‘Stay together and step up’ action to meet Global Goals, ECOSOC President tells development forum

World Bank/Flore de Preneuf Women farmers in a community hard hit by drought gather in Kenya. To deliver on the Sustainable Development Goals, new ways of collective action are needed.

This article is brought to you in association with the United Nations.

We can realize the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) by 2030 “if we all stay together and step up our actions”, Inga Rhonda King, President of the United Nations Economic and Social Council (ESOSOC), said on Thursday.

“Even though the global picture is mixed”, she stated during the closing of the High-level Political Forum on Sustainable Development (HLPF), “we have made encouraging progress, sometimes despite political and other headwinds”.

According to Ms. King, during the past two weeks, the chief global forum for reviewing successes, challenges and lessons learned on the road towards reaching the 17 SDGs, has mobilized and inspired action towards fulfilling the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, and yet “we are currently not yet on track to achieve the SDGs by 2030”.

“To deliver, we need to move out of our comfort zones in pursuing new ways of collective action”, she stressed, “and we need to adapt and transform at a much swifter pace”.

The HLPF has heard how countries are pursuing the goals, including detailed plans from 47 seven nations who presented voluntary national reviews.

“At a time of intense domestic pressures and significant challenges to multilateralism, their determination is an indication of the robust engagement and meaningful country ownership of the 2030 Agenda”, the ECOSOC president underscored.

Looking ahead, she pointed out that “we can expect that the SDGs will be more systematically incorporated in designing plans and policies, with a focus on interventions that have potential multiplier effects across the SDGs”.

She also acknowledged the need to include SDG planning in national budgets as well as integrated financing strategies and to “enshrine them into our institutions and societies”.

Empowerment, equality and inclusion

The Forum also reviewed, analyzed progress and looked at the influence of, six individual SDGs in supporting empowerment, equality and inclusion.

“You have heard from countries in special situations and delved into issues related to multidimensional poverty, inequality, education, prosperity, the planet, peaceful societies and international cooperation”, she said, adding that she will capture key messages and recommendations in her President’s summary.

SDG goals under the spotlight:

  • Goal 4 – Ensure inclusive and equitable quality education and promote lifelong learning opportunities for all.
  • Goal 8 – Promote sustained, inclusive and sustainable economic growth, full and productive employment and decent work for all.
  • Goal 10 – Reduce inequality within and among countries.
  • Goal 13 – Take urgent action to combat climate change and its impacts
  • Goal 16 – Promote peaceful and inclusive societies for sustainable development, provide access to justice for all and build effective, accountable and inclusive institutions at all levels
  • Goal 17 – Strengthen the means of implementation and revitalize the global partnership for sustainable development

“The actions we projected will contribute to accelerating implementation”, Ms. King affirmed.  “They will help to enhance coherence and integration in our efforts at home and the world over”.

‘Ambitious decade of action’

Ms. King said it is “essential that we launch an ambitious decade of action that puts the world on a new trajectory for SDG achievement” to “kick-start a new phase of SDG implementation, with concerted, transformative action to end human suffering and protect our planet”.

In September, she flagged that Member States and others can take the HLPF’s messages to the SDG Summit, Climate Action Summit and the high-level meetings on universal health coverage, financing for development and the SAMOA Pathway, an action strategy for Small Island Developing States.

“Let us commit to take transformative actions between now and the 2020 summit on the UN anniversary”, she urged.

She thanked all who contributed the Forum, especially the participants “for their unwavering commitment to ensure we deliver on the promises of the 2030 Agenda”.

“I look forward to seeing all of you tomorrow at the High-level Segment of ECOSOC, where we will have the opportunity to look out into the future and discuss visions and projections for the SDGs and as well as other related long-term trends and scenarios”, concluded Ms. King.

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