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Countries back ‘ambitious and comprehensive’ reform of UN development system

The United Nations General Assembly on Thursday gave the green light to a bold new plan to make sustainable development a reality, described by UN chief António Guterres as “the most ambitious and comprehensive transformation of the UN development system in decades.”

The UN Secretary-General said the reform package paved the way for a new era of “national ownership” of development, supported by the whole UN system, in a tailored fashion, allowing countries to pursue sustainable economic and social development.

“It sets the foundations to reposition sustainable development at the heart of the United Nations,” he said, after the 193-member intergovernmental body adopted the reform resolution by consensus.

“And it gives practical meaning to our collective promise to advance the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) for everyone, everywhere – with poverty eradication as its first goal, leaving no one behind,” he explained. “In the end, reform is about putting in place the mechanisms to make a real difference in the lives of people.”

The reform process will mean significant changes to the setup, leadership, accountability mechanisms and capacities of the whole UN development system; ensuring it meets national needs not only for implementing the SDGs, but also in meeting the climate change commitments made through the 2015 Paris Agreement.

Otherwise known as the Global Goals, the SDGs are a universal call to action, to end poverty and hunger; to protect the planet and ensure that all people enjoy peace and prosperity.

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SDGs17 Goals to Transform Our World

In 2015, countries adopted the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and its 17 Sustainable Development Goals. In 2016, the Paris Agreement on climate change entered into force, addressing the need to limit the rise of global temperatures.





UN S-G Message at CSDHLS

Secretary-General's opening remarks at the Caribbean Sustainable Development High-Level Symposium

Bridgetown, Barbados 2 July 2015

[as prepared for delivery]


Your Excellency the Right Honourable Freundel Stuart, Prime Minister of Barbados, and Chair of the Caribbean Community, Distinguished Heads of State and Government, Distinguished Members of the Cabinet, Members of the Diplomatic Corps, Ladies and Gentlemen,

It is a pleasure to join all of you for this High Level Symposium on sustainable economic development in the Caribbean.
And it is a special honour to do so here.

For Small Island Developing States, this space is hallowed ground. Twenty years ago, this very building was the site of the First Global Conference on SIDS that adopted the Barbados Programme of Action -- the first compact between SIDS and the international community.
Today, it is so encouraging to be among so many leaders of Government, regional and international organizations, the private sector, academia, and civil society. Your presence highlights a continuing Caribbean commitment to put our world on a safer, more sustainable and equitable pathway. That commitment starts with you, Mr. Prime Minister.
As you have often said, “Barbados is more than an economy, it is a society.” You have carried forward that vision on the regional and global stage.  You served on my High Level Panel on Global Sustainability.  And you also played a very active role in my Climate Summit last September. So when you invited me to attend CARICOM, I had no choice. I could not say no.

The year 2015 is a time for global action. The international community is in the final stretch of preparing a transformative post-2015 development agenda that will be adopted by world leaders in New York in September.
That will be preceded -- just days from now — by the Third International Conference on Financing for Development in Addis Ababa.
The year will close with the Paris Climate Conference where governments have committed to adopt a meaningful, universal climate agreement. As leaders of some of the most vulnerable countries in the world, you don’t need to be told that our planet is at grave risk.  You are on the climate frontlines. You see it every day. Sustainable development and climate change are two sides of the same coin.
On the one hand, we cannot end poverty by destroying nature’s bounty, which provides livelihoods for billions of people.
On the other hand, we cannot protect our planet without putting the needs of people at the centre – particularly the poorest and most vulnerable. Addressing climate change is essential for every aspect of sustainable development – from food and water security to energy, from economic growth to political stability.

I want to salute Caribbean countries for taking on ambitious renewable energy targets.  By 2020, for example, Barbados will be one of the world’s top five leading users of solar energy on a per capita basis.  You are lighting the path to the future.   We have a big agenda before us.  A bold agenda.  An agenda that will drive development policy for the next generation. The proposed Sustainable Development Goals will build on the progress and broaden the sweep of the Millennium Development Goals.
The MDGs aimed to cut poverty in half. The world met that goal – and we should be very pr oud of that achievement. But going halfway was never our ambition. Usain Bolt does not stop at 50 metres. We are finishing the race.  We are going for gold.

We can be the first generation that ends global poverty, and the last generation to prevent the worst impacts of global warming before it is too late. To get there, we are working to make sure that the Sustainable Development Goals are focused, financed and followed up – with real targets, real money and a real determination to achieve them.

In many ways, the Goals represent a “to-do” list for people and the planet. But, as I have emphasized, making it happen will take partnerships – as the theme today highlights.  The Third International Conference on Small Island Developing States in Samoa laid a pathway for collective action and success within the Post-2015 Development Agenda. 

As we prepare for the post-2015 development agenda and the sustainable development goals, there are a number of critical areas to strengthen our partnership. You have highlighted the need for capacity building; financing; access to technology; and improved data collection and statistics. We have heard your calls and are committed to strengthening our implementation and partnership frameworks.
We need to continue working together to link the global agenda to regional agendas and to deepen regional integration.

We need to work hard to ensure that the social fabric is strong because vibrant societies are the foundation of resilient economies.
We need to keep speaking up and acting in meaningful ways to address the unique needs and vulnerabilities of small island developing states and middle-income countries, such as the debt challenge.

We need to put more attention on the need to expand opportunities for women and young people who want the dignity that comes from decent work. And we need to keep forging the way forward towards a low-carbon, climate-resilient development pathway that will benefit both people and the planet. Through the Green Climate Fund – and in working with world leaders—I will continue to press that SIDS and least developed countries are top funding priorities. Many of my top development advisors are here to take part in the dialogues today.

We will seek ways to address your concerns, and of course we will draw from and strive to build upon your ideas.
My main message to you is to remain fully engaged and keep working with us to strengthen our partnership during this vital year for humanity.

I wish you much success.  Together, we can build a better, more sustainable world, for all.

Thank you.


Jamaica calls for Caribbean action on sustainable development

( originally posted by Caribbean News Now  - 10 February 2015)

GEORGETOWN, Guyana -- Jamaica’s minister of water, land, environment, sustainable development and climate change, Robert Pickersgill, has issued a call to all Caribbean Community (CARICOM) stakeholders to shape the sustainable development agenda of the region.

“Governments, the private sector and civil society must all work together in shaping this agenda, particularly in 2015 when the global community will tackle several issues that will greatly influence the sustainable development roadmap of the globe.

“It is imperative that the Community speaks with ‘one voice from the same script’ in key international fora to ensure that the interest of the Community and that of small island developing states are represented”, he emphasized.

The minister was addressing the opening of the 53rd special meeting of the Council for Trade and Economic Development (COTED) on the environment and sustainable development at the CARICOM Secretariat Headquarters, on Friday, 6 February. 

Pickersgill drew attention to three pivotal processes, in which the region is actively involved, for their critical importance to sustainable development: the Third UN World Conference on Disaster Risk Reduction, in March; the Third International Conference for Financing Development, in July; and the 21st Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Framework on Climate Change, in December.

Noting that the linkages between disaster risk management and climate change cannot be overstated, he urged greater collaboration and coordination between the two sectors to ensure policy coherence and harmonised efforts at both national and regional levels.

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