FROM THE UN GENERAL ASSEMBLY
UN General Assembly Transmits Text on Ambitious Post-2015 Development Agenda
In a historic move on 1 September, the General Assembly adopted a resolution transmitting to its seventieth session a sweeping post-2015 development agenda aimed at eliminating poverty and hunger, protecting the planet and fostering peace, to be acted on during a high-level summit later this month.
Known as “Transforming our world: the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development” — annexed in draft resolution A/69/L.85, which was adopted as orally revised — most notably lays out a set of 17 sustainable development goals with concrete targets ranging from the achievement of gender equality to taking urgent action to combat climate change.
“Agenda 2030 aims high,” said United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, proclaiming it “the start of a new era” as he addressed the Assembly prior to the consensus adoption. The new plan marked a “paradigm shift” as it sought to foster peace and prosperity on a healthy planet and eliminate inequality.
The agenda broke new ground in the way it linked peace and security to sustainable development, rule of law, and access to justice, he said. It presented new options to deal with the root causes of present crises, from migration to gender inequality and beyond.
Looking forward, he said that, at the upcoming summit for the adoption of the post-2015 development agenda — to be held from 25 to 27 September — more than 150 world leaders, as well as Pope Francis, would come together to begin the new era for sustainable development. “We must act with utmost ambition and show unwavering political will,” he stressed in that regard.
General Assembly President Sam Kutesa (Uganda) said the spirit with which the agenda was formulated was a triumph for multilateralism. “We have proven that the global community can work together to address pressing issues facing humanity while making the necessary commitments for the benefit of all,” he said.
The 17 sustainable development goals were comprehensive and addressed the social, economic and environmental dimensions of sustainable development in an integrated way, he said. While they would be universally applicable, there was also recognition of national circumstances, different levels of development and the needs of countries in special situations.
Many of the more than 30 speakers taking the floor welcomed the spirit of consensus that had led to the agreement on the new agenda. Others hailed the “unprecedented” transparency of the negotiation process, with the representative of Colombia praising the involvement of thousands of civil society stakeholders who had been consulted prior to the finalization of the text.
Another resounding theme was the importance of respecting unique national circumstances and the priorities of States. The representative of Senegal, speaking on behalf of the African Group, endorsed the new agenda but warned that the follow-up to the goals and targets should not undermine the right of States to create their own national policies. Indeed, the agenda should not seek to “universalize” the values of the world’s people.
Similarly, a number of delegations, including those of Egypt, China and Brazil, lauded the inclusion of the principle of common but differentiated responsibility — which recognized the wide differences in levels of economic development between States — in the new agenda.
While a number of States listed reservations to the text, including references to sexual and reproductive rights, sexual orientation and the definition of the word “family”, broad consensus emerged on the need to move forward with the new agenda’s implementation.
In that connection, some speakers expressed high expectations that the newly established High-Level Political Forum under the auspices of the Economic and Social Council would be up to the task of monitoring and following up on the implementation process. Future generations must be able to look back and celebrate what had been achieved by the 2030 agenda, said the representative of Argentina, adding: “Now begins the difficult task of making this a reality.”
Also speaking, were the representatives of South Africa (on behalf of the “Group of 77” developing countries and China), Tonga (on behalf of the 12 Pacific small island developing States), Jamaica (on behalf of the Caribbean Community), Paraguay (on behalf of the Group of Landlocked Developing Countries), Qatar (on behalf of the Gulf Cooperation Council ), Maldives (on behalf of the Alliance of Small Island States), Indonesia (speaking on behalf of 12 countries), Venezuela, Kazakhstan, Japan, Republic of Korea, India, Iran, Mexico, Ecuador, Peru, Hungary, Sudan, Iceland, Chad, Russian Federation, Turkey, United States, Israel, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Norway and Panama.
In addition, the representative of the European Union Delegation and the observer for the Permanent Observer Mission of the Holy See took part.
Secretary-General Applauds ‘Agenda 2030’ as Mark of Global Commitment at Dawn of New Era for Sustainable Development
Following are UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon’s remarks at the General Assembly plenary meeting to adopt a draft resolution to transmit the Agenda 2030 outcome document, in New York on 1 September:
1 September is the start of a new era. We have travelled a long way together to reach this turning point. For 15 years, our pursuit of development has been inspired by eight Millennium Development Goals that captured our ambition to eradicate extreme poverty and appalling social ills.
Five years ago, you asked me to initiate thinking on a post-2015 development agenda. Two years later, at the Rio+20 summit meeting, you embarked on a process to craft a set of sustainable development goals — the SDGs — to be at the centre of this agenda.
You set in motion unprecedented international reflection, consultation and negotiations. All Member States joined in. We asked countless people what they want the world to be like in 2030. You listened to civil society organizations, academia, the private sector and many others, establishing a new standard for the inclusion of stakeholders in UN policy-shaping.
You spoke to each other and carried on a constructive dialogue. You have overcome differences in the interest of common good and after three years of negotiations, you reached an agreement in early August on a bold vision for transforming our world.
I commend the President of the General Assembly, as well as the co-chairs of the Open Working Group and the co-facilitators of the post-2015 negotiations, for their extraordinary leadership.
Today, we are ready to hand over this agenda to world leaders for endorsement at the Summit later this month. Agenda 2030 aims high. It puts people at the centre of development. It aims to foster human well-being, prosperity, peace and justice on a healthy planet. It pursues respect for the human rights of all people and gender equality. It speaks to all people in all countries and calls for action from everyone everywhere. It aims to inspire and create genuine partnerships among all countries and actors.
This agenda marks a paradigm shift. It completes the unfinished business of the MDGs [Millennium Development Goals], lifts the level of ambition and tackles emerging issues and challenges. It recognizes the close interdependence of the economic, social and environmental dimensions of sustainable development. It breaks new ground in the way it links peace and security to sustainable development, highlighting the centrality of the rule of law, accountable institutions and access to justice. It presents solutions to deal with root causes of the complex problems in our world today, from migration and conflict to exclusion, violence against women and humanitarian crises, and it prioritizes the vulnerable and marginalized, vowing to leave no one behind.
The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development is an agreement of which you can be proud. Implementation will require all stakeholders to continue to champion this cause. Reliable data and indicators will be essential for measuring progress and making sure our efforts reach everyone.
Ladies and gentlemen, 2015 is a watershed year for putting the world on a sustainable pathway. The Financing for Development Agreement reached in Addis Ababa in July and efforts to forge a new path forward on climate change in Paris in December are critical elements for the success of our endeavours. Together, they are foundational steps to begin implementing the 2030 Agenda.
They will be followed next year by further crucial steps, including the World Humanitarian Summit in Istanbul in May, the Habitat III Conference in Quito in October and the Special Session of the UN General Assembly on the World Drug Problem. I urge you to continue showing the same strong commitment, flexibility and vision you have demonstrated in adopting the new development agenda.
At this month’s Summit, we expect Heads of State and Government to not only endorse the new Agenda, but to affirm their strong political commitment to its timely implementation. I am delighted that more than 150 world leaders, as well as His Holiness Pope Francis will join us to start this new era for sustainable development. We must all now act with utmost ambition — and mobilize maximum political will.
Seventy years ago, the United Nations was born from the experiences and convictions of great men and women who had seen the horrors of war. With today’s resolution, the United Nations has brought the international community to the cusp of decisions that can help realize the founders’ dream of a world of peace and dignity for all.
I thank you for having taken the world so far on our collective journey towards a better world for all the world’s peoples. Let us all now work with determination to reach that destination. Thank you, Mr. President.