Development goals in focus as leaders gather for UN meetings

A "#UNGA" sign is on display at United Nations headquarters, Saturday, Sept. 24, 2022. [AP Photo]

The U.N. General Assembly brings world leaders together in New York this week, with meetings Monday focusing on accelerating efforts to achieve worldwide development goals.

U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said ahead of Monday’s session that only 15% of the 17 Sustainable Development Goals are on track to be reached by 2030.

"Monday’s SDG Summit will be the moment for governments to come to the table with concrete plans and proposals to accelerate progress," Guterres said.

The goals include ending poverty, ending hunger, ensuring access to affordable energy, taking urgent action to combat climate change, and promoting gender equality.

A July report said climate crisis impacts, lingering effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, the war in Ukraine and a weak global economy have hurt progress toward reaching the development goals.

U.S. President Joe Biden is among the presidents, prime ministers and monarchs from 145 nations schedule to speak at the General Assembly session, which begins Tuesday. Biden is due to give his address Tuesday, as is Guterres.

The leaders of Britain, China, France and Russia are not attending, with lower-ranking ministers representing their countries.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy is set to address the meeting Tuesday, and to attend a meeting of the U.N. Security Council Wednesday.

Guterres said he will tell the leaders that this is not a time for "posturing or positioning."

"This is a time to come together for real, practical solutions," Guterres said. "It is time for compromise for a better tomorrow."