IFMSA’s participation in the High Level Political Forum 2018

IFMSA was present in the The High-Level Political Forum (HLPF), which was held in United Nations Headquarters in New York from the 9th till the 18th of July 2018. The HLPF on Sustainable Development is the central platform for the follow-up and review of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and the Sustainable Development Goals and a follow-up mechanism for a number of other frameworks and processes related to sustainable development.

The theme of this year’s HLPF was “Transformation towards sustainable and resilient societies”. The set of goals which were reviewed in depth were the following, including Goal 17. Strengthen the means of implementation and revitalize the Global Partnership for Sustainable Development, that will be considered each year:

  • Goal 6. Ensure availability and sustainable management of water and sanitation for all
  • Goal 7. Ensure access to affordable, reliable, sustainable and modern energy for all
  • Goal 11. Make cities and human settlements inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable
  • Goal 12. Ensure sustainable consumption and production patterns
  • Goal 15. Protect, restore and promote sustainable use of terrestrial ecosystems, sustainably manage forests, combat desertification, and halt and reverse land degradation and halt biodiversity loss

The HLPF gathered heads of state, experts, civil society, private sector, major groups and other stakeholders. Each one of them reported on what they have been doing to contribute to implementation of international frameworks, what challenges they faced and shared best practices.

In addition to voluntary national and thematic reviews, a number of different other side-events also took place.

IFMSA, as one of the many organisations involved in shaping the 2030 Agenda, had thereby an official delegation present in the HLPF 2018.

IFMSA delegation to the HLPF consisted of:

  1. Batool Wahdani, Vice President for External Affairs
  2. Alicia Fengler, BVMD Germany, Coordinator of United Nations Task force.
  3. Yin Hang Chan,  AMSAHK-Hong Kong, Member of United Nations Task force.
  4. Tarek Ezzine, AssociaMed-Tunisia
  5. Kevin Wilfredo Ardon Casco, IFMSA-Honduras
  6. Flora Theres Kühne, AMSA Austria

IFMSA delegation started preparing for the HLPF a month in advance, by mapping out the most important sessions and side events, preparing our possible interventions and reading about the different discussions that will take place.

So how does IFMSA participate in such forums? What does our busy day look like in this bustling, hustling New York City?

Usually our days start at 7.30, when we attend the morning meetings of one of the Major Groups, such as the Major Group for Children and Youth (MGCY) and UN Women´s Major Group. We make a strategic plan for the day for the sessions and side events, and the interventions we want to make. At nine the official sessions start and the delegation separates for different side events and intervention-drafting-workspaces. The program runs across lunch and dinner with main event ending at 18.00 and the side events at 20.00. And after that we meet again to debrief about our participation. We divide the tasks and sessions/side events for the next day and wrap up.

What about IFMSA’s achievements in the HLPF? Active interventions, organizing events to raising the voice of medical students and the younger generation!

During HLPF, we engaged with different major groups in the UN for this meeting, and mainly:The Major Group of Children and Youth as IFMSA participated in organizing the youth Blast that happened before the HLPF, by having the UN TF coordinator, Alicia, as one of the organizers.

On Thursday 12th July IFMSA co-hosted a Side Event “An NGO Toolbox to Enhance Implementation of the 2030 Agenda”. IFMSA’s Vice President for External Affairs, Batool, was selected as a keynote speaker in the event and delivered a speech about the future vision of the SDGs, and how youth plays an important role in the 2030 agenda. In addition to emphasizing the role of civil society and youth organizations in the global SDGs movement. She was able to not only highlight the good work of IFMSA, but brought out the passion of other NGO leaders in the subsequent discussion in smaller groups: Policy developments, application of the interlinkages principle, and influencing cross-cutting issues. Here you can find IFMSA’s keynote address:

IFMSA has been also actively engaged  in many side events, some of them have been:

  • At the Side Event “SDG11 and Sustainable Urban Mobility – what can YOU(TH) do?” on the 11th July. Throughout this event,  Chris was able to highlight that service delivery hence mobility has been identified by the WHO as one of the essential components for achieving Universal Health Coverage.
  • At the Side Event “Raising the capacity of young people to impact local community life” on the 13th July, in which Kevin spoke about IFMSA programs and activities.
  • At the Side Event “Student engagement in realizing 2030 agenda” on the 11th July, in which the perspective of the students and students´ organization was totally underrepresented, so Flora raised the questions on  “How can you strengthen youth organizations role in supporting students engagement in the SDGs?”.
  • Tarek spoke about Meaningful Youth Participation and the obstacles to Youth Involvement at the Side Event on “Youth contributing to transformation towards peaceful and resilient societies” on the 12th July.

During the second week of HLPF,  47 countries presented their Voluntary National Reviews of the discussed SDGs. In addition, side events continued happening and the delegation made sure to actively and meaningfully participate in all events and discussions that happened.

If you are interested to know more details about our participation, make sure to watch the webinar IFMSA’s delegation made to inform you about all the details of IFMSA’s presence in this meeting!

Thank you for reading!

HLPF Delegation: Chris, Flora, Kevin, Tarek, Alicia and Batool

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