ERC Statement on the SDG Summit, September 2023
20 September 2023
The Equal Rights Coalition’s (ERC) Founding Principles include a commitment to strengthen and co-ordinate efforts to advance the human rights of LGBTI persons. This includes focusing on the human rights of and sustainable development for LGBTI persons through engagement with the SDGs.
Many of the SDGs are framed inclusively for “all people” and therefore include LGBTI persons. The Agenda 2030 commitment to “Leave No One Behind” means that LGBTI persons must not be left behind. Some member states have recognised this through their Voluntary National Review (VNR) reporting and commitments.
The Equal Rights Coalition expresses concern that global progress on sustainable development is reversing for the first time in decades. Many developing countries are still struggling to cope in the aftermath of COVID. Globally there remain many overlapping and protracted crises such as wars, international conflicts, civil wars, terrorism, climate change/disasters, humanitarian emergencies, continued shrinking of civic and democratic spaces which threatens lives and security of activists, and weakened state accountability mechanisms. The global cost of COVID and such crises means that needs are increasing and resources are decreasing. In addition, the steady rise of well funded anti-rights movements and their influence in UN processes pose a threat to progress on the SDGs for LGBTI persons. The global expectation of steady progress towards the SDGs is at risk.
The UNGA SDG Summit provides an opportunity to galvanise global action to get the 2030 Agenda back on track at this critical mid-way point to 2030 and deliver the SDGs for all people, particularly for those furthest behind.
In June 2023 the UN published the report: ‘Progress towards the Sustainable Development Goals: Towards a Rescue Plan for People and Planet’. While the reports suggest progress against some of the SDG’s, many need much more progress, or show no movement or in fact regression following the pandemic. ￼The ERC notes with dismay that the draft report does not explicitly acknowledge LGBTI persons.
The ERC endorses the UN Secretary General’s call for transformative action, but notes that plans for accelerated and sustained progress on the SDGs should work for all people and not leave LGBTI people further behind. Therefore, the ERC calls for:
- Strengthened commitment to address the rights, needs and strengths of LGBTI people across all SDGs. LGBTI people are part of life and societies in all ways, and so all of the SDGs are relevant for LGBTI people. There is an urgent need to address LGBTI dimensions of gender inequality and for accelerated and sustained action to address the rights and needs of LGBTI people in an integrated way across the SDGs.
- Member States to address the rights and needs of LGBTI people within their Voluntary National Review (VNR) and to formally include LGBTI civil society organisations in the VNR process. VNRs will contribute to leaving no-one behind when they include LGBTI people and when LGBTI CSOs are enabled to respond to Member States’ VNR plans.
- Active collaboration to extend LGBTI inclusion in the 2030 Agenda: There is a longstanding need for collaboration among G20 members and support for all developing countries to advance the SDGs for all people. By working together and with LGBTI civil society actors with a specific focus on promoting rights and inclusion of LGBTI persons, including through the ERC, Member States will ensure that no-one is left one behind.
- Specific commitments to improve the lives of LGBTI persons: The framework for sustainable development needs to ensure an intersectional approach to all rights of LGBTI persons including efforts to eradicate poverty and gender-based and domestic violence, to reduce inequality, to guarantee access to essential services and to reduce the inequality disparity based on SOGIESC.
- Recognize and respond to the specific needs of LGBTI persons in humanitarian crises and when forcibly displaced due to conflict, human rights violations and abuses, and environmental and climate crises and ensure access to tailored sustainable food, water and sanitation systems to meet their needs.
Equal Rights Coalition members who are co-signatories:
Argentina, Austria, Australia, Belgium, Canada, Chile, Cyprus, Denmark, Ecuador, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Iceland, Ireland, Israel, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Mexico, Montenegro, Netherlands, North Macedonia, Norway, Portugal, Serbia, Slovenia, Sweden, United Kingdom, United States of America, Uruguay.