SDGs - We are still far off track

Highlights and images for 19 September 2023

UN Headquarters, New York

Dennis Francis, Trinidad and Tobago, President of the 78th General Assembly, and António Guterres, UN Secretary-General, applaud at the end of the 2023 SDG Summit

António Guterres, UN Secretary-General, and Dennis Francis, Trinidad and Tobago, President of the 78th UN General Assembly, applaud following the conclusion of the 2023 SDG Summit.

It was another busy day at UN Headquarters. The general debate of the 78th UN General Assembly opened in the morning, and in the afternoon leaders picked up their exchange on how to reinvigorate and accelerate action on the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development in the context of the second and last day of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) Summit.

Want to dig deeper into today's talks? Read the full Earth Negotiations Bulletin daily report.

Leaders’ dialogues focused on:

  • strengthening the multilateral system for enhanced support, cooperation, follow-up, and review; and
  • the mobilization of finance and investments and the means of implementation for SDG achievement.
Volodymyr Zelenskyy, President of Ukraine

Volodymyr Zelensky, President of Ukraine, addresses delegates during the Leaders’ Dialogue on “Unity and Solidarity: Strengthening the multilateral system for enhanced support, cooperation, follow-up and review” 

Delegates emphasized that the relevance of the UN depends on its capacity to respond to global challenges. They converged on the need to mobilize resources to support developing countries’ sustainable development efforts. Many called for better harnessing science and technology to accelerate action.

Amid broad agreement on the need to reform the international financial architecture, discussions touched upon redirecting International Monetary Fund (IMF) Special Drawing Rights (SDRs), increasing concessional finance, de-risking private investment, and tax reforms to enhance developing countries’ domestic resources.

Justin Trudeau, Prime Minister of Canada, and Co-Chair of the Sustainable Development Goals Advocates Group

Justin Trudeau, Prime Minister of Canada and Co-Chair of the Sustainable Development Goals Advocates Group, delivers his remarks during the closing session.

During the closing segment, UN Secretary-General António Guterres called upon leaders to make the most of the discussions held at the Summit by focusing on seven key areas:

  • mobilizing at least USD 500 billion for sustainable development per year, ideally with the help of a leaders’ group to outline concrete steps to get funding flowing in 2024;
  • shifting the focus of Voluntary National Reviews towards accountability of commitments made at the Summit;
  • strengthening support for food security, energy, digitalization, education, social protection and decent jobs, and biodiversity;
  • bringing to life the Global Accelerator on Jobs and Social Protection;
  • fulfilling the goal of 0.7% of gross national income (GNI) for official development assistance (ODA) in 2024;
  • using the next IMF meeting to accelerate progress, including through recapitalization, rechanneling of SDRs, restructuring debt on longer and more affordable terms, and developing concrete proposals for a reform of the global finance architecture in time for the Summit of the Future in 2024; and
  • arriving at the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change's (UNFCCC) 28th meeting of the Conference of the Parties (COP 28) with concrete plans to support developing countries in achieving a just transition to renewable energy and to operationalize the loss and damage fund.

“This development to-do list is not just homework, it is hope work” Guterres underscored, calling for leadership and for countries to take these discussions to heart when preparing their national budgets for 2024.

Members of the Secretariat of the United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs (DESA)

Staff from the UN Department of Economic and Social Affairs (DESA) gather for a group photo at the end of the SDG Summit.

All ENB photos are free to use with attribution. For the UN Summits Week 2023 please use: Photo by IISD/ENB | Diego Noguera.

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