UN chief calls for ‘a fair globalization’ with first-ever Global Goals Summit

UN News/Conor Lennon Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) banners outside the United Nations Headquarters in New York. 20 September 2019.

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


“We need more investment, more political action, more priority for a fair globalization”, said UN Secretary-General António Guterres in an interview on Thursday, when asked about his expectations for the first-ever Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) Summit, on 24-25 September at New York headquarters.

Mr. Guterres emphasized that, with just over 10 years to go, the world is not on track to hit targets related to sustainable development, and urged world leaders to “take the decisions necessary, in order to come together more effectively to make sure that the 2030 Agenda is successfully implemented”.

Accelerating progress towards a better future

In 2015, the Member States of the UN adopted the landmark 2030 Agenda, which provides a blueprint for the transition to a healthier planet and a more just world, for present and future generations.

The Agenda is broken down into 17 Sustainable Development Goals, concrete targets concrete targets, to end poverty and hunger; expand access to health, education, justice and jobs; promote inclusive and sustained economic growth; while protecting our planet from environmental degradation.

Although positive results have been reported, global efforts have been hampered by challenges such as conflict, climate change, lack of access to essential health services, growing inequalities and significant financing gaps.

The SDG Summit, which is one of the five important high-level summits and meetings talking place during the opening week of the latest session of the UN General Assembly, will allow leaders from government, business and other sectors to identify specific actions that can help get the SDG response back on track, with a decade of action and delivery still in play, in the lead up to the 2030 deadline.

The format will break down the topics into six “dialogues”, pairing a leader of a developing country, with the head of a developed country as co-moderators.

The themes of each dialogue are “megatrends”, accelerating the SDGs, measures to leverage progress, localizing the SDGs, partnerships for sustainable development, and the 2020-2030 vision.

The Summit is expected to conclude with a Political Declaration of Heads of State and Government, that provides political guidance how to step up the pace of implementation of the 2030 Agenda and SDGs, and a series of SDG acceleration actions.

Some SDG successes and challenges

  • Goal 7, Affordable and Clean Energy: more people are using electricity than ever before. Nearly 9 out of 10 people now have access to electricity. Energy efficiency continues to improve, and renewable energy is making impressive gains in the electricity sector. But three billion people still lack clean cooking fuels and technologies, putting at risk their health and the environment.
  • Goal 10, Reduced Inequality: income inequality continues to rise in many parts of the world, even though the poorest 40% of the population in most countries experienced income growth faster than the national average. The bottom 40% still received less than 25% of overall income. In many countries, an increasing share of income goes to the top 1%.
  • Goal 13, Climate Action: as greenhouse gas levels continue to climb, climate change is occurring much faster than anticipated, and its effects are evident worldwide. The global mean temperature for 2018 was approximately 1°C above the pre-industrial baseline, and the last four y
  • A more comprehensive list of progress on the SDGs can be found here.

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