2024 Session,
7th & 8th Meetings (AM & PM)

Accelerating Implementation of 2030 Agenda, Closing Digital Divide Focus, as Economic and Social Council Closes its Coordination Segment

The Economic and Social Council concluded its 2024 coordination segment today, bringing to close two days of conversations in which Member States as well as stakeholders from different parts of the United Nations system exchanged ideas on reinforcing the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and eradicating poverty through effective delivery of sustainable, resilient and innovative solutions.

In his closing remarks, Li Junhua, Under-Secretary-General for Economic and Social Affairs, Department of Economic and Social Affairs, reaffirmed that the entirety of the United Nations system stands ready to support countries in their efforts to expedite the implementation of the 2030 Agenda.  Outlining the many challenges facing the world in this era of poly-crisis, he noted that with the 2030 deadline just over six years away, “we are in a race against time.”  It is vital to combine political will, technology and resources.  The deliberations at the segment will inform collective efforts towards that, he said.

Mr. Akan Rakhmetullin (Kazakhstan), Vice-President of the Economic and Social Council responsible for the coordination segment, also echoed the call for transformative action, as he closed out the segment.  Recalling the many recommendations for coordination and the creation of multiplier effects, he highlighted the need for climate action, gender-responsive policies and the restoration of social and political trust.  Emphasizing the role of green technologies, he said that mature ones such as solar can provide straightforward solutions, while emerging technologies such as artificial intelligence (AI) and blockchain offer innovative solutions.  He also noted the solidarity of the Council’s subsidiary bodies, and hailed their global efforts in crime prevention, rule of law, public sector transformation, and promotion of science and technology, among others.

Earlier in the day, the Council held panel discussions on the following themes:  “Closing the digital divide towards achieving a global digital transformation” and “The Way Forward:  From the 2023 SDG Summit to the Summit of the Future.”  It also heard from the Executive Secretaries of regional commissions and the Chairs of functional commissions and expert bodies.  Many speakers expressed optimism about the possibilities offered by green and digital economies, while others urged the international community to address the humanitarian catastrophes unfolding right now.

The Executive Secretary of the Economic Commission for Africa (ECA) highlighted the need for high-integrity carbon markets that generate high-quality carbon credit.  “It does not make sense for African countries to sell carbon at less than $10 per ton when it is sold at more than $100 in Europe and other countries,” he asserted, also highlighting the regional battery and electric value chain that his Commission is helping to build in the continent.

The notion of “leaving no one behind”, the Executive Secretary of Economic and Social Commission for Western Asia (ESCWA) said, is not merely under threat, it is about to lose all credibility.  The devastation in Yemen, Libya, Sudan, Syria, and particularly in Gaza, where 25,000 lives have been lost, half of them children, is destabilizing societies.  Break this cycle of conflict, she appealed.

Opening Remarks

ARRMANATHA CHRISTIAWAN NASIR (Indonesia), Vice-President of the Economic and Social Council and Chair of the Coordination Segment, pointed out this year’s segment is taking place at a watershed moment against the backdrop of unprecedented circumstances and multiple crises affecting a world already weakened by a pandemic of historic proportion. Protracted conflicts and the war in Ukraine have worsened looming food, energy, financial and economic crises; years of progress on the Sustainable Development Goals have been reversed; and poverty and hunger have increased, he detailed.  For the first time on record, the global Human Development Index has declined two years in a row, reversing hard won development gains, and the International Monetary Fund (IMF) has projected global growth to fall from 3.4 per cent in 2022 to 2.9 per cent in 2023.  Despite these challenges, the Council cannot be pessimistic.  It must be ready to leave its comfort zone and carry out its work beyond business as usual, he emphasized, underscoring that the situation’s gravity requires it to revitalize, energize and galvanize the international community, to work in solidarity and take concrete action.

The Council’s efforts to realize the vision of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and implement the Global Goals must be its utmost priority, he continued.  As the Sustainable Development Goal Summit in September 2023 is a judgement day for this commitment to global development, the Council must help make that moment into one which turns the tide and shifts the world onto a path to overcome crises and achieve the Global Goals.  There must be concrete actions that make a real difference to the life of people on the ground around the world, he emphasized, calling for funding for development and the Global Goals to supersede funding for conflict.  “The ECOSOC system’s work is a critical instrument at the disposal of Member States to create transformative action towards the Goals,” he said.

Turning to today’s meetings, he shared that the Council will hear from the Chairs of its functional commissions and expert bodies, Executive Secretaries of the regional commissions and heads of United Nations system entities on their respective work in implementing the 2030 Agenda. They will share proposals for transformative policies and initiatives to accelerate implementation as well as examples when they worked together to build on synergies among the Global Goals and overcome trade-offs.  He then voiced his hope that the transformative policies and initiatives identified will be presented to the high-level political forum in an annex to the President’s summary and will contribute to the Summit in September as well as other major events in 2023.  Encouraging all to take a critical look at the findings and recommendations before the Council, learn from national policies and ask the system to explore new areas or strengthen cooperation, he urged all to make the most of this segment for the good of humanity.

JOSÉ MANUEL SALAZAR-XIRINACHS, Executive Secretary, Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC), highlighting the unique challenges in his region, pointed to its “triple traps” — low capacity to grow, inequality and the limitations of institutional governance.  Climate shocks, such as hurricanes and heat waves, have resulted in a dynamic insufficiency to generate growth and, therefore, jobs in the region. At the same time, narco-trafficking, organized crime and increased political paralysis have affected the strength of Government institutions.  What needs to be done is crucial; so is how it is done, he said, adding that ECLAC’s key recommendation is to scale up productive development policies, especially in sectors associated with green growth, such as food security and sustainable tourism.  These sectors can form a key package that could provide a great environmental and economic push.  Further, it is necessary to invest in the care economy as well as reform the international financial architecture, he said.

GUY RYDER, Under-Secretary-General for Policy, speaking on behalf of United Nations Secretary General Antonio Guterres and addressing the Council in his new capacity for the first time, pointed to the Global Crisis Response Group on Food, Energy and Finance that protects the most vulnerable from the impacts of the war in Ukraine.  To scale up the recovery from COVID-19, several initiatives are now in full implementation mode:  the Global Accelerator on Jobs and Social Protection for Just Transitions, the Transforming Education Summit and the Youth Office.  The Secretary-General has called for early warning systems to protect people and livelihoods from hazards, especially those resulting from climate change. This year, the Sustainable Development Goals Summit in September will be a key moment to refocus the transformative plan for action.  Other high-level events in 2023 will offer opportunities to harness the interlinkages among the Global Goals, optimize approaches and reinforce cooperation at all levels to accelerate key transitions at the half-way mark of the 2030 Agenda.  The Sustainable Development Goals Summit will open pathways to the 2024 Summit of the Future, which are complementary to the “Our Common Agenda” proposal.  “Let us work together to make 2023 the year we truly unleash the power of multilateralism towards a sustainable future for all,” he declared.

ARMIDA SALSIAH ALISJAHBANA, Executive Secretary, Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP), acknowledged that her region will achieve less than half the necessary progress on the SDGs. Stressing the need for enabling policy and regulatory regimes, she said it is vital to leverage digital innovation for sustainable development in the region.  The region is a hub for digitally driven innovation, which can supercharge sustainable development, she said, adding that there is fertile ground for further development.  However, to fully harness this potential, it is necessary to mobilize regional digital cooperation.  Complementary and enabling policy environments are also important, she said, adding that States must focus on lifelong digital learning and in-demand marketable digital skills.  Stressing the need to include multiple stakeholders in the development of Government policy, she called on the United Nations to share good practices to ensure this.

CLAVER GATETE, Executive Secretary, Economic Commission for Africa (ECA), speaking via videoconference, said that the upcoming tenth session of the Africa Regional Forum on Sustainable Development — set to take place in Cairo from 23-25 April 2024 — holds “unparalleled significance for the continent”.  It will not only provide crucial inputs into the high-level political forum, but it will also offer an unprecedented platform to advance the outcomes of the 2023 SDG Summit and generate Africa’s regional inputs for the Summit of the Future. Spotlighting the Commission’s initiatives, he acknowledged that “Africa needs to generate additional resources from its natural wealth”.  To this end, States should develop and sustain high-integrity carbon markets that generate high-quality carbon credit.  “It does not make sense for African countries to sell carbon at less than $10 per ton when it is sold at more than $100 in Europe and other countries,” he asserted. In addition, he noted the “immense potential” of the Great Blue Wall Initiative to secure about 100 million tons of blue carbon and create 1 to 2 million blue jobs by 2030.  ECA is also currently working with the Governments of the Democratic Republic of the Congo and Zambia to build a regional battery and electric value chain that will enable Africa to tap into a lucrative market estimated to reach $46 trillion by 2050.

ANTONIO MANUEL REVILLA LAGDAMEO (Philippines), Chair of the Commission on the Status of Women at its sixty-eighth session, said that a review of the implementation of the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action reveals insufficient budget allocations for gender equality.  At its session in 2023, the Commission focused on innovation and technological change for achieving gender equality.  Digital technology is key to employment, education and social protection, among others.  Stressing the need to close the digital gender gap, he expressed concern that digital access has also perpetuated gender stereotypes and exacerbated inequalities through digital tools.  Outlining the Commission’s recommendations to tackle this, he said it is vital to prioritize digital equity and leverage financing for an inclusive digital transformation.  Governments must also foster gender-responsive science and technology education while promoting the full and meaningful leadership and employment of women in the technology sphere.

JOSELYNE KWISHAKA (Burundi), Vice-Chair-designate of the Commission for Social Development at its sixty-second session, underscored the need to identify solutions to eradicate poverty, tackle inequality and accelerate the implementation of the 2030 Agenda.  In this context, she stressed the importance of promoting a rights-based approach to social services and improving the implementation of evidence-based policies for effective and fair distribution of services that ensure universal health and social protection coverage and quality education for all.  In terms of poverty eradication, a particular focus must be placed on sub-Saharan Africa, she said, noting that it accounts for the majority of the world’s poor and the numbers are increasing.  Sub-Saharan Africa is also extremely vulnerable to the effects of climate change, as almost 6 in 10 people live in rural areas, of whom 90 per cent depend on agriculture for their livelihoods.  Rural development and support to agriculture are critical to poverty eradication in this region, she emphasized.

PHILBERT JOHNSON (Ghana), Chair of the Commission on Narcotic Drugs at its sixty-seventh session, stressed the need for scientific, evidence-based multidisciplinary drug policies.  Highlighting the four resolutions adopted at its session in 2023, he said they cover a wide range of topics, such as the need to promote alternative development as a development-oriented drug control strategy that is sustainable and inclusive.  The Commission also adopted a text on strengthening information-sharing, he said, stressing that it is vital to accelerate the implementation of all existing commitments. He has launched an initiative to mobilize Member State commitment to concrete actions, he said, adding that the Commission will actively participate in the preparations for the 2024 high-level political forum and the Summit of the Future.

ROLA DASHTI, Executive Secretary, Economic and Social Commission for Western Asia (ESCWA), said that, “today, fundamental tenets such as respect for human rights, the notion of leaving no one behind, principles of inclusivity, and intergenerational justice are not merely under threat — they are on the brink of losing all credibility”.  Nowhere is this more evident than in the Arab region, where the very fabric of society is unravelling under the strain of wars, persistent conflicts, and crises.  The devastation in Yemen, Libya, Sudan, Syria, and particularly the recent war on Gaza, where 25,000 lives have been lost, half of them children, is a stark reminder of the catastrophic humanitarian crisis the world is facing. The destruction of essential infrastructure and the increasing number of disabled individuals further exacerbate the situation.  Accordingly, ESCWA is urgently collaborating with regional and local partners to address the immediate and long-term consequences of these conflicts.  “These challenges are not merely hindering progress; they are destabilizing societies and jeopardizing the future of millions,” she cautioned, underscoring the dire need for the international community to come together to broker a sustainable peace in Palestine and break the cycle of conflict.  “Without peace, our efforts towards economic prosperity and social empowerment in the Arab region are at risk,” she asserted.

In the ensuing interactive discussion, delegates expressed appreciation for the work of various Commissions, with Mexico’s delegate highlighting the valuable role of the Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues as well as the Commission on Population and Development, especially given the latter’s contribution to reviewing the 2030 Agenda.  The representative of the Russian Federation expressed concern about the drop in the effectiveness of the work of the European Commission due to politicization and asked how best to strengthen effective tax cooperation.  Chile’s delegate acknowledged the important work of ECLAC and recalled the special meeting it conducted on the future of work last week in Santiago.

Responding to questions and comments, Paloma Merodio Gomez, Vice-President of the National Institute of Statistics and Geography of Mexico and Co-Chair of the Committee of Experts on Global Geospatial Information Management at its thirteenth session, said that the high-level forum of the Committee will take place in Mexico, between 8-10 October 2024, focusing on achieving resilience. 

Matthew Gbonjubola, Director of Tax Policy and Advisory Department, Federal Inland Revenue Service of Nigeria and Co-Chair of the Committee of Experts on International Cooperation in Tax Matters at its twenty-seventh session, said the Committee can be of good use to the General Assembly, including through the implementation of its resolutions.

Ana Cristina Amoroso das Neves, Head of Internet Governance Office, Portuguese National Research & Education Network and Chair of the Commission on Science and Technology for Development at its twenty-seventh session, stressed the need to better acknowledge what the other Commissions are doing in the digital component, in science and technology.  Calling for better impact, implementation and coordination, she spotlighted her Commission’s initiatives to support vulnerable groups.

Ms. Molcean focused on environmental challenges, underlining the need to progress on all SDGs.  To reach sustainable development, it is crucial to engage all actors, including civil society, youth organizations and local authorities, she added.

Also speaking were Duane Pfund, International Program Coordinator, Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration of the United States Department of Transportation and Chair of the Committee of Experts on the Transport of Dangerous Goods and on the Globally Harmonized System of Classification and Labelling of Chemicals for 2023-2024; Pierre Jaillard, President of the National Toponymy Commission of France and Chair of the United Nations Group of Experts on Geographical Names at its 2023 session; Geraldine Fraser-Moleketi, Chancellor of Nelson Mandela University and Chair of the Committee of Experts on Public Administration at its twenty-second session; Sanjeev Kumar Singhal, Central Council Member and Chair, Auditing and Assurance Standards Board of the Institute of Chartered Accountants of India, Chair of the Intergovernmental Working Group of Experts on International Standards of Accounting and Reporting at its fortieth session; Laura-Maria Craciunean-Tatu, Associate Professor at the Lucian Blaga University of Sibiu, Romania, and Chair of the Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights at its seventy-fourth and seventy-fifth sessions; Dario Mejia Montalvo, Political Scientist, National University of Colombia and Chair of the Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues at its twenty-second session; Ivo Šrámek, Permanent Representative of the Czech Republic to the United Nations in Vienna and Chair of the Commission on Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice at its thirty-third session; and Noemí Espinoza Madrid, Deputy Head of Mission, Embassy of Honduras in China, and Chair of the Commission on Population and Development at its fifty-seventh session.

Discussion on Closing the Digital Divide

In the afternoon, the Council held two panel discussions, the first titled “Closing the digital divide towards achieving a global digital transformation”.  Moderated by Amandeep Singh Gill, United Nations Secretary-General’s Envoy on Technology, the panel featured presentations by:  Paloma Merodio Gomez, Vice-President of the National Institute of Statistics and Geography of Mexico and Co-Chair of the Committee of Experts on Global Geospatial Information Management at its thirteenth session; Silvia Montoya, Director of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) Institute for Statistics and Co-Chair of the Committee of the Chief Statisticians of the United Nations System for 2023 spring meeting; and Tomas Lamanauskas, Deputy Secretary-General, International Telecommunication Union (ITU).

Mr. LAMANAUSKAS, recalling the fear and excitement generated by the emergence of artificial intelligence (AI), said “fear usually sells better”, as demonstrated by the recent popular movie, Leave the World Behind.  AI can help mitigate up to 10 per cent of global greenhouse gas emissions by 2030 and can accelerate progress on 70 per cent of all Sustainable Development Goal targets.  This impact is not mere statistics; it’s about real people, he said, highlighting the story of a farmer in Senegal who uses satellite data to support his small-hold farm.  Acknowledging the risks posed by emerging technologies, he pointed to misinformation, deep fakes and biases that are perpetuated online.  There are also environmental concerns because these technologies are “power-hungry as well as water-thirsty”, he said, adding that this calls for appropriate governance models.  Further, 2.6 billion people are still unconnected, he said, adding that equitable access to AI is impossible when only a handful of front-runner countries possess nearly half of all AI-related publications and titles. 

Ms. MONTOYA, underscoring the power of data, said it is vital to bring together Governments, tech companies, civil society, donors and others to use data ethically to revolutionize decision-making and accelerate digital transformation.  Data offers new economic opportunities for a more equal and sustainable world, she said, calling for more transparent approaches to financing data systems.  Collaborations between countries and donors must move away from the current fragmentation to a more holistic approach where the aim is to drive progress on the SDGs.  Research shows an average return of $32 for every dollar invested in strengthening data systems in low and middle-income countries, she said.  However, possibly because official statistics are disseminated as a public good, their value is not well understood.  Stressing the importance of strong institutions and political leadership, she said the 2030 Agenda has provided a unique opportunity to make the case to countries to develop international statistical systems and put into place national data infrastructure.

Ms. GOMEZ said that it is, sadly, the most vulnerable countries that continue to face the greatest challenges in collecting, analysing, maintaining and using timely and reliable geospatial and other location-based data.  Stressing the need to increase the availability of high-quality data, disaggregated by geographic location and other metrics, she said it is necessary to enshrine geospatial information in the global development agenda.  She said that her Committee is playing a crucial role in setting the agenda for the development of geospatial information globally.  The accessibility and use of location-based technologies and analytical methods have the potential to reduce educational divides in the coming decade.  Geospatial information can also be used to create maps and other visualizations that can identify areas that lack access to basic services.  Her Committee promotes partnerships that can fill the blank spots on the map, both literally and figuratively.  It is also overseeing the delivery of a number of “keyword programmes” that will improve the availability and accessibility of geospatial information by all Member States, she said.

During the interactive dialogue that followed, delegates stressed the need to close the digital gap and outlined national plans to that effect, while also raising ethical and security concerns.  The representative of the European Union, speaking in its capacity as observer, said it is impossible to talk about a meaningful digital transformation as long as there are people without access to the Internet.  He highlighted the Union’s Global Gateway initiative but also cautioned that access alone is not enough; it is vital to ensure that the digital transformation is inclusive and empowering for women and other vulnerable groups.  Chile’s delegate pointed to the risk of cybersecurity threats while Mexico’s delegate raised the question of ensuring privacy online.  She also asked the panelists to comment on three priority areas that the Global Digital Compact must contain.  China’s delegate called for deeper solidarity in creating a global digital infrastructure.

Responding, Ms. GOMEZ said that access must be a priority area in the Global Digital Compact, from urban streets to fields in the village.  Ms. MONTOYA added that infrastructure is crucial to that — both in terms of hardware and human capital.  She also stressed the need for ethical standards to regulate content online.  Mr. LAMANAUSKAS, noting that some countries are covered by mostly 5G networks, while others have no coverage at all, said that an inclusive, participatory approach is crucial to sustainable digital transformation.  There are also usage gaps even when there is infrastructure; so it is crucial to build digital skills, he stressed.

Discussion on the Way Forward: From the 2023 SDG Summit to Summit of Future

The second panel discussion of the afternoon was on “The Way Forward: From the 2023 SDG Summit to the Summit of the Future”.  Moderated by Akan Rakhmetullin (Kazakhstan), Vice-President of the Economic and Social Council responsible for the coordination segment, the panel featured presentations by:  Sakiko Fukuda-Parr, Professor of International Affairs, The New School and Chair of the Committee for Development Policy at its twenty-fifth session; Matthew Gbonjubola, Director, Tax Policy and Advisory Department, Federal Inland Revenue Service of Nigeria and Co-Chair of the Committee of Experts on International Cooperation in Tax Matters at its twenty-seventh session; Celeste Saulo, Secretary General, World Meteorological Organization (WMO); Amandeep Singh Gill, UN Secretary-General’s Envoy on Technology; and Robert Powell, Director of New York Office, International Monetary Fund (IMF).

Ms. FUKUDA-PARR, focusing on how to enact sustainable, resilient and innovative solutions to turbocharge the SDGs and leave no one behind, said “in a transformation as complex as the one we are trying to achieve with the 2030 Agenda, and in the midst of the climate crisis, the low-hanging fruit will only take us so far”.  A just transition to low carbon economies is not only a matter of equity and justice but is also necessary to ensure sustained climate action over time.  This also applies internationally.  A globally just transition requires countries to meet their climate commitments and ensure that in doing so they do not push poorer countries further behind by creating barriers to trade and constraining policy space.  In a rapidly changing international environment characterized by multidimensional crisis and an unprecedented degree of technological change, outdated dogmas cannot serve as the basis for policymaking.  She underscored that the tools exist to build innovation ecosystems that effectively support both innovation and mobilize rather than stifle the immense innovative potential in the Global South.

Mr. POWELL said the world is growing more shock-prone and fragmented.  Growth in low-income developing countries remains too weak to put these countries back on the path of income convergence.  Poverty and inequality are worsening, gender gaps may never close, and high debt and a liquidity squeeze are limiting policy space for many countries to reverse these and other worrying trends.  Accordingly, the UN system should send a strong signal that countries need to take decisive measures to support strong domestic reforms to unlock more inclusive growth, ensure sustainable revenue mobilization, and improve governance and transparency.  Domestic resources remain the bedrock of sustainable development and macroeconomic buffers must be restored after the recent global shocks of conflict and the pandemic and to foster long-term resilience.  More efforts are also needed to cut non-priority spending and redirect financing towards health, education, well-targeted social safety nets and growth-enhancing public investments.  In this regard, the IMF continues to be the largest provider of capacity development for revenue mobilization.  Further, he emphasized that the UN system should help advanced economies to prioritize AI innovation and integration while developing robust regulatory frameworks to optimize benefits.

Mr. GBONJUBOLA said that history has proven that whatever happens in any nation — no matter how remote — has the potential of a spillover with global implications.  He underscored the need to ensure fair taxation that works for all so that every nation will benefit from revenue in its domestic space.  The tax Committee has spread across the globe fairness in taxation, ensuring inclusiveness.  It draws upon the most relevant ideas to develop appropriate solutions; equips developing countries with technical ability to combat base erosion and profit shifting, and illicit financial flows; and provides an opportunity for alternative views thereby allowing for plurality of ideas.  International tax cooperation will play a critical role in levelling the playing field by helping the world to build a fair global tax system that reliably generates sufficient revenue for development and places taxation as an enabler of the SDGs, he observed.

Ms. SAULO cited climate change as “the defining challenge of our time”, noting that 2023 was the hottest year on record, with the global average temperature being 1.45°C warmer than pre-industrial times.  “While this was only the temperature for one year rather than the long-term average referred to in the Paris Agreement, this is the first year our planet has come so close to the symbolic 1.5°C threshold,” she pointed out.  The true impacts of this headline figure are felt through the heat waves, floods, droughts, wildfires, storms and marine events that affected every continent in 2023.  These events cost lives, hurt livelihoods, damaged economies and undermined hard-won development gains, with developing countries and vulnerable communities being disproportionately affected.  “We stand at the intersection of inequality and climate change, and our strategies must reflect the urgency of our times,” she asserted.  The global meteorological community has a long history of strong and sustained international cooperation, exchanging science, data and working collaboratively on a near hourly basis for mutual benefit.  However, many developing countries national meteorological and hydrological services do not have the capacity to utilize these shared resources to maximize the power of prediction and provide tailored services that support food systems, health systems, energy systems, water systems, national infrastructure, cities and to enhance economic prosperity of businesses and individuals.  In this regard, she highlighted the importance of providing accessible finance to support national meteorological and hydrological services, to enhance tangible delivery across all SDGs.

Mr. GILL said that, in terms of domestic resource mobilization, there is a micro and macro aspect.  In some large developing economies, the use of data analytics has started to bump up tax collections every year.  He pointed out that hundreds of millions of people have come to the financial mainstream on the back of digital public infrastructure.  Citing technology as “a great enabler of progress” and “an important aspect of resilience”, he stressed that, in the absence of global disaster response, most people do not have early warning systems.  This leads to huge human and material cost.  If censors are put in place, leveraging some of the platforms available, resilience to climate change-induced disaster can be strengthened. In the context of the Summit of the Future, more emphasis should be placed on financing and development so more resources can be made available for distressed countries.  Innovation is the most important factor in reaching the SDGs, he observed, underlining the need to create opportunities for entrepreneurs to participate in the development process.

In the ensuing interactive dialogue, the representative of Nigeria, noting that corruption is a shared responsibility, not only an issue of the Global South or Africa, asked how the IMF can support the process of curbing this phenomenon.

The representative of Mexico said the future should be people-centred, highlighting the need to build an inclusive society based on the rule of law and strong international cooperation.  “The time has come to turn to action,” she asserted.

The representative of Canada said that it is not just a matter of what is in the document “Summit of the Future” but what States are willing to do to ensure progress.  In this regard, he stressed the need to take the process of national reports from the perspective of simply giving a narrative to establishing a standard or an objective process that Governments go through.  The critical problem facing many agreements is that they are not enforceable, he pointed out.

Responding, Mr. GBONJUBOLA underscored the importance of designing a tax system that serves all nations, no matter their level of development.  On the issue of illicit financial flow, he urged for non-selectivity in rules implementation.

Mr. POWELL highlighted the critical importance of domestic resources, adding that most emerging market economies could finance the additional spending needed to achieve the SDGs by domestic actions.

Ms. FAKUDA-PARR said the spirit of voluntary national reviews is a self-learning process to do something differently.  Calling for a new approach, she said that countries at risk of debt distress cannot get out of it due to accumulated debt.  Relatedly, multilateral mechanisms at place do not allow for adequate response to crises faced by countries today. 

Ms. SAULO said science provides concrete evidence and enables measuring different variables to see whether the international community is tackling the SDGs.

Mr. GILL, warning against “the middle-income trap”, said that, if countries do not invest in innovation ecosystems and create human resources around emerging technologies, they are undermining future growth.  This will make them less resilient to shocks. Accordingly, investments in digital technologies are investments in resilience, he pointed out.

For information media. Not an official record.