Eight years since pledging their commitment to the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) for 2030, global leaders have fallen significantly behind their promises. Only 15% of the targets set in 2015 have been achieved, revealing a gap in action towards sustainable development.
Speaking at the Sustainable Development Goals Summit 2023 held at the UN Headquarters in New York, UN Secretary-General, António Guterres expressed deep concerns. “Today, merely 15% of our targets have seen significant progress. Alarmingly, many are backtracking,” he remarked.
Notably, over 30% of the objectives remain stagnant or have even declined since 2015. Such setbacks, Guterres observed, have left populations grappling with the challenges of poverty, hunger, and the harsh consequences of climate change. If the current trend continues, by 2030, a staggering 575 million people worldwide will remain in extreme poverty.
While digital transformation holds promise for a brighter future, its benefits are not universally shared. Guterres stressed the importance of not leaving the SDGs and the global populace behind, urging for a comprehensive global rescue plan.
The summit, which witnessed participation from 193 UN Member States, business leaders, civil society representatives, scientists, and young activists, echoed the urgent need for accelerated efforts. An SDG stimulus fund of a whopping US Dollar 500 billion annually has been proposed to fuel more robust initiatives.
Guterres highlighted the UN’s latest undertaking – launching a digital transformation initiative across 100 nations, aiming at enhanced technological capabilities, improved governance, and fostering innovation.
Meanwhile, alarming reports underscore the gravity of the situation. Since 2020, millions have plunged into poverty. Annually, over 110 million people find themselves forcibly displaced. Inequalities, particularly among women and girls, have been exacerbated. The UN’s recent press statement underscored that developing nations and vulnerable populations are hit the hardest by these crises.
Brazil’s President, Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, urged nations to confront the triple threat of climate change, pollution, and biodiversity loss. He emphasized the production of green hydrogen for clean development and pledged to rigorously champion the rights of the LGBTQI+ community and persons with disabilities.
Conveying the essence of the SDGs, Guterres stated, “They encapsulate the hopes, dreams, and aspirations of people worldwide.”
In a renewed promise, global leaders adopted a robust, action-focused declaration emphasizing their unified resolve to usher in a sustainable, inclusive, and affluent world by 2030. The emphasis will be on securing financing for developmental pursuits.
Country-specific commitments towards SDG enhancement were presented, encompassing prioritized transitions, investment areas, setting milestones for poverty and inequality reduction by 2027, and fortifying institutional frameworks to back SDG advancement.
Representing the international community, Dr. Tandi Dorji, the Minister for Foreign Affairs and External Trade (MoFAET), will voice his perspectives at the UN General Assembly session on September 26.