World body adopts declaration to accelerate SDGs


Anjali Sharma

GG News Bureau

UNITED NATIONS, 19th Sept. UN chief António Guterres on Monday said in New York that now is the time for a global plan to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals which are  off-track halfway towards their 2030 deadline.

Mr. Guterres spoke at the opening of a high-level forum on SDGs at the UN Headquarters where world leaders adopted a political declaration to accelerate action to achieve the 17 goals, to achieve economic prosperity and well-being for all people on the planet earth while protecting the environment.

He said “The SDGs aren’t just a list of goals. They carry the hopes, dreams, rights and expectations of people everywhere”.

World leaders adopted the SDGs in 2015, promising to leave no one behind.

Sustainable Development Goals to end extreme poverty and hunger, ensure access to clean water and sanitation, and green energy, and to provide quality universal education and lifelong learning opportunities.

Mr. Guterres warned that only 15 per cent are on track, while many are going in reverse and he noted that each goal contains targets, with 169 overall.

He said the political declaration “can be a game-changer in accelerating SDG progress.”

It included a commitment to financing for developing countries and clear support for his proposal for an SDG Stimulus of at least $500 billion annually, as well as an effective debt-relief mechanism.

It called to change the business model of multilateral development banks to offer private finance at more affordable rates for developing countries, and endorsed reform of the international finance architecture which he has labelled “outdated, dysfunctional and unfair.”

Mr. Guterres highlighted the need for action in 6 critical areas, as he addressed hunger, which he called “a shocking stain on humanity, and an epic human rights violation.”

He added “It is an indictment of every one of us that millions of people are starving in this day and age.”

Guterres said the transition to renewable energy isn’t happening fast enough, while the benefits and opportunities of digitalization are not being spread widely enough.

He stressed that many children and young people worldwide are victims of poor quality education, or no education at all, he continued, before shining a spotlight on the need for decent work and social protection.

SG called for an end to the war on nature and “the triple planetary crisis” characterized by climate change, pollution and biodiversity loss.

“Cutting across all of these transitions is the need to ensure full gender equality,” he said.

“It’s long past time to end discrimination, ensure a place at every table for women and girls, and to end the scourge of gender-based violence. “

Mr. Guterres highlighted UN response to each area, including initiatives to transform global food systems so everyone can have access to a healthy diet.

He concluded that other efforts focus to boost investment in the renewable energy transition, promoting internet access for all, creating 400 million new “decent jobs”, and extending social protection to over 4 million people.

President of the UN Economic and Social Council Paula Narváez lauded the adoption of the declaration, calling it a testament to leaders’ unwavering commitment towards implementing the SDGs.

She said that ECOSOC is at the core of the UN system’s work on all three pillars of sustainable development – economic, social and environmental and provides a platform for follow-up and review of the goals.

Ms. Narváez pointed out that the two-day SDG Summit is the centrepiece of the UN General Assembly’s high-level debate, the annual gathering of Heads of State and Government.

She said the High-level Dialogue on Financing for Development will address the need for an international financial architecture that can respond to current needs and emerging challenges.

The Climate Ambition Summit presents an opportunity for decisive progress on climate action and to raise the bar for more timely and targeted efforts, she said.

Ms. Paula Narváez added that “This week should serve as a turning point to rescue the SDGs,” she said.  “We must not let this moment slip away.”

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