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Blog: Advocating for long-term transformation, together with all actors working toward the achievement of the SDGs

This week Simavi’s SRHR Public Affairs Officer, Morillio Williams, will be attending the 2017 High Level Political Forum (HLPF) in New York. The HLPF is the UN’s central platform for follow-up and review of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). In this blog Morillio shares his views, expectations and reflections on the HLPF.

“The HLPF provides for the full and effective participation of all State Members of the UN, specialized agencies, research institutions, Civil Society Organization (CSOs) and other actors. I am looking forward to attending because like many people from the groups above it will be my first time there. The theme for the HLPF is “Eradicating poverty and promoting prosperity in a changing world”. Sustainable development will ultimately achieve long-term transformation for the world and it is important that governments, international organizations, civil society organizations and other actors keep working together in partnerships to achieving the SDGs by 2030. Yet longer-term planning, implementing, evaluating and reviewing processes are required. All countries and all stakeholders should work together in collaborative partnership for the coming 15 years to make the SDGs a reality.

Everyone has a role to play in implementing this agenda around the world: stories from the ground need to be told and international commitments need to be reported back to the general public. At Simavi we believe that lobby and advocacy (L&A) is an essential part of achieving permanent change. Our General Advocacy Goal is: “We advocate to have strong political and sufficient financial support at Dutch, national (local, in country) and international level for Sexual Reproductive Health and Rights (SRHR) and Water Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) to ensure a healthy life for all”. As such, the HLPF represents a wonderful opportunity to connect stories from the ground to governmental actors at international level. Attendees have a chance to turn the SDGs from words on a piece of paper into a real situation that affects millions of people every day.

Voluntary National Reviews

That’s why I’m looking forward to the Voluntary National Reviews (VNRs) that take place during the HLPF. These represent another part of the follow-up and review mechanism of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. The VNRs aim to provide an opportunity for countries at the HLPF to report on progress and actions, and on challenges, gaps and lessons learned related to the implementation of 2030 Agenda and its SDGs. This year 40 countries volunteered to undergo national reviews, and are expected to present a brief presentation during the HLPF on the progress made.

Simavi’s focus during HLPF

Taking into account the goals of HLPF2017 and the countries participating in Voluntary National Reviews, a specific thematic focus was decided for Simavi messaging during HLPF2017 in line with our work on Sexual Reproductive Health and Rights (SRHR). It has three focus areas:

  • Eliminating Child Marriage.
  • Women’s Economic Empowerment.
  • Young People’s Acces to Reproductive Health Supplies.

As a result, we are co-organizing an event on implementing the SDGs and working towards eliminating child, early and forced marriage, with a special focus on India. This will feature our work in the ‘More than Brides’ Alliance. Simavi is part of this alliance together with Save the Children, Oxfam Novib and the Population Council, is part of the ‘More than Brides’ Alliance. Through its 5-year programme ‘Marriage: No Child’s Play’, we aim to reduce child marriage and its adverse effects on young women and girls in India, Pakistan, Malawi, Niger, and Mali. Providing our partners with technical support in engaging in international processes such as the HLPF is central to our advocacy work. This enables partners to bring national issues to international level and to the attention of government officials. It is also a way to work together with governments in partnership to translate international commitment to the national action points.

Finally, I hope that HLPF2017 is a moment in time when all actors come together to have open dialogues and agree to come up with follow-up actions in the implementation of this agenda so that the whole international community makes sure that we really leave no one behind in the quest for equality. Every individual counts.”

Morillio Erwin Williams, Public Affairs & Advocacy Officer SRHR

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