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Let There Be Light International’s Executive Director, Sarah Baird, participated in the United Nations High-Level Political Forum on Sustainable Development in NYC this month. She represented the organization as a member of the UN NGO Major Group. This year’s theme was: “Transformation towards Sustainable and Resilient Societies”.

Baird acted as the Rapporteur for a panel on SDG “Interlinkages” during “An NGO Toolbox to Implement the 2030 Agenda.”  She also represented the NGO Major Group at the Science, Technology, and Innovation Session. You can read more about sustainable development and our interlinkages and impact here.

The United Nations High-level Political Forum on Sustainable Development (HLPF) meets annually and includes participation by member states, civil society, and other stakeholders.

This year, there were 5 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) under review, including SDG7. 

While at the HLPF, Baird advocated on behalf of vulnerable off-grid communities living in Energy Poverty. Below is the text of her statement delivered on July 13, 2018:

Today I am honored to be representing the NGO Major Group.

Noting the “interlinked and indivisible” nature of the 2030 Agenda, the NGO Major Group is calling for a holistic, multi-sectoral, and multi-stakeholder approach to SDG implementation and asks that civil society be included as key players in the prioritization of goals, the identification of creative interventions, and the collection of data and planning for future programming.

The directive to “Leave No One Behind” is especially topical when we are talking about the potential for Science, Technology, and Innovation to advance the SDGs. It is clear that when science, technology, and innovation are prioritized, a virtuous cycle between policy and practice can be created. 

In many cases, the science and technology are available but the resources to access them are not. So, just as we must talk about decoupling energy from CO2, so too must science, technology and innovation be decoupled from monetized pay-to-play models. Technology transfers, open-source technology, and accessible training programs are vital to the inclusive vision of the SDGs.

The NGO Major Group asserts that data, indicators, and measurements of development should go “beyond GDP” and include holistic and disaggregated indicators that accurately measure well-being, social inclusion and equity within planetary boundaries.

We call on the United Nations and its Member States to increase the engagement of civil society, by soliciting more extensive inputs from Major Groups and other Stakeholders. And we are requesting that as we use science, technology, and innovation to achieve the 2030 Agenda, we remember our commitment to “Leave No One Behind.”

(Download the NGO MG Position Paper here.)