World leaders reaffirm commitment to SDGs

President of the UN Economic and Social Council Paula Narvaez speaks during the Sustainable Development Goals Summit at the UN headquarters in New York, on Sept. 18, 2023. [Xinhua]

World leaders on Monday reaffirmed their commitment to the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) at the SDG summit, which is being held on the sidelines of this year's general debate of the General Assembly.

In a political declaration adopted at the summit, the leaders reaffirmed their commitment to "effectively implement the 2030 Agenda and its SDGs and uphold all principles enshrined in it."

"The 2030 Agenda remains our overarching roadmap for achieving sustainable development and overcoming the multiple crises we face. We will act with urgency to realize its vision as a plan of action for people, planet, prosperity, peace and partnership, leaving no one behind," reads the declaration.

The leaders emphasized that poverty eradication is the greatest global challenge and an indispensable requirement for sustainable development.

The leaders recognized that the achievement of the SDGs is in peril.

"At the midpoint of the 2030 Agenda, we are alarmed that the progress on most of the SDGs is either moving much too slowly or has regressed below the 2015 baseline. Our world is currently facing numerous crises. Years of sustainable development gains are being reversed. Millions of people have fallen into poverty, hunger and malnutrition are becoming more prevalent, humanitarian needs are rising, and the impacts of climate change are more pronounced. This has led to increased inequality exacerbated by weakened international solidarity and a shortfall of trust to jointly overcome these crises," reads the declaration.

The leaders committed themselves to "bold, ambitious, accelerated, just and transformative actions, anchored in international solidarity and effective cooperation at all levels" and promised to promote "a systemic shift toward a more inclusive, just, peaceful, resilient and sustainable world for people and planet, for present and future generations."

They recognized the special challenges facing all developing countries in pursuing sustainable development, in particular, African countries, least developed countries, landlocked developing countries, small island developing states, as well as the specific challenges facing middle-income countries and countries in conflict and post-conflict situations.

The leaders expressed their determination, between now and 2030, to end poverty and hunger everywhere; to combat inequalities within and among countries; to build peaceful, just and inclusive societies; to respect, protect and fulfill human rights and achieve gender equality and the empowerment of all women and girls, and to ensure the lasting protection of the planet and its natural resources.

"We also remain resolved to create conditions for sustainable, inclusive and sustained economic growth, shared prosperity and decent work for all, and equal pay for work of equal value, taking into account different levels of national development and capacities."

They also promised to promote gender equality and the empowerment of women and girls; to fight racism, discrimination, xenophobia and related intolerance, stigmatization, hate speech; to provide inclusive and equitable quality education, universal health coverage, social protection, food security and improved nutrition, safe drinking water, sanitation and hygiene, affordable, reliable, sustainable and modern energy, sustainable industrialization and quality, resilient, reliable and sustainable infrastructure for all.

They promised to achieve a world in which humanity lives in harmony with nature, to conserve and sustainably use the planet's resources, and to reverse the trends of environmental degradation.

The leaders stressed that sustainable development cannot be realized without peace and security and that peace and security will be at risk without sustainable development.

"We reaffirm the need to build peaceful, just and inclusive societies that provide equal access to justice and that are based on respect for human rights (including the right to development), on effective rule of law and good governance at all levels and on transparent, effective and accountable institutions," reads the declaration.

The leaders committed themselves to enhancing global, regional, national and local partnerships for sustainable development, engaging all relevant stakeholders.

They recognized that the integrated nature of the SDGs requires a global response and renewed their commitment to multilateralism to find new ways of working together and to ensure that multilateral institutions keep pace with the rapid changes taking place.

They further committed themselves to finding peaceful and just solutions to disputes and to respecting international law and the purposes and principles of the UN Charter.

The political declaration will be submitted to the General Assembly for endorsement.

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