The SDG Summit planned in September 2023 will be the second SDG Summit since the adoption of the 2030 Agenda in 2015. It will mark the mid-point of the implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and raise the alarm on the slow progress toward the 17 goals. Ahead of the Summit, the High-level Political Forum on Sustainable Development will give countries, including Canada, the opportunity to report on domestic actions to implement the SDGs. More details on progress and process are presented below. 


Slow Progress on the 2030 Agenda 

Multiple factors – the COVID-19 pandemic, conflict, and climate change/disasters – all contributed to slowing down or reversing progress that we had made prior to the start of the SDG Decade of Action. This refers to the period between 2020 and 2030 during which progress toward achieving the Goals is accelerated and planning/policymaking is turned into urgent and transformative action. In addition to the 17 goals, 169 targets and over 230 indicators, the SDGs set out three universal values that underpin the transformative ambitions, namely:  

  • Human-Rights Based Approach 
  • Leave No One Behind  
  • Gender Equality and Women’s Empowerment 


Voluntary National Review

A crucial element of the SDG framework is the Voluntary National Review (VNR) that reports on country-level progress toward achieving the Goals. VNRs are meant to encourage countries to learn from each other’s experiences and best practices and to promote greater accountability and transparency in implementation. After submitting its first VNR in 2018 for the period 2015-2018, Canada is preparing its second review, under the leadership of the SDG Unit of Employment and Social Development Canada. The 2023 report will incorporate input from stakeholders sharing their views on Canada’s progress toward achieving the SDGs and challenges that need to be addressed. It will cover all the Goals, with a particular focus on: 

  • SDG 1: No Poverty 
  • SDG 4: Quality Education 
  • SDG 5: Gender Equality 
  • SDG 13: Climate Action 
  • SDG 17: Partnerships for the Goals 


Together/Ensemble Conference (June)

Together|Ensemble is Canada’s national conference devoted to tracking progress on the SDGs from a domestic angle, including ongoing work across the country, opportunities for impact, and potential partnerships. The conference represents an all-of-society approach to addressing Canada’s toughest sustainable development challenges, bringing together the private sector, academia, government, and civil society. More details will be released shortly. 


UN High Level Political Forum (July 10-19)

Canada, along with 39 other countries and the European Union, will officially present its VNR at the High-Level Political Forum (HLPF), the United Nations’ central platform for follow-up and review of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and the SDGs. The HLPF provides an opportunity for governments, civil society, and other stakeholders to share their experiences and best practices in achieving the SDGs. Cooperation Canada, along with other CSOs, hopes to be engaged in the Forum’s preparations and side events, to illustrate the whole-of-society approach at the heart of the SDG agenda. 


SDG Summit (September 5-23)

The 2023 SDG Summit will convene during the United Nations General Assembly and has been dubbed the “centrepiece moment of 2023” by the UN Secretary-General. Whereas the HLPF will be an opportunity to discuss the details of country-level SDG implementation, the SDG Summit presents a space for a more comprehensive review of the state of the SDGs, as well as high-level political guidance on transformative and accelerated actions leading up to 2030. The outcome of the Summit will be a negotiated political declaration. While more information is forthcoming, Cooperation Canada will work toward using this as a moment to showcase civil society leadership in the SDGs and demonstrate value that the sector brings. 


The 2030 agenda and SDGs rank high on the political agenda in Canada. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has long been a vocal supporter and sits as co-chair of the SDG Advocates along with PM Mia Mottley of Barbados. As we forge ahead in the second half of the 15-year mandate of the 2030 Agenda, Canada’s role will be more important than ever to raise the bar for SDG leadership and significantly accelerate progress.