World leaders on September 18, met for the opening day of the 2023 SDG (Sustainable Development Goals) Summit at the United Nations. The World leaders adopted a political declaration to accelerate action to achieve the 17 goals, which aim to drive economic prosperity and well-being for all people while protecting the environment.
António Guterres, the Secretary-General of the United Nations said, “The SDGs aren’t just a list of goals. They carry the hopes, dreams, rights and expectations of people everywhere.” In his opening remarks, the UN Secretary-General, António Guterres, called for ending hunger, switching to renewable energy, spreading digitization and education, and full gender equality rights.
The Deputy Prime Minister of the Russian Federation, Alexei Overchuk, was also one of many dignitaries to speak at the Summit. Overchuk commented on the role of the Eurasian Economic Union (EAEU) in helping member states achieve certain sustainable development goals. “The main objective is to improve the well-being of the citizens of its member states,” he said. “To this end, work is underway to form common markets of the EAEU in certain areas of cooperation without exceptions or restrictions.”
Meanwhile, France’s Minister for Europe and Foreign Affairs, Catherine Colonna, commented in her speech to delegates on factors that have undermined progress towards the sustainable development goals.
“The fragile progress made has been undermined by wars such as the war of aggression launched by Russia and Ukraine, by pandemics, climate change… and therefore vulnerable people, particularly women and girls, are systematically paying the highest price,” she said.
Colonna said France was one of the highest donors of ODA (official development assistance) in 2022 and praised the Paris Pact for People and the Planet for launching new momentum towards an environmental transition.
She concluded by calling for the upcoming 2024 Paris Olympic Games to contribute to “progressing the SDGs.”
On the other hand, sixty state representatives met to discuss “Renewed Effort for Middle East Peace on the opening day of the summit. The meeting was co-organized with the Foreign Ministers of Egypt, Jordan, Saudi Arabia and the Secretary General of the Arab League.
In order to reinvigorate this process and in order not to finish a meeting and forget about it. We have launched three senior-level working groups that will be completely collaborating on bilateral, regional and global approaches. They will start in one month from now in Brussels,” said European Union High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Josep Borrell Fontelles.
Focus of the Summit
The 2023 SDG Summit is aiming to begin a new phase of accelerated progress towards the Sustainable Development Goals with high-level political guidance on transformative and accelerated actions leading up to 2030. It also marks the half-way point to the deadline set for achieving the 2030 Agenda and the Sustainable Development Goals.
World leaders adopted the SDGs in 2015, promising to leave no one behind. The goals include ending extreme poverty and hunger, ensuring access to clean water and sanitation, as well as green energy, and providing quality universal education and lifelong learning opportunities.
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.
Each of the 17 goals contains targets, with 169 overall, however, currently only 15 per cent are on track, while many are going in reverse. In such a scenario, the political declaration “can be a game-changer in accelerating SDG progress”.
(Input from Reuters)