Sustainable development summit a reminder of ‘the boundless potential of humanity’

25 September 2019

The first UN summit on the progress of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development closed on a hopeful note, with Deputy Secretary-General Amina Mohammed declaring that the two-day event had been a reminder of “the boundless potential of humanity to create a better future for all”.

Ms. Mohammed told the delegates at the SDG Summit that she had been encouraged by the “spoken word, the voice of youth, the commitment of civil society, the power of an active citizenry and the leadership of our governments”, on display during the two-day conference.

The deputy UN chief said that she had drawn three concrete messages from the summit: a renewed commitment from world leaders to implement the Agenda, which she described as critical to respond to the world’s greatest challenges; an acknowledgement that the Goals are off track, and a determination to step up efforts to achieve them; and clarity on the task ahead, with a decisive decade left to “nurture more ambitious global action; local action and people action”.

Tijjani Muhammad-Bande, the incoming President of the General Assembly, said that the 10 years leading up to the 2030 deadline for the Agenda will be a “Decade of Implementation”, and expressed his hope that “we will ensure more integration of the 2030 Agenda into our National Development Plans, mobilize resources and invest in programmes and sectors that are more likely to engender greater acceleration”

Mr. Muhammad-Bande highlighted the involvement of the private sector at the SDG Business Forum, which also took place on Wednesday, where companies showcased actions, innovative technologies and sustainable financing strategies, aimed at creating a better world for all.

“I am confident that the business leaders that joined us this week will continue to encourage and inspire actions” he said. “While governments are responsible for national implementation, they are unable, on their own, to achieve the goals”.

During the Forum, Lise Kingo, CEO and Executive Director of the UN Global Compact, shared the results of a survey, contained within the recently published UN Global Compact Progress Report 2019, which shows that 81% of Global Compact participants reported that they are taking action on the Global Goals.

Ms. Kingo emphasized the importance of going beyond sustainability strategies, policies and codes of conduct, and translating corporate ambition into practice: “Being an impactful sustainable business means fully integrating sustainability into core business strategy, operations, supply chain management and stakeholder engagement”.

Commenting on the outcome of the Summit, Liu Zhenmin, the UN’s Under-Secretary-General for Economic and Social Affairs, welcomed the full commitment of the UN to supporting Member States to deliver the promises they have made to deliver the Sustainable Development Goals, for people and the planet today, and for the generations to come:

“It is encouraging to see that the momentum to step up action is growing, with over 100 new Acceleration Actions (initiatives to speed up progress on sustainable development and boost action on climate change, aimed at securing healthy, peaceful and prosperous lives for all) registered for the goals ahead of the SDG Summit”.

The General Assembly President took the opportunity to look ahead to the 2020 Summit of the United Nations, when Member States and relevant partners will report, again, on the contributions they are making towards achieving the SDGs.

 

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