UN chief warns SDGs off track, calls for more actions

UN chief warns SDGs off track, calls for more actions

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United Nations, Sep 25 (IANS) UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres issued a global call for a decade of action to deliver the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) by 2030, as requested by a political declaration adopted by world leaders.
In his remarks to the High-Level Political Forum on Sustainable Development, the UN chief on Tuesday said the commitment to the 2030 Agenda is an unmistakable commitment but "we are far from where we need to be", Xinhua news agency reported.
"We are off track," Guterres said, adding that deadly conflicts, the climate crisis, gender-based violence, and persistent inequalities are undermining efforts to achieve the goals.
Uneven growth, rising debt levels, heightened global trade tensions are creating new obstacles to implementation, he said. "Half the wealth around the world is held by people who could fit around a conference table."
"We must step up our efforts, and we must do it now," he said.
The secretary-general said his call contains three essential areas, which are global action, local action and people action.
For global action, Guterres highlighted the need to end today's conflicts and prevent further violence, as well as the need of "a major surge in financing with Member States meeting their official development assistance commitments."
At the same time, he emphasized the need to scale up long-term private investment for sustainable development and make meaningful progress in fighting illicit flows of capital, money laundering and tax evasion to better support developing countries pursuing political and economic reform.
For local action, the UN chief said, "we need to step up domestic responses to make a difference where it matters -- in people's lives."
He added this includes more deeply orienting domestic policies and action with the 2030 Agenda -- developing integrated national financing frameworks; empowering sustainable development governance mechanisms, creating insightful and inclusive data systems, and delivering ambitious climate plans in 2020.
It also includes the creation of an enabling environment that maximizes the potential of cities and local authorities, protects human rights and civic space, fosters private sector development and attracts foreign direct investment, he added.
For people action, the secretary-general called on civil society, grassroots organisations, media, private sector, unions, academia and others "to mobilize partnerships like never before."
He appealed to private sector to "embrace new business models that match the demands of the 2030 Agenda."
He also called on the world of science, research and technology to ensure that new technologies narrow the digital and broader technological divide and are geared towards the common good.
Concluding his speech, Guterres said he will convene an annual platform for driving the decade of action, and the first of such gathering will take place in September 2020 in the context of the 75th anniversary of the United Nations.
The High-Level Political Forum on Sustainable Development is held on Sept. 24 and 25, heads of state and government are gathering at the United Nations Headquarters in New York to follow up and comprehensively review progress in the implementation of the 2030 Agenda.
The event is the first UN summit on the SDGs since the adoption of the 2030 Agenda in September 2015.
In the opening of the forum, a political declaration was unanimously adopted, with UN Member States pledged to mobilize financing, enhance national implementation and strengthen institutions to achieve the sustainable development objectives by the target date and leave no one behind.

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