21 April 2016
Seventieth Session, High-Level Thematic Debate (AM & PM)

World Leaders Urge Real Action on Combating Climate Change, as General Assembly Debates Implementation of Sustainable Development Goals

Outlining early actions and evolving plans to achieve the ambitious 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, world leaders called for tangible climate action, the eradication of poverty and bolstered development financing as the General Assembly convened a high-level thematic debate on the Agenda’s implementation today.

Development and the climate agenda were mutually reinforcing and one could not be achieved without the other, said Jan Eliasson, Deputy Secretary-General of the United Nations, speaking on behalf of Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon.  Describing the 2030 Agenda as a blueprint to build a future enshrining the responsibility to focus on the world’s most vulnerable, he noted that it required the adoption of a new, inclusive plan as “nobody in today’s world can grow in isolation”.

In order to achieve meaningful results on the ground, financing the implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals was critical, he continued, emphasizing that Governments were in the “driver’s seat” to ensure the disbursement of funds.  The United Nations, for its part, must take a tailored path to implementing the 2030 Agenda, he underlined.

With the historic signing ceremony for the Paris Agreement on climate change taking place on 22 April, subsequent action would create pathways out of current crises and begin the transformation that the world desperately needed, said Mogens Lykketoft (Denmark), President of the General Assembly.  In order to make change happen, States must pay closer attention to increasing domestic resources, scaling up existing partnerships and inspiring new ones, meeting official development assistance (ODA) commitments, and advancing data collection.

During the day-long debate, heads of State and Government, ministers, and representatives of international organizations and civil society focused on kick-starting the implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals.  Addressing the synergy between the Paris Climate Change Conference and the 2030 Agenda, leaders discussed national responses and concrete steps forward, many of which hinged on partnerships between a wide array of stakeholders.

Sharing his national experience, Juan Manuel Santos Calderón, President of Colombia, said his Government’s national development plan had incorporated the Goals even before their adoption.  Over the last six years, the country had managed to halve levels of extreme poverty with a view of its full eradication by 2025.  The goal now was to become the most educated country in Latin America in the next decade.

Similarly, Serge Telle, Minister of State of Monaco, said his country had already achieved most of the Sustainable Development Goals, yet the 2030 Agenda provided an opportunity to further improve.  The privileged situation of Monaco did not keep it uninformed or removed from the challenges affecting the world.  “People and problems should not be isolated,” he said.

Ali Bongo Ondimba, President of Gabon, stressing that responsible development was the “only choice”, outlined his country’s plan to provide food security, eradicate poverty, promote quality education and achieve gender equality.  Several national plans had merged sustainable goals and climate change issues, including a new agriculture policy aimed at guaranteeing access to quality food.  Sustainable development could only exist in an environment of good governance, he added, emphasizing the importance of South-South cooperation.

With regard to climate change, several delegates voiced concern over its implications at the regional and national levels.  Baron Divavesi Waqa, President of Nauru, speaking on behalf of the Pacific small island developing States, highlighted the urgency of mobilizing financial resources given their unique needs.  Securing private investment was increasingly difficult due to climate change, he added, noting that coral bleaching was damaging reefs and deterring tourism and fishing.

In a similar vein, Freundel Stuart, Prime Minister of Barbados, spotlighted partnerships as the single most important factor in realizing the promises of the 2030 Agenda.  The sustainable development governance model adopted by the Government could be used as a guide for countries with similar characteristics and situations, he stressed.

Some speakers took up the issue of water shortage, one of the impacts of climate change.  János Áder, President of Hungary, said that, in a matter of time, fresh water supplies would be depleted.  If the international community failed to address water pollution and eliminate the degradation of arable lands, implementing the Sustainable Development Goals would be impossible.

Miroslav Cerar, Prime Minister of Slovenia, drew attention to his country’s long-term strategic guidelines and an integrated policy framework on the issue.  As one of the most forested countries in the world, with abundant fresh water supplies, Slovenia was prioritizing efforts to preserve those resources.

Also speaking today were high-ranking officials from Peru, Namibia, Bulgaria, Croatia, Zimbabwe, Slovakia, Marshall Islands, Costa Rica, Samoa, Andorra, Bahamas, Fiji, Vanuatu, Ethiopia, Tuvalu, Lesotho, Netherlands, China, Montenegro, Sweden, Tonga, Albania, Nepal, Algeria, European Union, Thailand (on behalf of the “Group of 77” developing countries and China), Egypt (on behalf of the Arab Group), Maldives (on behalf of the Alliance of Small Island States), Luxembourg, Demark, France, Cuba, Iran, Tajikistan, Belarus, Belgium, Panama, Jordan, Senegal, Georgia, Bolivia, Italy, Philippines, Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, Chile, Niger, Iceland, United Arab Emirates, Mexico, Czech Republic, Brazil, Estonia, Saint Lucia, Cameroon, Argentina, New Zealand, Côte d’Ivoire, Nicaragua, Venezuela, Germany, United States, Finland, Tunisia, India, Poland, Burkina Faso, Turkey, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Paraguay, Republic of Korea, Cambodia, Sri Lanka, Mongolia, Latvia, Sudan, Congo, Solomon Islands, Sierra Leone, Jamaica, Liberia, Nigeria, Timor-Leste, Austria, Russian Federation, Guatemala, South Africa, Spain, Greece, Bahrain, Cyprus, Bangladesh (on behalf of the least developed countries), Canada, Qatar, Portugal, Uganda (on behalf of the African States), Dominican Republic (on behalf of the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States), Democratic Republic of Congo, Zambia (on behalf of the Landlocked Developing Countries), and the Holy See.

Participating were representatives of the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), the United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs and the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP).

Also taking part were the representatives of the Asian Pacific Resource and Research Centre for Women (Arrow) — Malaysia, Arab Forum for Environment and Development, World YWCA and the Federal University of Rio de Janeiro.

Opening Remarks

MOGENS LYKKETOFT (Denmark), President of the General Assembly, said that building more inclusive and just societies required accountability and global partnerships.  The obstacles were grave, he said, calling attention to violent extremism, the increasing negative consequences of climate change and the global refugee crisis.  Yet, the agreements made in 2015 provided an opportunity to address those and other development challenges while ensuring that progress towards reaching the agreed Sustainable Development Goals was wide-reaching, leaving no one behind.

The successful implementation of the new Sustainable Development Goals, depended on recognizing areas where change was needed, he said.  Required steps included mobilizing domestic resources, establishing relevant institutions, balancing short- and long-term interests, meeting official development assistance (ODA) obligations and creating new partnerships while building on existing ones.  While doing so, it was crucial to focus on new technology and data collection.  With the high-level signing ceremony for the Paris Agreement on climate change taking place on 22 April, subsequent action would create the transformative, sustainable pathway that the world so desperately needed, he said, adding that it would also produce opportunities for citizens and business, while promoting prosperity into the next century.

JAN ELIASSON, Deputy Secretary-General of the United Nations, speaking on behalf of United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, said development and the climate agenda were mutually reinforcing and one could not be achieved without the other.  The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development was a blueprint to build a future enshrining the responsibility to focus on the world’s most vulnerable.  The 2030 Agenda called for the adoption of a new, inclusive plan as “nobody in today’s world can grow in isolation”.  Achieving the new Sustainable Development Goals required the collective efforts of all Governments.

Because the new objectives must achieve meaningful results on the ground, financing their implementation was critical, he continued, emphasizing that Governments were in the “driver’s seat” to ensure the disbursement of funds.  Bretton Woods institutions and private sector financing played an equally important role, he added, urging all stakeholders to engage in fruitful conversations on how to achieve concrete results.  Just as Governments would need to take a holistic approach, the United Nations must also take a tailored path to implementing the 2030 Agenda.  In “year one of our 15-year journey”, he called on Member States to pursue the “serious and noble” mission and path to a better future for all.


BARON DIVAVESI WAQA, President of Nauru, speaking on behalf of the Pacific Small Island Developing States, highlighted the urgency of mobilizing financial resources, including domestic resources.  “Without finance, implementation is a significant constraint,” he said, describing the complexities of applying for international funding and calling for consideration of a simplified approval process for small island developing countries.  Securing private investment was increasingly difficult due to climate change, he added, noting that coral bleaching was damaging reefs and deterring tourism and fishing.

Given the importance of the public sector for employment and the economy of small island States, he said, those countries required financial support tailored to their unique circumstances.  To meet their domestic responsibilities, they needed help to build institutions and the capacity for better data collection.  Transferring skills to the population and retaining a skilled workforce were also needed and all possibilities for partnerships should be explored.  Noting that the above observations had been raised many times in different international forums, he added that the Sustainable Development Goals were meant to be create change because they represented the goals and aspirations of all countries.  “Therefore, their implementation must be comprehensive, so that they actually work for all countries,” he concluded.

JÁNOS ÁDER, President of Hungary, said that millions of people continued to experience water shortages and in a matter of time, fresh water supplies would be depleted.  If the international community failed to address water pollution and eliminate the degradation of arable lands, implementing the agreed goals would be impossible.  By 2050, an additional 2 billion people would be living on Earth and experts agreed that to feed them would require doubling food production.  For its part, Hungary would be organizing the Budapest Water Summit in 2016 with a view to addressing the water problem.

OLLANTA HUMALA TASSO, President of Peru, said some people believed that the successful implementation of the 17 Goals was utopian.  Each year 30 per cent of food was wasted while millions of people went hungry.  Regarding the lack of access to water, he noted that it was not about supply efficiency, but a question of political will.  Addressing food waste and water shortages required bold commitments and multisectoral partnerships.  For its part, the Government had improved sanitation services, the education system and infrastructure.  Concluding, he described the United Nations as the right venue to share experiences and challenges and to move forward.

HAGE G. GEINGOB, President of Namibia, said sustainable development was a fine balancing act between needs and limitations.  That gap must be overcome before “we can talk” of the 2030 Agenda.  To realize long-term global sustainable development, it was important to first ensure that all countries had sufficient national resources to eradicate poverty and hunger.  Poverty in Namibia affected mostly women and children and those in rural areas.  A new national plan was built on the goals of achieving economic advancement and social development, he added, urging international financial institutions, particularly the World Bank, to play a key supportive role.  No one could be left behind in the quest to implement the new objectives, he stressed.

JUAN MANUEL SANTOS CALDERÓN, President of Colombia, said his Government’s national development plan had incorporated the Goals set out in the 2030 Agenda even before their adoption.  To successfully implement the new Goals and for a “true transformation” to occur, change must take place at the local level.  Over the last six years, Colombia had managed to halve levels of extreme poverty with a view of its full eradication by 2025.  For the first time in Colombia’s history, the education budget was greater than the military budget.  The goal now was to become the most educated country in Latin America in the next decade, he said, emphasizing that the Sustainable Development Goals could also be a mechanism to build national peace.

ROSEN PLEVNELIEV, President of Bulgaria, noted that the successful achievement of the 2030 Agenda depended on taking necessary actions, helping vulnerable countries and building a strong United Nations.  For its part, Bulgaria had adopted a national development framework, Bulgaria 2030, and actively cooperated with academia, civil society organizations and the private sector in the areas of technology, energy efficiency and education.  Further, the Government had participated in the European Union’s efforts to address the needs of the most vulnerable.  Going forward, he said, it was crucial to strengthen the capacity of the United Nations while improving transparency and avoiding duplication.

KOLINDA GRABAR-KITAROVIĆ, President of Croatia, noted that maintaining international peace and security was possible through addressing the root causes of conflicts and instability using sound and sustainable development policies.  “To implement the 2030 Agenda, we need a strong and effective United Nations,” she said, underscoring the need to establish clear guidelines, increase effectiveness, break the “silo” mentality and ensure strong monitoring.  Equally determined political leadership was imperative for the international community to address new global challenges.  While expressing support for engaging in purposeful partnerships, she underlined the need for commitment and cooperation at all levels and from all segments of society.

ALI BONGO ONDIMBA, President of Gabon, said the new road map was a noble aspiration at a time of declining oil prices and emerging challenges.  The new Goals must translate into transformative progress through mechanisms that identified shortcomings and the resources needed, with human resources enhanced by training.  Responsible development was the “only choice”, he said, outlining Gabon’s plan to provide food security, eradicate poverty, promote quality education and achieve gender equality.  Several national plans had merged sustainable goals and climate change issues, including a new agriculture policy aimed at guaranteeing access to quality food.  Sustainable development could only exist in an environment of good governance, he added, emphasizing the importance of South-South cooperation.  Progress must be evaluated, he said, to ensure that the 2030 Agenda reached all members of society, especially the disenfranchised.

ROBERT MUGABE, President of Zimbabwe, said the “enormity of the ambition we have set for ourselves” must be matched with cohesion and speed.  Through consultations with the Government, private sector and civil society, Zimbabwe had established the structures needed to implement the 2030 Agenda, which aligns with the national vision.  Indeed, because financial resources were also key in implementing those Goals, Zimbabwe had taken steps to facilitate the ease of doing business and attracting more investments.  Mobilizing domestic resources, however, did not and should not absolve international partners from complementing national progress with additional funds.  Recent revelations had unveiled schemes that had deprived Governments of huge financial resources meant to go towards national development, he said, adding that in Africa, an estimated annual $60 billion of illicit financial flows was severely hampering development efforts.  Another obstacle was sanctions, which ran counter to the concept of development, he said, urging their unconditional suspension.

ANDREJ KISKA, President of Slovakia, stressed that the 2030 Agenda was “a vision for all of us whether small or big, whether rich or poor”, due to the interconnectedness of the globe.  However, because of varied national conditions, each State must focus on mitigating its weaknesses and using its strengths for the benefit of others.  Slovakia had transformed to a donor State from an aid recipient over the past 25 years.  Still, many challenges existed, such as building inclusive, quality education and effective institutions.  Internationally, Slovakia was increasing its development and humanitarian aid, but aimed to do more, particularly in raising domestic awareness about the importance of international solidarity.  The need for greater efforts in that area had been clearly demonstrated by experiences during the current refugee crisis, he said.

HILDA C. HEINE, President of the Marshall Islands, said adopting the 2030 Agenda, Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction 2015-2030 and the scheduled signing of the Paris Agreement 22 April had proven that the international community was walking in the same direction.  Building a resilient future that empowered citizens was the biggest priority, but the challenge was to find pathways to incorporate the 2030 Agenda into a strong island-tailored strategy.  As a small nation, the Marshall Islands would update and boost national strategic planning across key sectors to develop a long-term vision.  Yet, her country needed help from the international community in terms of partnerships.  Turning to another key area, she said that, as the first elected female leader of the Marshall Islands, she expressed strong support for Goal 5 on gender equality and women’s empowerment.

ANA HELENA CHACÓN ECHEVERRÍA, Vice-President of Costa Rica, noted that establishing a more egalitarian and just world was possible through taking actions to ensure more women participated in the process and to promote sustainable economic growth, climate change action and peace and security.  In September 2015, world leaders had committed to the 2030 Agenda, which aimed at eradicating poverty.  For its part, Costa Rica had undertaken various measures to monitor national progress in poverty eradication and access to health services and quality education.  Acknowledging the need for coordination among all stakeholders, she stressed that such collective work would enable the international community to achieve the Goals together.

FREUNDEL STUART, Prime Minister of Barbados, calling the 2030 Agenda “a ray of hope,” said sustainable development had been incorporated in the national  development strategy for the 2013-2024 period.  Implementing the Sustainable Development Goals would depend on a number of factors, including adopting a broader concept of financing, with a view to make specific provisions for small-island developing States.  Calling partnerships the single most important factor in realizing the promises of the 2030 Agenda, he said the sustainable development governance model that had been adopted by Barbados could be used as a guide for countries with similar characteristics and situations.  Measuring national progress of the new Goals, however, was a major challenge for Barbados, he said, adding that the current situation was hindering its capacity for evidence-based policymaking and monitoring.

TUILAEPA SAILELE MALIELEGAOI, Prime Minister of Samoa, said differentiated approaches must be taken at any stage of the implementation of the new goals, which would only be achieved by unlocking the potential of all stakeholders.  The interconnectedness of global challenges was “painfully clear”, he said, highlighting that the 2030 Agenda offered “generational opportunity” for change.  Samoa had conducted a preliminary assessment on accelerating opportunities for the private sector, especially in the field of tourism and fisheries.  While each ministry was responsible for implementing Goals applicable to their fields, there were ongoing efforts to consider synergies, trade-offs and policy cohesion.  Moving forward, those efforts could result in setting further priorities based on needs, capacity and gaps.  More broadly, he said, Samoa’s national road map was also aligned with regional and international development priorities, in particular in addressing the shortcomings of the Millennium Development Goals.

MIROSLAV CERAR, Prime Minister of Slovenia, said national implementation of the Goals set out in the 2030 Agenda had included developing long-term strategic guidelines and an integrated policy framework.  As one of the most forested countries in the world, with abundant fresh water supplies, Slovenia was prioritizing efforts to preserve those resources for the benefit of future generations.  To track progress, Slovenia was setting up a measurement framework with concrete goals, targets and outcome indicators.  Turning to poverty eradication and sustainable development efforts, he said Slovenia would continue to contribute to efforts at regional and global levels.  The Government would also do its best to increase the volume and quality of its ODA, subject to its public finance capabilities.  “The challenge is great,” he said, “but the determination of my Government is clear.  We want to further strengthen our contribution to the realization of national and global development objectives.”

ANTONI MARTÍ PETIT, Head of Government of Andorra, said the principality had recently decided to open its economy based on fiscal standards and transparency with the hope that it would generate wealth and ensure the competitiveness of business.  On social progress, he outlined several ways Andorra was improving its education system through the assistance of the United Nations Secretary-General.  He emphasized the importance of addressing climate change and looked forward to tomorrow’s discussions on the environment.  Just a few months ago, the issue of combating climate change was the main focus in discussions at the General Assembly.  Now, just seven months later, there was a new agreement with clear objectives and ambitious commitments.  That had to be done for future generations.

SERGE TELLE, Minister of State of Monaco, said that nationally his principality’s situation was very unique given its size, economy and dynamics.  While Monaco had already achieved most of the Sustainable Development Goals, the 2030 Agenda gave it an opportunity to further improve.  The privileged situation of Monaco did not keep it uninformed or removed from the challenges affecting the world.  “People and problems should not be isolated,” he said, stressing that “no one should suffer alone”.  On combating poverty, Monaco had been helping “street children” in Mali and elsewhere in the world.  It had also focused on improving health for the South’s poorest people.  The Sustainable Development Goals clearly underscored those objectives, he said, adding that there could be no development without combating climate change.  Monaco had taken steps in protecting marine diversity and played its part to leave behind a sustainable world for future generations.

PERRY G. CHRISTIE, Prime Minister of the Bahamas, said that the national development planning process had started with a view to setting a pathway towards a long-term vision for the country.  Like the 2030 Agenda, the plan sought to address the key dimensions of sustainable development, including economy, social policy, governance and environment.  To ensure that everyone’s voice was heard, the Government had engaged in a widespread consultation process with the Bahamian people.  In the area of education, decision makers would take into consideration variables, such as crime rates and the transportation system.  Further, the Government was working towards the development of a capital planning process for infrastructure.  As a small island developing State, the Bahamas would need the support of the international community to achieve the Goals, particularly in the areas of finance, technology and capacity-building.

JOSAIA VOREQE BAINIMARAMA, Prime Minister of Fiji, said the national commitment to the 2030 Agenda was absolute, prioritizing the sustainable development of resources and socioeconomic progress while reducing poverty.  Recent efforts included democratic elections, equal access to education, a social security system for seniors, free water and medicine for low-income earners and assistance to small businesses.  As a result, income inequality was decreasing, as confirmed by the International Monetary Fund (IMF).  While Fiji was the first in the region to adopt a green growth framework, protecting land and sea resources, climate change threatened all such progress and the well-being of the people of vulnerable States the world over.  Tropical Cyclone Winston, which had devastated Fiji in February, showed the urgent need for mitigation.  With thousands of homes and hundreds of schools destroyed by Winston, she also appealed for assistance through an “adopt a school” programme.

CHARLOT SALWAI TABIMASMAS, Prime Minister of Vanuatu, said that an unstable and hostile global environment meant that resources to implement the 2030 Agenda were under strain.  The key challenge going forward would be how to do more with less.  His country was incorporating the Agenda into its national sustainable development plan, and undertaking major infrastructure projects that would enhance productivity and contribute to achieving the Goals.  Noting the need to address the impact of climate change, he said it was imperative that the Paris Agreement be implemented without delay.  Member States could not achieve the 2030 Agenda alone, but rather in a spirit of global partnership and cooperation.  Now was the time for action and his country would do its part.

HAILEMARIAM DESSALEGN, Prime Minister of Ethiopia, said the world was going through turbulent times, with peace and security, the global economic slowdown, and climate change, among other natural calamities, having an impact.  He said his State, with a view to become a middle-income country by 2025, was mainstreaming the Sustainable Development Goals into its Second Five-Year Growth and Transformation Plan.  Citing the difficulty of financing development plans, he emphasized the commitments made in the Addis Agenda.  Today’s thematic debate was an opportunity for Member States to learn from each other and forge partnerships in pursuit of implementing the Goals.

ENELE SOSENE SOPOAGA, Prime Minister of Tuvalu, stressed the critical need to implement the 2030 Agenda, Agenda 21, Barbados Plan of Action, Mauritius Strategy and the Samoa Pathway.  Small island developing States needed advanced technologies, hardware and adequate financing to achieve sustainable development.  The Goals must be reappraised annually to address the unique vulnerabilities of those island States.  Tuvalu recently adopted a sustainable development strategy with key performance indicators and welcomed partnerships to implement the 2030 Agenda and address climate change.  “There is no way countries like Tuvalu will be able to achieve the SDGs [Sustainable Development Goals] without combating climate change,” he said.  He encouraged all countries to ratify the Paris Agreement.  Its early entry into force was critical to achieve the Goals and ensure the survival of all people, particularly those in States vulnerable to climate change.   Tuvalu was creating a survival fund but it needed international aid to better deliver on the expectations of the Paris Agreement.

PAKALITHA BETHUEL MOSISILI, Prime Minister of Lesotho, said the Goals and the broader 2030 Agenda addressed the root causes of poverty, inequality and the universal need for development for all people.  Lesotho was an early signatory of the Paris Agreement.  The 2030 Agenda resonated well with the aspirations of the world.  “People need action on the SDGs and will not take kindly to any kind of disappointment,” he said.  Lesotho was determined to use its own resources to push the 2030 Agenda forward.  The national broadband initiative sought to consolidate available communications infrastructure, expand its base and make it available on an open-ended access basis.  The initiative already had support from the Commonwealth through its telecommunications organization.  He welcomed the support of development partners.  The international community must remain committed to fulfilling the 2030 Agenda to build shared global prosperity and equitable development, bringing in those currently on the periphery.

MIKE EMAN, Prime Minister of Aruba, Netherlands, said the 2030 Agenda was not an institutional programme, but a task list for humanity to make Earth a better place for future generations.  Emphasizing their strong focus on inclusiveness, he said the Goals, for small islands like Aruba, were a matter of immediate survival.  Inequality called for strong policies and institutions to ensure that the poorest and more marginalized could reap the most benefits from the Goals, he said, stressing the need to empower women and girls, create sustainable and decent jobs, and promote trade and investment in post-conflict and fragile States.  Climate action — and inaction — would greatly affect progress on other Goals, he said, adding that a growing number of water disasters represented “a sign on the wall”.

LI BAODONG, Vice Foreign Minister and Group of 20 Sherpa of China, said that as the world’s largest developing country, and its second largest economy, it knew the close link between development and economic growth.  Despite risks and difficulties in implementing the 2030 Agenda, there was great potential for development.  He said China would be using its Group of 20 presidency to help steer international economic cooperation and explore new growth paths, carefully heeding the hopes and interests of developing countries.  To that end, it had selected “Towards an Innovative, Invigorated, Interconnected and Inclusive World Economy” as the theme of this year’s Group of 20 summit in Hangzhou, with innovation, a new industrial revolution, the digital economy, and structural reform among its priorities.

True development would not be achieved until the world’s economics grew in a coordinated manner, with win-win progress for industry and prosperity for people of all walks of life, he said.  To that end, the Chinese presidency of the Group of 20 had been focusing on the Agenda, industrialization in Africa, climate change, inclusive commerce, agriculture and employment.  The Group embraced development as a source of growth, he said, and was ready to work with developing countries to find drivers of world economic growth.  The Hangzhou summit would provide an opportunity to work with all countries on making joint progress on the path to sustainable development by 2030.

IGOR LUKŠIĆ, Deputy Prime Minister for Foreign Affairs and European Integration of Montenegro, said the national strategy to implement the Sustainable Development Goals was being finalized.  Plans included strengthening the national institutional framework for financing sustainable development and increased funds.  Accession to the European Union could expedite implementation.  Sharing lessons learned was essential.  Montenegro would be among the first countries to present its activities on integrating the 2030 and Addis Agendas at the High-level Political Forum in July.  A more proactive United Nations response, coordinated with relevant international organizations and international financial institutions, was needed.  Montenegro stood ready to help develop practical mechanisms to link global initiatives and national responses for achieving the 2030 Agenda and the Sustainable Development Goals.

ÅSA ROMSON, Deputy Prime Minister of Sweden, said strong, dedicated implementation of common Sustainable Development Goals was needed.  Towards that end, Sweden’s commitment was firm.  It was providing 1 per cent of gross national income to ODA and was the sixth-largest contributor to the United Nations system, taking the lead in climate finance through the Green Climate Fund.  True partnerships were needed.  Sweden had initiated a high-level support group with nine Heads of State and Government that today issued a clear message to the Organization.  An effective United Nations was needed to address the challenges set forth in the 2030 Agenda.  She stressed the need to continue supporting countries that lacked the resources and technology for its implementation.  Climate change must be tackled to reach other development goals.  The 2030 Agenda and Paris Agreement must go hand in hand.  “True cooperation and partnership will be essential.  But we will do it, because we must,” she said.

SIAOSI SOVALENI, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Meteorology, Energy, Information Management, Environment, Climate Change and Communications of Tonga, said that his country’s implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals was progressing well.  With the support of the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), Tonga had become the first country in the Pacific Island region to set up a framework to guide the localization of the 2030 Agenda.  That Agenda was clearly recognized in the Government’s budget statement, which would be submitted to the Parliament soon for consideration.  Furthermore, the Government had developed a platform that enabled the 2030 Agenda to be an integral part of the corporate planning and budgeting process.  That was important, as it was the first time that planning and monitoring would be done in one system.

NIKO PELESHI, Deputy Prime Minister of Albania, said sustainability meant reinforcing the rule of law, strengthening democratic values, increasing economic performance, enhancing the well-being of people and deepening social harmony.  Social cohesion, religious coexistence and cooperation were the main assets of Albanians, he said, noting that the country had gone through a long and painful transition which had brought profound changes and unveiled disparities.  “We need to further refine an inclusive domestic economic agenda based on continued growth while being respectful to the environment,” he said, adding that judicial reform, employment, integration of youth into the labour market and the empowerment of women and girls were the key elements of the country’s progress.  What really counted was not what was said today but how much would be done at the national level.

KAMAL THAPA, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Foreign Affairs of Nepal, associating himself with the “Group of 77” developing countries and China, said that despite the 2015 earthquake, it was building on the progress it had made on the Millennium Development Goals and promulgation of a rights-based constitution.  Implementing the 2030 Agenda was ultimately a national responsibility that required collaboration with the international community on financial resources, technology and partnerships.  Most least developed countries had been that way for too long, landlocked countries had suffered immensely, and the smallest and weakest countries still bore the weight of action and inaction of others, especially on climate change.

RAMTANE LAMAMRA, Deputy Prime Minister of Algeria, said the main merit of the Sustainable Development Goals was in mobilizing the international community in the struggle against poverty.  His country had made remarkable progress with the Millennium Development Goals, which over time had become the guiding principles of its national development, and it intended to do the same with the current Goals.  Lessons learned from the Millennium Goals would make it possible to make progress in other areas.  On the international level, Algeria would continue to extend aid and assistance to less developed countries, particularly those on its continent, he said, adding that development programmes established by the African Union could benefit from contributions from international partners.

SIVA THANENTHIRAN, Asian Pacific Resource and Research Centre for Women (Arrow) – Malaysia, said that sustainable development could not be achieved with a siloed approach of choosing certain Goals over others.  Domestic investments in Malaysia and neighbouring China and Singapore to reduce maternal and infant mortality and provide access to contraception were vital ingredients for sustainable health care and good health outcomes.  Cambodia and Nepal had adopted progressive policies such as access to safe abortion and contraception, reducing mortality dramatically.  Ensuring accountability to achieve good health outcomes had borne fruit.  Nations could not claim to have good health outcomes and sustainable development if they discriminated against half their citizens — women and girls.  Legislation and programmes to end early and forced marriage and violence against women and girls, while ensuring women’s rights in all areas, were essential.  Human rights must be part and parcel of the 2030 Agenda.  Enabling and ensuring the voices of civil society, which could shed light on significant development gaps, was crucial.

NEVEN MIMICA, European Commissioner for International Cooperation for Development of the European Union, said that it intended to present a follow-up initiative, including a comprehensive mapping of international and external policies, in support of the Sustainable Development Goals.  The Union would continue to promote implementation of the 2030 Agenda globally and support partner countries through development aid.  Its activities followed a shared vision agreed in 2005 by Union members.  The Union would provide 0.7 per cent of gross national income to ODA through 2030, with a specific commitment for least developed countries.  In 2015, the Union’s ODA increased 15 per cent to €68 billion, representing more than half of global ODA.  The Union had also committed to better mobilize financing from all sources and to support governance reforms to create the conditions for inclusive, sustainable growth.  Promoting policy coherence in science, technology, innovation and knowledge was critical.  A single follow-up framework would be essential for the Sustainable Development Goals.

SURASAK KARNJANARAT, Minister for Natural Resources and Environment of Thailand, speaking on behalf of the Group of 77, called the eradication of poverty a precondition for development.  There was no one solution and each country had a sovereign right to pursue its own strategies.  Imposing unilateral sanctions would contribute to neither economic development nor dialogue, he said, adding that achieving the Sustainable Development Goals would depend on the financial means for implementation.  The United Nations was in a position to ensure that commitments were respected, and the Group of 77 would participate in a constructive manner in monitoring the 2030 Agenda and make use of lessons learned.

ASHRAF EL ARABY, Minister for Planning of Egypt, speaking on behalf of the Arab Group, called development a human right that included women, children and the most vulnerable groups.  Those living under occupation needed special help in order to attain the Sustainable Development Goals, he said, also underscoring the challenges faced by countries suffering from war and strife.  Terrorism threw up obstacles along the road to sustainable development, he said, also underscoring the impact of large-scale displacement and the pressure that refugees put on the infrastructure of host countries.  It was important to distinguish between financing for climate change and financing for development.  Stressing that the international community needed to mobilize financial resources to support least developed and middle-income countries, he expressed concern about a decline in ODA over the years.

THORIQ IBRAHIM, Minster for Environment and Energy of Maldives, speaking on behalf of the Alliance of Small Island States and associating himself with the Group of 77, said “the old way of doing development will no longer suffice” when implementing the new Agenda.  All stakeholders must be prepared to work in partnership.  The Small Island Developing States Accelerated Modalities of Action (Samoa) Pathway, adopted in 2014, had set out the small islands’ vision for sustainable development and pointed the way to genuine and durable partnerships.  Ground-breaking initiatives such as the “SIDS Lighthouse” for sustainable energy could only be successful with continued partnerships between States and the public and private sectors.  To address climate change, data was critical, he stressed.  The United Nations development system must be “fit for purpose” and must strengthen synergies with financing partners.  Speaking in his national capacity, he highlighted the need to urgently address plastic pollution in the oceans, which was threatening the entire ecosystem.

CAROLE DIESCHBOURG, Minister for the Environment of Luxembourg, said Agenda 2030 was not just an agenda for Governments, but an agenda for nations.  Its implementation, and progress towards sustainable development, would require collaboration between all levels of the State as well as the private sector, civil society and academia.  On climate change, she discussed her country’s climate pact, aimed at reinforcing the exemplary role of local authorities, based on the principle of thinking globally and acting locally.  To date, 100 of Luxembourg’s 106 municipalities had signed up to the pact, with 69 receiving a climate pact certificate, a figure that she said made her proud.

ESBEN LUNDE LARSEN, Minister for Environment and Agriculture of Denmark, said his country’s national action plan to implement the 2030 Agenda was built on its core experiences in sustainable growth and development cooperation.  Its global contribution to the Agenda would focus on finance, technology and partnerships, based on a green growth mindset.  Denmark had met its ODA targets and had a long-standing tradition of prioritizing a high level of food safety and production and using smart green technologies to resolve domestic challenges.  Today, Denmark was a global hub for green technology.  Danish water and waste technology could help implement Goal 6 on water and sanitation; its sustainable energy solutions could help achieve Goal 7 on energy and climate.  Denmark had good experience in building international partnerships such as the Three Diseases Fund.  It brought together leading businesses and investors to drive market penetration and green growth, and it was poised to begin a new partnership in Kenya to reduce water use in the food sector through smarter and more efficient food technology.

ANDRÉ VALLINI, Minister of State for Development and Francophonie of France, said that his country had set forth a new sustainable development road map under the direction of Laurent Fabius, its Minister for Foreign Affairs and International Development, who chaired the December 2015 United Nations Conference on Climate Change.  France had diversified energy sources to become energy efficient and was helping vulnerable nations.  In 2014, France announced it would increase ODA to €4 billion by 2020; half of that would be for climate-related concerns.  French civil society was involved in implementing the 2030 Agenda.  At the upcoming High-level Political Forum, France would present its national review of the Sustainable Development Goals and involvement in international efforts to achieve them.  Achieving a zero-carbon, zero-poverty world must be accomplished together.  In 2013, illicit financial flows reached $1 trillion versus $135 billion for development aid.  Combating tax evasion and other illicit activities was essential.  Economic development based on solidarity was essential.

HELEN CLARK, Administrator of the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), said the Sustainable Development Goals required strong national ownership.  In other words, to achieve the global agenda, it needed to be domesticated.  To do so would require whole-of-Government approaches, with joined-up planning across ministries, sectors and silos, and the mobilization of parliaments, civil society, media and the private sector.  How business went about its work had a bearing on sustainability.  Money wasn’t everything, but it helped, with financing drawn from every possible source.  Within the United Nations development system, 95 country teams had been approached for support on implementing the Goals, which could be achieved through strong national ownership and leadership, backed by global solidarity.  The development agencies of the United Nations were committed to do all they could to help forge a better world as envisaged by the 2030 Agenda.

MARIA ESTHER REUS GONZÁLEZ, Minister for Justice of Cuba, said that the adoption of the new Goals represented a landmark achievement, but the global partnerships and resources needed to implement it were still lacking.  Her country, within the constraints of underdevelopment and a blockade, had shown how much could be done with few resources, which it had shared with scores of countries.  It was prepared to contribute to the full implementation of the 2030 Agenda.  However, for that to happen, the exercise of political will by developed countries as well as reform of the international financial institutions was urgently required, as was capacity-building and transfer of environmentally-friendly technologies on favourable terms.  Peace and the development of a just and equitable international system that eradicated inequality among and within countries were also essential.  In that regard, industrialized countries should accept their historical debt and exercise the principle of common but differentiated responsibility.

M. JAVAD ZARIF, Minister for Foreign Affairs of Iran, said his country had set national priorities on major issues such as poverty eradication, sustainable management of water and sanitation, renewable energy resources, housing, combating desertification, energy efficiency, and ensuring health and disaster risk reduction and management, all while leaving no one behind.  While each country had the primary responsibility for its own development, the objectives of the 2030 Agenda should be facilitated by an ambitious, inclusive and non-discriminatory means of implementation for all developing countries.  Stressing the importance of collaboration between States, he said the most important priority was a joint and regional effort to fight extremist violence, which was ravaging his region and beyond.  Addressing serious environmental challenges, particularly dust storms, was another priority which required responsible policies and cooperation at the national, regional and global levels.

SIRODJIDIN ASLOV, Minister for Foreign Affairs of Tajikistan, said his country was putting together a national development strategy for 2030 as well as a mid-term programme for 2016-2020.  The new United Nations Development Assistance Framework for Tajikistan would be instrumental in that regard, he added, noting that strategic goals included ensuring energy independence and food security and withdrawing the country out of a “communication deadlock”.  The further development of hydro and renewable energy was a top priority for the country, and the efficient use of water resources would play an important role in the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals.  Other priorities included the more efficient use of natural resources and human capital, diversification and competitiveness of the national economy, reinforcement of institutional development, strengthening the middle class and an even development of all parts of the country.

WU HONGBO, Under-Secretary-General for Economic and Social Affairs, said business as usual was no longer an option.  The international community must pursue the Sustainable Development Goals together.  There was no time to waste.  The responsibility fell primarily with national Governments.  An integrated approach was needed.  Piecemeal solutions would not work.  National institutions must coordinate their work, and effective monitoring and accountability would be essential for bolstering implementation.  If the Goals truly defined the world everyone wanted, then everyone must work together.  The world’s people were demanding action.  The time for action was now.

ACHIM STEINER, Executive Director of the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), said the discussion on the environment was today part of the fabric of sustainable development.  Climate change threatened the future of humanity, but also provided an opportunity to challenge decarbonization.  His simple message to global leaders was to recognize the importance of the science of environmental change when looking at the Goals.  That change’s greatest asset to humanity was in alerting everyone to the risks of inaction, but it was also creating economic opportunities like never before.  For Africa, the resurgence of renewable energy was today the “shortcut” to a world of energy that had been out of reach to people on the continent for 150 years.  An integrated approach to renewable energy was needed everywhere.

VLADIMIR MAKEI, Minister for Foreign Affairs of Belarus, said that in order to implement the Sustainable Development Goals by 2030, United Nations working methods should not be “blindly subordinate to formalism”.  Involving the wider international community was a matter of coordination, he said, noting that Belarus was considering establishing an institution that would help organize and record progress made on the Sustainable Development Goals.  That would allow the country to conduct comprehensive national activities and synchronize them with the international agenda.  On a global level, countries that required support should have access to a “one-stop shop” United Nations assistance coordination centre that would lend expert advice, finance, technology and means of implementation.  He also touched on middle-income countries, saying that their experience showed that the problem of poverty could be solved through creating inclusive mechanisms.

ALEXANDER DE CROO, Deputy Prime Minister of Belgium, said that the 2030 Agenda promised bold change for all countries at all levels.  His country was ready for such change.  Queen Mathilde was committed to leaving no one behind in sustainable development, and development partnerships were being mainstreamed into all policies.  He highlighted the importance of engaging new partners in the Agenda.  The potential of all stakeholders must be unlocked, particularly the private sector, which must do more than merely financing.  His Government was working on a sustainable development charter for all companies based in the country.  “Let’s make this change real,” he concluded.

MIREI ENDARA DE HERAS, Minister for the Environment of Panama, said that her country’s Parliament was in the vanguard of integrating the new development goals into Panama’s endeavours.  Funding, however, remained a challenge.  In regard to domestic funding, tax evasion had come up in the Agenda and it was clear that it must be faced globally, as must all international problems.  Her country was drawing up a coherent set of indicators to measure progress, taking into account the various measures of poverty that could occur in a middle-income country.  Much had been invested in water and other natural resources.  Panama would tomorrow sign the climate agreement backed by a raft of national commitments that included the protection of forests.  Her country desired a world that was better for all.

TAHER SHAKHSHIR, Minister for Environment of Jordan, said that his country had received over 1.4 million Syrian refugees, with 90 per cent of them living in host communities.  That surge had led to direct and indirect repercussions in all areas of sustainable development, including in access to water, sanitation and education.  The private and public sector had come together to mainstream the Sustainable Development Goals into a national plan through eight specific steps.  Those included awareness-raising, streamlining and coordination between the national Government and local communities, improving data collection and mobilizing resources.  An institution had also been created to follow-up on implementation.  In the private sector, Jordan had taken steps to move to a “green economy” by placing greater emphasis on creating environmentally-friendly jobs.  Despite those efforts, support was still needed from the international community in the form of financing as Jordan continued to host a large number of refugees.

ABDOULAYE BALDE, Minister for Environment and Sustainable Development of Senegal, said that despite progress that had been made over the years, the need for food, education and housing was still growing.  The delivery of ODA to Senegal had made a significant impact on the country’s economy.  He emphasized the need to avoid overlap and a scatter of resources, and called for a global paradigm shift.  His country was focusing to loosen the rules for access to credit so that more businesses operating in the country’s budding private sector could acquire much-needed resources.  Current events highlighted the urgent need to fight more firmly against tax havens and illicit finance flows.  Implementing the Sustainable Development Goals required paying more attention and joining international cooperation mechanisms that combated such fraudulent practices.

MIKHEIL JANELIDZE, Minister for Foreign Affairs of Georgia, said that the Government had begun an intensive process to align national strategies and priorities with the Sustainable Development Goals and it envisaged close consultations with civil society to implement them.  A mechanism that coordinated partnerships between donors and the Government was important for making sure aid was efficient and effective.  Georgia was introducing the highest European standards in human rights, rule of law, justice and social protection, embarking on an ambitious agenda of economic reforms to address the nation’s greatest ills:  unemployment and poverty.  To achieve that, it was simplifying the tax system, promoting trade, creating a favourable environment for business entrepreneurship and a strong education system, and developing transport infrastructure.  People living under foreign occupation in Abkhazia and the Tskhinvali/South Ossetia regions and those displaced from the regions must not be left behind.   They must benefit equally from the Goals.

EVO MORALES AYMA, President of Bolivia, said that the fairer world envisioned by the new Goals would not come about unless the current form of capitalism was abolished.  Painting a picture of desolate poverty around the world while a small portion of the population enjoyed affluence, he stressed that such inequality was immoral.  Oppression, domination and colonization must end, and people’s rights to their cultural identity and resources must be protected.  His country had nationalized the oil and gas industry and telecommunications enterprises, greatly increasing the resources available for poverty reduction.  Natural resources were for the people, not for private profit.  The privatization of the environment had only caused poverty and misery.  Economies must be harmonized with nature and support human well-being.  Similarly, science and technology must promote well-being, not merely enrich the powerful.  He called for establishment of world citizenship, creation of a society in which women and men worked together, reform of the world financial system and respect for universal rights.

MATTEO RENZI, President of Italy, said that the new Agenda presented a great challenge but also an opportunity to overcome the politics of fear and invest in long-term consensus.  If everyone invested in the new approach, much could be accomplished.  That was particularly important in light of the current migration process faced by Europe.  Long-term vision was urgently needed, and donor flows must be greatly increased.  The international fight against poverty, rights of women and children, partnerships and financial instruments for sustainable development of Africa would be priorities for his country’s chairmanship of the Group of Seven.  His country believed in solidarity, continuing, on its own, to rescue migrants from the Mediterranean.  New strategies, however, must be devised to realize the human values enshrined in regional and international institutions.  He called for climate change to be faced in synchrony with all other development efforts.  Courage, not fear, was the only way for politics to build a better world.

EMMANUEL F. ESGUERRA, Secretary for Socioeconomic Planning of the National Economic and Development Authority of the Philippines, described steps being undertaken to initiate and energize the 2030 Agenda in his country, including the holding of multi-stakeholder consultations to assess the proposed global indicators.  The country aimed to generate a list of national Sustainable Development Goal indicators in time for the upcoming High-level Political Forum and expected to put in place a robust monitoring system to ensure systematic and timely gathering of data for the tracking of progress and accomplishments.  Moving forward, the country would formulate a Sustainable Development Goal road map to serve as an overall framework to guide Government and other key stakeholders on the necessary actions, resources, responsibilities and partnerships to ensure the success of implementation.  Gender equality, climate resiliency and fiscal responsibility would inform that road map, he said, adding that national capacities — especially those of local leaders and communities aiming to achieve the Goal targets — would need to be strengthened.

RI SU YONG, Minister for Foreign Affairs of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, described the free services provided to all his country’s citizens.  He said that sustainable development, however, was proceeding under extremely adverse conditions in his country due to external forces.  Under threat of nuclear attack, his country was forced to respond in kind.  It was, as a result, termed a threat to international security and shackled with sanctions.  The Korean people had an indomitable spirit, however.  “Let them see who laughs the last laugh”, he said.  The United States would have to pay a full price for having restrained his country’s development.  He urged that country to withdraw its anachronistic, hostile policy.  At the same time, he reaffirmed the commitment of his Government to participate in efforts to achieve the new development Goals, despite what he called the grave situation prevailing on the Korean Peninsula.

HERALDO MUÑOZ, Minister for External Relations of Chile, enumerating the challenges facing all countries and societies, urged collective efforts to achieve the new Goals.  He said that implementation of the 2030 Agenda required incorporating the Goals into national plans, as Chile had recently done.  The country had also established a Latin-American forum for sustainable development in concert with its region.  Reforms combating inequality had been instituted.  Cooperation throughout the South and, in particular, Latin America would go a long way to ending inequality and improving the lives of entire populations.

SAIDOU SIDIBE, Minister for Economy and Finance of Niger, said that sustainable development had been a national priority as his country continued to be gravely challenged by climate change affecting its agriculture and livestock industry.  Faced with those threats and building upon lessons in development, particularly in farming, the country had established several initiatives to help free agricultural productions from the risk of drought and other climate phenomena.  Those initiatives had been complemented through programmes that strengthened security development and democracy.  Niger had a coherent framework in place that would use the potential of its youth, natural resources and investor-friendly business environment.  The building of democratic institutions based on freedom continued to be a top priority of the Government.  He also said that financial and technical assistance from the international community was critical in helping Niger achieve its development aspirations.

SIGRUN MAGNUSDOTTIR, Minister for the Environment and Natural Resources of Iceland, said a structure for the national implementation of the 2030 Agenda had been set up to be led by the Office of the Prime Minister.  Recalling that she had launched a campaign to cut food waste as part of a broader strategy, she said capacity-building for developing countries was key and that all countries should share best practices on sustainable development and learn from each other.  Describing a geothermal energy project in East Africa that her country had supported, she said some of the Sustainable Development Goals included climate dimensions, including target 15.3 on land restoration.

THANI AL ZEYOUDI, Minister for Climate Change and the Environment of the United Arab Emirates, said that the 2030 Agenda and the Paris Agreement were two political milestones that were mutually reinforcing, as climate change affected all spheres of the economy, society and the environment.  The Sustainable Development Goals required the international community to spare no time for coordinated efforts domestically and internationally, across all sectors and actors.  Domestically, the Government had strengthened its institutional capacity to develop policy initiatives and monitor progress.  The country’s national development agenda, Vision 2021, guided its transition into a knowledge based economy driven by policies and strategies focusing on innovation and environmental sustainability.  Internationally, the United Arab Emirates continued to work with the International Renewable Energy Agency to deploy clean energies and develop human capabilities worldwide.  Though ODA was an important source of fiscal help, that alone was not enough.  In fact, institutional investors, the private sector and philanthropic foundations provided a large and much needed source of private capital for investments towards sustainable development.

RAFAEL PACCHIANO ALAMÁN, Minister for Environment of Mexico, said that his country had conducted activities to prepare and analyse any progress made in achieving the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.  Mexico would continue its active participation in the global climate change issue and would remain ready to promote synergies and cohesion between the Paris Agreement and the Addis Agenda.  He outlined the various ways his State had made great strides in development, including in the private sector, improving opportunity, increasing access to health care and education, and eradicating poverty.  Through various national programmes focusing on development, Mexico had significantly cut the number of those living in extreme poverty.  In terms of gender parity, the number of women had substantially been increased in Government.  In line with the responsibility of implementing the Sustainable Development Goals, Mexico would also focus on protecting biodiversity and combating climate change.

RICHARD BRABEC, Minister for the Environment of the Czech Republic, described the elevation of his Government’s Council for Sustainable Development to a central level, which was an important first step towards its rejuvenation.  Effective partnership with the general public, civil society, private sector and academia was necessary to turn the country’s vision of sustainable development into reality, he said, noting that a national discussion had been focused around changing mindsets, mainstreaming ideas and maintaining coherence.  The former was the most difficult task and the country was addressing the general public by disseminating information and organizing surveys and public campaigns.  Specific emphasis was placed on involving everyone in decision-making and practical activities centred on achieving both personal and institutional ownership.

IZABELLA TEIXEIRA, Minister for the Environment of Brazil, warned against establishing a hierarchy between the Goals and removing them from the multidisciplinary context in which they were conceived.  Sustainable development comprised a conceptual unit whose three dimensions — economic, social and environmental — were inseparable, she stressed.  Leaders could not lose sight of critical issues such as financing for development, technology transfer, technical capacity-building and international trade.  In Brazil, eradicating poverty and reducing inequalities were the foundations of commitments to development, she said, adding that tens of millions of Brazilians had been pulled out of extreme poverty in the last decade alone.  Brazil’s commitment to implementing sustainable development objectives was clearly reflected in the international cooperation mechanisms in which it participated, in particular in the context of South-South cooperation.

MARKO POMERANTS, Minister for the Environment of Estonia, said the Government had a crucial role to play in implementing the Sustainable Development Goals.  Outlining steps Estonia’s public sector had taken to ensure coherence and synergy, he said the Government had aimed to provide a favourable legislative environment and had focused on funding key technology infrastructure, including areas such as “paperless government”, digital e-health, e-schools and an e-system that allowed citizens to declare their taxes.  Such innovative information and communications technology could help other countries establish strong and liable institutions and implement comprehensive legal reforms.  The national main goal now was to adopt collective efforts to eradicate poverty and set up mechanisms that promoted development.  He pointed out the interlinkages between sustainable development and climate change processes at the global and national levels, which could also initiate new processes at the local level.

JAMES FLETCHER, Minister for Sustainable Development, Energy, Science and Technology of Saint Lucia, welcomed the necessary paradigm shift represented by the new Agenda and pledged his Government’s commitment to its implementation.  Adequate policy space was necessary to produce better implementation, as was improved trade policy and partnerships that put the welfare of people first.  Private and public interests must be aligned at the national and international level to catalyse economic transformation.  Acknowledging that climate change could undermine all progress in sustainable development, he called for harmonized implementation of the Paris Agreement along with the 2030 Agenda.

LEJEUNE MBELLA MBELLA, Minister for External Relations of Cameroon, said that the largest challenge faced by mankind remained the eradication of extreme poverty, which was at the core of the new Agenda.  The fate of African countries must be examined with new attention in that regard to assist economic growth through production and market access.  State policy must be respected, economic governance must be reformed and the means of implementation must be provided as per commitments under the new Agenda.  For implementation, the coherence of the United Nations development system must be improved.  In his country, ways and means of implementation were being identified nationally and in the communities.  A concrete vision of the future of the country had been drawn and it was fully committed to realizing it.  Combatting poverty and engaging the entrepreneurial spirit of young people were priorities.  Among environmental priorities were combating desertification and maintaining the forests of the Congo basin.

SUSANA MABEL MALCORRA, Minister for Foreign Affairs of Argentina, called today’s debate a clear example of the new stage in development that was started by the 2030 Agenda.  The plan was for everybody and inclusive in its nature as it aimed to eliminate inequality amongst countries and within countries.  The commitment made took into account the capacities and priorities of each State.  In March, Argentina launched the follow-up of the 2030 Agenda in an event that included the participation of public officers, civil society representatives and the private sector.  She underscored the importance of a permanent synergy and coordination of national policies in order to deal with concrete issues that affected every country and required a multilateral response.  At the international level, Argentina would continue to call upon the reinforcement of mechanisms to transfer technologies and contribute to sustainable development and the eradication of poverty.

PAULA BENNETT, Minister for Climate Change Issues of New Zealand, said national efforts were focused on growing the economy, improving living standards, creating jobs and encouraging advances for women in leadership positions.  New Zealand was also committed to playing its part in combating climate change.  The Government was working to create more jobs and rising incomes.  In the Pacific region, 60 per cent of the international development budget had already been spent and therefore achieving the Sustainable Development Goals would require focus and prioritization.  The region was also prioritizing investments to shift Pacific nations from dependence on expensive fossil fuels and to provide access to renewable electricity, especially solar power.  New Zealand was also working with its neighbours to ensure they received a fair return from their fisheries and that the Pacific Ocean remained healthy and productive.

ABDALLAH ALBERT TOIKEUSSE MABRI, Minister for Foreign Affairs of Côte d’Ivoire, associating himself with the Group of 77 and the African Group, said that with the adoption of the 2030 Agenda, Member States had made the bold move of eradicating poverty an absolute priority.  The development agenda of Côte d’Ivoire was based on a “forward-looking” national plan focused on five key areas.  Some of those areas included improving living conditions and promoting opportunities for young people and closing the gender gap by giving women greater opportunity in the areas of education and in the private sector.  He also outlined various steps taken by Côte d’Ivoire to eradicate poverty and guarantee access to quality food.  Moreover, the establishment of institutions, which his country was greatly focused on doing, had contributed to helping Côte d’Ivoire implement the Sustainable Development Goals.  In that respect, it was necessary to have a strengthened global partnership to support all countries and help them adopt the 2030 Agenda.

PAUL OQUIST KELLEY, Minister and Private Secretary for National Policies to the President of Nicaragua, said that his country had set a goal to eradicate poverty.  Extreme poverty had been cut by more than half and there had also been much progress with gender equality.  Nicaragua had significantly cut the gender gap both economically and socially.  On environmental matters, Nicaragua had made commitments to reduce forest emissions by 11 million tons.  The goals which had already been achieved and Nicaragua’s development agenda as a whole were seriously threatened by climate change.  Nicaragua was one of the five countries most vulnerable to changes in environment and needed to take urgent action to combat climate change.  He also said that the Paris Agreement failed to address the funding of loss and damage.  The only way to ensure the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals was to take urgent action now and not in 2025, which would be too late.  The countries with the biggest carbon emissions had to take responsibility for their footprint.

DELCY ELOÍNA RODRÍGUEZ GÓMEZ, Minister of People’s Power for Foreign Affairs of Venezuela, said it was not possible to speak of sustainable development without looking at unequal power relations that produced great inequality both economically and in terms of the impact of climate chance.  The Chavez/Bolivarian model allowed natural resources to be used for the social good, which had, in turn, allowed the country to make many advances in health, education and housing, as well as achieve greater equality.  The capitalist model, on the other hand, encouraged the concentration of wealth and lessened the possibility for a sustainable use of resources.  She called for an international model of economics that fostered sustainable development.

BARBARA HENDRICKS, Federal Minister for the Environment of Germany, pledged that her country was ready to take the necessary steps to implement the 2030 Agenda, and had made strides in energy and other areas.  The fostering of sustainable production and consumption problems was a priority.  She pledged assistance to all partners in tackling such problems through strategies that would be presented in detail at upcoming forums.

HEATHER HIGGINBOTTOM (United States) said that her country was committed to helping international partners in the areas of technology-transfer, capacity-building and in other areas that would be instrumental in implementing the 2030 Agenda.  The United States was aware that to meet the Goals there would be a need for new financing and resources.  To that end, it was exploring different ways to mobilize resources, particularly in the private sector.  On a national level, the United States was working to engage diverse partners and reach out to communities and those most in need.  She highlighted the importance of different sectors — Governments, businesses and civil society — coming together to achieve sustainable development.

KIMMO TIILIKAINEN, Minister for Agriculture and Environment for Finland, said that his Government had decided that its national agenda for the implementation of the 2030 Agenda would be crafted in close cooperation with all ministries, civil society, private society and academia.  Finland had already taken initial steps to that end, he added.  A national commission on sustainable development was mobilized to ensure that all voices in Finland would be heard.  The country had also developed a mapping service which would look into pointing out Finland’s strengths and weaknesses and would make it easier to fill in development gaps.  The State’s national agenda strategy had also been updated to fit into and complement the international agenda.  He also said his country would remain committed to ensuring accountability at all levels of Government.

KHEMAIS JHINAOUI, Minister for Foreign Affairs of Tunisia, expressed hope that the international community would support the efforts of developing countries such as his own as they dealt with multiple challenges.  His country looked forward to participating in cooperation mechanisms for that purpose, and to create conditions for sustainable development for all.

PRAKASH JAVADEKAR, Minister for the Environment, Forests and Climate Change of India, said 2015 had been a landmark year as the frameworks that had been adopted stressed the need for justice and equity around the world.  The centrality of poverty eradication in the 2030 Agenda was critical, he said, emphasizing the importance of common but differentiated responsibility as an underpinning principle.  Pleased with the creation of the Facilitation of Technology mechanism, whose benefits could be used to achieve the 2030 Agenda, he called for actions that were voluntary, country-led and positive in nature and underscored the need for assistance to developing countries.  India had already undertaken 26 initiatives towards the 2030 Agenda’s implementation.  The Sustainable Development Goals would have significant resource implications of approximately $6 trillion per year, he said, noting that India alone would require $500 billion per year for 15 years.  Both developed and developing countries would be tested on how they would proceed, he said.

JAN SZYSZKO, Minister for the Environment of Poland, said the role of each Government was to decide how to implement the 2030 Agenda.  Despite past climate-related conventions, the world was still facing increasing greenhouse gas concentrations in the atmosphere, degradation of biodiversity, desertification and increasing hunger.  The Paris Agreement had shown that the international community expected concrete action on emission reductions.  The goal of carbon dioxide removal should also be incorporated, he said.  For its part, Poland was a success story in terms of the Kyoto Protocol to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC).  Over recent years, Poland had significantly reduced its greenhouse gas emissions and its current per capita carbon emission was one of the lowest among developed countries.  Due to traditional agriculture and protected forestry, native species had flourished and Poland was able to produce high quality food, he concluded.

ALPHA BARRY, Minister for Foreign Affairs, Cooperation and Foreign Burkinabe of Burkina Faso, associating himself with the Group of 77, said his Government was working on a national socioeconomic development plan focused on eliminating poverty and fostering inclusive growth.  A job creation programme for youth had been set up.  The 2016-2030 national strategy combined mitigation and adaptation to climate change.  Security and peace were indispensable for achieving the Goals.  He reiterated the appeal to developed countries to honour their ODA commitments and to mobilize $100 billion to fight climate change.  Eighty per cent of Burkina Faso’s population lacked access to electricity; millions had firewood as their only source of energy.  The Government planned to organize a round table for donors between now and the end of 2016 to achieve massive public investment in the development sector.

FATMA GULDEMET SARI, Minister for the Environment and Urbanization for Turkey, said implementing the development agenda centred on mobilizing resources and partnerships.  While Turkey had increased the amount of its ODA to $3.9 billion in 2015, other resources were still critically needed, including technology transfer and access to trade.  Supporting small- and medium-sized enterprises was also important, she said, adding that Turkey had aimed at ensuring a high degree of coherence between the new goals and the national development plan.  Moreover, sustainable development could not be achieved without addressing the complex humanitarian emergencies worldwide and combating climate change and other environmental challenges.  Similarly, meaningful progress could not be made without addressing the challenges of least developed countries, she concluded.

CAMILLO GONSALVES, Minister for Economic Planning, Sustainable Development, Industry, Information and Labour of Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, said the Government had created the first-of-its-kind Zero Hunger Trust Fund to eliminate hunger nationwide by 2020.  Partially funded by a specific local tax, it would give that type of individualized attention only possible for small States with pre-existing data on hunger and poverty.  Today, 20 per cent of the nation’s energy mix was derived from hydro and solar resources; 80 per cent from imported fossil fuels.  By 2019, that ratio would be reversed thanks to investments in geothermal exploitation in collaboration with the private sector and multilateral partners.  Emissions must be capped at no more than 1.5 per cent above pre-industrial levels and financing to help adapt to and reduce the risks of global warming, sea-level rise and increasingly frequent weather events was crucial for small island States.

ELADIO RAMÓN LOIZAGA LEZCANO, Minister for Foreign Affairs of Paraguay, said the Government was striving to improve quality of life for its most vulnerable citizens.  The implementation of the national “Selling Opportunities” anti-poverty programme was under way, and was linked to the free school lunch programme.  The Government was committed to achieving inclusive sustainable development and transforming its landlocked status into an opportunity by creating strategic alliances with transit countries to facilitate access to markets on competitive terms.  The Government was setting up an open-ended institutional group to implement strategic policies in line with each of the Sustainable Development Goals.  Networks of international cooperation of all institutional stakeholders were vital as was fulfilling financial pledges in line with the Addis Agenda.

YOON SEONG-KYU, Minister for the Environment of the Republic of Korea, said advances that had been achieved after the ruination of war had shown the importance of harmonizing economic growth with social and environmental progress.  Sustainability must be mainstreamed in all dimensions of policy, he continued, noting that the Government had been able to accomplish goals through legislation.  Challenges, however, remained in the areas of ecosystem preservation and energy.  To make gains, partnerships between local governments, civil society, industry and other stakeholders was essential.  Describing an initiative to provide a better life for vulnerable girls, he said a healthier environment and quality education were keys to a sustainable future.  He looked forward to “a new level of human dignity and coexistence between humanity and nature” through action under the new development Agenda and the new climate regime.

BORITH OUCH, Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation of Cambodia, associating himself with the Group of 77, said the 2030 Agenda was a truly ambitious global framework to eradicate poverty and fight climate change over the next 15 years.  “We need to learn from the many lessons learned from the implementation of the Millennium Development Goals,” he said, calling for bolder actions to move the new Agenda forward.  That plan would be meaningless if it was not accompanied by a means of implementation and political commitment.  Noting that climate change had become a “defining issue of our time”, and that it had already had devastating effects for developed and developing countries, he called for further impetus to revitalize agreements to address climate change based on the principle of common but differentiated responsibility.  The implementation of the Paris Agreement was crucial in that respect, he said, noting that his country had worked to boost economic development while protecting the environment.  The most important course of action would be an ever more strengthened and dynamic partnership between all stakeholders.

SUSIL PREMAJAYANTHA, Minister for Science, Technology and Research of Sri Lanka, said that with a view to implementing the 2030 Agenda, the Government had already taken a number of steps.  Among them was establishing the Ministry for Sustainable Development and Wildlife, which focused on the Asia Pacific region.  As a middle income country seeking to achieve higher levels of well-being for its citizens, Sri Lanka had continued to attach great importance to low-carbon initiatives that left a low ecological footprint.  Further, a sustainable development framework law had been finalized and a related national platform would be launched soon, he said, noting that Sri Lanka had been unanimously elected as the Chair of the Asia Pacific Forum on Sustainable Development in Bangkok.

BATTSEREG NAMDAG, Minister for Environment, Green Development and Tourism of Mongolia, said the role of Governments and civil society was equally important for achieving the Sustainable Development Goals.  In 2014, Mongolia adopted a green development policy as the cornerstone for national development.  Parliament recently approved the “Sustainable Development Vision of Mongolia” plan.  National programmes were aimed at increasing decent jobs and employment opportunities, ensuring environmental sustainability.  Mongolia needed to tackle major challenges such as poverty and vulnerability to climate change impacts.  Governments and international organizations should adopt each other’s best practices.  Joint efforts were needed for technological and sustainable development to bring the benefits of globalization to everyone.

KASPARS GERHARDS, Minister for Environmental Protection and Regional Development of Latvia, said all stakeholders at all levels must form true partnerships to implement the new agenda.  Since 2010, his country had had in place a national sustainable development strategy to guide its long-term development planning.  In response to the 2030 Agenda, the country had begun an in-depth analysis to identify priorities and gaps between the Sustainable Development Goals and existing national policy.  Citing the example of separating economic growth from material input, which reduced pollution and contributed to better public health, he said that aligning different policies was necessary to benefit from synergies.  Latvia was willing to share its experiences with other countries, including through development cooperation.  Finally, he said, systemic and effective follow up and review of the Agenda’s implementation would be crucial to achieving the necessary transformative change.

HASSAN ABDELGADIR HILAL, Minister for Environment, Forestry and Physical Development of Sudan, associating himself with the Group of 77, the Group of Least Developed Countries and the Arab Group, said today’s discussion was an important milestone to develop an international partnership with a view to achieving the Sustainable Development Goals.  Least developed countries faced special challenges in achieving those targets, he said, expressing hope that his country would obtain assistance in that regard.  His country was hosting more than 1 million refugees and was working to contribute to peace in its region, he said; however, it suffered from unilaterally imposed economic and financial sanctions that impacted most heavily on its poorest people.  The world faced social and economic imbalances that contributed to the flow of migrants and increased unemployment, and which were exacerbated by the consequences of natural disasters and climate change, he said, calling for relevant changes in the international economic system.

JEAN-CLAUDE GAKOSSO, Minister for Foreign Affairs and Cooperation of Congo, said his country was determined to implement its national sustainable development strategy, which was aligned with the Sustainable Development Goals.  Among other things, that strategy included improving governance, modernizing infrastructure, diversifying the economy, and the rational use of natural resources.  The process of implementing sustainable development should bring all sectors together, he said, noting that the availability of resources and real political would be critical driving forces.  The Addis Agenda would be critical in that respect.  His country’s “March towards Development” project provided the basis for modernizing the national economy, he said.

MILNER TOZAKA, Minister for Foreign Affairs and External Trade of Solomon Islands, said his country was reviewing its 2011-2020 national sustainable development strategy in order to mainstream the 2030 Agenda.  It also had launched a partnership policy document to guide existing and future partnerships to deliver national priorities.  Noting that 2015 was the hottest year on record, he said the Sustainable Development Goals also were about preparing the population to adapt to climate change.  Unprecedented pressure on the planetary system demanded cooperation and partnerships invested in eight of the Solomon Islands’ nine provinces, where 80 per cent of the population resided.  His country sought partnerships to invest in large-scale infrastructure and agricultural development, from a belief that that small island developing States were not too small to undertake transformative projects.

SAMURA M.W. KAMARA, Minister for Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation of Sierra Leone, speaking on behalf of President Ernest Bai Koroma, pledged to continue working under the 2030 Agenda to build on the progress made in the field of peace, access to justice, political stability and poverty reduction made under the Millennium Development Goals.  While the first set of goals had been undertaken while Sierra Leone had been grappling with the effects of a devastating war, now the Government was dealing with the twin shocks of Ebola and the sharp fall in commodity prices.  A new enhanced national recovery strategy was being put into place to help return the economy to its pre-Ebola levels, he said.  In that light, he applauded development partners for their “unflinching commitment” to the Sierra Leone.

KAMINA JOHNSON SMITH, Minister for Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade of Jamaica, said new goals reflected shared commitment to tackle the full range of global development challenges through action at all levels.  If effectively implemented, the 2030 Agenda would be a game changer and a transformative force for shared prosperity.  Jamaica’s development plan, Vision 2030, focused on the integration of the new goals into national policies.  The Government was already engaging in initiatives such as the promotion of economic growth and job creation through sustainable growth inducement strategies.  As a small island developing State, Jamaica was vulnerable to natural hazards, which had caused the loss of lives and livelihoods alongside damage to the environment.  Among others, statistical capacity was a major concern for Jamaica, she said, noting that without such capabilities, accurately measuring progress would be difficult.

MARJON VASHTI KAMARA, Minister for Foreign Affairs of Liberia, provided an overview of the launch in January of the sustainable development agenda at the national level.  Given the global economic downturn and major humanitarian crises, it was necessary to redouble efforts towards peace and security in all regions.  In Liberia, she said, a drastic fall in iron ore and rubber prices had impeded its post-Ebola recovery and stabilization plan.  In response to that situation, Liberia had forged encouraging relationships with United Nations agencies, regional bodies, financial institutions and bilateral entities, while reaching out to the private sector and capitalizing on the possibilities offered in the Addis Ababa Action Agenda.

AMINA MOHAMMED, Minister for the Environment of Nigeria, said the core objectives of the Sustainable Development Goals had to be met within the framework of a revitalized global partnership.  ODA was critical for supporting the development needs of recipient countries, she said, adding that the international community needed to address tax evasion and other forms of illegal capital flight from developing countries.  Corruption also needed to be eradicated, she said, citing her President’s commitment to tackle that problem.  Climate change could meanwhile see the unravelling of gains made on the economic front, she said, adding that “we cannot afford to let the world down one more time” in failing to fulfil the new agenda.

CONSTÂNCIO DA CONCEIÇÃO PINTO, Minister for Commerce, Industry and Environment of Timor-Leste, said when Parliament had adopted the Sustainable Development Goals, the Government had established a working group comprising governmental agencies and directorates.  The group had first met in February to identify priorities and develop an implementation strategy in line with the 2011‑2030 national development plan.  That move would promote awareness of the 2030 Agenda and ensure all citizens were empowered towards achieving the Goals.  Timor-Leste was actively engaged with the “G7+” group of fragile, conflict and post-conflict States to prioritize indicators covering all 17 Sustainable Development Goals.  Indeed, Timor-Leste had helped to formulate Goal 16, which called for promoting peaceful and inclusive societies for sustainable development, providing access to justice for all and building effective, accountable and inclusive institutions at all levels.

ANDRÄ RUPPRECHTER, Federal Minister for Agriculture, Forestry, Environment and Water Management of Austria, said the 2030 Agenda was being integrated into the national policy framework.  A cross-ministerial working group would provide guidance on drafting national reports for the High-level Political Forum and coordinate prioritizing issues, he said.  Austria had also initiated the European Sustainable Development Network, a regional platform of coordinators from more than 30 Government authorities that was developing a peer learning mechanism to implement the 2030 Agenda.  Young people represented a key target group in that regard and for that reason, the closing event of the 2016 European Sustainable Development Week could be devoted to investing in future generations, bringing youth representatives from Europe together to engage in discussions on the Sustainable Development Goals.

ALEXANDER FROLOV, Head of Federal Service for Hydrometeorology and Environmental Monitoring of the Russian Federation, said 2015 had been the warmest year on record and that the world was witnessing a growing number of natural disasters as well as the acidification of the ocean and other climate-related phenomena.  His country was a global leader in fighting climate change, having reduced greenhouse gas emissions during the Kyoto Protocol period thanks to the modernization of the economy.  Noting that forests occupied a large percentage of the country and that there was a great responsibility to protect and reforest them, he said his State was working on five priority areas:  disaster risk reduction, food security, water supply, health and energy.  It also supported developing countries and countries in transition as they worked to counter the negative effects of climate change.

MIGUEL ÁNGEL MOIR SANDOVAL, Secretary General of the Secretariat for Planning and Programming of the Presidency of Guatemala, said the “K’atun:  Our Guatemala 2032” national development plan was aligned with the Sustainable Development Goals.  The Government had set up a mechanism with private sector and civil society representatives to ensure its systematic monitoring.  Attention to health care, education and sustainable development were national priorities and based on a peaceful society that respected the rule of law, with particular attention to ending violence against women and girls.  The Government aimed to tackle food insecurity by reducing chronic malnutrition in infants under the age of two, reduce maternal mortality to a rate of 93 deaths for every 100,000 live births and improve primary health care for mothers.  He cited plans to reduce underemployment, the housing shortage through sustainable territorial planning, violent crime and the homicide rate, as well as to protect forests, manage water basins and strengthen resilience to climate change.

EDNA MOLEWA, Minister for Environment of South Africa, associating herself with the Group of 77, said her country’s national development plan anticipated the Sustainable Development Goals and was fully aligned with the 2030 Agenda and Africa’s Agenda 2063.  It addressed the challenges of poverty, inequality and unemployment, with a focus on advancing the rights of women.  It was aligned with all the Goals related to women’s empowerment.  Developed countries must support developing countries through the principle of common but differentiated responsibility, and everyone must be held accountable.  The High-level Political Forum was central in that regard to ensure the necessary support was provided to Member States.  South Africa stood ready to implement its fair share of the 2030 Agenda.

JESÚS GRACIA ALDAZ, Secretary of State for International Cooperation of Spain, said that globalization presented great opportunities, but only through sustained development could its positive effects be assured.  The 2030 Agenda involved all countries and should be State policy for the next 15 years, requiring strong political commitment within each country.  Spain was undertaking a series of measures to implement the 2030 Agenda, including changes to its legal framework for cooperation and development as well as a new set of indicators.  He recalled that in negotiating the Goals, his country had focused on sustainability, the human rights perspective and enabling women and girls to be active participants in the shaping of their futures.  He went on to underscore the importance of civil society participation.

IONNIS TSIRONIS, Alternate Minister for Environment and Energy of Greece, said that sustainability was not philanthropy or a moral obligation.  He said his country was dealing with an enormous migrant and refugee crisis that had humanitarian, economic and environmental impacts.  Noting how all of the Goals needed to be addressed holistically, he said Greece was working on a national mechanism whereby the 2030 Agenda would be adopted in relation to national priorities, with the aim of using the Goals to give coherence to policies.  The aim was to spread the notion of the Goals throughout society, he said, adding that the debate on financing should not only take into consideration the productive sector, but also the international financial situation.

MOHAMED BIN DAINA, Chief Executive of the Supreme Council for the Environment of Bahrain, said that as a small island developing State, his country was easily influenced by climate change and serious impacts on its ecosystem.  A delicate balance between development and environmental protection was needed to secure its future.  Through 2030 Vision, its national development plan, Bahrain was on a path to end degradation while fostering economic growth.  Since 2000, the share of fossil fuels that contributed to real GDP had been cut in half, falling from 44 per cent to 20 per cent.  Government strategies aimed to diversify the economy in a way that would benefit society and reduce emissions.  The Green Climate Fund had a vital role.  Bahrain had announced its readiness to host in Manama a regional centre for the Fund.  The Government’s sustainable energy unit aimed to harvest sunshine for energy.  It was engaging with the private sector to form public-private partnerships to spark innovation and performance.

ANDREAS MAVROYIANNIS, Special Ministerial Envoy of Cyprus, said commitments to achieve the new development goals must be honoured, stressing that the full range of financing must be mobilized for the implementation process.  In addition, it was critical to tackle climate change in concert with sustainable development.  Recognizing the interconnectedness of the globe, his country had already begun the process of implementing the new agenda.  Goal 16, on peace and security, was particularly important for a country with a peace process of its own in a volatile region.  For a small island, goals on climate change and oceans were also priorities.  The implementation of all goals must be done in the holistic and integrated manner represented by the complete development framework.  Participation of all actors from all sectors was crucial, he said, emphasizing that “more than ever, it is time to work in synergy”.

SHANCHITA HAQUE, Chief Executive, Supreme Council for the Environment of Bangladesh, speaking on behalf of the Group of Least Developed Countries, stressed the need to operationalize the least developed countries bank as called for in the Sustainable Development Goals.  She called on all stakeholders to establish the bank at the earliest.  Least developed countries were working hard to realize the Goals within their limited capacity and they needed international support to achieve them in the next 15 years.  Almost no least developed country had been able to achieve all the Millennium Development Goals and needed the international community’s help to ensure they reached all the Sustainable Development Goals.

Speaking in her national capacity, she said Bangladesh welcomed the 2030 Agenda.  It had achieved remarkable progress in achieving many of targets of the Millennium Development Goals.  Bangladesh was not complacent, however.  The Government had adopted a systematic approach.  A monitoring committee was set up to track implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals in all economic sectors.  National resource mobilization held the key to their successful implementation.  Bangladesh was ready to engage with all stakeholders to ensure all the Goals were achieved by 2030.

DEIRDRE KENT, Director General for Development Policy of the Ministry of Global Affairs of Canada, said that 2016 was all about taking ambitious and important steps towards timely implementation of the Goals.  Making progress would require working together in more efficient ways, developing new and innovative partnerships, stepping out of the silos of the past, and maximizing available resources.  She said her country would soon be announcing a review of its international assistance and financing policy, with a focus on the poorest and most vulnerable, including fragile States, drawing on Canada’s comparative strengths, including diversity and pluralism.  She said her Prime Minister would tomorrow be signing the Paris Agreement on climate change that was so critical for the sustainability of all development efforts.  Canada would proceed with constructive dialogue, exchanging lessons with others in efforts going forward.

ALYA AHMED SAIF AL-THANI (Qatar) emphasized how youth were the main asset for development and a key component for change.  They were key partners and contributors in forging ahead to sustainable development.  She also asserted the central role of the family, saying that more policies, strategies and programmes were needed that focused on the needs of all family members and bolstered the means of households.  Development was at the core of Qatar’s priorities, she said, adding that development was a human right that needed to be respected and protected.  There was no substitute for international cooperation for achieving sustainable development, and Qatar would play a significant role in that regard.

GONÇALO TELES GOMES (Portugal) said while new policies did not necessarily need to be adopted, national structures and mechanisms could be established to realize the ambitions of the 2030 Agenda.  To do that would entail a transformational process, including a new vision of the relationship between people and the planet.  In Portugal, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs was coordinating the implementation of the 2030 Agenda, working closely with the Ministry of Planning and Infrastructure and with the involvement of all other ministries.  Noting Portugal’s experience in such areas as renewable energy and information systems, he said it was sharing that knowledge with its main cooperation partners while it was mobilizing the private sector.

RICHARD NDUHURA (Uganda) speaking on behalf of the African States, delivered an abbreviated version of his statement.  He stressed the need to align policies and institutional frameworks to support the Sustainable Development Goals and strengthen international and regional cooperation towards that end.  All actionable commitments in the Addis Agenda and Paris Agreement should be acted upon by all players.  The 2030 Agenda could be achieved in our lifetime.  It was time to turn it into reality.

FRANCISCO ANTONIO CORTORREAL (Dominican Republic), speaking on behalf of the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States (CELAC), said the international community should aim at achieving the 2030 Agenda as a whole and not only the Sustainable Development Goals.  Underscoring the importance of poverty eradication, he said developed countries could contribute to fulfilling the 2030 Agenda vision by honouring their longstanding ODA commitments, including by establishing binding timelines for delivering such commitments and other forms of North-South cooperation.  Moreover, South-South cooperation, which should never replace North-South initiatives, had a particular and differentiated role to play, notably in capacity-building among countries of the global South.

To be effective, he said, the implementation of all multilateral agreements must be people-centred and human rights-based and must promote global structural changes needed to eradicate poverty and reduce inequality.  The Community rejected the enactment and unilateral application of economic, financial or commercial measures incompatible with international law and the United Nations Charter that hindered development financing and prevented the full achievement of economic and social potentials, particularly in developing countries.  Finally, he said, for the successful implementation of the 2030 Agenda, a technology facilitation mechanism would be essential.

NAJIB SAAB, Secretary-General of the Arab Forum for Environment and Development, said it was time to stop treating Arab countries as a monolith.  Each country had its own needs and each would identify their development priorities and national plans.  The implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals needed to be linked with the participation of non-State actors, job creation, home-grown science and technology capabilities and institutional and public policy capacity-building.  Local resources needed to be mobilized through tax and subsidy reforms, he said, calling also for climate change to be considered on the basis of the water-energy-food nexus.  Noting the state of conflict in the region, he said it would be wise to integrate the implementation of the 2030 Agenda in post-conflict rebuilding efforts.

VANESSA R. ANYOTI, of the World YWCA, said the world’s wealth lay largely in its youth.  There was a need to mobilize, capacitate and include young people in the development of regional and national indicators and to develop and promote youth coalitions that would liaise with national statistic offices.  Calling for the resourcing of youth programmes, she stressed the need to promote the inclusion, non-discrimination and protection of a diverse group of youth, particularly young women and girls, in the implementation, monitoring and reporting of the 2030 Agenda and in the showcasing of best practices.

ROBERT BOPOLO MBONGEZA, Minister for the Environment, Nature Conservation and Sustainable Development of the Democratic Republic of the Congo, said that his country, among the largest in Africa, was determined to implement the Goals, starting with a campaign to raise awareness among its citizens.  For several years, he said, the country had been envisioning its own development over three phases, leading in 2060 to developed nation status.  Its considerable natural resources needed to be protected as well as developed.  Emphasizing the importance of forest management, he noted how his country had rich and vast forests which needed to be sustained for future generations.  With regard to water resources, hydroelectric power needed to be exploited as an alternative to biomass fuels on which he said his country now depended.  Human development was the country’s priority, but armed conflict in various areas undermined the efforts of people to emerge from poverty and hunger.

CHRISTINE KALAMWINA (Zambia), speaking on behalf of the Group of Landlocked Developing Countries, said the Goals and the Addis Agenda were complementary to the Vienna Programme of Action for Landlocked Developing Countries for the Decade 2014-2024.  Landlocked developing countries needed to realize the priorities set out in the Vienna Programme of Action in order to achieve the Goals.  With the global development agenda in place, she said, implementation was the catchword of the day.  She identified a number of key areas requiring attention so that no one was left behind, such as national level mainstreaming, which would help avert duplication.  It was also important for international organizations, the United Nations system, and regional and subregional groups to mainstream the Vienna Programme of Action into their work, thus providing landlocked developing countries with customized support, as well as increased financial and technical assistance.

PETER TURKSON, President of the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace of the Holy See, said that the realization of the 2030 Agenda required more than public financing; it also needed private investment in accordance with value-based criteria.  For that purpose, it was necessary for non-State actors, such as faith-based groups, to lead multi-stakeholder engagement in ethical financial activities to eliminate social inequality and to care for the Earth.  “Care” was an essential element of Pope Francis’ Encyclical Laudato Si and was relevant in all areas of sustainable development.  In addition, all efforts to end conflict must be deployed for the successful realization of the Agenda, he stressed.

THAUAN DOS SANTOS, Federal University of Rio de Janeiro, stressed the need for common but differentiated responsibility in achieving the 2030 Agenda.  States had an important role.  In his country, civil society and non-governmental organizations had been playing a key role in that regard.  The Brazilian Council for Sustainable Development engaged public and private companies.  He noted a recent serious attack against democracy and rule of law in Brazil.  To hold a successful discussion on sustainable development, it must include the role of political will and review models of domestic and international financing, property rights and indicators for policy evaluation, placing social well-being ahead of GDP.

For information media. Not an official record.