Sustainable Development 2019



Read our feminist analysis of the July 2019 High-Level Political Forum!

Read our feminist analysis of the September 2019 SDG Summit at UNGA74!


In 2015, the world’s governments adopted the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), a universal Agenda that recognises gender equality (SDG 5) and peaceful, just and inclusive societies (SDG 16) as stand-alone global development priorities and provides specific guidance on the means of implementation (SDG 17).

Every year, the representatives of Member States, UN officials, civil society organisations, among others meet to discuss the individual and global progress achieved in the SDG implementation.

In 2019, there will be a quadrennial review of the SDGs, including a Global Sustainable Development Report as part of follow up and review, as well as a review of HLPF modalities. For the first time, there will be a two-part High Level Political Forum (HLPF): an annual meeting of the HLPF in July under ECOSOC, and an SDG Summit under the General Assembly in September. The High-Level Political Forum (HLPF) will be convened under the theme "Empowering people and ensuring inclusiveness and equality".

The two meetings will result in a political declaration at the UNGA Summit aimed to inspire action for a decade of delivery on the SDGs (2020-2030). Sheila Gweneth Carey, Permanent Representative of Bahamas, and Olof Skoog, Permanent Representtive of Sweden will serve as co-facilitators for the political declaration resulting from the two meetings of the UN High-level Political Forum on Sustainable Development (HLPF) in 2019. 

Every year through our social media campaign, #WomenLead2030 WILPF highlights the work done by women that contributes – directly and indirectly – to ensure sustainable development across all SDGs, basing their actions on disarmament, women’s meaningful participation, and human rights. For example, women in Nigeria have mobilised to prevent and address violence before, during and after elections while creating networks that support women’s political participation. This serves as an example of the vital work done by local women in their communities to advocate for peace. This year, WILPF is also stepping up our advocacy to leverage the SDGs for action on Women, Peace and Security. 


Leading up to HLPF: Negotiations over the political declaration

As part of the role of WILPF's WPS Director Abigail Ruane as Global Organising Partner for our SDG coalition the Women's Major Group (WMG), WILPF is engaging substantively in advocacy around the SDGs in 2019 to  mobilise the international community to leverage the SDGs, especially SDG16 on peace, to accelerate committments on Women, Peace and Security. WILPF took a leading role in co-drafting our coalition WMG 2019 Position Paper, and is advocating based on coalition consensus positions for the political declaration to be bold and address structural obstacles to gender equality and peace.

>> Read the Women's Major Group 2019 High Level Political Forum Position Paper (1 April 2019)
>> Read the Women’s Major Group (WMG) Intervention at the Intergovernmental consultations on the political declaration  for the High Level Political Forum under the auspices of the General Assembly  (15 May 2019) 
>> Read the Women’s Major Group reflection on First Draft of HLPF Political Declaration (22 May 2019)​


Leading up to HLPF: Expert Group Meetings on Peace

Vienna Expert Group Meeting on "Tackling Global Challenges to Equality and Inclusion through Gender-Responsive Implementaiton of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development"  (27-28 February 2019)  ​

On 27-28 February 2019,  UN Women, UNFCCC, and UNODC hosted the Vienna Expert Group Meeting "Tackling Global Challenges to Equality and Inclusion through Gender-Responsive Implementaiton of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development: Spotlight on SDGs 10, 13, & 16".  This discussion aimed to assess progress, discuss good practice and challenges, and put forward recommendations on accelerated action on the 2030 Agenda with a focus on gender, inequality and climate. WPS Programme Director, Abigail Ruane, attended as part of her role as a Global Organizing Partner for the Women's Major Group. A report is available here

Rome Conference on "Peaceful, Just, and Inclusive Societies" (27-29 May 2019)  

On 27-29 May 2019,  UNDESA and IDLO with the Government of Italy hosted the Rome conference "Peaceful, Just, and Inclusive Societies: SDG 16 Implementation and the path towards leaving no one behind" to shape discussions and action at the 2019 HLPF on SDG16 on peaceful societies. WPS Programme Director, Abigail Ruane, attended as part of her role as a Global Organizing Partner for the Women's Major Group. She also attended the Civil Society Open Day on 26 May. This produced a declaration, entitled "Amplified Commitments and Partnerships for Accelerated Action: Rome Civil Society Declaration on SDG16+" which was delivered through a civil society statement at the conference stating that "The time for committed, urgent, and meaningful action is now."

Conference Background Resources:

Conference Key Messages and Recommendations

Conference Agenda



July 2019 High-Level Political Forum under ECOSOC (9-18 July 2019)

The first part of the HLPF was convened under ECOSOC auspices from 9-18 July 2019. It conducted in-depth reviews  of the following SDGs: 

a) SDG 4 (Ensure inclusive and equitable quality education and promote lifelong learning opportunities for all);

b) SDG 8 (Promote sustained, inclusive and sustainable economic growth, full and productive employment and decent work for all);

c) SDG 10 (Reduce inequality within and among countries);

d) SDG 13 (Take urgent action to combat climate change and its impactss);

e) SDG 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);

f) SDG 17 (Revitalize the global partnership for sustainable development)

In addition, 47 countries submitted Voluntary National Reviews (VNRs in 2019). The following countries will be conducting voluntary national reviews at the 2019 HLPF for the first time: Algeria, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Burkina Faso, Cambodia, Cameroon, Central African Republic, Chad, Congo, Côte d’Ivoire, Croatia, Eritrea, Eswatini, Fiji, Ghana, Guyana, Iceland, Iraq, Israel, Kazakhstan, Kuwait, Lesotho, Liechtenstein, Mauritania, Mauritius, Mongolia, Nauru, New Zealand, Oman, Pakistan, Palau, Rwanda, Saint Lucia, Serbia, South Africa, Timor-Leste, Tonga, Tunisia, Turkmenistan, United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, United Republic of Tanzania, and Vanuatu. The following countries will be conducting voluntary national reviews at the 2019 HLPF for the second time: Azerbaijan, Brazil, Chile, El Salvador, France, Guatemala, Indonesia, Philippines, Sierra Leone and Turkey. 

WILPF monitored the July HLPF for gender equalty and peace issues. 

WILPF also brought a delegation from four countries to NY to mobilise for sustainable development and peace that work for women and girls in conflict! We are sharing our campaign #WomenLead2030 to bring attention to women's contributions to peace and sustainable development and #MoveTheMoney to call for shifting resources from war to gender equality and peace. We are supporting the following events: 

1) 11 July 2019, 9:30AM-11:30AM: "Conversation with authors of the global Civil Society Report, Spotlight On Sustainable Development 2019 - Reshaping governance for sustainability: Transforming institutions – shifting power - strengthening rights" (Baha'i International Community, conference room 866 UN Plaza)

2) 15 July, 8:30AM-9:45AM: "Sustainable Development and the Women, Peace and Security Agenda: Synergies for Action" (CLOSED meeting of the Group of Friends on 1325)

3) 15 July, 10AM-2:00PM: "Making Sustainable Development work for Women and Girls in Conflict: Strengthening an Integrated Approach to Gender Equality, Sustainable Development, and Peace" (WILPF CLOSED Workshop)   

4) 8 July 3PM-6:30PM: Women's Major Group Orientation and Strategy Meeting 

5) 14 July 9AM-5PM: Ground Level People's Forum

6) 9 July, 6:30-8:30PM: "Women's and Feminists' Perspectives Toward the High Level Political Forum" Women's Major Group Side Event to the HLPF, UNHCR CR1

7) 2 July, 9AM-10AM: Women's Major Group Webinar: SDG 13 (climate) and SDG 16 (peaceful, just, and inclusive societies)

Join our campaign! Find more details about #WomenLead2030 and our campaign toolkit here>> 

Read our feminist analysis of the 2019 High-Level Political Forum.


Open Letter to the Group of Friends of 1325 on Women, Peace and Security and Sustainable Development

Over 82 organisations have signed on to an Open Letter to the Group of Friends of 1325, drafted by WILPF, Amnesty International, Global Network of Women Peacebuilders, Global Justice Center, and Plan International. The letter urges member states to commit to accelerating actions on the SDGs that also advance the WPS agenda; strengthen interlinkages in policy and implementation between sustainable development, human rights, and WPS, and strengthen an HLPF review process which strengthens its independence and holistic accountability. 

Read the full letter, and call on your government to take action!

Visit our website for the accompanying press release.


September 2019 SDG High-Level Segment

The second part of HLPF will take place at the UN General Assembly in September. The UNGA will convene a meeting of the HLPF at the level of Heads of State and Government for one-and-a-half days from 23-24 September 2019.  As part of the quadrennial review, world leaders are being asked to come to New York every four years to “provide high-level political guidance on the Agenda and its implementation”.

The Secretary-General’s annual SDG Progress Report will be presented, as well as the quadrennial Global Sustainable Development Report, which is prepared by 15 eminent scientists and experts.

More details can be found here>>

WILPF monitored the September SDG Summit for committments on gender equalty and peace. 

We also participated in the following side events:


Our full analysis can be found here.


Join our Campaign #WomenLead2030! 

Women are leading the way on sustainable development, and their work deserves attention - not slow progress or even regress made by governments.

Join WILPF's campaign #WomenLead2030. Our goal for this campaign is to amplify the work and perspectives of local women throughout the world who are designing peaceful and inclusive futures from the bottom up. 

Check out our social media toolkit with visuals for each SDG, and suggested posts. Every visual highlights work done by WILPF members and partners towards each SDG.


Acceleration Actions

Earlier this year, over 80 organisations signed on to an Open Letter by WILPF and partners to the Group of Friends of 1325, urging member states to commit to accelerating actions on the SDGs that also advance the WPS agenda. (Read the full letter here). Over 116 Acceleration Actions were registered by member states, UN entities, and other organizations by the SDG Summit to scale up action on the SDGs. 

Of the 116 actions, 24 commitments (21%) commit to actions that contribute to both gender equality (SDG 5) and peaceful and inclusive societies (SDG 16), which is a positive result for action based on the WPS Agenda principles. One third (38 actions or 33%) of actions were registered as contributing to gender equality (SDG 5) more broadly, and almost half (52 actions or 45%) were registered as contributing to peaceful and inclusive societies more broadly. In addition, approximately half of actions on SDG5 and SDG16 cross referenced the other goal, which is a positive result for policy coherence across the goals (63% of SDG 5 actions cross-listed SDG16, and 46% of SDG 16 actions cross-listed SDG5). 

Despite, this Sweden was the only member states who explicitly affirmed the Women, Peace and Security Agenda as part of its acceleration actions: Sweden commited to scale-up its Feminist Foreign Policy, including accelerating WPS agenda in line with the open letter by WILPF and partners. 

Back in April, member states, UN agencies, regional bodies, and civil society organizations (76 entities total) made commitments to accelerating the WPS agenda in advance of the 20th anniversary of 1325. Two of these explicitly advance the 2030 Agenda alongside WPS implementation, and numerous others contribute to broader implementation of the SDGs. Explore our commitments database here.


WILPF Recommendations:

WILPF continues to call for a conflict prevention approach to development that promotes gender equality and peace. Governments and the international community should recognise that gender equality must be a primary priority for realisation of SDG16 on peaceful societies.

WILPF calls on Member States and the international community to: 

  • Commit to concrete steps to implement the WPS Agenda as part of voluntary SDG Acceleration Actions at the SDG Summit during the September 2019 UN General Assembly 
  • Report on Women, Peace and Security Agenda implementation at the July 2019 HLPF as part of action on SDG 16
  • Report on extraterritorial impacts of small arms and light weapons (16.2) on women and girls as part of preventing gender based (5.4) and all forms of violence (16.1) in line with the Arms Trade Treaty 
  • Address CEDAW and UPR recommendations in SDG Voluntary National Reviews (VNRs) to strengthen policy coherence and human rights accountability  
  • Stop militarisation of development aid (i.e., militarisation of OECD-DAC ODA rules) 
  • Strengthen women civil society’s participation including by supporting civil society engagement mechanisms, space for discussion, and core, ongoing, sustained funding
  • Use post-conflict reconstruction and recovery processes to redress inequalities, including gender inequalities, including through linking reparative measures to wider transitional processes, such as economic reforms, and supporting social protection rather than austerity measures
  • Ensure effective, holistic, and accountable cross-sectoral coordination and consistent, ex-ante and post gender, peace, and environment impact assessments to strengthen women’s participation, protection, and rights in conflict prevention through post-conflict reconstruction​

WILPF, NGO & Advocacy Documents