Opening Remarks by H.E. Mogens Lykketoft, President of the 70th session of the UN General Assembly, at the High Level Side Event: Mobilizing Generation Zero Hunger
Saturday, 26 September 2015
His Excellency, Mr. Michael D. Higgins, President of Ireland,
Distinguished guests and footballers, good afternoon.
I would like to begin by acknowledging, and indeed celebrating, the development progress which many of you have helped bring about these past 15 years.
Yesterday, however, we opened a new chapter in global efforts to eradicate poverty and hunger, and to create a world of shared prosperity, peace, sustainability.
The 2030 Agenda, is, in my view, nothing short of revolutionary – given its universal application, its ambition, and, above all, its analysis of the root causes of challenges we face in today’s world.
The global goal to end hunger, achieve food security and improve nutrition, is one of the most critical. While the number of people suffering from hunger in developing regions has fallen by half since 1990, there are still close to 800 million people undernourished worldwide, a majority children and youth.
Ensuring that women, men and children enjoy such basic rights as to food and water, and to live their lives in dignity, is a fundamental issue of justice.
It is also a complex one. The fact that hunger and undernutrition exist alongside obesity and overweight points both to an inequitable distribution of economic, social and political opportunities and to flaws in an economic model heavily dependent on consumption and the overuse of finite resources.
The urgency required and the complexity of this issue, demands an integrated and inclusive approach. I am therefore pleased to see that today’s High-level event is a continuation of the inclusive, transparent and bottom-up approach which was used to formulate this Agenda.
Governments must continue to play a leading role in making change happen. But without significant engagement from a multitude of actors, government action will simply not be enough.
And as young people have always been a force for transformative change, their drive will be crucial to SDG implementation as well. We need young people, like all of you with us today, to be both agents of changes and voices for change – ensuring accountability and implementation of commitments, policies and strategies that will affect your future.
During the year ahead, as President of the General Assembly, I will support member states and all actors to move from commitments to action.
In particular, I will convene three high level thematic events to mobilize action across the main pillars of the UN in support of the SDGs. The first of these, in April 2016, will focus on securing speedy implementation of commitments relating to the SDGs, climate change and related financing. Multi-stakeholder participation including of young people, will be central, as we look to inspire diverse actors to form partnerships and broad alliances in support of all of the SDGs, including on hunger, food security and nutrition.
The task ahead of Generation zero hunger is tremendous, but so too are the opportunities for action and transformation.
Your commitment, your energy and your engagement will be crucial.
I thank you.