High Level Political Forum on Sustainable Development

UN High Level Political Forum

The 2019 High Level Political Forum will be held at UN headquarters in New York from Tuesday 9 to Thursday 18 July.

At the annual forum, governments, civil society and business, review progress towards achieving the 17 Sustainable Development Goals.

UN member states self-report their progress towards the goals by presenting a report known as a Voluntary National Review (VNR). In 2019, 47 countries will present their Voluntary National Reviews.

In 2019 the forum will have a special in-depth focus on goals related to the theme of Empowering people and ensuring inclusiveness and equality, however governments are expected to report on all 17 goals:

  • Goal 4 Ensure inclusive and equitable quality education and promote lifelong learning opportunities for all
  • Goal 8 Promote sustained, inclusive and sustainable economic growth, full and productive employment and decent work for all
  • Goal 10 Reduce inequality within and among countries
  • Goal 13 Take urgent action to combat climate change and its impacts
  • Goal 16 Promote peaceful and inclusive societies for sustainable development, provide access to justice for all, and build effective, accountable and inclusive institutions at all levels
  • Goal 17 Strengthen the means of implementation and revitalise the Global Partnership for Sustainable Development. This goal is considered each year.

Civil society coalitions also monitor progress towards achieving the goals. A wide range of ‘Spotlight’ reports are prepared by different constituencies. As in previous years, Action for Sustainable Development is supporting member coalitions in a number of countries to submit Civil Society Reports to offer an independent assessment of the engagement process and key priorities for their countries at the HLPF, these will include:

  • El Salvador
  • Guatemala
  • Ghana
  • Mauritania
  • Pakistan
  • The Philippines
  • Cambodia
  • Fiji
  • Nauru
  • Tonga

This year is the fourth year of review and Action for Sustainable Development has worked with several other key CSO platforms to set out key recommendations on how to improve the follow up and review mechanisms, read our recommendations here Principles for HLPF reform – Paper from CSOs FINAL

We have also conducted a survey of our members and partners on their views of how to improve accountability: Exec Summary_Survey 2019; full report: HLPF survey_Towards a more open & inclusive approach to 2030 Agenda Monitoring

Major Groups and other Stakeholders at the HLPF

The UN Major Groups and other Stakeholders is an official mechanism to allow broad public participation in decision-making related to international sustainable development. There are currently nine stakeholder groups who are able to have a formal say in the design of sustainable development policies and programs, these constituencies include; Business and Industry; Trade Unions; Indigenous Peoples; Children and Youth; Women; Farmers; Local Government; Non-governmental Organisations; Science and Technology community. As of the Rio+20 Sustainable Development Summit in 2012, governments invited other stakeholders, including local communities, volunteer groups and foundations, migrants and families, as well as older persons and persons with disabilities, to participate in UN processes related to sustainable development. These stakeholder groups each have coordinators whose role it is to reach out to their global constituency, prepare them for UN deliberations on sustainable development, and prepare position papers and inputs.

At the High Level Political Forum Major Groups and other Stakeholders are able to participate in the following ways:

  • Attend all official meetings of the forum;
  • Have access to all official information and documents;
  • Intervene in official meetings;
  • Submit documents and present written and oral contributions;
  • Make recommendations;
  • Organize side events and round tables, in cooperation with Member States and the Secretariat;

To learn more about the Major Groups, please click on the constituency that aligns with your work:

For more information, please see here.


These civil society reports aim to identify which mechanisms are in place for government engagement with civil society, local governments, and other stakeholders in realising the Sustainable Development Goals at a national and international level.

The new report Progressing National SDG Implementation (ES, FR) analyses all of the 42 English, French and Spanish Voluntary National Reviews submitted in 2017 to the HLPF, as well as a sample of civil society reports produced alongside the official reports.

See Individual civil society country reports and reflections from the 2017 and 2016 High Level Political Forums:

2018 High Level Political Forum

Bhutan | Canada | Colombia (ESP) | Dominican Republic | Ireland | Lao PDR | LebanonMexico | Palestine | Senegal | Spain Exec summary (ENG) Spain_full report_(ESP)Sri Lanka | Sudan | Switzerland | Togo (FR) | Vietnam

2017 High Level Political Forum
Argentina | Bangladesh | Brazil | Chile |  Czech Republic | India | Jordan | Japan | Kenya | Luxembourg | Malaysia | Nepal | The Netherlands | Nigeria | Thailand | Togo (English, French) | Zimbabwe

2016 High Level Political Forum
BrazilColombiaEgypt | France + More info | Finland | Germany + More info | LiberiaMorocco | NorwayPhilippinesSamoa | South Korea | South Africa | SwedenSwitzerland*| Tanzania | Timor-LesteTogo | TunisiaUganda | Venezuela More info

See Synthesis Report of Voluntary National Reviews for the High-Level Political Forum
This report synthesises some of the findings of the VNRs, drawing primarily from the written reports and executive summaries of the majority of countries.

Follow-up questions on civil society´s engagement in the VNRs for the High Level Political Forum
Colombia (EN, ES) | FinlandGermany

User Guides for the High Level Political Forum

How to engage with the High Level Political Forum – User Guide

HLPF User Guide cover3The HLPF has been called the preeminent forum within the United Nations to work on sustainable development issues for the next fifteen years or so. It is also referred to as the home of the Sustainable Development Goals and the 2030Agenda. This Forum is the ‘apex body’ at the UN to ensure monitoring, follow-up and review of the SDG commitments. It provides a forum to review progress across nation states and to connect policies within the UN system. This user guide will answer these and other questions about the engagement in this critical institution and its governance of the Sustainable Development Goals



High-Level Political Forum Report: Civil Society Engagement in Monitoring the Sustainable Development Goals

HLPF.V22CountriesThe High Level Political Forum (HLPF) provides the pre-eminent space for dialogue with the UN system on sustainable development. 2016 was the first year of implementation of the 2030 Sustainable Development Agenda and in this context 22 countries have volunteered to undertake national reviews to be presented at the HLPF. As this is the first review of its kind, the process set a benchmark for future reviews. There are major questions remaining on implementation, monitoring and accountability of this agenda; this paper aims to provide some initial reflections on the engagement with civil society in the countries under review and to set out some recommendations on how this engagement can be further strengthened.


Thematic Reports

Girls and the Sustainable Development Goals in Selected Countries in the Asia-Pacific Region -Asian-Pacific Resource & Research Centre for Women

  • Description: This Review aims to provide an analysis on girls and issues related to their well-breing using selected SDGs, related indicators, and secondary data from 12 countries with a regional overview wherever possible

Means of implementation or means of appropriation? – Spotlight on Sustainable Development

  • Description: Global spotlight report challenges the notion that “trillions of private finance” are needed to advance SDG implementation and highlights the centrality of public policies and investments, pointing out how developed countries’ refusal to any meaningful democratization of global economic governance and the pervasive private sector bias.

Agenda 2030 for LGBTI Health and Well-Being – Global Forum on MSM & HIV, OutRight Action International,  The Global Advocacy Platform to Fast Track the HIV and Human Rights Responses with Gay and Bisexual Men

  • Description: Written in collaboration with the Global Platform to Fast Track the Human Rights and HIV Responses with Gay and Bisexual Men, the report illustrates how Sustainable Development Goal 3, Ensure Healthy Lives and Promote Well-Being for All at All Ages, is relevant to the specific health needs of LGBTI people.

A World That Cares: How to Support Children Without Parental Care Through the Sustainable Development Goals SOS Children’s Villages International

  • Description: The intention of this report is to set forth recommendations to discuss policies, programmes and services that governments should put in place to ensure that progress towards the SDGs will improve the lives of children without parental care and vulnerable families in vital areas, such as health, education, employment, protection and caregiver support.

Development and Access to Information, Executive Summary 2017 – IFLA in partnership with the Technology and Social Change Group

  • Description: The report underlines the importance of meaningful access to information as a key supporting factor across the development agenda and offers a set of baseline indicators of the different pillars of access, thematic chapters by recognised experts on four of the focus SDGs at this year’s HLPF (agriculture, health, gender and innovation), and a focus on the contribution that libraries in particular can make.

Shadow Report: Nepal Brief Shadow Report from Community Forest Users – The Federation of Community Forestry Users Nepal

  • Description: This shadow report explores the perspective gaps between the community-based natural resource management and rural women groups and offers suggestions to improve VNR and process in Nepal



Statement for Palestıne at HLPF2018 – “Leaving no one behind” only a hollow slogan, while leaving the State of Palestine behind

  • The visas for the State of Palestine’s HLPF delegation were denied. This is despite the fact that the State of Palestine was among 47 countries that submitted their Voluntary National Review on goal progress. Joint statement from 70+ organisations.

Statement in response to 2018 SDGs progress report: it’s now or never

  • 137 organisations express concern about the lack of progress in the implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals, since they were adopted three years ago.

NGO MG Statements at HLPF 2018

  • Read all the statements from key NGO Major Group members during the thematic sessions of the HLPF 2018.


Civil Society Response to the High Level Political Forum Ministerial Declaration (EN | ES | FR)  Action for Sustainable Development

  • Upon the culmination of the  HLPF, Action4SD issued a response to the ministerial declaration with recommendations on how to advance goal implementation and civil society engagement.

Record Numbers gather at the the United Nations for High Level Meeting on the Sustainable Development Goals – Major Groups and other Stakeholders

  • Global Civil Society Calls for Greater Inclusion and Participation to Accelerate Implementation of Key Commitments for the Survival of the Planet.

NGO Major Group Recommendations for HLPF – NGO MG

  • Description: As the UN Sustainable Development Forum continues, NGOs call for a new development paradigm based on collaboration and participation.

UN member states must support civil society to implement an ambitious global agenda for sustainable development (EN | ES | FR) – International Forum of National NGO Platforms

  • Leading civil society network has called on the governments of all UN member states to fully support and resource civil society to implement the Agenda 2030 for Sustainable Development.

Key Messages from Expert Group Meeting on Securing Women’s Land Rights in SDGs – Landesa, Women’s Major Group & WEDO

  • Description: Key messages on measuring improvements in women’s land rights in relation to land indicators in the SDG’s.

Cross-Regional SRHR Statement on SDG 3 and 5 – Rutgers

  • Description: Many nations came together to make this statement and reaffirm their commitment to the 2030 Agenda on Sustainable Development and all the Sustainable Development Goals and targets.

Making eradication of poverty an integral objective of all policies: what will it take? – Dianova International

  • Description: Addressing the challenges related to the development of our societies, this comprehensive agenda presents an innovative perspective to work on each of the issues it brings, highlighting the value and necessity to address the different needs of humanity, environment, and institutions in an integrated and interdependent manner.

Civil Society Key Messages on Food and Agriculture (SDG2) at HLPF: Food systems transformation are a driver for the integrated implementation of the 2030 Agenda and all SDGs  – Civil Society

  • Description: Civil Society goes further than what could be included in the EGM outcome reports and outlines their concerns concerning SDG 2.


The Major Groups and other Stakeholders have produced position papers for the High Level Political Forum with recommendations on how to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals and the role of multi-stakeholder partnerships. Papers were submitted to the HLPF from the following groups:


From the ground up, the Major Groups and other Stakeholders constitute a global network of member-based civil society organisations, constituencies, and concerned citizens. Their experiences and expertise are essential for making international development fair and effective for everyone.

The organizing partners (coordinators) of each Major Group and other Stakeholders constituency are listed below. For media enquiries, please contact the organizing partner and/or the additional directory of press contacts for notable experts who can comment and provide insights on a wide range of issues related to the Sustainable Development Goals and international development.

Organising Partners

Women WMG Secretariat Lean Deleon
International Women’s Health Coalition Rachel Jacobson
Equidad de Género, Ciudadanía, Trabajo y Familia Emilia Reyes
Children and Youth UN MGCY DRR Working Group Moa Herrgard
Global Poverty Initiative@ MIT Donovan Guttieres
Japan Youth Platform for Sustainability Hirotaka Koike
Indigenous Peoples Tebtebba – Indigenous Peoples’ International Centre for Policy Research and Education Joan Carling
International Indian Treaty Council (IITC) Roberto Borrero
Non-governmental Organizations Baha’i International Community Daniel Perell
Regions Refocus Kathryn Tobin
Federation of International Association for Public Participation Leanne Hartill
Local Authorities ICLEI-Local Governments for Sustainability Yunus Arikan
United Cities and Local Governments Natalene Poisson
nrg4SD – Network of Regional Governments for Sustainable Development Rodrigo Messias
Workers and Trade Unions International Trade Union Confederation Paola Simonetti
Education International Antonia Wulff
Business and Industry International Chamber of Commerce Louise Kantrow
International Road Transport Union (IRU) Igor Runov
International Council on Mining and Metals (ICMM) John Drexhage
Scientific and Technological Community International Council for Science Lucilla Spini
World Federation of Engineering Organisations Reginald Vachon
International Social Science Council Heide Hackmann
Farmers World Farmers Organisation Luisa Volpe
Canadian Federation of Agriculture Drew Black
IFOAM – Organics International Gabor Figeczky
Persons with Disabilities International Disability Alliance Vladimir Cuk
Light for the World Yetnebersh Nigussie
International Disability Alliance Orsolya Bartha
Volunteers Volunteer Groups Alliance Wes Moe
Volunteer Groups Alliance Coline Peyre
Ageing AARP International Affairs Erica Dhar
HelpAge International Verity McGivern
Education and Academia GCE Camilla Croso
ICAE Katarina Popović


Please see the full list of events for HLPF 2019 here.