UN General Assembly: World leaders adopt a political declaration to accelerate action to achieve 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)
New York: The centrepiece of the UN General Assembly’s 2023 high-level week, the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) Summit, saw world leaders gather in New York on September 18, 2023, for two intense days of meetings. Their goal: to put the world back on track towards a greener, cleaner, safer, fairer future for all.
At a high-level forum at the United Nations Headquarters here, world leaders adopted a political declaration to accelerate action to achieve the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), which aim to drive economic prosperity and well-being for all people while protecting the environment.
“The SDGs aren’t just a list of goals. They carry the hopes, dreams, rights and expectations of people everywhere,” UN Secretary-General António Guterres said.
Each of the 17 goals contains targets, with 169 overall, but the Secretary-General warned that currently, only 15 per cent are on track, while many are going in reverse. The political declaration “can be a game-changer in accelerating SDG progress,” he said.
UN General Assembly President Dennis Francis noted that despite commitments, 1.2 billion people were still living in poverty as of 2022, and roughly eight per cent of the global population, or 680 million people, will still be facing hunger by the end of the decade. The international community cannot accept these numbers, he said.
“With concerted, ambitious action, it is still possible that, by 2030, we could lift 124 million additional people out of poverty and ensure that some 113 million fewer people are malnourished,” he said.
However, what was conspicuous was the absence of the leaders of four of the five permanent members of the UN Security Council — Russia, China, France and Britain. The leader of only one permanent member country to be present there was President Joe Biden of the United States.
On September 19, 2023, Biden met with United Nations Secretary-General Guterres during the UN General Assembly in New York. According to a White House release, the leaders reaffirmed the strong partnership between the United States and the United Nations. They discussed pressing global challenges, including the need to tackle rising poverty and inequality and mobilize additional resources for sustainable development, combat climate change, and uphold the UN’s foundational principles – particularly in the face of Russia’s illegal war against Ukraine. The leaders also discussed efforts to reform and strengthen multilateral institutions to make them more inclusive and effective and better equipped to deliver on the Sustainable Development Goals and address global challenges like climate change and fragility.
– global bihari bureau