Assessing the steering effect of the HLPF on global level cooperation

Led by Melanie van Driel

The establishment of the Sustainable Development Goals has led to the establishment of a new institution at the global level, the High Level Political Forum for Sustainable Development (HLPF SD). It is often seen as the successor of the Commission on Sustainable Development that existed in the MDG-era. A major critique on the CSD, however, was that it remained little more than a talking shop, and had little influence on efforts to realize sustainable development throughout its existence.

Soon after the creation of the HLPF, it was hypothesized that in contrast to its predecessor, the Forum might take on the role of an orchestrator. Within a global governance architecture that is fragmented and lacks a hierarchical institution capable of enforcing implementation of the SDGs, the forum might be able to steer intermediaries, thereby facilitating implementation. Although much was hypothesized about the potential role of the Forum as an orchestrator, this study aims to assess the actual performance of the HLPF.

Through a qualitative study including both document analysis and high-level interviews this study aims to provide an evidence-based analysis that might answer the question; Has the HLPF been able to become the orchestrator it was set out to become?