YK Poudel

The world leaders are severely lagging behind on their promises to fulfilling the Sustainable Development Goals 2030 achieving only 15 percent of the targets eight years after the declaration.

The UN Secretary-General, António Guterres said this when he addressed the world leaders on the first day of the two-day Sustainable Development Goals Summit 2023.

The summit which ended yesterday at the UN Headquarters in New York brought together leaders from 193 UN Member States and business, civil society, science, local authorities, and young people.

The leaders in 2015 promised to take this global agenda and achieve by 2030. After eight years of its implementation, the SDGs are in peril.

UN General Assembly President, Dennis Francis, said that in recent years, there has been an unfortunate deficit of trust among the countries and this has undermined the capacity of the multilateral process.

He said: “With concerted, ambitious action, it is still possible that, by 2030, we could lift 124 million additional people out of poverty and ensure that some 113 million fewer people are malnourished.”

António Guterres said that eight years ago, member states gathered to adopt the SDGs—which was not just a promise made to one another as diplomats but to make an impact by 2030. “Today, only 15 percent of the targets are on track and many are going in reverse.”

About half are moderately or severely off track, and more than one-third 30 percent have either seen no movement or have regressed below the 2015 starting line.

He said: “People are crushed under the grinding wheels of poverty and hunger. The devastating climate change has impacted around the world with no exception to any country.”

Under current trends, 575 million people will still be living in extreme poverty in 2030.

According to the secretary general, the transition to renewable energy isn’t happening fast. The benefits and opportunities of digitalization are not being spread widely. “Instead of leaving no one behind, we risk leaving the SDGs behind… the SDGs need a global rescue plan.”

The world leaders call for building a “learning society” anchored in quality education—including lifelong learning from the earliest years to adulthood—closing the digital divide and supporting teachers every step of the way.

There is a need for SDG stimulus fund of at least US Dollar 500 billion every year toward stronger action.

The UN has launched an initiative of digital transformation across 100 countries, supporting stronger technology capacities, better governance, and innovation.

Moreover, the world leaders agreed to take immediate action to unlock more and better financing for developing countries.

According to the reports, millions have fallen into poverty since 2020. For instance, over 110 million people are forcibly displaced every year.

Globally, inequalities have worsened, strikingly so for women and girls. The climate emergency is wreaking havoc on lives and livelihoods. “Developing countries and the world’s most vulnerable people continue to bear the brunt of these crises,” according to the news release from the UN.

President of Brazil, Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva said that the global nations are suffering the issue of climate change. “We must end the triple planetary crisis of climate change, pollution, and biodiversity loss. The loss and damage caused is extreme—which calls for the production of green hydrogen and clean development”

“We shall fight femicides, and all sorts of violence against women. Rigorously, we shall advocate for the rights of LGBTQI+ community and people with disabilities,” he said.

During the opening session, António Guterres said that the SDGs are not just a list of goals—they carry the hopes, dreams, rights, and expectations of people everywhere.

Global leaders have once again made another promise and adopted a decisive, action-oriented political declaration– highlighting their collective commitment to build a sustainable, inclusive, and prosperous world by 2030.

The leaders promised to focus on the means of implementation—particularly on financing for development.

Presentation of national commitments to SDG transformation were made including priority transitions and areas for investment, setting national benchmarks for reducing poverty and inequalities by 2027, and strengthening institutional frameworks to support SDG progress.

The Minister for Foreign Affairs and External Trade (MoFAET), Dr Tandi Dorji is attending the weeklong UN General Assembly and will address the session on September 26.