The United Nations General Assembly has adopted a political declaration acknowledging that the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) are in peril and recommitting to bold, ambitious, and accelerated actions to meet the 2030 development agenda.
The declaration expressed deep concern at the SDG financing gap and recognised the urgency of providing predictable and sufficient development finance to developing countries from all sources.
Opening the Summit, U.N. Secretary General Antonio Guterres explained that the SDGs were not merely a list of goals but a set of ideals that carry the hopes, dreams, aspirations, and expectations of people everywhere.
Adopted through consensus, it was a Political Declaration reaffirming the commitment of all 193-member states to effectively implement the 2030 Agenda and its SDGs and to uphold all principles enshrined therein.
U.N. Chief Antonio Guterres says, “The SDGs need a global rescue plan. I am deeply encouraged by the detailed and wide-ranging political declaration under discussion here today, especially its commitment to improving developing countries’ access to the fuel required for SDG progress: finance. This includes your clear support for an SDG stimulus of at least $500 billion a year as well as an effective debt-relief mechanism that supports payment suspensions, longer lending terms, and lower rates. It includes your call to re-capitalize and change the business model of Multilateral Development Banks so they can massively leverage private finance at affordable rates to benefit developing countries. And it includes your endorsement of reforming today’s outdated, dysfunctional and unfair international financial architecture. This can be a game-changer in accelerating SDG progress.”
United Nations SDG Summit | Opening address by Sec Gen Antonio Guterres:
The political declaration comes in the context of only 15% of targets within the goals being on-track with many going in reverse – think no poverty, zero hunger, gender equality or climate action – and a message here that instead of leaving no-one behind, the international community risked leaving the SDGs behind.
South Africa’s President Cyril Ramaphosa, speaking at a leader’s dialogue, called the Summit vital in reviving and accelerating progress.
“The world’s poorest and most vulnerable people are carrying the cost of our collective inability to significantly advance the Sustainable Development Goals. We therefore need urgent action to reverse the devastating impact of the COVID-19 as well. We need to step up actions against climate change, pollution and biodiversity loss. At the same time, we must recognise that every country has the right to pursue its own development pathway towards shared global objectives.”
He warned that national efforts to eradicate poverty required a conducive financial architecture, the need for a fairer rules-based global trading system that gives developing economies equal access to world markets and welcomed further efforts towards debt restructuring and grant financing.
“South Africa joins the call to address the fundamental development challenges that have long characterised our unequal world. This requires targeted investment, technology transfer, and capacity-building support, especially in key areas such as industrialisation, infrastructure, agriculture, water, energy, education, and health. It will also require predictable as well as sustained financial support, including supportive trade policies, from the international community. Ultimately, the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals depends on the fundamental reform of global social, economic, and political relations.”
As the clock ticks, there’s only seven years remaining before the 2030 deadline.
SDG Summit | Sustainable Development Goals are in peril – UNGA acknowledges: