Explanation of Position at the High-Level Political Forum on Sustainable Development

Nicholas M. Hill
Deputy U.S. Representative to the UN Economic and Social Council
New York, New York
July 15, 2022


The United States is pleased to join consensus on today’s Ministerial Declaration. We are deeply appreciative of the commitment and creativity brought by Italy and Nauru to reach agreement on this important document, as well as the spirit of consensus upheld by all delegations.

The United States strongly supports the 2030 Agenda and is committed to its full implementation. One of the key insights of the 2030 Agenda is the interrelated nature of the 17 goals; each of the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) influences the others, demonstrating the need for a comprehensive approach to development. We also note that the five goals currently under review – those related to quality education (SDG 4), gender equality (SDG 5), life below water (SDG 14), life on land (SDG 15), and means of implementation (SDG 17) – appear particularly pressing in the context of the dynamic challenges we collectively face.

Promoting gender equality is a matter of human rights, justice, and fairness – and a strategic imperative that promotes economic growth and inclusion. Similarly, education is a mutually reinforcing goal: a quality education benefits the individual and contributes to other national development objectives such as economic growth, health and well-being. Taken together, SDGs 4 and 5 will improve health outcomes, advance political stability, and foster democracy.

The 2020s are a defining decade for global climate action and environmental preservation, and we are glad to see strong language in the Ministerial Document on SDGs 14 and 15. The United States is working tirelessly at home and internationally to address the climate crisis, including promoting ambitious action to keep a 1.5 degrees Celsius limit on temperature rise within reach and supporting vulnerable communities to increase their resilience and adapt to the impacts of climate change.

The United States would like to take this opportunity to clarify some concerns with positions on the declaration as adopted.

We underscore that the Ministerial Declaration is a non-binding document. We stress our position that, in accordance with established norms, the outcome document should only refer to transparent, Member State negotiated documents, and we therefore disassociate from paragraph 74’s mention of the Kunming Declaration, which was not a negotiated document that reflects consensus. The inclusion of paragraph 35 from the 2030 Agenda does not contribute to this declaration, and it represents an attempt to politicize the important work that Member States undertake in the HLPF. We have consequently voted against its inclusion, and we dissociate from paragraph 131 in this year’s text.

To adhere to time limits, I refer to our full explanation of position, noting U.S. positions concerning: language around gender, rights not recognized in UN human rights instruments, climate, SDG measurements, trade, intellectual property, illicit financial flows, consensus documents, and the 2030 Agenda.

We welcome the opportunity to reflect on progress towards the remaining needs of the 2030 Agenda. Thank you for your partnership and your unwavering commitment to this global goal.


Explanation of Position at the High-Level Political Forum on Sustainable Development (FULL)