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Hasten efforts to achieve sustainable global goals, urges deputy UN chief

Children lining up for their one meal per day at a school in Bandarero, Northern Kenya.
OCHA/Daniel Pfister
Children lining up for their one meal per day at a school in Bandarero, Northern Kenya.

Hasten efforts to achieve sustainable global goals, urges deputy UN chief

Noting the efforts being undertaken around the globe to implement the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), United Nations Deputy Secretary-General Amina Mohammed called for picking up the pace to ensure that the 2030 deadline is met.

“The SDGs have jumped from the General Assembly Hall to communities across the world [and] are taking hold among policy-makers and in global public awareness,” Ms. Mohammad said today at an informal General Assembly meeting on taking stock of SDG actions.

In her remarks, the Deputy Secretary-General recalled the enthusiastic participation at the recently held High-level Political Forum on Sustainable Development (HLPF), presentations of voluntary national reviews by UN Member States and the engagement expressed by them in next year's session as an “unmistakable signal of commitment.”

“However, our assessment clearly shows that the pace of progress is insufficient,” she added, noting also that progress has been uneven across regions, between the sexes, and among people of different ages and constituencies.

In particular, she said that the persistence of poverty remains the main challenge and that tackling gender equality and the use of new technologies should be leveraged to tackle this issue. She also highlighted the importance of the Paris Agreement on Climate Change to the success of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.

Ms. Mohammed also underscored the potential of the 2030 Agenda for a more prosperous and peaceful world and said that its success depends on the active engagement of all actors for people, peace, prosperity and a healthy planet.

“My simple appeal today to all of you is to stay engaged, help us keep the ambition high, and work with us in this collective endeavour for a better future for all,” she stated.

Peter Thomson, the President of the General Assembly, spoke of the importance of collaboration and the deployment of resources, expertise and technology on a greater scale to realize the global goals.

“Potentially, we have reserves of them sufficient to well exceed the goals before us,” he said. “Thus, it is a matter of deployment, of marshalling our forces, both morally and practically, to undertake the tasks at hand in a spirit of inclusivity and universality.”

Recalling the work done over the last year to advance each of the 17 Goals, in particular, building momentum across the SDGs, he called for strengthening the UN's capacity to convene, engage and create coalitions for collective action across the means of implementation, including partnerships with the private sector, employing technological advances and leveraging the potential of public and private financing to support achieving the Goals.

Urging greater efforts to deliver on the promise of the 2030 Agenda, Mr. Thomson said: “We now need a shift in gears; it is time to crank it up a notch, for time is not on our side.”

“We have the resources, the ideas, the technology and the motivation. Add leadership, courage and an unwavering commitment to progress and we will reach our 2030 destination with goals fulfilled,” he added.