Opening

The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development is a vision for people, planet, peace and prosperity to be achieved through partnership and solidarity. It is now in its fourth year of implementation. Over the past years, progress has been made with regard to a number of Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and their targets. A number of actions have been undertaken by Governments and other stakeholders to respond to the 2030 Agenda more broadly. However, progress has been slow on many SDGs and the most vulnerable people and countries continue to suffer the most. The global response needs to become more ambitious. The HLPF will take stock of where we are in terms of SDG progress and identify challenges and gaps in SDG achievement.  Speakers will bring various perspectives on the follow up and review of implementation of the 2030 Agenda and the SDGs. They will indicate what they see as priorities for the political leadership and point to urgent multi-stakeholder action needed to accelerate progress. The discussions of the HLPF under the auspices of ECOSOC will contribute to the preparations of the HLPF under the auspices of the General Assembly – the SDG Summit to be convened in September 2019.

Proposed guiding questions:

  • Where do we stand in terms of achieving the 2030 Agenda and the SDGs?

  • What are the most important trends and challenges that could affect our ability to achieve the inter-connected SDGs and to ensure inclusiveness and equality?

  • What are urgent actions that could overcome current challenges and accelerate implementation of the 2030 Agenda and SDGs?

Chair:

  • H.E. Ms. Inga Rhonda King, President of Economic and Social Council

Opening Remarks:

  • H.E. Ms. Inga Rhonda King, President of Economic and Social Council

  • H.E. Mr. Valentin Rybakov, Vice President of Economic and Social Council, on the messages from ECOSOC Integration Segment

  • Mr. Liu Zhenmin, Under-Secretary-General of Economic and Social Affairs of the United Nations

Commentary by keynote speakers on the state of affairs:

  • Ms. Najat Maalla M’jid, UN Secretary-General’s Special Representative on Violence Against Children

  • Mr. Chris Skinner, Author and commentator, United Kingdom

  • Ms. Yolanda Joab, Founder and Executive Director of Island PRIDE, and One Young World Ambassador, Micronesia

Biographies
H.E. Mr. Valentin Rybakov
Vice President of Economic and Social Council, on the messages from ECOSOC Integration Segment
H.E. Mr. Valentin Rybakov

Vice President of Economic and Social Council, on the messages from ECOSOC Integration Segment

H.E. Ambassador Valentin Rybakov has served as Deputy Minister for Foreign Affairs of Belarus since 2013, prior to which he was Assistant to the President from 2006 to 2013. From 2005 to 2006 he headed the Ministry’s American Division (2005) and from 2003 to 2005 he served as Counsellor/Minister Counsellor in the Embassy of Belarus in the United States.

He has also worked with his country’s Permanent Mission to the United Nations, serving as Counsellor from 2001 to 2003.

Having joined the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Belarus in 1993, Mr. Rybakov is a graduate of the Minsk State Pedagogical Institute for Foreign Languages.

Born in 1958 in Tomsk, Russian Federation, Mr. Rybakov has one son.

H.E. Ms. Inga Rhonda King
Seventy-Fourth President of the Economic and Social Council
H.E. Ms. Inga Rhonda King

Seventy-Fourth President of the Economic and Social Council

Her Excellency Inga Rhonda King, who comes to diplomacy from the private sector, has lived and worked in several Caribbean countries, the United States of America, and China. She is a small business owner, business strategist, the author of three books, and a management accountant with more than two decades of professional experience. She also holds a Bachelor of Science in mathematics and chemistry, is the immediate past chair of the Investment Promotions Agency of Saint Vincent and the Grenadines (Invest SVG), and a former Honorary Consul for Portugal to Saint Vincent and the Grenadines.

Since becoming Permanent Representative in September 2013, Ambassador King has held several leadership roles which include:

  • Chair/Spokesperson of L69 (2016 - present), the largest reform group for the Security Council Reform of the United Nations.
  • Vice-President of the Economic and Social Council for the period 2017-2018.
  • Chair of the Fifth Committee of the General Assembly of the 71st Session (2016 - 2017). At the time of her chairmanship, she was only the second woman to chair this committee in the history of the United Nations.
  • Immediate-past chair of the Island Women Open Network (IWON) (2014 - July 2018). The IWON is tasked with ensuring gender-mainstreaming in the renewable energy sector of Small Island Developing States by building capacity at the grassroots and community level. The IWON is a part of the SIDS DOCK Secretariat platform. SIDS Dock is a UN registered SIDS International Organization.

Mr. Chris Skinner
Author and commentator, United Kingdom
Mr. Chris Skinner

Author and commentator, United Kingdom

Chris Skinner is known as the most influential person in technology in the UK. He is an independent commentator on the financial markets and fintech, through his blog theFinanser.com. An author of the bestselling books Digital Bank, ValueWeb and Digital Human.

ValueWeb describes the impact of Fintech and how mobile and blockchain technologies are changing the face of finance in building an internet of value. As a result of the emerging internet of value, banks have to become digitalised, andDigital Bankprovides a comprehensive review and analysis of the battle for digital banking and strategies for companies to compete.Digital Human,released in March 2018, builds on these two themes but looks at the wider picture of digitalisation, and how this is a revolution as it allows everyone from the plains of Africa to the mountains of Tibet to be included.

Described by Seth Wheeler, Brookings Guest Scholar and Former Special Assistant to the President for Economic Policy at the White House, as “one of the most authoritative voices on Fintech anywhere”, Chris has previously written many books covering everything from European regulations in banking through the credit crisis to the future of banking.

In his day job, he is Chair of the European networking forum The Financial Services Cluband Nordic Finance Innovation, as well as being a Non-Executive Director of the Fintech consultancy firm 11:FS, and on the advisory boards of various firms including Moven and Meniga.

He has been voted one of the most influential people in banking byThe Financial Brand (as well as one of the best blogs), a FinTech Titan (Next Bank), one of the Fintech Leaders you need to follow (City AM, DeluxeandJax Finance), one of the Top 5 most influential people on BankInfoSecurity’s list of information security leaders, as well as one of the Top 40 most influential people in financial technology by theWall Street Journal’s Financial News and Thomson Reuters. He has been voted Game Changer of the Year 2018 byFinance Monthly,FinTech Author of the Year 2018 byAcquisition International,Most Influential CEO of the Year 2018 – UK byCV Magazine,Most Dynamic in Finance Advisory Services 2018 – France byGlobal Business Insight,Best CEO of the Year UK 2019by Lawyer International, Best Financial Markets Adviser of the Year UK 2019by M&A Today,Corporate America Today and Global 100 and Lawyer International,Most Influential Fintech Advisor UK 2019by CV Magazine,Best Fintech Keynote Speaker 2019 –by Global Business Insight,Ones To Watch in Financial Services UK 2019 –by Global Business Insight, Financial Markets Advisor of the Year UK 2019 byACQ5 Global Awards, The Global Venture Annual Awards 2019 and Global 100,Best Digital Finance Provider of the Year UK 2019by Global 100, Best FinTech Author 2019 – AI International Finance Awards 2019,Best Digital Finance Provider of the Year UK 2019by Lawyer Internationaland has been an advisor to the White House, the World Bank and the World Economic Forum.

Mr. Skinner is a regular commentator on BBC News, Sky News, CNBC and Bloomberg about banking issues, and is a Judge on many awards programs including the Asian Banker’s Retail Excellence Awards, as well as having worked closely with leading banks such as HSBC, the Royal Bank of Scotland, Citibank and Société Générale.

Mr. Liu Zhenmin
UN Under-Secretary-General for Economic and Social Affairs
Mr. Liu Zhenmin

UN Under-Secretary-General for Economic and Social Affairs

United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres has appointed Mr. Liu Zhenmin of China as the Under-Secretary-General for Economic and Social Affairs effective 26 July 2017. Prior to his appointment, Mr. Liu was Vice-Minister for Foreign Affairs of China since 2013. Among his various diplomatic assignments, he served as Ambassador and Permanent Representative, Permanent Mission of the People’s Republic of China to the United Nations Office at Geneva and Other International Organizations in Switzerland (2011-2013).

Mr. Liu brings to the position more than 30 years of experience in the diplomatic service, with a strong focus on the promotion of bilateral, regional and global issues. He was deeply involved for 10 years in climate change negotiations including the conclusion of the Kyoto Protocol and the Paris Agreement. He also widely participated in the international activities on the protection of our planet including Antarctica and the oceans. Over the last several years, in various capacities, he has been consistently highlighting and advocating for sustainable development issues.

Mr. Liu started his career at the Foreign Affairs Ministry in 1982. Since then, he has served the Ministry in various capacities, including as Assistant Minister for Foreign Affairs (2009-2011); Ambassador and Deputy Permanent Representative, Permanent Mission of the People’s Republic of China to the United Nations (2006-2009); Director-General, Department of Treaty and Law (2003-2006); and Deputy Director-General, Department of Treaty and Law (1998-2003). He also served in the Permanent Mission of the People’s Republic of China to the United Nations Office at Geneva and Other International Organizations in Switzerland (1992-1995) and in the Permanent Mission of the People’s Republic of China to the United Nations (1984-1988).

As Under-Secretary-General for Economic and Social Affairs, Mr. Liu guides UN Secretariat support for the follow-up processes of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, including the High-level Political Forum on Sustainable Development. He also oversees the substantive services to many intergovernmental processes, including the annual meetings of the Second and Third Committees of the General Assembly, the meetings of the Economic and Social Council, including its Development Cooperation Forum, and the work of the subsidiary bodies of ECOSOC.

In addition to intergovernmental processes, Mr. Liu oversees DESA’s policy analysis and capacity development work. He also serves as the Convenor of the Executive Committee on Economic and Social Affairs, and advises the United Nations Secretary-General on all development-related issues, including climate change, internet governance, and financing for development.

Mr. Liu holds a Master of Laws from the Law School of Peking University. He was born in August 1955 in Shanxi Province, China. Mr. Liu is married.

Ms. Najat Maalla M’jid
Secretary-General’s Special Representative on Violence Against Children
Ms. Najat Maalla M’jid

Secretary-General’s Special Representative on Violence Against Children

Dr. M'jid, a medical doctor in paediatrics, has over the last three decades devoted her life to the promotion and protection of children’s rights. She was Head of the Paediatric Department and Director of the Hay Hassani Mother-Child hospital in Casablanca. Dr. M'jid is a member of the Moroccan National Council on Human Rights and founder of the non-governmental organisation Bayti, the first programme addressing the situation of children living and working in the streets of Morocco. From 2008 to 2014, she served as United Nations Special Rapporteur on the Sale of Children, Child Prostitution and Child Pornography.

Dr. M’jid also works as an Expert-Consultant for national and international projects, strategies and policies relating to child rights’ promotion and protection. She has participated in the development of national policies on the protection of the child, and has worked with several governments, non-governmental and inter-governmental organisations. She also works as a lecturer in Moroccan and international universities on child rights’ protection, promotion, programming and monitoring, as well as social and development policies. A member of several regional and international non-governmental organisations and networks working for children’s rights, Dr. M’jid is also involved in the training of social workers, law enforcement, teachers, judges, and medical staff.

Dr. M’jid holds a Doctorate in general medicine from the University of Rabat, a specialization in paediatrics and neonatology from the University of Bordeaux II and a Master’s of Human Rights from the Human Rights Institute, Geneva. She is the recipient of numerous awards and honours for her strong commitment to protecting the rights of the child.

Ms. Yolanda Joab-Mori
Founder and Executive Director of Island PRIDE, and One Young World Ambassador, Micronesia
Ms. Yolanda Joab-Mori

Founder and Executive Director of Island PRIDE, and One Young World Ambassador, Micronesia

Ms. Yolanda Joab-Mori works in climate change adaptation in the islands of the Federated States of Micronesia. In 2011 she co-created the first climate change focused education program in schools and communities across Micronesia. The program, CADRE (Climate Change Adaptation, Disaster Risk Reduction & Education) worked with over 10,000 students and 3,000 community members across the Micronesian islands to raise awareness on the impacts of climate change on their communities and develop community action plans to adapt to these impacts. These Community Action Plans have resulted in projects such as pandanus planting for coastal strengthening, mangrove reforestation to protect against salt-water intrusion, awareness campaigns for marine protected areas and rainwater catchments to prepare for droughts. After the discontinuation of this program, she and her husband co-founded Island PRIDE (Promoting Resilience through Involvement, Development & Education) a non-profit organization, to continue this work to empower her islands in the face of climate change by engaging youth to be proactive stewards of their island environment. She also serves as a Community Resilience Specialist at the Pacific Resources for Education & Learning as well as the Head of Renewable Energy for the Chuuk Public Utilities Corporation, where she is spearheading their transition to renewable energy and away from fossil fuels. Through this work, she’s been a vocal activist for climate action and climate justice at several international platforms including the One Young World Summit, World Conservation Congress, World Forum on Natural Capital, and the UN ECOSOC Youth Forum. She lives in Chuuk, Micronesia with her husband Alvin, son Tre and daughter Tasi.

Statements
Statements
H.E. Ms. Inga Rhonda King, President of the Economic and Social Council and Permanent Representative of St. Vincent and the Grenadines to the United Nations
Keynote Address by Mr. Chris Skinner
Keynote Address by Ms. Najat Maalla M’jid: Putting Children at the Heart of the 2030 Agenda
Keynote Address by Ms. Yolanda Joab: How Far Are We from the Sustainable Development Goals?
Opening remarks by USG LIU Zhenmin
Vice-President of ECOSOC, H.E. Ambassador Valentin Rybakov Remarks
United Nations