General Assembly hands over draft global sustainability agenda to UN Member States

Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon addresses the General Assembly. President of the Assembly Sam Kutesa is at right. UN Photo/Devra Berkowitz

1 September 2015 – The United Nations General Assembly today approved a resolution sending the draft ‘2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development’ to Member States for adoption later this month, bringing the international community “to the cusp of decisions that can help realize the… dream of a world of peace and dignity for all,” according to Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon.

“Today is the start of a new era. We have travelled a long way together to reach this turning point,” declared Mr. Ban, recounting the path the international community has taken over the 15 years since the adoption of the landmark Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) towards crafting a set of new, post-2015 sustainability goals that will aim to ensure the long-term well-being of our planet and its people.

With world leaders expected to adopt the text at a 25-27 September summit in New York, the UN chief said Agenda 2030 aims high, seeking to put people at the centre of development; foster human well-being, prosperity, peace and justice on a healthy planet and pursue respect for the human rights of all people and gender equality.

“It speaks to all people in all countries, and calls for action from everyone everywhere. It aims to inspire and create genuine partnerships among all countries and actors,” said Mr. Ban, underscoring that the Agenda prioritizes the vulnerable and marginalized, vowing to leave no one behind, marking a paradigm shift that would complete the unfinished business of the MDGs and lift the level of ambition and tackle emerging issues and challenges.

The Agenda and its adoption later this month mark the culmination of a series of watershed events in 2015, including Third International Conference on Financing for Development, in Addis Ababa in July, and efforts to forge a new path forward on climate change the 21st meeting of the parties to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), widely referred to as COP-21 in Paris in December.

“Together, they are foundational steps to begin implementing the 2030 Agenda,” the Secretary-General explained, adding that those meetings will be followed by next year by further crucial steps, including the World Humanitarian Summit in Istanbul in May, the Habitat III, Conference in Quito in October and the special session of the UN General Assembly on the World Drug Problem.

“At this month’s Summit, we expect Heads of State and Government to not only endorse the new Agenda but to affirm their strong political commitment to its timely implementation. I am delighted that more than 150 world leaders as well as His Holiness Pope Francis will join us to start this new era for sustainable development, said the UN chief, adding: “We must all now act with utmost ambition – and mobilize maximum political will.”

In his remarks, General Assembly president Sam Kutesa said the spirit with which the outcome document was formulated and agreed by consensus is a triumph for multilateralism. “We have proven that the global community can work together to address pressing issues facing humanity, while making the necessary commitments for the benefit of all.”

The 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), the main component of the new development framework, are comprehensive and address the social, economic and environmental dimensions of sustainable development in an integrated way, he said, and while the new Goals will be universally applicable, there is also recognition of national circumstances, different levels of development and the needs of countries in special situations, particularly the least developed countries (LDCs), landlocked developing countries, small Island developing States (SIDS) and Africa.

“As I have underscored before, the task ahead will be to ensure successful implementation of the new development agenda, once adopted. In this context, integrating it into our respective national development plans, mobilizing adequate financial resources, technology development and transfer and capacity building and ensuring effective follow-up and review will be critical.”

The international community and citizens around the world have waited for this moment with anticipation and great expectations, continued Mr. Kutesa. By adopting the draft resolution and transmitting the outcome document to the Summit for adoption of the post-2015 development agenda, “we will have taken an important step towards putting our world on a more prosperous, inclusive and sustainable path.”

“As we embark on this collective journey, we have to uphold the pledge that no one will be left behind.”

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