Image by Mugisha Don de Dieu
  • Briefing
  • 10 July 2019

Closing the gap: priorities for the High-level Political Forum 2019

Ahead of HLPF 2019, we present evidence the poorest people are being left behind, and look at how we can close the gap between them and everyone else.



Amy Dodd, Carolyn Culey, Dan Walton, Daniel Coppard

Ahead of discussions at the 2019 High-level Political Forum in July, this briefing presents evidence to show that progress has not been sufficient to meet the ambitions of Agenda 2030 – shining a light on how the poorest people are being left behind, and what we can do to close the gap.

A summary of key evidence

As the High-level Political Forum (HLPF 2019) meets in July to review progress on the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and hear presentations on voluntary national reviews (VNRs) from 47 countries, it is increasingly clear that progress is insufficient to meet the ambitions of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. While the theme of this year’s forum is Empowering people and ensuring inclusiveness and equality, our data shows that the income gap between the poorest 20% of people and the rest has been growing, both globally and in most countries. Although there is progress at an aggregate level, people are being left behind – excluded from progress as a result of their poverty, location or aspects of their identity that contribute to their marginalisation. Despite a pledge to reach those furthest behind first, the very poorest, who are starting from a very low baseline, have seen little progress over the past 15 years.

The message is clear – if we are serious about ending extreme poverty and reducing inequality, we need to be equally serious about closing the gap and raising the income and living standards of the poorest people. We need to target vital public and concessional finance much more effectively to where it is most needed. And we need better data to identify those being left behind, starting with a commitment to ensure that everyone is counted.

Photo credit: Mugisha Don de Dieu