The well-being of people around the world, the health of our planet and the survival of future generations depend on our willingness to come together around a commitment to problem-solving and collective action, said the UN chief António Guterres.
The meeting, the first of five thematic meetings held at UN Headquarters on this agenda, was dedicated to the acceleration and scaling up of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
With only eight years until 2030, and with COVID-19 driving the world further off track, the UN chief said that the report’s recommendations aim to get the world “back on track” towards achieving the SDGs.
“Each proposal will promote progress across other goals, and indeed our broader pursuit of peace and human rights”.
It calls for a New Global Deal to share power, wealth and opportunities more broadly at the international level, and allow developing countries to focus their resources on sustainable, inclusive development.
He recalled that the COVID-19 pandemic continues to wreak havoc. The situation with the global financial system affects most of humanity. Inequality is skyrocketing, undermining the implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Many animal and plant species are disappearing faster than ever before. Actions taken to combat climate change are too slow to avert catastrophe.
“The New Global Deal will rebalance power and financial resources, enabling developing countries to invest in the 2030 Agenda and the SDGs”, he said.
Noting that he has no intention of duplicating or changing existing processes, the head of the UN stressed that the time had come to speed them up and adapt them to more complex modern realities. The report, as the Secretary-General noted, contains a number of proposals that require decisions by member states, as well as significant additional work by the entire UN system.
The UN chief highlighted three issues “at the heart of our commitment” to leave no one behind, that require urgent action.
First, he described the current learning crisis, as “a disaster first and foremost for the world’s young people…[with] very serious implications for the future of our societies”.
Without functioning education systems, he said that the world would not be able to meet the needs of labour markets, advance gender equality and human rights, or strengthen democratic institutions.
To address this, a Transforming Education Summit will be held in September to reignite a collective commitment to education and lifelong learning as a pre-eminent public good; mobilize action to recover lost progress, and promote a reimagining of education and innovation.
The Deputy Secretary-General will lead Summit preparations and Mr. Guterres will be appointing a Special Adviser in the coming weeks.