Progress has been made on achieving global goals to end poverty and hunger but meeting the targets by the deadline of 2030 will require a laser-sharp focus and a true sense of urgency, a key United Nations forum on sustainable development heard on Monday.
“We have only 12 more years to fully realize this transformative agenda, but these goals are absolutely within our reach,” said Liu Zhenmin, UN Under-Secretary-General of Economic and Social Affairs, in his opening remarks.
“It will require policy makers’ unwavering attention, a laser-sharp focus on implementation of these goals, and a true sense of urgency,” he added.
The UN High-level Political Forum on Sustainable Development (HLPF), which will run through 18 July, brings together more than a thousand government, business and civil society leaders.
They will discuss progress already made by dozens of countries towards the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) – adopted by 193 Member States in 2015 – in an effort to find out what is and what is not working, based on the UN Secretary-General’s annual progress report.
“It has been three years since world leaders committed to end poverty and hunger, to protect our planet, to foster peaceful societies, and to unleash economic, social and technological progress –and in implementing this vision they committed to reach those furthest behind,” Mr. Liu said.
Many people are indeed living better lives than they were a decade ago, even in regions facing the greatest development challenges. The proportion of the world’s workers and their families now living below the extreme poverty line has declined significantly, from 27 per cent in 2000 to 9 per cent m 2017, he noted.
“However, drought and disasters linked to climate change, and surging conflicts in parts of the world, are hindering faster progress,” he said.
The Forum meets annually under the auspices of ECOSOC, including a three-day ministerial segment, and is due to meet once every four years at the level of Heads of State and Government under the auspices of the UN General Assembly.
Under the theme “Transformation towards sustainable and resilient societies”, this year’s Forum focuses on six of the 17 goals:
Goal 6: To ensure availability and sustainable management of water and sanitation for all.
Goal 7: To provide access to affordable, reliable, sustainable and modern energy for all.
Goal 11: To make cities and human settlements inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable.
Goal 12: To ensure sustainable consumption and production patterns.
Goal 15. To protect, restore and promote sustainable use of terrestrial ecosystems, sustainably manage forests, combat desertification, and halt and reverse land degradation and biodiversity loss.
Goal 17. To strengthen the means of implementation and revitalize the Global Partnership for Sustainable Development, that will be considered each year.