United Nations: World leaders Monday adopted a landmark political declaration here to accelerate action on implementing the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) while voicing alarm that progress on most of these targets is moving much too slowly or has regressed below the 2015 baseline when they were first announced.
The high-level 78th session of the United Nations General Assembly began Monday with the 2023 SDG Summit that reviewed the implementation of the 2030 Agenda and its 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
It provided high-level political guidance on transformative and accelerated actions leading up to the target year of 2030 for achieving the Goals, the UN said.
Convened by President of the General Assembly Dennis Francis, the Summit will mark the halfway point to the deadline set for achieving the 2030 Agenda and the Sustainable Development Goals.
The high-level political forum on sustainable development convened under the auspices of the General Assembly adopted the political declaration, in which world leaders reaffirmed their commitment to effectively implement the 2030 Agenda and its SDGs and uphold all principles enshrined in it.
“The 2030 Agenda remains our overarching roadmap for achieving sustainable development and overcoming the multiple crises we face. We will act with urgency to realise its vision as a plan of action for people, the planet, prosperity, peace and partnership, leaving no one behind. We will endeavour to reach the furthest behind first.”
UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres, addressing the summit, said that eight years ago in 2015, member states gathered in the General Assembly Hall to adopt the Sustainable Development Goals.
“With the world watching — including 193 young people in the balcony holding blue lamps of hope — you made a solemn promise. A promise to build a world of health, progress and opportunity for all. A promise to leave no one behind.”
Guterres said the SDGs are not just a list of goals but carry the hopes, dreams, rights and expectations of people everywhere. They provide the surest path to living up to our obligations under the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, now in its 75th year.
“Yet today, only 15 per cent of the targets are on track and many are going in reverse. Instead of leaving no one behind, we risk leaving the SDGs behind,” he said.
Underscoring that the SDGs need a global rescue plan, Guterres said he is encouraged by the detailed and wide-ranging draft political declaration, especially its commitment to improving developing countries’ access to the fuel required for SDG progress: finance.
In the political declaration, the heads of State and Government voiced concern that the achievement of the SDGs is in peril.
“At the midpoint of the 2030 Agenda, we are alarmed that the progress on most of the SDGs is either moving much too slowly or has regressed below the 2015 baseline. Our world is currently facing numerous crises.”
The declaration noted that years of sustainable development gains are being reversed. Millions of people have fallen into poverty, hunger and malnutrition are becoming more prevalent, humanitarian needs are rising, and the impacts of climate change are more pronounced.
This has led to increased inequality exacerbated by weakened international solidarity and a shortfall of trust to jointly overcome these crises.
“We commit to bold, ambitious, accelerated, just and transformative actions, anchored in international solidarity and effective cooperation at all levels. We will promote a systemic shift towards a more inclusive, just, peaceful, resilient and sustainable world for people and planet, for present and future generations,” the political declaration said.