Looking back at HLPF 2021

The UN High-Level Political Forum for Sustainable Development (HLPF) in July 2021 that assessed the world’s progress on the SDGs comes as the international community continues to reel from the COVID-19 pandemic. Overall, it represented a firm to call to action for “acceleration actions” that could get world the back on track on Agenda 2030 with the SDGs and human rights as north stars.

WBA and its Alliance were active at the two-week HLPF (July 6-16) emphasizing the necessity of bold corporate action on the SDGs, the urgency of a systems-based approach to overcome silos, and elevating accountability tools to ensure no one is left behind. Some examples and recordings of WBA’ and cohosted official events, partnerships, and launches at the 2021 HLPF include:

Private Sector Partnerships and contributions to the SDGs (July 7, (More Background)

This official HLPF side event of the UN “Business and Industry Major Group” brought together leaders from companies, employer organisations, the multilateral system, and more, to explore the innovative ways that business can be a valuable partner in recovering, not only from the pandemic, but also the lost progress towards SDGs. WBA’s Strategic Engagement Lead, Pratik Desai, spotlighted the newly launched WBA Collective Impact Coalitions (CICs).

Fostering Evidence Based Decision-making for Sustainable and Just COVID Recovery and Transformative SDG Implementation (July 7, Watch)

This official HLPF Learning, Training, and Practice Workshop showcased new tools, resources, and knowledge platforms that enable the systems-level transformation that is foundational to building forward stronger for current and future generations in line with the SDGs. WBA’s Social Transformation Lead, Dan Neal spotlighted the Social Transformation Framework that will assess 2,000 of the world’s most influential companies, among other interventions from the International Institute for Sustainable Development, Global Reporting Initiative, FEMNET, UK Space Agency, and the Geneva Science Policy Interface.

Moving to nature-positive; mobilising business action to transform systems (July 12, Watch)

With the approaching UN Biological Diversity Conference and COP26 Summit this event, co-hosted with the Permanent Mission of Costa to the UN, considered how a focus on business action on nature and biodiversity via a free and publicly available benchmark can create an accountability mechanism for systemic transformation. WBA Executive Director Gerbrand Haverkamp also launched WBA’s revised WBA “7 systems report “It Takes A System to Change the System,” exploring the way in which the COVID-19 pandemic has ignited greater social expectations of companies to understand their impact for people and the planet and take increased responsibility for actions that safeguard our future.

Sustainable Recovery from the COVID pandemic that builds on human rights and the 2030 Agenda (July 13) (Watch)

Organized by the Danish Institute for Human Rights and UN Human Rights Office, this official HLPF Side event focused on operationalising the “Sustainable Recovery Pledge,” a commitment launched at the UN Human Rights Council that now includes over four dozen UN member states expressing their determination to build back better, using the 2030 Agenda, grounded in States’ human rights obligations, as well as the Paris Agreement, as the blueprint. Co-organizers share a compendium of concrete tools and guidance, which can help accelerate efforts towards achieving the SDGs and realising human rights in this decade of action. WBA Research Analyst, Charlotte Hugman, presented WBA’s new Just Transition Methodology.

Transition to the 1.5C future: Where do 100 oil and gas companies stand? (July 13, Watch)

This HLPF parallel webinar – co-hosted with CDP, ADEME, and ACT – launched the key findings for WBA’s new Oil & Gas Benchmark which assesses 100 of the most influential companies in the sector on their alignment with the 1.5°C scenario needed to meet the Paris Agreement. The benchmark arrives at a critical moment in time when pressure is mounting on the sector to make fundamental changes, including the IEA’s recent call for a rapid transition away from fossil fuels and a period of game-changing legislative and shareholder action against major companies.

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