Countries Agree on the Urgency of Promoting Bold, Transformative Actions to Speed and Correct the Course Towards Achieving the SDGs
Representatives of 33 countries from Latin America and the Caribbean agreed today on the urgency of promoting bold and transformative actions to speed and correct the course towards achieving the 2030 Agenda’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), during the inauguration of the Sixth Meeting of the Forum of the Countries of Latin America and the Caribbean on Sustainable Development, which is taking place through Friday, April 28 at the central headquarters of the Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC) in Santiago, Chile.
Participating in the event’s opening session were Santiago Cafiero, Minister of Foreign Affairs, International Trade and Worship of Argentina, the country that is serving as Chair of ECLAC in the 2022-2024 biennium; Amina Mohammed, Deputy Secretary-General of the United Nations; Paula Narváez, Permanent Representative of Chile to the United Nations, in her capacity as Vice President of the United Nations Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC); and José Manuel Salazar-Xirinachs, Executive Secretary of ECLAC.
The Sixth Meeting of the Forum of the Countries of Latin America and the Caribbean on Sustainable Development brings together more than 1,000 participants, between government delegates and representatives of international and United Nations System organizations, the private sector, academia and civil society, convened under the banner of “Accelerating the recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic and the full implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development at all levels.”
“We are facing a colossal challenge. Even though technological advances amaze us day after day, in many cases giving us greater tools and instruments to confront these multiple crises, we are experiencing a sustained process of social, economic and environmental degradation and deterioration that is unprecedented,” said the Foreign Minister of Argentina, Santiago Cafiero.
He added that a new reorganization is needed that would place human rights at the center in all sectors, at all levels, in policy design and in all the dimensions of sustainable development.
“The SDG Summit in September, which will mark the halfway point to 2030, constitutes a key moment for designing a global plan to accelerate the implementation of these goals. The commitment to carry this agenda forward must continue to be an unwavering commitment for all of us, and we must leave no one behind as we carry it forward,” he emphasized.
Amina Mohammed, Deputy Secretary-General of the United Nations, urged for promoting cooperation and accelerating the pace to achieve the SDGs, stressing the importance of investing in sustainable development.
“We must achieve transformative change. World leaders will need to make a choice – to fulfill their commitment to a better future, or let it fall by the wayside. The first step is here at the sixth Latin American and Caribbean Forum on Sustainable Development,” the high-level United Nations authority stated.
Meanwhile, Paula Narváez, Vice President of the United Nations Economic and Social Council, urged the region’s countries to be capable of defining priorities and commitments to joint work and identifying the cooperation the region can achieve to accelerate implementation of the 2030 Agenda and its Goals.
“Seven years ahead of 2030, the path to be tread is as important as the outcome to be achieved, since it will lay the foundation for the paradigm shift that is needed to build the world that we will lave to our children. The 2030 Agenda provides the conditions for making progress on these major shared goals, and Latin America and the Caribbean is an opportunity for the world,” she expressed.
In his opening remarks, José Manuel Salazar-Xirinachs, Executive Secretary of ECLAC, praised the region’s notable commitment to the 2030 Agenda as a road map for building a better future that would leave no one behind. However, halfway through the period to 2030, only one-fourth of the targets have been achieved or are forecast to be achieved, he warned.
ECLAC estimates that only 25% of the targets for which information is available exhibit behavior that would enable foreseeing their fulfillment by 2030. In contrast, an estimated 48% of them show the right trend but it is insufficient to achieve the respective target, while the remaining 27% exhibits a regressive trend. Therefore, 75% of the targets are at risk of not being fulfilled, unless decisive action is taken to resume the correct path.
“This situation urgently demands that the region’s countries reinforce the commitment to the SDGs. Bold, innovative, inspiring and, especially, transformative actions are needed. Otherwise, we will live through another lost decade,” he declared.
José Manuel Salazar-Xirinachs stressed the need to strengthen public strategies, policies and programs, accompanied by initiatives and partnerships with the private sector, civil society and international cooperation, in order to resume the path towards full implementation of the SDGs by 2030. He further called on countries to focus on the “how” of policies and on the implementation of high-impact, transformative initiatives with multiplier effects that can speed and correct the course towards achieving the SDGs.
After the inauguration, Volker Türk, the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, sent a video greeting in which he emphasized the relationship between the 2030 Agenda and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, which is commemorating 75 years since its adoption this year.
“Without human rights there can be no sustainable development. It is urgently necessary to integrate human rights in countries’ plans for implementing the Sustainable Development Goals,” he stated.
On the first day of this intergovernmental meeting, ECLAC’s Executive Secretary, José Manuel Salazar-Xirinachs, presented the document Halfway to 2030 in Latin America and the Caribbean: progress and recommendations for acceleration, which is the sixth report on regional progress and challenges in relation to the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. The report examines overall progress towards attainment of all the SDGs and then analyzes more in-depth progress towards achievement of the five Goals that will be reviewed at the High-level Political Forum (HLPF), to be held on July 10-19 at UN headquarters in New York. These are: clean water and sanitation (SDG 6); affordable and clean energy (SDG 7); industry, innovation and infrastructure (SDG 9); sustainable cities and communities (SDG 11); and partnerships for the Goals (SDG 17).