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Facing the devastating impacts of COVID-19, which is threatening decades of progress in improving people’s lives, countries are meeting at the United Nations High-Level Political Forum (HLPF) on Sustainable Development from July 7 to 16 to chart the best paths forward to a healthier, more equitable world, the UN Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) said on Tuesday.

Bringing together more than 1,000 participants, including around 100 members of governments as well as business, finance and civil society representatives, the annual UN gathering to review progress on the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) will explore solutions – both domestic and multilateral – for responding to the crisis and for building a solid foundation for a sustainable recovery, said an ECOSOC press release.

Under the theme “Accelerated action and transformative pathways: realizing the decade of action and delivery for sustainable development,” the forum will look at how the world can effectively respond to the pandemic and build back better by scaling up efforts to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals, the blueprint adopted by world leaders in 2015 for a more equitable and sustainable world.

“The COVID-19 pandemic is a wake-up call for us to strengthen international collaboration,” said Mona Juul, president of the ECOSOC. “We can only succeed through a coordinated multilateral response, strong political leadership, and global solidarity with those most vulnerable.”

This year, 47 countries – 26 of them for the first time – are presenting their Voluntary National Reviews – the work they are doing on the Sustainable Development Goals – with an aim of sharing experiences with the global community and accelerating implementation efforts.

New actions are expected to be announced at the forum, which will help support efforts to build back better from COVID-19 and deliver on the SDGs, said the press release.

In addition, 204 virtual side events and an online exhibit, featuring member states, the UN system and civil society will take place during the HLPF, the press release added.

The High-level Political Forum on Sustainable Development is the central global forum for providing political leadership, guidance and recommendations on implementing the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and the 17 SDGs, which were unanimously adopted by world leaders in September 2015. The forum provides an opportunity for countries, civil society and businesses to highlight the efforts they are taking to achieve the SDGs, exchange ideas and best practices. Enditem

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