If we act now, the global goals are still within reach

COVID-19 is threatening decades of progress to improve people’s lives across the globe. Unless we take immediate action – now. We already have the best plan for a sustainable, people-centered and planet friendly recovery – the 17 Sustainable Development Goals. What is needed now is to turn these goals into reality, for people and planet.

The High-Level Political Forum (HLPF) on Sustainable Development taking place from 6 to 15 July, is just the right venue to make this happen.

“We need to move from death to health; from disaster to reconstruction; from despair to hope; from business as usual to transformation. The Sustainable Development Goals are more important now than ever,” said UN Secretary-General António Guterres.

Thousands of participants are expected to join this year’s hybrid edition of the HLPF, focusing on a sustainable and resilient recovery from the pandemic, while putting a spotlight on nine SDGs (SDGs 1, 2, 3, 8, 10, 12, 13, 16 and 17). 43 countries will share their experiences and their recovery strategy to realize the SDGs as part of the Voluntary National Reviews.

International actors will be able to make their voices heard in over 300 side events, 17 VNR Labs and 17 exhibits and through six HLPF Special Events. UN DESA is also renewing the call for voluntary SDG Acceleration Actions, encouraging actors to add their commitments to over 300 submissions made so far.

As COVID-19 continues to cause devastation, many countries face severe financial and fiscal distress due to lockdowns and disruptions. Data from the International Monetary Fund (IMF) shows that 29 countries face high risk of debt, with seven experiencing “debt distress”.

“Our global economy has reached a critical juncture. Decisions and investments taken today will shape the world’s ability to recover from the pandemic and achieve the Sustainable Development Goals,” said UN Deputy Secretary-General Amina Mohammed.

At the same time, access to critical health resources in most developing countries remain a major challenge. “We have to take some decisive steps towards universal vaccination in order to end the pandemic, which is a prerequisite for economic recovery,” said ECOSOC President Munir Akram.

The COVID-19 crisis has impacted the SDGs in nearly all countries. Unemployment, discrimination, and the need for social justice are emerging challenges, while climate change and food insecurity have worsened.

“We must build back better, greener and fairer. We must put people at the center of all our recovery efforts,” UN DESA’s Under-Secretary-General Liu Zhenmin stressed.

Learn more about this year’s Forum and follow live via UN Web TV.