A bold new global agenda to end poverty by 2030 and pursue a sustainable future was unanimously adopted today by the 193 Member States of the United Nations at the start of a three-day Summit on Sustainable Development.
The historic adoption of the new Sustainable Development Agenda, with 17 global goals at its core, was met with a thunderous standing ovation from delegations that included many of the more than 150 world leaders who will be addressing the Summit.
It was a scene that was, and will be, transmitted to millions of people around the world through television, social media, radio, cinema advertisements, and cell phone messages.
Ushering in a new era of national action and international cooperation, the new agenda commits every country to take an array of actions that would not only address the root causes of poverty, but would also increase economic growth and prosperity and meet people’s health, education and social needs, while protecting the environment.
Speaking at the opening ceremony of the Summit, the United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said: “The new agenda is a promise by leaders to all people everywhere. It is a universal, integrated and transformative vision for a better world.”
“It is an agenda for people, to end poverty in all its forms,” he added. “It is an agenda for shared prosperity, peace and partnership (that) conveys the urgency of climate action (and) is rooted in gender equality and respect for the rights of all. Above all, it pledges to leave no one behind.”
“The true test of commitment to Agenda 2030 will be implementation. We need action from everyone, everywhere. Seventeen Sustainable Development Goals are our guide. They are a to-do list for people and planet, and a blueprint for success,” ended the Secretary-General.
The new Sustainable Development Goals build on the goal-setting agendas of United Nations conferences and the widely successful Millennium Development Goals that have improved the lives of millions of people. The new agenda recognizes that the world is facing immense challenges, ranging from widespread poverty, rising inequalities and enormous disparities of opportunity, wealth and power to environmental degradation and the risks posed by climate change.
“Never before have world leaders pledged common action and endeavor across such a broad and universal policy agenda,” states the Declaration adopted by the leaders. “We are setting out together on the path towards sustainable development, devoting ourselves collectively to the pursuit of global development and of ’win-win‘ cooperation which can bring huge gains to all countries and all parts of the world.”
The official adoption came shortly after Pope Francis addressed the General Assembly stating, “The adoption of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development at the World Summit, which opens today, is an important sign of hope. ”
General Assembly President Mogens Lykketoft called the 2030 Agenda on Sustainable Development “ambitious” in confronting the injustices of poverty, marginalization and discrimination. “We recognize the need to reduce inequalities and to protect our common home by changing unsustainable patterns of consumption and production. And, we identify the overwhelming need to address the politics of division, corruption and irresponsibility that fuel conflict and hold back development.”
The adoption ceremony was presided over by Danish Prime Minister Lars Løkke Rasmussen and Ugandan President Yoweri Kaguta Museveni, who stressed the successes of the Millennium Development Goals and the need for the full implementation of the new Agenda.
A representative of civil society, Salil Shetty, Secretary-General of Amnesty International said the public could not be blamed for being skeptical, as there was a gap between the “world we live in and the world we want.” He added that the Sustainable Development Goals “represented people’s aspirations and can, and must, be reached.”
DIALOGUES AND KEY EVENTS
During the course of the Summit, there were be six interactive dialogues around the following themes: ending poverty and hunger; tackling inequalities, empowering women and girls and leaving no one behind; fostering sustainable economic growth, transformation and promoting sustainable consumption and production; delivering on a revitalised global partnership; building effective, accountable and inclusive institutions to achieve sustainable development; and protecting our planet and combatting climate change. A short film series, “The Story You Are Shaping,” produced by HUMAN, on each of the themes of the interactive dialogues, were also premiered during the Summit.
A private sector forum, hosted by Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon on 26 September, focused on the role of the private sector in implementing the Sustainable Development Goals. A civil society high-level event focused on building political will for the implementation of the Summit’s outcome. A Solutions Summit, which took place on 27 September at the UN Headquarters, marked the beginning of a longer-term grassroots effort to highlight exceptional innovators – technologists, engineers, and scientists – who are developing solutions that address one or more of the 17 SDGs.
A number of side events also focused on specific initiatives. A calendar is available at www.un.org/sustainabledevelopment/un-2015-calendar.
Recognizing the success of the MDGs, countries agreed in “The Future We Want,” the outcome document of the UN Conference on Sustainable Development (Rio+20) in 2012, to establish an open working group to develop a set of sustainable development goals for consideration and appropriate action.
The Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), proposed by the Open Working Group, are the result of a three-year-long transparent, participatory process inclusive of all stakeholders and people’s voices. Many stakeholders, especially youth, were also involved from the beginning on social media and other platforms.
The 17 SDGs and 169 targets of the new agenda will be monitored and reviewed using a set of global indicators. The global indicator framework, to be developed by the Inter-Agency and Expert Group on SDG Indicators, will be agreed on by the UN Statistical Commission by March 2016. Governments will also develop their own national indicators to assist in monitoring progress made on the goals and targets.
The follow-up and review process will be undertaken on an annual basis by the High-Level Political Forum on Sustainable Development through a SDG Progress Report to be prepared by the Secretary-General.
The sustainable development agenda builds on the successful outcome of the Conference on Financing for Development that was held in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, in July this year. It is expected that it will also positively influence the negotiations towards a new, meaningful and universal agreement on climate change in Paris this December.
For further information, see http://www.un.org/sustainabledevelopment/summit/