Vincentian envoy encourages global community to seize opportunity of Sustainable Development Forum

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St. Vincent and the Grenadines Ambassador to the United Nations, I. Rhonda King, has urged the global community to seize an “unprecedented opportunity to talk to each other and learn from each other”, as the UN Economic and Social Council (ESOSOC) kicks off its annual High-level Political Forum on Sustainable Development (HLPF), according to reports from CANA.

“This is a global moment, where we are all together”, said King, president of ESOSOC, in her opening remarks. “We need to use it to its utmost… [and] actively interact with each other. Let us all profit from it”.

HLPF is the chief global forum for reviewing successes, challenges and lessons learned, on the road towards reaching the UN’s 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) by 2030.

This year, the annual meeting is being held under the theme “Empowering people and ensuring inclusiveness and equality”.

The forum will assess progress made over the past four years, since the goals were adopted by all member states at UN headquarters in New York.

The forum will also decide what needs to be done moving forward and “where we are collectively in SDG implementation, globally, regionally, nationally and locally” King said. 

The Vincentian envoy said “this meeting is not an end in itself” but “a global platform” to showcase experiences and forge partnerships.

“We all learn from each other, so that we can go back enriched with new experiences” to achieve “the ultimate goal for people, planet and prosperity.”

According to  King the “special” nature of this year’s HLPF will inform the upcoming SDG Summit in September. 

“We also hope that all countries and actors will announce SDG Acceleration Actions at the summit”, she said.  “We must demonstrate our continuing commitment to the 2030 Agenda”. 

ECOSOC Vice President Valentin Rybakov said achieving the SDGs require “an immediate change in course”.

“We need to address deep rooted inequalities and vulnerabilities across the economic, social and environmental dimensions of sustainable development” by focusing on policies that “aim to lead no one behind” and address the mechanism lead to the “concentration of wealth and power at the top”, he said. 

Rybakov made the case that “antidiscrimination legislature remains an important tool” to help even up gender equality while pointing to the need to address “the burden of unpaid care and domestic work” on women and girls, “which hinder their participation in education and employment”. 

“The subsidiary bodies and UN system recognize that all this means that we need a profound over hall of our current development models”, he said, including to replace “silo thinking” with “integrated policies”, particularly in dealing with hunger and poverty. 

“It is time to step up efforts to achieve empowerment, inclusion and equality and to realize the SDGs”, Rybakov said. 

The UN also launched its latest key SDG report on Tuesday at UN headquarters, which concludes that although progress has been made, “monumental challenges remain”. 

While progress is evident tackling extreme poverty reduction, widespread immunization and increased access to electricity, the report warns that global responses have not been sufficiently ambitious, leaving the most vulnerable people and countries to suffer most.

Overall, the UN said that the report reveals that that climate change and increasing inequality are not only undermining progress toward achieving the 2030 Agenda but also threatening to reverse many gains made over the last decades.

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