Achieving Sustainable Development Goals Possible if Game-Changing Policies Turn into Action, Senior Official Stresses, as High-Level Political Forum Concludes
Halfway to the 2030 deadline, the Sustainable Development Goals remain within reach if game-changing policies and solutions presented by speakers are translated into action, a senior United Nations official said today, as the high-level political forum on sustainable development — held under the auspices of the Economic and Social Council — concluded its discussion today.
Convened under the theme “Accelerating the recovery from the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) and the full implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development at all levels”, the forum — which opened on 10 July — explored policies and transformations needed to overcome the multiple crises that continue to threaten decades of progress made in development around the world. Particular emphasis was placed on trends and policies related to Sustainable Development Goal 6 (clean water and sanitation), Goal 7 (affordable and clean energy); Goal 9 (industry, innovation and infrastructure), Goal 11 (sustainable cities and communities) and Goal 17 (partnerships for the Goals and their linkages to other Goals).
Delivering closing remarks, Li Junhua, Under-Secretary-General for Economic and Social Affairs, said that the forum heard many shared calls for action, including for systemic changes in finance, climate action, gender equality, human rights, and other important areas. Discussions highlighted the importance of enhancing international collaboration and the need to unleash adequate financing, fight for true inclusivity and reach for pathways to more effective multilateralism. The forum also saw the engagement of young people in record numbers, he added.
“With seven years left to achieve the SDGs, major course correction is needed,” he pointed out, stressing however that the Goals can be achieved if action is taken on innovative policies mentioned during the forum. Urging all to take away the inspiring ideas from the forum towards the SDG Summit in September, he emphasized: “The world is counting on us to act, and we must act now and we must act together.”
Also delivering closing remarks, Lachezara Stoeva (Bulgaria), President of the Economic and Social Council, noted that the high-level political forum is a critical gathering place to share experiences and consider joined actions in support of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. She called for intensified efforts, more coordinated actions and a common vision for the future. This session achieved a good balance of gender representation, as well as a geographical representation, she said, reporting that about two thirds of the speakers were from the Global South.
The quality of interventions was extremely high, she noted, adding that more than 120 ministers and vice-ministers from all relevant fields participated. More so, as demonstrated by this session, engaging young people is an absolute imperative for meeting the Goals. With temperatures breaking records on every continent and inequality higher than ever, “we must have an honest conversation on where we are taking this planet in the decades ahead”, she emphasized.
At the outset, the forum adopted the draft report (document E/HLPF/2023/L.1), authorizing Ms. Stoeva to finalize it. The forum concluded with a performance by the New York City Sing for Hope children’s singing group.
The Economic and Social Council will reconvene at 10 a.m. Thursday, 20 July, for the final day of its high-level segment, as well as the conclusion of the general debate.
* The 17th and 18th meetings were not covered.