UN Secretary-General António Guterres says that while ambition, urgency and unity are lacking to overcome many challenges, many countries are now looking at “a financial abyss”, which is suffocating those resources needed to fulfill the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.
“The annual SDG funding gap has increased from $2.5 trillion before the pandemic to an estimated $4.2 trillion. [….] Governments are drowning in debt – with developing countries facing high borrowing costs. And 52 countries are in default or close to it – with no effective debt relief system in sight,” he said.
Make 2023 count
Mr. Guterres called on countries to “make 2023 count” and lay the foundations now for coordinated efforts to pursue the SDGs, referring to important meetings on food security, climate action, health, and sustainable development later this year.
He urged them to go to the SDG Summit, in September, with clear plans and commitments to strengthen the action of their countries until 2030.
“We need ambitious national commitments and interventions to reduce poverty and inequality in 2027 and 2030. And clear policies, investment plans and partnerships to encourage progress in major transitions of the SDG,” the UN chief said.
“Above all, we need the SDG Summit to send a clear message from world leaders through a strong political declaration,” he added, stressing the need for civil society , business, etc. “to throw their weight behind the objectives” and strengthen “the global movement to deliver”.
Good news and bad news
Also speaking on Monday, Lachezara Stoeva, President of the Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC), emphasized the importance of innovation, technology, and high-impact partnerships between governments, civil society, the private sector and academia in drive “meaningful change”.
“We are halfway to 2030 and still nowhere close to achieving the SDGs. The bad news is that we have lost seven years. The good news is, we still have seven years and the gains is within our reach,” he said.
Ms. also emphasized. Stoeva stressed the need to adapt the implementation of the SDGs to local conditions and priorities, ensuring that local governments and communities own the Goals, mobilizing sufficient financial resources and attracting investments.
They also need to develop partnerships with various stakeholders, including youth.
“Inclusion and participation are keys to successful SDG implementation,” he stressed.
The promise came true
For his part, Csaba Kőrösi, President of the General Assembly, expressed the hope that the SDG Summit will result in “supercharging and accelerating” the implementation of the SDGs.
“The SDG Summit itself must give a new life to sustainable change,” he emphasized, urging everyone to be bold, ambitious and focus on a peaceful, prosperous, and sustainable future.
“We will fulfill the promise of the 2030 Agenda: the promise we made to our eight billion stakeholders. Let’s change the world. Let us save the world,” he concluded.
Central global platform for sustainable development
The High-Level Political Forum (HLPF) on Sustainable Development is the central global platform for the follow-up and review of the 2030 Agenda and SDGs, the blueprint adopted in 2015 by all 193 United Nations Member States for peace and prosperity for people and the planet.
The HLPF is convened annually by the Economic and Social Council for about two weeks, including a three-day ministerial session, to conduct a comprehensive review of selected Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). This year, the Forum reviewed SDGs 6, 7, 9, 11 and 17. It is also preparing for the SDG Summit, which will be held on 18 and 19 September 2023 in New York.