16 July 2020

Deputy Secretary-General Says Countries Must ‘Rise to the Test’ of Current Moment, Show Greater Development Ambition, at High-Level Political Forum Closing

Following are UN Deputy Secretary-General Amina Mohamed’s remarks at the closing of the 2020 Economic and Social Council high-level political forum on sustainable development, in New York today:

We have come to the end of eight days of deliberation on delivering the Sustainable Development Goals during this Decade of Action in the new context of COVID-19.  The message from this central platform for reviewing progress on the Goals is loud and clear:   We were not on track to deliver the Goals before COVID‑19 hit, and given the impacts of the crisis, the road ahead is now even steeper.

But, as the Secretary-General said in his remarks on Tuesday, we can turn this around, if we stay true to the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.

That means showing solidarity and foresight on financing.  It means increasing investment in public services, including social protection, health systems, education, water, sanitation and digital connectivity.  And it means pursuing a recovery that builds an inclusive, green and gender-responsive economy.

Staying true to the 2030 Agenda means reimagining and reshaping the way we work, learn, live and consume.  It means listening to the world’s young people, who are demanding justice, equality and sustainability.  And it means investing in an inclusive and networked multilateralism, with the United Nations at the centre.

If we do all of this – consciously, concertedly, cooperatively – we can build a better world – our shared destination.

I commend all Member States and stakeholders for their support to the Economic and Social Council and the high-level political forum, particularly the 47 countries that presented their voluntary national reviews this year.  And I encourage all delegations to find common ground over the coming days so that this Forum can adopt a ministerial declaration at this critical time.

I congratulate the President of Economic and Social Council, Ambassador Juul, together with the Council’s bureau, for their outstanding work.  And I thank our colleagues in the Department of Economic and Social Affairs, the Department for General Assembly and Conference Management and the Office of Information and Communications Technology, who worked night and day to make this virtual high-level political forum a success.

We leave this forum reassured by the commitment to step up implementation of the 2030 Agenda during this Decade of Action.  We do so because we have seen what is possible over these past six months when we unite in common cause.

I have been particularly encouraged by the response of the new Resident Coordinator system and our United Nations country teams and I can assure you of the United Nations development system’s full support to accompany your ongoing response, recovery and Sustainable Development Goals acceleration efforts.

We must continue to build momentum through the major meetings this September — including the commemoration of the seventy-fifth anniversary of the United Nations, the high-level gatherings on biodiversity and gender equality and the Secretary-General’s convening of the first Sustainable Development Goals Moment and meetings on financing COVID-19 and beyond.

As an international community, we must rise to the test of this pivotal moment.  Through higher ambition, greater urgency and heightened solidarity, we must keep our promises to people and planet.

For information media. Not an official record.