9 May 2022

Time to Give Sustainable Development Goals ‘A Fighting Chance’, Secretary-General Stresses in Message to Group of Friends Event on 2030 Agenda

Following is the text of UN Secretary-General António Guterres’ video message to the high-level virtual meeting of the Group of Friends of the Global Development Initiative for Accelerated Implementation of the 2030 Agenda, held today:

Excellencies, ladies and gentlemen,

We are fast approaching the mid-point of the time available to reach the Sustainable Development Goals.  I will be blunt — progress is in peril.  COVID-19, a fragile and uneven global economic recovery, climate change and conflicts are pushing our goals farther out of reach.

We see the results all around us.  More poverty and hunger.  More inequalities within and among countries.  More denials of basic human rights — including for girls and women, who are still unjustly shut out of schools, the halls of power, and the boardrooms of business.

A scandalously unequal distribution of COVID-19 vaccines.  Insufficient commitments to keep to our target of 1.5°C of global warming.  Countries left unable to invest in development because of spiralling debt, inflation and a global financial system that is rigged against the poor.  And a food, energy and financial crisis sparked by the war in Ukraine, which is weighing down progress for everyone.

We must do better.  And we can.  Your discussions through the Global Development Initiative can help move the needle on development progress across all countries.  Through a reformed global financial system that improves access for developing countries so they can invest in their people, rather than servicing their debt.

Through climate commitments that match the scale of the crisis — and bold support for developing countries to leave fossil fuels behind and develop truly green and resilient economies.

Through supporting peace, advancing human rights and working for an end to all wars that scar our world and block progress for all.  And through a renewed commitment to multilateralism and gathering in solidarity around shared solutions.

We can’t lose more ground.  It’s time to rescue the SDGs [Sustainable Development Goals] and give sustainable development a fighting chance.  For people.  For planet.  For our common future.  Thank you.

For information media. Not an official record.