UN DESA Chief looks forward to HLPF 2019 Summit “to reaffirm our shared commitment to realize the SDGs by 2030”

Three years ago, the international community embarked on one of its most ambitious journeys yet, to achieve 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) for people and planet, within a fifteen-year timeframe. The ultimate goal; to eradicate poverty, eliminate inequalities and rid our planet of climate change.

Although the latest SDGs data reveal that countries around the world are making progress in a number of areas, and that people overall are living better lives than they did a decade ago, the current progress rate is not fast enough. In fact, in some areas, nations are even lagging, as they face growing global challenges.

Aimed at generating new ideas and initiatives to speed up progress on the goals, a high-level roundtable event was organized by the Permanent Missions of Azerbaijan, Belarus and Russia on 3 October.

Addressing the event, UN DESA’s Under-Secretary-General Liu Zhenmin described the enthusiasm and engagement for the SDGs, that he had witnessed during the recent 2018 High-level Political Forum in July. The Forum gathered some 2,200 participants, including more than 125 Ministers and Vice-Ministers, and 46 countries presented their Voluntary National Reviews.

“There was an overall sense that we are improving the situation of many people. But there was also a sense of alarm,” Mr. Liu said, referring to the recent Forum. “We still have a long way to go to reach the Goals, with little time left for action, just 12 years.”

During the roundtable discussion, Mr. Liu stressed the crucial role of partnerships to make global advancements, saying that “partnerships are at the core of the strategic efforts towards localizing the 2030 Agenda and amplifying the engagement of and capacity-building for all stakeholders.”

He also highlighted a new project launched by UN DESA this past July, the ‘Call for Submission of Good Practices‘ initiative, aimed at gathering success stories and lessons learned from global efforts to realize the goals.

“The collated stories will be reviewed by a dedicated inter-agency team coordinated by DESA, and the results will be made available online. I invite all here to take part in this endeavor and make our initiative truly value-added,” Mr. Liu said.

During the event, which was moderated by Elliott Harris, UN Chief Economist and UN DESA’s Assistant Secretary-General for Economic Development, and which brought together high-level representatives from the UN System, Member States, academia and civil society, Mr. Liu also stressed some upcoming opportunities to step up SDG action.

“Now we must look ahead in anticipation of the HLPF under the auspices of the General Assembly in 2019, which will be a meeting by Heads of State and Government,” he said. “We should use this summit of the HLPF to reaffirm our shared commitment to realize the SDGs by 2030, and pledge to step up our efforts in areas where we are lagging behind. In this connection, DESA as the HLPF secretariat will convene a UN task team to support the efforts.”

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