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DSG/SM/1448
18 September 2020

Time Is Now for Bold Choices, Investment in Sustainable Development Goals, Deputy Secretary-General Stresses, as Efforts Centre on Decade of Action

Following are UN Deputy Secretary-General Amina Mohammed’s remarks, as prepared for delivery, at the Sustainable Development Goals Moment, in New York today:

My heartfelt thanks to all of you for making this first Sustainable Development Goals Moment a truly inspiring event.  This Moment has set the stage for a Decade of Action.  The Secretary‑General has made abundantly clear that we can, we must and we will succeed.

The COVID-19 crisis is testing every country in the world, threatening decades of development progress and undermining our plans to deliver the global goals.  But it is also an opportunity:  to do things differently; to make great leaps forward; to imagine a better future and to collaborate to make it a reality.

Today’s event showed humanity’s capacity for change and progress.  You highlighted the ambitious and rapid response that you have taken to respond to COVID‑19.  And you spoke to the need for the same ambition, urgency and innovation on climate action, gender equality and ending extreme poverty – on all of the Sustainable Development Goals.  Now is the time to make bold choices, take decisive action and leave no one behind in our pursuit of a better future.

Over the course of the last three hours, we heard about five major shifts that will be central to our efforts.  First, investing at scale in those critical interventions – social protection, the green and the blue economy, and women’s economic empowerment - that will unlock tremendous benefits across the Goals, across societies and economies, and throughout the Decade of Action.

Second, improving access to finance for those countries and those people who urgently need it and redirecting global investment towards the Sustainable Development Goals.  This is a central focus of the initiative launched by the Secretary‑General, together with the Prime Ministers of Canada and Jamaica, on Financing for Development in the Era of COVID‑19 and Beyond.

Third, making greater and better use of data and technology to leave no one behind, to build skills for youth, including to quote the UNDP Administrator, by making digital the default.

Today we are launching a dedicated digital platform for the Sustainable Development Goal Moment.  We will continue to press for greater investment in data for the Sustainable Development Goals.

Fourth, we must strengthen and revolutionize the capacities of national, local and global institutions to take a truly intersectional approach.  This is key to realizing human rights, to reaching the most excluded, to seizing the opportunities of today’s world and to meeting public expectations.

Finally, throughout this morning, we heard about the power of collective action to deliver.  Leaders from civil society and business spoke about the inclusion imperative, the need for big ideas and the need to move forward together.

The United Nations development system, reformed and dynamic, is ready to support this vital work including through our work with you on socioeconomic response and recovery.

We have a clear way ahead.  And we have a great deal of work to do.  The people of the world are looking to all of us – Heads of State and Government, the United Nations, stakeholders – to step up and lead.  The coming 12 months present several opportunities to do so and to put the Sustainable Development Goals at the very core of your plans and actions to respond and recover from this crisis.

We need to bring Sustainable Development Goal ambition into our support for a universally accessible vaccine; into the financing track; into your voluntary national reviews; your nationally determined contributions; and your engagement during this crucial year for gender equality and biodiversity.

I thank the Heads of State and Government who have spoken today for putting their Administrations fully behind the Sustainable Development Goals.  I thank all our stakeholder representatives and our contributors from the United Nations family for their clarity and vision, and our moderator, Sherwin, for guiding us so skilfully and professionally.

Let this 2020 Sustainable Development Goal Moment propel us into a transformative Decade of Action.  Now is the time to demonstrate the value of multilateralism and deliver hope, opportunities and sustainable development for all.  Thank you.

For information media. Not an official record.