UN Headquarters

24 September 2019

Remarks to High-Level Political Forum on Sustainable Development

António Guterres

Secretary-General António Guterres (centre) speaks at the opening of the high-level political forum on Sustainable Development under the auspices of the General Assembly. UN Photo/Kim Haughton

We know the great task before us. We need all hands on deck. We need to move together, leaving no one behind. Let us seize the momentum from this [SDG] Summit … to move faster and farther to reach our destination for people and planet.

I have never seen so many people so animated around the Sustainable Development Goals as during the past three days. 
 
From the SDG Action Zone on our lawn … to billboards in Times Square …the SDGs are everywhere – as they should be. 
 
The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development is the overarching focus of every event of this High-Level week. 
 
We started this journey together in 2015 – and we know our destination. 
 
An end to extreme poverty and hunger.
 
Equality for women and girls and empowered young people. 
 
A low carbon, climate-smart economy with decent jobs, inclusive growth and shared prosperity. 
 
Peaceful and just societies, human rights for all, and respect for the rule of law. 
 
Opportunity for all on a healthy planet.
 
In short, we have set our sights on a fair globalization.
 
The good news is that the 2030 Agenda is coming to life. 
 
Governments, north and south, have begun integrating the Goals into national plans and strategies. The private sector is coming to understand that green business is good business.
 
Cities, businesses, the international financial sector, civil society, young people and more are stepping up and taking action.   
 
And we are making progress.
 
Extreme poverty and child mortality rates are falling.
 
Access to energy and to decent work is rising.
 
And we see from this Summit, the commitment to the 2030 Agenda is an unmistakable commitment.
 
But let us be clear:  we are far from where we need to be. We are off track.
 
Deadly conflicts, the climate crisis, gender-based violence, and persistent inequalities are undermining efforts to achieve the Goals.
 
Indeed, half the wealth around the world is held by people who could fit around a conference table.
 
Uneven growth, rising debt levels, heightened global trade tensions are creating new obstacles to implementation.
 
Youth unemployment remains at alarming levels.
 
Global hunger is unfortunately on the rise.
 
No country is on track to meeting the goal of gender equality – without which none of the others will be met, and in fact, the gap in several [of them] is growing.
 
One million species are in danger of extinction.
 
And at the current pace, almost 500 million people could remain in extreme poverty by 2030.
 
We must step up our efforts.  And we must do it now. 
 
We must regain the trust of the people and respond to perceptions and experiences of alienation and instability generated by the current model of globalization.
 
We have the best solution in the Agenda 2030, our blueprint for a fair globalization.
 
We must transition our economies towards net zero emissions by 2050.
 
We must boost the development prospects of the world’s most vulnerable countries and most marginalized people.
 
And we must look at the 2030 Agenda not through the prism of the economy of the last decade, but the economy of the next decade, seizing the potential of the Fourth Industrial Revolution and safeguarding against its dangers.
 
That is why today, as requested by your Political Declaration, I am issuing a global call for a decade of action to deliver the Sustainable Development Goals by 2030.
 
Dear friends,
 
Three essential areas drive my call.
 
First, global action.

Now is the time for bold leadership, both individual and collective.

We need to end today’s conflicts and prevent further violence.

We need a major surge in financing with Member States meeting their official development assistance commitments; fully replenishing Global Funds on Climate and Health; boosting funding for education and other Sustainable Development Goals; supporting innovative forms of financing like Social Impact Bonds; and increasing access to technologies and concessional and green finance for countries most at risk.

At the same time, we need to scale up long-term private investment for sustainable development and make meaningful progress in fighting illicit flows of capital, money laundering and tax evasion to better support developing countries pursuing political and economic reform.

And we need to focus on solutions that will make greatest impact across the entire Agenda, such as gender equality, a just and inclusive economy; energy and food systems, sustainable cities, and taking on the climate crisis.
 
Second, local action. 

We need to step up domestic responses to make a difference where it matters -- in people’s lives. 

This includes more deeply orienting domestic policies and action with the 2030 Agenda -- developing integrated national financing frameworks; empowering sustainable development governance mechanisms, creating insightful and inclusive data systems, and delivering ambitious climate plans in 2020. 

It also includes the creation of an enabling environment that maximizes the potential of cities and local authorities, protects human rights and civic space, fosters private sector development and attracts foreign direct investment.

Third, people action. 
 
I am calling on civil society, grassroot organizations, media, private sector, unions, academia and others to mobilize partnerships like never before. 
 
I appeal to innovators and disruptors in the private sector to embrace new business models that match the demands of the 2030 Agenda.
 
I call on the world of science, research and technology to ensure that new technologies narrow the digital and broader technological divide and are geared towards the common good, in line with the recommendations of my High-Level Panel on Digital Cooperation.
 
I urge young people and civil society to hold leaders to account.
 
As we look ahead, I will convene an annual platform for driving the Decade of Action.

Our first such gathering will take place in September 2020 in the context of the 75th anniversary of the United Nations. 
 
Dear Friends,
 
As we look forward, we know the great task before us. 
 
We need all hands on deck.  We need to move together, leaving no one behind. 
 
Let us seize the momentum from this Summit and this week to move faster and farther to reach our destination for people and planet.   Thank you.

*************************************************************************************

[Bilingual as delivered version]

I have never seen so many people so animated around the Sustainable Development Goals as during the past three days. 
 
From the SDG Action Zone on our lawn … to billboards in Times Square …the SDGs are everywhere – as they should be. 
 
The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development is the overarching focus of every event of this High-Level week. 
 
We started this journey together in 2015 – and we know our destination. 
 
An end to extreme poverty and hunger.
 
Equality for women and girls and empowered young people. 
 
A low carbon, climate-smart economy with decent jobs, inclusive growth and shared prosperity. 
 
Peaceful and just societies, human rights for all, and respect for the rule of law. 
 
Opportunity for all on a healthy planet.
 
In short, we have set our sights on a fair globalization.
 
The good news is that the 2030 Agenda is coming to life. 
 
Governments, north and south, have begun integrating the Goals into national plans and strategies. The private sector is coming to understand that green business is good business.
 
Cities, businesses, the international financial sector, civil society, young people and more are stepping up and taking action.   
 
And we are making progress.
 
Extreme poverty and child mortality rates are falling.
 
Access to energy and to decent work is rising.
 
And we see from this Summit, the commitment to the 2030 Agenda is an unmistakable commitment.
 
But let us be clear:  we are far from where we need to be. We are off track.
 
Deadly conflicts, the climate crisis, gender-based violence, and persistent inequalities are undermining efforts to achieve the Goals.
 
Indeed, half the wealth around the world is held by people who could fit around a conference table.
 
Uneven growth, rising debt levels, heightened global trade tensions are creating new obstacles to implementation.
 
Youth unemployment remains at alarming levels.
 
Global hunger is unfortunately on the rise.
 
No country is on track to meeting the goal of gender equality – without which none of the others will be met, and in fact, the gap in several [of them] is growing.
 
One million species are in danger of extinction.
 
And at the current pace, almost 500 million people could remain in extreme poverty by 2030.
 
We must step up our efforts.  And we must do it now. 
 
We must regain the trust of the people and respond to perceptions and experiences of alienation and instability generated by the current model of globalization.
 
We have the best solution in the Agenda 2030, our blueprint for a fair globalization.
 
We must transition our economies towards net zero emissions by 2050.
 
We must boost the development prospects of the world’s most vulnerable countries and most marginalized people.
 
And we must look at the 2030 Agenda not through the prism of the economy of the last decade, but the economy of the next decade, seizing the potential of the Fourth Industrial Revolution and safeguarding against its dangers.
 
That is why today, as requested by your Political Declaration, I am issuing a global call for a decade of action to deliver the Sustainable Development Goals by 2030.
 
Chers amis,
 
Trois domaines guident mon appel.
 
Tout d’abord, l’action à l’échelle mondiale.
 
Le temps est venu de prendre des décisions audacieuses, tant sur le plan individuel que collectif.
 
Nous devons mettre fin aux conflits d’aujourd’hui et prévenir les violences de demain.
 
Il nous faut davantage de ressources et, il faut donc que les États Membres respectent leurs engagements en matière d’aide publique au développement.
 
Il faut reconstituer intégralement les Fonds mondiaux pour le Climat et la Santé, augmenter le financement de l’éducation et des autres Objectifs de Développement Durable, soutenir des formes innovantes de financement – par exemple, les Obligations à Impact Social – et faire en sorte que les pays les plus vulnérables aient davantage accès aux technologies et aux financements verts et à taux réduits.
 
Dans le même temps, nous devons amplifier les investissements privés à long terme en faveur du développement durable et réaliser de vrais progrès dans la lutte contre les flux illicites de capitaux, le blanchiment d’argent et l’évasion fiscale afin de mieux soutenir les pays en développement dans la mise en œuvre de leurs réformes politiques et économiques.
 
Nous devons également privilégier les solutions qui auront le plus d’impact sur le Programme 2030 dans son ensemble, comme l’égalité des sexes, une économie juste et inclusive, des systèmes énergétiques et alimentaires durables, des villes durables et la lutte contre la crise climatique.
 
En deuxième lieu, l’action locale.
 
Nous devons faire davantage au niveau national, afin d’obtenir des résultats là où cela importe le plus : dans la vie des gens.
 
Il faut donc aligner les politiques et engagements nationaux sur le Programme 2030 – élaborer des cadres de financement nationaux intégrés, renforcer les mécanismes de gouvernance du développement durable, créer des systèmes de données utiles et inclusifs et bâtir des plans climatiques ambitieux en 2020. 
 
Enfin, nous devons créer un environnement qui permette aux villes et aux autorités locales d’exploiter tout leur potentiel, un environnement dans lequel les droits de la personne et l’espace public soient protégés, qui favorise le développement d’un secteur privé durable et qui attire les investissements étrangers directs.
 
Troisièmement, l’action individuelle.
 
J’appelle la société civile, les associations locales, les médias, le secteur privé, les syndicats et les universités, entre autres, à plus que jamais travailler main dans la main vers des objectifs communs.
 
J’invite les innovateurs et les entrepreneurs à adopter de nouveaux modèles économiques qui répondent aux besoins du Programme 2030.
 
Je demande au monde de la science et de la recherche de faire en sorte que les nouvelles technologies servent à réduire les fractures numérique et technologique et soient mises au service du bien commun, comme prôné par mon Groupe de haut niveau sur la coopération numérique.
 
Enfin, j’exhorte les jeunes et les membres de la société civile à demander des comptes à leurs dirigeants.
 
Aussi, j’entends convoquer une plateforme annuelle pour piloter la Décennie d’action. Notre première rencontre dans ce cadre aura lieu en septembre 2020 à l’occasion du 75e anniversaire de l’Organisation des Nations Unies.
 
Chers amis,
 
Nous faisons face à un grand défi.
 
Relevons-le, tous ensemble.
 
Avançons, tous ensemble, sans laisser personne de côté.
 
Profitons de l’élan de ce Sommet et de cette semaine pour aller plus loin et plus vite afin d’atteindre notre destination commune : un monde durable et prospère pour toutes et tous.
 
Je vous remercie.