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Attending the HLPF: A Call to Responsibility, Awareness and Action


Someone rightly pointed out that a person is the sum of everything they love, the books they have read, the people they have met, the events they have attended, etc. In this sense, I humbly acknowledge that, for me, participating as a delegate at the High-Level Political Forum (HLPF) held in New York from July 10th to 19th, at the UN Headquarters – a space of inclusive multilateralism – was the most impressive, intense, impactful, profound, rich, and weighty event I have ever had the honor and joy to be a part of.

First and foremost, I would like to express my deep gratitude to sisters Janet Palafox IBVM and Cynthia Mathew CJ for the huge opportunity they offered me, inviting me to become part of this reality. It gave me the chance to learn so much, to listen to the voices of governments, civil societies, numerous high-level experts, scientists, academic leaders, and inspiring speakers, as well as the delegations from the 39 countries called upon to present progress made halfway through the 2030 Agenda. The forum focused on five of the 17 selected goals for this year: Goals 6 on clean water and sanitation, 7 on affordable and clean energy, 9 on industry, innovation, and infrastructure, 11 on sustainable cities and communities, and 17 on partnerships for the Goals.

I warmly thank my sisters for their warmth, openness, and hospitality, for the continuous support, assistance, and encouragement they have provided. Including facilitating so many meetings, and for acquainting me with so many personalities, groups, realities, and places, among which I personal mention:
• the meeting with Mrs. Ioana-Cristina Mihail, Human Rights expert, advisor to His Excellency Ambassador Cornel Feruță at the Permanent Mission of Romania to the UN in New York;
• the opportunity to meet with the Romanian delegation, who presented remarkable VNR reports, to which were added the exceptional realistic and sincere reports with the voices of children, the Youth Declaration, as well as the subnational reports.

Particularly interesting was the closing ceremony, when on this huge stage of the world, where before us unfolded the whole issue of the world kneeling under the burden of its hardships, we were presented with the summary of what we heard: that despite all our efforts, we are off track, and in some areas, we have gone backward. However, we were encouraged that by reforming the international financial architecture, promoting multi-stakeholder collaboration, leaving no one behind, and empowering and involving women and girls in achieving the SDGs, negative trends can be countered. More than that, against the backdrop of the poly-crises, the data vacuum, investments in data collection and governance and analytical capacity are needed to ensure the availability of shareable, reusable, flexible, and responsive data and to drive transformational change. Each of us present were invited to take at least two inspiring ideas and decide to take at least two actions that can help change the world for the better to implement the SDGs.

I would like to conclude with a word of deep gratitude for the previous thorough online preparation by Teresa Blumenstein, coordinator of the Justice Coalition of Religious (JCoR), and for her and each other’s support and encouragement that all delegates present have enjoyed throughout this period during our prayer times, meetings, daily evaluations, and presentations.

Author: Giovanna Muha CJ (Romania)

Photos: (1) Cynthia Mathew CJ, Fionnuala Lynch IBVM, Janet Palafox ibvm, Mrs. Ioana-Cristina Mihail (Romania Human rights Expert) and Giovanna Muha. Bottom Page: (1) Giovanna with delegates from Romania Permanent Mission. (2) Opening of HLPF, (3) Giovanna and Cynthia.