Inspiring initiatives, partnerships and action to drive SDG implementation

Strategic Plan of the Office of the President of the General Assembly

Introduction

The historic 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development was adopted by all 193 Member States of the United Nations on 25 September 2015.  It presented the world with a masterplan for humanity to achieve a sustainable way of life on this planet. It is grounded in the principle of leaving no-one behind.

The persistently high levels of extreme poverty, the accelerating effects of climate change, the proliferation of violent conflicts, and the significant increase in numbers of refugees and migrants, demonstrate the stakes are high for humanity in the 21st century, and that determined implementation of the 2030 Agenda is urgent business for the global community.

For this reason, when taking his oath of office on 13 September 2016, the President of the 71st Session of the General Assembly of the United Nations, H.E. Mr Peter Thomson, made a firm commitment to push forward meaningful progress in the implementation of each of the 2030 Agenda’s 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) during the 71st session.  This commitment is rooted in his belief that only through the attainment of sustainable development, as defined in the 17 SDGs, will sustainable peace and universal human rights be realized for humanity at large and, in turn, that sustainable development will only be achieved by sustaining peace and realizing human rights.

Strengthening Momentum for SDG Implementation

Under the theme “The Sustainable Development Goals: A Universal Push to Transform our World”, President Thomson is calling upon all actors, globally, regionally, nationally and at community levels, to view our world through the lens of sustainability, human dignity and equity.  He will focus his energies and that of his team on three tracks.

 

A) Raising the global public’s awareness of the critical importance of SDG implementation

The SDGs can only be successfully implemented if the global public is fully aware of the commitments made by their Governments in September 2015, if they see the SDGs as both rights and responsibilities, and if individuals and societies accept that the SDGs are the best path towards attaining sustainability.

The President and his team will therefore seek to raise the global public’s awareness of the critical importance of SDG implementation by promoting the inclusion of the SDGs on the school curricula of every country in the world; by maximizing the impact of with traditional media  and online communication to bring the message of the SDGs to a new global audience; by engage youth activists in communities around the world and by engaging in high-level advocacy in events and workshops.

B) Strengthening momentum in the implementation of each of the 17 SDGs

The SDGs are universal, integrated and indivisible with progress on one goal being directly linked to progress on other goals. They recognize the specific challenges that vulnerable countries face in pursuing implementation.

With due regard to the integrity of the 2030 Agenda, the President will seek to mobilize early action on each of the 17 SDGs including in relation to finance and the means of implementation. He will engage with and convene key partners through high level events, technical workshops and policy meetings, tailored to the current status of action and alliances on each goal. He will emphasize the need for urgent action throughout ensuring that sound foundations are in place and that momentum is being generated on each of the goals by the end of the 71st session.

Key Dates

24 January
SDG Action event focusing on the connections between Sustaining Peace and the 2030 Agenda

April/May   
SDG Action event with a focus on Finance

June
Mandated UN Conference on Oceans (SDG 14)

July   
SDG Action event in the context of the High Level Political Forum

TBD   
SDG Action Regional Meetings with a focus on Poverty Eradication

C) Supporting the UN and related agencies in making their maximum contribution to SDG implementation at all levels

The United Nations system will play a crucial role in SDG implementation both on the ground and through dedicated follow-up processes at the global level. To do so, the UN system must adjust to the integrated and ambitious nature of the 2030 Agenda, improving its ability to both meet the expectations of Member States and engage with other actors to maximize its impact.

The President and his team will therefore create opportunities for member states to engage with the new Secretary-General and with members of the UN Chief Executive Board; take forward the process of re-aligning the agenda of the General Assembly with the 2030 Sustainable Development Agenda and work to strengthen the UN’s ability to engage with civil society, the private sector and other relevant actors in relation to SDG implementation.

 

Working methods

To assist him in strengthening momentum for each of the 17 SDGs, the President has appointed an SDG implementation team within his Office.  This team is led by Special Adviser Ambassador Dessima Williams, and is comprised of experts in outreach, funding and specific elements of the 2030 Agenda, including from the UN Secretariat and through secondees from the UNDP, World Bank Group, UNFPA, UNICEF and Member States. Expert assistance to the President and global advocacy is also being provided through the President’s appointment of Ambassador Macharia Kamau as Special Envoy on SDG Implementation and Climate Change.

Central to the remit of the SDG implementation team is the President’s directive for it to form action alliances with partners from all relevant sectors – governments, international financial institutions, multi-lateral bodies, regulatory authorities, the private sector, philanthropic foundations, civil society, women’s organizations, academia, local authorities and people everywhere – with a view to creating momentum for the SDGs that will not cease until the Goals are met. Sustainability of humanity’s way of life on this planet will only be achieved through universal participation in the implementation of the 2030 Agenda.

The principles to be applied in delivering on this strategy will be in line with the President’s Oath of Office and will include transparency, inclusiveness, impartiality, effectiveness and accountability. Attention will be given to regional balance and gender equality throughout the process.

 SDG implementation strategic plan

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