28 September 2021

Governments Must Look Beyond Short-Term, National Interests to Build Fairer, Greener World, Deputy Secretary-General Tells Economic and Social Affairs Advisory Board

Following is the text of UN Deputy Secretary‑General Amina Mohammed’s video message to the United Nations High‑level Advisory Board on Economic and Social Affairs, today:

Greetings and thank you for this opportunity to address members of the High‑level Advisory Board on Economic and Social Affairs.

You meet at a time like no other.  Humanity is at an inflection point in history.  The world faces a host of complex and interconnected crises.  Conflicts are tearing countries and regions apart.  Climate change is threatening our planet’s future — and the future of the ecosystems, the ocean and biodiversity upon which we all depend.  And a global pandemic has upended lives and exacerbated and deepened inequalities within and among countries.

People are facing job losses, dwindling incomes, and economic misery.  Health systems are stretched.  Millions of children are out of school.  Rates of poverty and hunger are rising.  Girls and women are facing increased rates of violence, child marriage and early pregnancy.  And decades of development progress are being undone.

Recovery so far is uneven — and unfair.  Without changing course, we risk deepening the divides between the developed and developing world.  While people in some countries have ready access to COVID‑19 vaccines, strong stimulus measures, robust health and education systems, and digital access and tools, tens of millions in developing countries do not.

Excellencies, it doesn’t have to be this way.  We can recover better, greener and fairer:  if we look beyond short‑term, national interests, and do what is best for our planet and for each other.  If we recommit to the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), which represent the best path forward to recovery for all.  If we stand as one human family, in solidarity.

This is the vision behind the Secretary‑General’s Common Agenda, launched earlier this month.  It calls on all countries to work as one and mobilize action to reach the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.  But we need your help to bring this vision to life.  I am encouraged and thankful for your commitment to helping Member States navigate this turbulent time.  So in your deliberations today, I urge you to be bold.  To present concrete pragmatic recommendations for policy actions and the institutional innovation we need to build back better and stronger.

How can we raise the ambition of all actors and stakeholders?  How can we reshape the financial sector in support of a strong recovery?  What tools are needed to close the financing gap for the SDGs which has increased by 70 per cent to over $4.2 billion?  How can we drive investment into sectors that promote low carbon growth, and protect nature while ensuring inclusive and resilient societies?  How do we deliver a social protection system that is robust and inclusive?  How can we mobilize the upcoming nature summits (on climate, biodiversity, ocean) to deliver healthy global commons that support livelihoods and increase resilience, protecting the future for coming generations and to support countries and people in their hour of need?

We cannot let the 2030 Agenda slip away.  People are looking to us to deliver.  Let’s match their hope with our best efforts.  Let’s deliver the progress, results and recovery our world needs now, more than ever.  Thank you.

For information media. Not an official record.