Now is the time to seize ‘unprecedented opportunity’ of the Sustainable Development Forum, says ECOSOC President

Indonesia (HRNW): Nations across the world now have an “unprecedented opportunity to talk to each other and learn from each other”, Inga Rhonda King, President of the UN Economic and Social Council (ESOSOC), said on Tuesday, kicking off the annual High-level Political Forum on Sustainable Development (HLPF) in New York. The HLPF is the chief global forum for reviewing successes, challenges and lessons learned, on the road towards reaching the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) by 2030. This year, the annual meeting is being held under the theme “Empowering people and ensuring inclusiveness and equality”. “This is a global moment where we are all together”, she spelled out. “We need to use it to its utmost… [and] actively interact with each other. Let us all profit from it”.

The Forum will assess progress made over the past four years, since the Goals were adopted by all Member States at UN Headquarters, and decide what needs to be done moving forward and “where we are collectively in SDG implementation, globally, regionally, nationally and locally”. Ms. King explained that “this meeting is not an end in itself” but “a global platform” to showcase experiences and forge partnerships. “We all learn from each other so that we can go back enriched with new experiences” to achieve “the ultimate goal for people, planet and prosperity”. She also made clear the “special” nature of this year’s HLPF, which will inform the upcoming SDG Summit in September. “We also hope that all countries and actors will announce SDG Acceleration Actions at the summit”, she said. “We must demonstrate our continuing commitment to the 2030 Agenda”.

In his opening remarks, Liu Zhenmin, chief of the UN’s Department of Economic and Social Affairs, underscored the “powerful message” of the 17 SDGs, calling on countries to “join forces” to create “an equitable, prosperous and sustainable future for all”. However, noting critical challenges, he pointed out that “the clock is ticking”. “The most vulnerable people and countries continue to suffer the most – including countries in special situations and in conflict and post-conflict settings”, outlined Mr. Liu. “The global response thus far has not been ambitious enough”. He maintained that everyone must work collectively to bring the 2030 Agenda to fruition, by better managing evolving risks and seizing social, economic and environmental opportunities. “It is imperative to act now with renewed commitment and accelerated action”, he stated, adding that “an online registry” had been created on the SDG summit webpage to record related actions and implementations. In the current landscape of “deepening inequalities and human suffering”, Mr. Liu stressed that it is “critical to demonstrate to the world how truly committed we all remain to the spirit and ambition of the 2030 Agenda”. In closing, he encouraged the participants to draw upon each other’s knowledge and expertise “with a common goal to build on important gains and create a sustainable future” that will “lead us towards a world of dignity for all”.

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