We need a new multilateralism to shift the world to sustainable tracks

In September, world leaders will gather at the UN Headquarters in New York to signal how they will boost action to protect the planet and ensure the well-being of people, everywhere. Discussions and outcomes will seek to address climate change, accelerate progress on sustainable development and deliver results for the people who are being left behind.

The adoption of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development in 2015 was without a doubt one of the greatest triumphs of multilateralism in modern history. In an unprecedented show of unity, all Member States of the United Nations agreed on a common, comprehensive blueprint for eliminating extreme poverty, reducing inequality, and protecting the planet in a rapidly globalizing world.

Four years into this ambitious agenda, there are clear signs that the world has embraced the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Multiple Governments have placed them at the centre of their sustainable development plans and aligned their policies and institutions with the SDG targets.

“Globally speaking, there is good progress, but of course, there are still challenges, especially in sub-Saharan Africa and in the least developed countries (LDCs),” said UN Under-Secretary-General for Economic and Social Affairs, Liu Zhenmin. “We need to speed up and we need to accelerate action to implement all 17 SDGs.”

This September, the Member States of the United Nations will meet at the General Assembly in New York for a series of five summits and high-level meetings to boost action on climate change and accelerate progress on sustainable development, aimed at securing healthy, peaceful and prosperous lives for all.

The High-level Political Forum under the General Assembly auspices – also known as the SDG Summit – will be a critical opportunity to step up ambition for the Sustainable Development Goals. It will allow leaders from Governments and other sectors to identify how we can accelerate action to transform our societies and economies to ensure everyone, everywhere can achieve the SDGs by the 2030 deadline.

At the High-level Dialogue on Financing for Development, leaders from Government, business and civil society will address risks to financing the SDGs, mobilize action at all levels and generate high-impact initiatives to unlock the resources that are urgently needed to advance the SDGs.

The High-Level Review of the ambitious SAMOA Pathway, which supports sustainable development in small island developing states, will discuss progress on combating the devastating impact of climate change, building economic and environmental resilience, and other challenges.

The Secretary-General’s Climate Action Summit will demonstrate far-reaching solutions that countries are pursuing to reduce emissions, strengthen adaptation and build climate resilience. The Secretary-General has called on leaders to “come with a plan, not a speech” to rapidly accelerate action in line with the Paris Agreement.

The first-ever High-level Meeting on Universal Health Coverage will launch new efforts to provide access for all to affordable, inclusive and resilient health systems. The meeting will galvanize global commitments to ensure health for all, recognizing the strong links to climate action and the fact that health is a human right and a precondition, outcome and driver of sustainable development.

Achieving the SDGs, including their ambitious targets on climate action, universal healthcare and financing for development, will require stakeholders to work together at all levels in innovative partnerships and initiatives. Only through a new multilateralism, that brings together governments, the business sector, civil society and multilateral institutions can we shift the world towards a sustainable and resilient path to ensuring that no one is left behind.