The 2023 Sustainable Development Goals Summit will take place in September during the United Nations General Assembly high-level week. The summit aims to review the state of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and the implementation of the 2030 Agenda.
As 2023 marks the mid-point to 2030, this meeting aims to respond to the impact of multiple and interlocking crises facing the world. The COVID-19 pandemic is only one of these critical crises. The pandemic meant an enormous backlash for the implementation of most SDGs, as discussed in the UN Secretary-General's mid-term progress report “Toward a Rescue Plan for People and Planet.” Therefore, it is at once an important background to the Summit and one that highlights the common overarching structural issues that underlie SDG implementation, as the pandemic not only posed a global health crisis but also led to lasting changes in policy areas concerning the SDGs and the 2030 Agenda, such as health, mobility, trade, industry, finance, and sustainability.
This paper engages with the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the practices of the UN High-Level Political Forum (HLPF) and the short-term policynarratives around the SDGs. Its goal is to document some of the changes the pandemic triggered in practices of sustainability governance, based on the findings of a 4-year project that draws on qualitative analysis of participatory observations at the HLPF meetings, document analysis, and in-depth interviews.
Authors: Ayṣem Mert & Elise Remling
Published in: International Environmental Agreements: Politics, Law and Economics (2023)