The world’s people are demanding “transformative change that is fair and sustainable,” Secretary General António Guterres said, calling on government leaders to use the upcoming slate of key United Nations meetings in September to “kickstart a decade of delivery and action for people and planet.”
His call for concrete action was the cornerstone of his address to ministers attending the High-level Political Forum on Sustainable Development (HLPF) — the main UN platform monitoring follow-up on states’ actions towards the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG).
Guterres observed that the HLPF was “zeroing-in” on the power of SDG action “to support empowerment, equality and inclusion,” and urged the participants to “ratchet up the ambition and highlight the imperative of inclusion.”
“The evidence is clear: Development is not sustainable if it is not fair and inclusive — and rising inequality hinders long-term growth,” he said.
Alongside the impacts of globalization and rapid technological change, “inequality raises economic anxiety, erodes public trust, and undermines social cohesion, human rights, peace and prosperity,” according to the UN chief.
Meanwhile, “mounting evidence” illustrates the “transformative results of equality and inclusion” particularly of women, in higher gross domestic product, greater stability and enhanced private sector performance and institutional effectiveness, he pointed out.
“For all these reasons, the 2030 Agenda places the goals of inclusion, empowerment and equality, leaving no one behind at the heart of our efforts,” Guterres stated.