Despite encouraging progress, the international community had yet to account for the millions of people who still wallowed in abject poverty and for whom the right to development remained but a dream, speakers said today as the ministerial segment of the High-Level Political Forum on Sustainable Development continued.
The right to development was a right for all, and in that regard, every effort must be made to ensure that no one was left behind in the pursuit of sustainable development, stressed Slumber Tsogwane, Minister of Local Government and Rural Development of Botswana, who highlighted his country’s sustainable development efforts, including the mainstreaming of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development into the country’s National Development Plan 11 and Vision 2063.
Despite laudable action, huge financing gaps continued to obstruct efforts to implement the Sustainable Development Goals, lamented Mustafa Kamal, Minister of Planning of Bangladesh, speaking on behalf of the least developed countries and aligning himself with the statement made by Ecuador on behalf of the Group of 77 developing countries and China. Significant mobilization of resources, including through enhanced international cooperation, was needed, he said, stressing that least developed countries were facing the major brunt of climate change, despite having contributed the least towards global warming.
Official development assistance (ODA), foreign direct investment and exports had declined considerably in 2016, which was a point of deep concern, he noted, adding that concrete efforts must be made for the operationalization of the Technology Bank for Least Developed Countries and investment promotion regimes for them.
States must recognize that poverty and equality were interlinked, said Marcos Barraza, Minister of Social Development of Chile, who noted that societies without equality had seen their economic growth stymied, stripping incentives for investments. Tackling inequality must be part of all development efforts, including in middle-income countries, and in sectors such as education.
During the debate, some delegates highlighted unique challenges faced by their countries that created obstacles to development, including Abdullahi Majeed, Minister of State for Environment and Energy of Maldives, who called attention to his country’s geographic remoteness, climate change consequences and insularity. Those dynamics had hindered development progress and would only be overcome through significant support from development partners and the international community, including through approaches such as South-South cooperation and partnerships aligned with the Samoa Pathway outcome document.
Regional crises continued to take a toll on Jordan and had placed a burden on that country’s hard-earned development goals, said Imad Fakhoury, Minister of Planning and International Cooperation of Jordan. The influx of Syrian refugees seeking safety and security in his country had resulted in greater needs, increased security and military pressures, higher budgetary costs, limited economic growth and increased unemployment and poverty, to name a few. In spite of those unprecedented challenges, Jordan was continuing to work towards achieving the Goals through comprehensive and evolutionary reforms to sustain the country’s resilience, while increasing the prosperity of its citizens.
Other representatives highlighted progress in their respective country’s sustainable development efforts, including Abdul Rahman Dahlan, Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department of Malaysia, who pointed out that his Government had localized the implementation of the Goals within the national context, including through the establishment of a governance structure, headed by the Prime Minister, for progress monitoring and reporting.
He recalled that in 1970, the poverty level in Malaysia was at 49 per cent, but by 2000 it had fallen to 8.5 per cent, which was long before the Millennium Development Goal target year of 2015. Malaysia’s approach to eradicating poverty was premised on access to education, skills development, creating employment and income generating activities, investment schemes and ensuring basic infrastructure. Moving forward, Malaysia remained committed to increasing the incomes and quality of life for the bottom 40 per cent of households, he added.
Throughout the day, the Council also heard Voluntary National Reviews from representatives of Belgium, Benin, Peru, Guatemala, Italy, Zimbabwe, Czech Republic, Jordan, Thailand, Argentina, Belarus, Portugal, Uruguay, Nigeria, Panama and Sweden.
Also participating in the general debate were ministers and other senior officials for Honduras, Italy, Sri Lanka, Tajikistan, Zambia, Malta, Swaziland, Afghanistan, Serbia, Qatar, Iran, Egypt, Paraguay, Costa Rica, Madagascar, Mali, Belarus, India, Cambodia, Nepal, Malawi, Poland, Viet Nam, Philippines, Lao People’s Democratic Republic, Norway, Cuba, Germany, Mozambique, Spain, Finland and Nigeria.
The Council will meet again at 3:30 p.m. on Wednesday, 19 July, to continue its general debate.
MUSTAFA KAMAL, Minister of Planning of Bangladesh, speaking on behalf of the least developed countries, aligned himself with the statement made by Ecuador on behalf of the Group of 77 developing countries and China, and noted that the least developed countries were lagging behind in poverty eradication with more than 45 per cent of their populations still living in extreme poverty. Governments were making utmost efforts to eradicate poverty, including by bringing in necessary legislative, administrative and structural reforms to implement the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. Emphasis had been placed on financial inclusion, women’s empowerment, high-quality education, capacity-building on data, respect for human rights and the creation of an enabling environment for the private sector.
Nevertheless, huge financing gaps continued to obstruct their efforts to implement the Sustainable Development Goals, and in that context, he called for significant mobilization of resources, including through enhanced international cooperation. Least developed countries were facing the major brunt of climate change, although they had contributed the least towards global warming. Official development assistance (ODA), foreign direct investment and exports had declined considerably in 2016, which was a point of deep concern. Least developed countries called for the full implementation of the Addis Ababa Action Agenda, which strongly articulated the means of implementation for the 2030 Agenda. Technology and investment were key drivers of structural transformation for least developed countries, and in that context, concrete efforts must be made for the operationalization of the Technology Bank for Least Developed Countries and investment promotion regimes for them.
IMAD FAKHOURY, Minister of Planning and International Cooperation of Jordan, stressed that the challenges facing the international community were immense. Regional crises continued to take a toll on Jordan and its hard-earned development gains. Regional crises and the influx of Syrian refugees seeking safety and security in Jordan had resulted in heightened needs, increased security and military pressures, higher budgetary costs, limited economic growth and increased unemployment and poverty, to name a few. In spite of those unprecedented challenges, Jordan was continuing to work towards achieving the Goals through comprehensive and evolutionary reforms to sustain Jordan’s resilience, while increasing the prosperity of its citizens. Jordan was facing great external challenges, with its geographic location within such a volatile region opening it up to a host of vulnerabilities. The development agenda was focused on shared prosperity, and in that regard, burden sharing could not continue to be disproportionate.
MARCOS BARRAZA, Minister for Social Development of Chile, highlighted three areas that must be the centre of efforts. States must take note of the indivisible nature of the Sustainable Development Goals and Governments must recognize that poverty and equality were interlinked. Societies without equality had seen their economic growth stymied, stripping incentives for investments. Tackling inequality must be part of all development efforts, including in middle-income countries, and in sectors such as education. Finally, the holistic nature of the Goals called for ensuring that sectors worked together and complemented each other. Planning must be re-evaluated and all stakeholders must take ownership of the 2030 Agenda, with civil society, the public and private sectors and academia working together as partners.
JORGE RAMON HERNANDEZ ALCERRO, Minister Coordinator General of Honduras, said major challenges to achieving the Goals included mitigating climate change consequences. As the 2030 Agenda had redefined the way development was understood, coordination mechanisms must be appropriately tailored to focus more on people than on processes. The current architecture did not promote adequate support to Member States. To address that, reform was necessary and cooperation must be bolstered. The United Nations had recognized that poverty was a multidimensional challenge that must be addressed accordingly. Both developing and developed nations must strive to work together to achieve the Goals.
GIAN LUCA GALLETTI, Minister for the Environment, Land and Sea Protection of Italy, said national initiatives included the provision of economic benefits to families to counter poverty. Gender equality was at the basis of national policies in a cross-cutting manner and the universality of health-care coverage was a priority, as health was part of creating a healthy environment. With new international instruments, there was now a clear model for development. Outlining various environmental programmes, he said Italy was hosting a conference on marine-related issues. Aware of the obligation of solidarity in a bid to help partners achieve the Goals, Italy had elaborated a new approach to promote sustainability abroad in terms of development and support for related efforts.
ABDULLAHI MAJEED, Minister of State for Environment and Energy of Maldives, said the process of preparing a national review had been extremely useful, providing an impetus to take on a challenging task while bringing together governmental bodies and helping to identify and address gaps. Maldives faced geographic remoteness, climate change consequences and insularity, so spurring further progress required significant support from development partners and the international community, including through approaches such as South-South cooperation and partnerships aligned with the Samoa Pathway outcome document. Support was needed in several areas, including data collection and measurement. The national review had generated momentum within Maldives to move onto the right track towards implementing the Goals, he said, strongly encouraging and recommending that other States participate in that helpful process.
GAMINI JAYAWICKRAMA PERERA, Minister for Sustainable Development and Wildlife of Sri Lanka, said eradicating poverty was a prerequisite for a truly transformative sustainable development era. National economic prosperity strategies had centred on the Paris Agreement on climate change and the 2030 Agenda, with a knowledge-based social market economy built on justice principles with a focus on education, health and other key sectors. To sustainably unlock the value of ocean resources, a blue-green strategy had been established. More broadly, Parliament had adopted a national sustainable development act to formulate policies and monitor the Goals’ implementation. By the end of 2017, a national Sustainable Development Goals road map would be formulated.
NEMATULLO HIKMATULLOZODA, Minister of Economic Development and Trade of Tajikistan, aligned himself with the statement of the Group of 77 and China, noting that more than 767 million people lived in poverty worldwide, and many of those who had climbed out of it in the last 15 years lived precariously close to the boundary. The problems of growing inequality, including within education systems and health services, aggravated that situation. Tajikistan had enjoyed significant successes in building a social state, which had been achieved through strong political will and the adoption of five medium-term strategies that had reduced poverty from 83 to 31 per cent. The country had put in place a new development strategy and was in the process of integrating the 2030 Agenda into that national strategy. Nevertheless, the country’s landlocked status and the prevalence of climate change-induced natural disasters were obstacles negatively impacting achievement of the Goals, which would require the mobilization of resources from all sectors.
LUCKY MULUSA, Minister for National Development Planning of Zambia, underlined a need for building stronger bilateral and multilateral partnerships between developing and developed countries. Doing so must translate into benefits for countries like Zambia in areas of pervasive development inadequacies. As a way of institutionalizing the 2030 Agenda into national plans, Zambia recently launched a strategy for 2017 to 2021 centred on the theme of accelerating development efforts and on mainstreaming the goals of the 2030 Agenda. Related measures included providing social assistance to vulnerable groups, reforming input delivery and distribution systems through an e-voucher system and technology development, and implementing programmes on farming and health. Eradicating poverty required infrastructure development and sustainable industrialization, he said, emphasizing the need for coordinated and diversified resource mobilization and partnerships.
YINAGER DESSIE BELAY, Minister of the National Planning Commission of Ethiopia, said that despite global poverty having been cut in half since 2000, an enhanced and revitalized global partnership was required to end poverty and achieve prosperity. As the eradication of poverty and inclusive and sustainable development had been the overarching policy objectives of Ethiopia, the country was taking its Voluntary National Review as an opportunity to deepen national ownership of the Goals and implementation of the national growth and transformation plan, which integrated all the Goals. Highlighting that Ethiopia had made considerable progress in economic growth, infrastructure and social development as well as environmental management in the last 15 years, he noted that the country had established a federal and decentralized system of administration to address economic, social and political inequalities. Nevertheless, poverty, climate change-induced drought, governance challenges and a weak export sector remained among the country’s principle development challenges.
SLUMBER TSOGWANE, Minister of Local Government and Rural Development of Botswana, emphasized that the right to development was a right for all, and in that regard, every effort must be made to ensure that no one was left behind in the pursuit of sustainable development. Despite the encouraging progress that had taken place, the international community had yet to account for the millions of people who still wallowed in abject poverty and for whom the right to development remained but a dream. Botswana had mainstreamed the 2030 Agenda into its National Development Plan 11 and Vision 2063. Empowerment programmes had been designed in an inclusive manner, aimed at vulnerable and disadvantaged groups, while structures and mechanisms had been put in place to facilitate effective review, monitoring and evaluation of the implementation of the respective programmes. Further, Botswana had recognized the need for institutional mechanisms to facilitate synergies, information-sharing and coordination and collaboration among implementing entities to prevent the emergence of a counterproductive silo approach.
ABDUL RAHMAN DAHLAN, Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department of Malaysia, aligned himself with statement of the Group of 77 and China, and said his country’s development agenda had always been people-focused and ran parallel to the aspirations of the Goals in that it balanced the needs of both the people and the economy. Malaysia had localized the implementation of the Goals within the national context, including through the establishment of a governance structure, headed by the Prime Minister, for progress monitoring and reporting. In 1970, the poverty level in Malaysia was at 49 per cent, but by 2000 it had fallen to 8.5 per cent, which was long before the Millennium Development Goal target year of 2015. Malaysia’s approach to eradicating poverty was premised on access to education, skills development, creating employment and income generating activities, investment schemes and ensuring basic infrastructure. Moving forward, Malaysia remained committed to increasing the incomes and quality of life for the bottom 40 per cent of households. Recognizing the important role of women, Malaysia had sought to consistently promote the rights of women and girls, including through the enactment of legislation in 1989 that ensured that women enjoyed the same fundamental rights as men.
CARMELO ABELA, Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade Promotion of Malta, expressed pride in the progress made in development cooperation, recalling Malta’s work in conjunction with other European Union member States towards the adoption of the new European Consensus on Development. Thanks to that new consensus, the European Union member States now had a one development policy for all which was a ground-breaking cornerstone in the collective effort to deliver on the 2030 Agenda. For the first time, young people were at the core of the bloc’s development policy, in recognition of their strong potential to drive innovation and entrepreneurship. The focus placed on women and girls could not be over-emphasized, he said, stressing their potential to serve as real agents of change and their invaluable contributions to development worldwide. At the national level, Malta had worked tirelessly to ensure a holistic implementation of the Agenda, whereby awareness-raising was essential.
HLANGUSEMPI DLAMINI, Minister for Economic Planning and Development of Swaziland, said his country had dovetailed domestic policies to ensure a smooth implementation process towards achieving the Goals. Progress included initiatives prioritizing the less privileged groups, including vulnerable children and the elderly. Such programmes, however, must be maintained and adequately funded. Ensuring healthy lives, promoting well-being and ensuring gender equality were among the Government’s priorities. Turning to the environment, he said Swaziland had suffered from climate change consequences, including drought, and to address that, the Government had launched projects to build dams and was working on other solutions.
ABDUL SATTAR MURAD, Minister for Economy of Afghanistan, said progress in achieving the Millennium Development Goals had included expanded school enrolment, higher life expectancy and lower infant mortality. The Sustainable Development Goals required new ways of working together, building partnerships and identifying innovative financing beyond the traditional aid system. Despite national efforts, peace still evaded Afghanistan. Even so, nationalizing the Goals had already begun through a series of consultations, conferences and workshops with various governmental and non-governmental stakeholders and with all targets, indicators and baselines set to Afghanistan’s realities. We are determined to develop a human rights-based implementation plan in order to ensure that everyone is placed at the centre of our Government’s efforts, he said.
SLAVICA DJUKIC DEJANOVIC, Minister without portfolio in charge of population policy of Serbia, said an intersectoral working group, including stakeholders from civil society, academia and the private sector, was currently making strides in implementing the 2030 Agenda. Calling the voluntary national review process a significant tool to monitor gains, she said Serbia was currently negotiating with the European Union on development programmes and was cooperating closely with the United Nations country team on related initiatives. After years of multiple challenges, Serbia was set on its way towards fiscal stability and dynamic growth, which must be sustainable, especially regarding environmental protection, poverty eradication, advancing gender equality and ending violence against women and girls.
SALEH BIN MOHAMMAD AL-NABIT, Minister of Development Planning and Statistics of Qatar, said that poverty eradication was a huge challenge and necessary pre-condition for the achievement of sustainable development. Implementing inclusive socioeconomic development required the mobilization of means of implementation and effective international cooperation. In those efforts, the needs of the poorest and most marginalized must be taken into consideration. To realize sustainable development, financing needs must be met in a spirt of international solidarity and partnership. The 2030 Agenda was being integrated into Qatar’s second development strategy for 2017-2022, he said, calling for a greater focus on human rights. In that context, he noted that Qatar continued to receive nationals from different countries and that those individuals enjoyed the same fundamental rights that enabled them to participate in the development of policies.
MOHAMMAD JAVAD ZARIF, Minister for Foreign Affairs of Iran, said that a strong legal and legislative framework had been created in his country that provided a solid platform for planning, implementing and following up on national development strategies and policies, particularly with regard to poverty eradication. Iran’s Voluntary National Report provided an opportunity for Iran to share its best practices, experiences and achievements in the areas of building a resilient economy, as well as poverty eradication, social justice, food security and the expansion of social services. Emphasizing that Iran’s experience signified the importance of an conducive external environment, he said providing a means of implementation was a vital factor, and in that regard, developed countries should fulfil their commitments on the provision of financial resources, technology transfer and capacity-building without politicizing that process.
GHADA FATHI ISMAIL, Minister for Social Solidarity of Egypt, said implementation strategies, including Egypt Vision 2030, were based on economic development, social justice, environment and knowledge and innovation. Working at national, regional and global levels towards sustainable development, Egypt continued to forge ways to bolster partnerships to ensure no one was left behind. However, challenges existed, she said. Highlighting ways to overcome them, she encouraged fostering a reinvigorated drive to ensure sufficient means existed for implementing the Goals. Recognizing the ineffectiveness of taking a one-size-fits-all approach, she said policy space must allow for tailored strategies. All stakeholders must contribute to joint implementation efforts, she said, emphasizing that stability, security and peace was essential.
JOSA MOLINAS (Paraguay) said a national plan was currently aligned with the 2030 Agenda, representing also the aspirations of citizens. Citing several examples of national action plans, he said Paraguay had formed an intergovernmental committee and country strategy team with a broad range of stakeholders. A results-based approach included a citizens’ dashboard, through which local councils brought together civil society, Government and the private sector to address cross-cutting issues, including gender equality and environmental sustainability.
OLGA MARTA SANCHEZ OVIEDO, Minister for Planning and Economic Policy of Costa Rica, said that not leaving anyone behind was a State responsibility. As such, the 2030 Agenda must be built on synergies and partnerships. For its part, Costa Rica had taken a strategic step forward in adopting a pact between the private sector, civil society, academia and local communities with a view to advancing progress on the Goals. In that vein, varied perspectives could be brought together to find solutions, turning the Goals into a foundation for future sustainable development. Rethinking social policies must also result in action to fight poverty with new tools and approaches, she said.
JEAN MAX RAKOTOMAMONJY, President of the National Assembly of Madagascar, said national efforts were being threatened by trends that had seen declines in ODA. Madagascar relied on foreign partnerships for development, particularly in poverty eradication and related areas. After a donor conference in December 2016, an opening of financial support had kept funds flowing. For its part, Madagascar was working on national resource mobilization and had displayed ownership of the Goals.
ISSAKA SIDIBE, President of the Parliament of Mali, said that his country had been going through a crisis since 2012. Mindful that there could be no sustainable development without peace and vice versa, the Malian Government had undertaken concrete steps to implement the 2030 Agenda. It was working to provide basic social services to the country’s most vulnerable, including refugees and internally displaced persons who had returned to their communities. Urging all stakeholders to honour their commitments to implement the peace and reconciliation plan for Mali, he said the Government had adopted a framework for economic recovery, as it aimed to promote inclusive and sustainable development in a united and peaceful Mali. Social safety net programmes, supported by the World Bank, had reached over 60,000 households in Mali. Poverty eradication and promoting prosperity required gender equality, he added, pointing to a new law aimed at increasing the number of women in Government, ending violence against women and empowering rural women.
MARIANNA SHCHETKINA, Deputy Chair of the Council of the Republic of the National Assembly of Belarus, said her Government with the assistance of the United Nations and its agencies was working to educate the public on the Sustainable Development Goals. International support was fundamental to achieving the 2030 Agenda, whose implementation was only possible through coordinated and streamlined support. Belarus, as a middle-income country, required assistance to achieve sustainable development, she added, underscoring the need for a special plan of action for middle-income nations. She noted the importance of regional structures and the mutual benefits of countries and organizations in Eurasia working together. Governments must work for the people rather than work to please political elites.
ARVIND PANAGARIYA, Vice Chairperson of the National Institution for Transforming India, noted that among major economies, India was the fastest growing. That growth had enabled India to combat poverty through gainful employment as well as large-scale anti-poverty programmes. As a result, the country had cut the number of poor in half since 1993. To end hunger, India’s food security programmes reached more than 800 million citizens, while progressive legislation, such as the country’s maternity benefit programme, had helped reduce gender inequality. Even as it combated poverty, India remained committed to protecting the environment and had offered an ambitious set of national determined commitments as part of the Paris Agreement on climate change. India counted on developed countries making good on their commitments and believed that with sustained efforts at the national and global levels, it would indeed be possible to eradicate poverty.
YANARA CHHIENG, Minister Attache to the Prime Minister of Cambodia, noted some development challenges, including transforming rural economy, competitiveness, migration and urbanization. The Government was focused on strengthening institutions and addressing inequality. As a least-developed country, Cambodia remained particularly concerned about exclusion and vulnerability even as incomes seemed to rise. Making sure no one was left behind required better information on the poorest and most vulnerable people in society as well as an improved understanding of the dynamics of exclusion that informed policy interventions. Investments in improved monitoring and information systems were critical to ensuring inclusive implementation and achieving a zero rate of poverty by 2030. He also emphasized the need to boost financing for development and underscored the importance of South-South cooperation and private sector partnerships.
MIN BAHADUR SHRESTHA, Vice-Chairman of National Planning Commission of Nepal, associating himself with the Group of 77 and China, Group of Landlocked Developing Countries and Group of Least Developed Countries, said his country’s current development priority focused on building on progress achieved with the Millennium Development Goals. While Nepal had undertaken policy initiatives to mainstream the 2030 Agenda into its national agenda, it was still struggling with challenges posed by its landlocked status and the effects of climate change. Underscoring that the 2030 Agenda had called for generous international partnerships, he said commitments must match concrete support. Development partners must complement the efforts of countries in special situations through system-wide coherence, meaningful private-public partnerships, and ODA.
CECILIA CHAZAMA, Minister of Civic Education and Community Development of Malawi, underlined the importance of addressing economic and environmental approaches to breaking the cycle of poverty and hunger. Malawi was harnessing the efforts of all stakeholders to work towards achieving the Goals and efforts included public-sector reforms aimed at improving service delivery along the lines of the three pillars of development. The 2030 Agenda offered hope for a brighter future. Noting progress, she said Malawi had produced baseline data on dozens of targets through a medium-term strategy. Rural-based efforts, including housing subsidies and infrastructure development, were also among the approaches being taken with partners, including the private sector.
JERZY KWIECINSKI, Secretary of State at the Ministry of Economic Development of Poland, said achieving sustainable development must be supported by Governments, which must strive to find innovative ways to reach the Goals and targets. Poland had adopted a medium-term strategy for responsible development that was human-centred and ensured all social groups enjoyed the benefits of progress. High levels of employment and a large scale of entrepreneurship were among the gains that had been targeted with efforts such as strengthening human and social capital and sustainably managed resources.
NGUYEN THE PHUONG, Vice-Minister of the Ministry of Planning and Investment of Viet Nam, said his country had already adopted a national plan to realize the Sustainable Development Goals. However, implementing the Goals faced challenges including a lack of financial resources, particularly due to declining ODA, and a dearth of data. Bolstering those areas would in turn foster further progress to achieve the Goals. At the global level, maintaining peace and security on the basis of respect for international law, intensifying assistance among nations and strengthening partnerships were crucial to successfully leave no one behind.
ROSEMARIE EDILLON, Under-Secretary for Policy Planning at the National Economic and Development Authority of the Philippines, said taking stock of lessons learned during the Millennium Development Goals era had shown that needs centred on creating an implementation strategy, financing mechanism and monitoring and evaluation system alongside a succession plan to sustain efforts. The 2030 Agenda, however, was vastly different, with interlinked Goals and targets. The Philippines had recognized that a long-term vision was needed and all people must support the idea of leaving no one behind. Through focus groups and a nationwide survey, the Philippines had summarized national aspirations and drafted a development plan that focused on prosperity, health and innovation. The next step was to bring that plan to local governments, securing their support and cooperation.
THONGPHANE SAVANPHET, Deputy Minister for Foreign Affairs of Lao People’s Democratic Republic, said national efforts had worked closely with the United Nations country team in localizing the Goals, with the 2016-2020 socioeconomic development plan serving as a main entry point for integrating targets into planning. One focus centred on ensuring healthy and productive lives and creating enabling conditions for development. A national steering committee and relevant ministries and institutions were working together on implementation efforts. Initiatives had also focused on tackling economic, social and environmental vulnerabilities. Forging inclusive partnerships was a means to achieving the Goals and his country was committed to leaving no one behind in its efforts.
ASLAK BRUN, Chief Climate Negotiator of Norway, said the commitment to leave no one behind had resonated deeply with humanity. Over the last decade, the world had seen a substantial decline in the number of people living in abject poverty. Efforts to achieve the Millennium Development Goals had demonstrated that poverty could be defeated. However, the 2030 Agenda could potentially nosedive if it did not take into account the realities on the ground, he said, adding that good governance was essential to achieving sustainable development. Translating the 2030 Agenda to concrete results on the ground required transparent and coherent action involving the voices of the future: children and youth. A gender equity perspective was crucial as well. The 2030 Agenda was a call to address the root causes of poverty, extremism, climate change and inequality. We are here to confirm we are heeding that call, he added.
ANAYANSI RODRIGUEZ CAMEJO, Cuba, associating herself with the Group of 77 and China, the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States, and the Alliance of Small Island Developing States, said her country was working to achieve a new global order based on justice and equality. The current global system was mostly based on the exploitation of Africa and Latin America, she added, stressing that development must shift from a culture of privilege to a culture of equality. Implementation of the 2030 Agenda required access to financial resources. Otherwise, it would just be a pipedream. For over 60 years, an economic and trade embargo had been imposed upon Cuba, posing severe challenges to its development. Yet Cuba’s modest resources had been shared with other Member States. Hundreds of thousands of Cuban doctors and teachers had worked shoulder-to-shoulder with their counterparts in many other countries. People must be at the crux of development, she stressed.
THOMAS SILBERHORN, Parliamentary State Secretary of Germany, said that no country in the world could manage the shift to sustainable development on its own. Germany was increasing its focus on the 2030 Agenda by committing to further aligning its agenda with the Sustainable Development Goals. In January, Germany adopted its sustainability strategy aimed at, among other things, boosting its use of renewable energy. All sustainable development goals were linked and could not be viewed in isolation. Germany was advocating for better governance, the empowerment of women and investments in education and health. In addition to ODA which was never meant to cover all costs, participation of the private sector and its investments were essential.
ANTA NIO GUMENDE (Mozambique) said the Goals could only be achieved if they were integrated into national planning and budgets and if they involved all stakeholders. Further, financial resources must be strengthened to ensure success. Mozambique’s early involvement in the 2030 Agenda included weaving all 17 Goals into national strategies, using complementarity approaches to build resilience, promote innovation and ensure the sustainable management of resources. The Government was now working on a monitoring mechanism to examine efforts targeting the Goals and had created a national fund for sustainable development for targeted projects.
FERNANDO GARCIA CASAS, Vice-Minister for International Cooperation and for Ibero-America of Spain, said the 2030 Agenda was a road map for the future and while progress had been made, gaps remained, in his country and beyond its borders. Given the ambitious nature of the Goals, which should stand at the core of public policies, it was clear that no actor alone could achieve progress. Spain was now cooperating with local authorities and would bring on board other stakeholders, including those representing civil society and the private sector. Efforts were needed to bolster policy coherence. For its part, Spain had created a sustainable development fund and was closely following the voluntary national review process to learn from and incorporate lessons and best practices with a view to creating inclusive, prosperous societies.
RISTO ARTJOKI, State Secretary at the Ministry of Finance of Finland, said extreme poverty had not been eradicated and much remained to be done to tackle current challenges with a view to reaching that goal. To change that, the Paris Agreement must be implemented and all women and girls must fully benefit from gender equality and access to education, and reproductive health and rights. Planetary boundaries must also be respected. For its part, Finland had drafted a national implementation plan and had bolstered multi-stakeholder participation in it.
TIJJANI MUHAMMAD-BANDE (Nigeria) said national efforts to implement the Goals had included reaching out to local authorities and establishing advisory groups involving the private sector and civil society. The 2030 Agenda had been integrated into a national medium-term strategy that aimed at a range of initiatives, including job creation, data collection and grants schemes. Such a multi-sectoral approach was addressing poverty, hunger, unemployment and inequality. Other initiatives were tackling illicit financial flows, which were depriving many developing countries, including Nigeria, with much-needed resources to implement the Sustainable Development Goals.
Source: United Nations