The SDG Advocates met with the Secretary-General and Deputy Secretary-General at the United Nations Headquarters on Sunday, September 17.
Led by President Nana Akufo-Addo of Ghana, and Prime Minister Erna Solberg of Norway via video conference in Oslo, the Advocates, the Secretary-General, the Deputy Secretary-General and Under-Secretary-General Liu, discussed how they can increase knowledge of the SDGs around the world.
All participants in the meeting agreed that improving knowledge of the SDGs, and implementing them on the ground, are crucial and urgent tasks.
“We are already two years into Agenda 2030, and have only 13 years left to achieve the ambitious Goals,” said the Secretary-General.
As President Akufo-Addo said, “our commitment to the SDGs is essential and must be total.” Only in this way can we end hunger and extreme poverty, reduce economic inequality, achieve gender equality, provide universal education and healthcare, and preserve the planet for future generations, among other goals.
Encouraged by the Secretary-General’s Envoy on Youth, Jayathma Wickramanayake, everyone also agreed youth must be at the forefront of SDG action. Youth are directly affected by the SDGs and, at the same time, have enormous capacity to advance their implementation. This includes giving young people more leadership roles across the 17 Goals.
All in all, the meeting acknowledged that youth are also key drivers of change, and are effective at holding their leaders accountable for keeping promises they have made. In this way, the SDGs can become a social contract between the leaders and their people. As the Deputy Secretary-General observed, “there are new ways of marching,” and today’s young leaders are mobilizing action in new ways.
Everyone at the meeting agreed that the money needed to make significant progress on the Goals, and therefore major differences in people’s lives, is relatively small when compared to global savings. The Advocates committed to explore this issue, and make the case for urgently closing the financing gap.
The Advocates reiterated their commitment to promoting the SDGs, highlighting the interconnectedness and universality of the Goals, and agreed that the SDGs are a roadmap to the future we want.