New York

01 July 2020

Deputy Secretary-General's closing remarks at Roundtable on Sustainable Development [as delivered]

I thank you all for this rich and insightful discussion. 

You have risen to the challenge that the Secretary General set for us at the beginning – to answer difficult questions with bold and creative answers.  

We have received concrete and tangible solutions to tackle issues of debt, external finance, and international trade in the COVID-19 era.

First, we are facing long-term catastrophic consequences if we continue doing what we are now. There are more than enough financial resources going around, but we need new conditionalities towards sustainability and creating value in the real economy. 

Second, debt relief should be linked to commitments to recover better, incentivize industrial transformation and invest in health, education and skills and jobs for a sustainable, low emissions and resilient future. 

Third, trade need to serve producing countries. Global value chains should be longer in producing countries. Intermediaries are not adding value. Digitalization can play a crucial role to facilitate that.

Let us not repeat the same defunct theories that let the poor and vulnerable drown.

These proposals will be explored by the discussion groups that are already pulling together a menu of policy options. Led by Member States and supported by UN agencies and other entities, their work will be considered by Ministers of Finance and Heads of Government in September 2020. 

Ahead of that High-level meeting, we will convene our next roundtable. Today we have online and listening with us a number of young women economists. We will be inviting some of them to take over the next roundtable and to focus on what we have heard from young people are the priority areas of climate, inclusive jobs, and the digital economy. I ask all of you to mark your calendars to join us September 3rd for the second in this series. 

Together, building on your ideas today and what we will hear in the next roundtables, I am confident that we are crafting the solutions we need to build back a stronger, more resilient, more equal, inclusive and sustainable world as overcome the COVID-19 crisis and achieve the SDGs.

Thank you for your participation.