Sustainability at top of global agenda

Published date: 03 July 2020

GRI events at the 2020 UN High Level Political Forum

​The annual review of progress achieved in the implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals (the SDGs) starts next week, with a virtual format meaning it will be the greenest and most inclusive yet.

In response to the pandemic, the 2020 UN High Level Political Forum (HLPF) has switched fully online. In total, 47 countries will present their Voluntary National Reviews on SDGs progress – including 20 for the first time.

GRI is hosting and participating in several events, during and following the HLPF, focused on the role of transparency in advancing the SDGs. Places can be reserved now to participate in the following sessions:

8 July: Addressing the SDG data gap through corporate sustainability data

Brings together a diverse panel of data experts to discuss the role of non-traditional data sources in enabling transparency, tracking progress, understanding impact and raising ambition for the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.

10 July: Sustainable and just economies: lessons learned from the COVID-19 crisis and enabling factors for the SDGs

How pandemic recovery efforts require coordinated decision-making by government and business to achieve economic and social inclusion. GRI is a co-host with seven organizations, including the International Labour Organization, UN Global Compact and UN Conference on Trade and Development.

14 July: Foster business contribution to the SDGs at the national level

This official HLPF side event is co-hosted with the governments of the Netherlands and Colombia. It will focus on the impact of the private sector in supporting national progress for the SDGs, and the need for strong partnerships. Contributions will be shared from Colombia, the Netherlands, Kenya and India.

21 July: GRI policy dialogue: last call for the SDGs – the role of transparency

Presents the findings of the new 2020 edition of ‘Carrots & Sticks’ – a stocktake of sustainability reporting policies, ESG disclosure requirements and regulatory trends covering more than 80 countries – and discuss with expert speakers how corporate reporting can underpin SDGs progress.

Peter Paul van de Wijs, GRI Chief External Affairs Officer, said:

“The challenges that the global community face as a result of COVID-19 are demonstrating why advancing sustainable development is more important than ever before. The increased participation from around the world at this year’s HLPF, with a virtual format enforced by the pandemic, is therefore both welcome and significant.

With just a decade to go to the target completion date for the SDGs, scrutiny is rising on the progress made and the additional effort required. Building national partnerships, learning from what is working well elsewhere, and understanding the contribution of the private sector, are all crucial.

GRI continues to provide support and champion the transparency and accountability required to reach the SDGs. We look forward to engaging with all stakeholders through these HLPF events, as we press for the greater urgency and collective action required.”

Notes to editors

The United Nations High Level Political Form on Sustainable Development takes place 7-16 July 2020 under the theme Accelerated action and transformative pathways: realizing the decade of action and delivery for sustainable development.

In addition to the above events, on 20 July GRI will co-host (with UNGC) a private event for members of the Action Platform for Business Reporting on the SDGs.

In April, GRI published the report Using Corporate Reporting to Strengthen the Sustainable Development Goals, providing recommendations for national policy makers.