It is vital that countries make the necessary investments to carry out the new sustainable development agenda that will be formally adopted next month, says a senior United Nations official, warning that the world can ill afford the costs of not doing so.
“For the first time, we’re not putting a band-aid on the problem. We’re looking at the root causes. And unless we make the investments to look at those root causes, we are going to continue to have the conflicts escalate, we’re going to continue to see the damage in the environment, and more and more people are going to be excluded,” said Amina J. Mohammed, the Secretary-General’s Special Adviser on Post-2015 Development Planning.
In a recent interview with the UN News Service, Ms. Mohammed stressed that the resources needed to investment in this new agenda already exist and it is just a matter of unlocking them. “We can find the tools and the instruments that we need to make those monies work in the longer term and in the shorter term for humanity.”
On 2 August, the UN’s 193 Member States agreed to an ambitious agenda that features 17 new Sustainable Development Goals that aim to end poverty, promote prosperity and people’s well-being while protecting the environment by 2030, concluding a negotiating process that has spanned more than two years and which featured the unprecedented participation of civil society.
The Sustainable Development Goals, which world leaders will formally adopt at a special summit to be held in New York from 25 to 27 September, succeed the eight anti-poverty targets known as the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), which wrap up at the end of 2015.
“Unlike the Millennium Development Goals, this has been a process that’s been the most open, transparent, broad, deep one that we’ve had in the United Nations ever,” Ms. Mohammed noted.
“Often people say, ‘well you know, aren’t these too many goals? Can’t we just have a neat set of 8 or 10? Why do we need to have 17?’ The truth of the matter is that the world is not in such a neat shape that could be reflected in a neat set of goals. It’s in a pretty big mess and what these do is address that, address it in a much deeper way.”
The 17 Sustainable Development Goals and 169 targets contained in the new agenda aim at tackling key systemic barriers to sustainable development such as inequality, unsustainable consumption and production patterns, inadequate infrastructure and lack of decent jobs.
“It’s about behaviour. It’s about livelihoods. It’s about lifestyles. It’s about how we consume and we produce because clearly we can no longer continue to test the planet the way that we do,” said Ms. Mohammed.
“The one thing about this wonderful planet that we have, the home that we have, is that it can exist without us; we cannot exist without it.”