Just as 2015 was a year of “global action” with the adoption of the ambitious 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, so 2016 must be a year of “global traction” to ensure that 3.1 billion people worldwide are not left behind in the race to end poverty, United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said today.
“We have to make things move - rolling traction,” he told the Commission for Social Development, the first of the functional commissions of the UN Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) to meet this year.
“The work of the Commission affects the lives of 1.2 billion young people, more than 900 million older persons and 1 billion persons with disabilities around the globe, among many others. Your work will be crucial in ensuring that the 2030 Agenda and the SDGs truly leave no one behind,” he said.
The Agenda consists of 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) for the year 2030, ranging from zero poverty, zero hunger, good health, quality education, gender equality, clean water and sanitation, and affordable clean energy, to decent work and economic growth, innovation, reduced inequalities, sustainable cities, responsible consumption, climate action, unpolluted oceans and land, and partnerships to achieve the goals.
“Experience has shown that thriving economy is not enough to eradicate poverty and promote shared prosperity. Economies must be put at the service of people, through effective integrated social policies,” Mr. Ban said, noting that the Commission has over the years done much to highlight the human dimension of international development efforts.
“You have shed light on the role of proactive social policies in securing economic and environmental stability, promoting social inclusion and reducing poverty and inequality. Enormous social progress has been made – in lifting people out of extreme poverty; in boosting food security; in advancing universal primary education and adult literacy; in promoting women's empowerment, and in reducing maternal and child mortality,” he underscored.
“Accessibility and the full-inclusion of persons with disabilities has become a growing interest of decision makers – as has the critical importance of ensuring social protection for all,” he noted.
Mr. Ban stressed that inequality remains too high, affecting poverty reduction efforts and social cohesion in both developed and developing countries, while too many people continue to face exclusion and are unable to realize their full potential and too few economies have attained inclusive and sustainable growth and are unable to promote true social progress.
The result is that people are frustrated, they are working harder and falling behind, and too often, instead of decisions, they see deadlock, leading them to wonder if leaders are even listening.
“Yes, we will end global poverty by 2030,” he emphasized. “Yes, we will leave no one behind. Yes, we will build a life of dignity for all on a healthy planet. I know we can do it. Your continued policy guidance will be crucial.”