UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres on Monday called for concrete actions to improve global cooperation to address the world’s current and future challenges.
Briefing the UN General Assembly about his report “Our Common Agenda,” launched in September 2021 as a guide to realizing the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), Guterres said important progress has been made but much more remains to be done.
“We need to go further and deeper,” he said. “On climate, on conflict, on inequality, on food insecurity, on nuclear weapons — we are closer to the edge than ever.”
“And yet our collective problem-solving mechanisms do not match the pace or scale of the challenges,” he said.
The UN chief pointed out that the present forms of multilateral governance, designed in and for a bygone era, are clearly not adequate for today’s complex, interconnected and rapidly changing and dangerous world.
The SDGs were unanimously adopted by world leaders in September 2015 to serve as the blueprint for global development efforts in the years leading up to 2030. The 17 goals aim to end poverty, fight inequalities and tackle climate change.
Guterres warned that halfway to 2030, “we are far off track,” and called for moving the recommendations in Our Common Agenda from ideas to action, as well as from abstract to concrete.
“We will only make up lost ground by addressing the gaps and challenges that have emerged since 2015 — including gaps in intergovernmental cooperation,” he said.
The SDG Summit to be held in September at the UN headquarters must mark significant progress, Guterres said, urging member states to bring a clear commitment to rescue the SDGs by setting out their national vision for transformation, grounded in concrete plans, benchmarks and commitments.
Meanwhile, he said throughout this year, his office will be issuing a series of 11 policy briefs with concrete ideas, addressing issues such as peace and security, finance, global digital cooperation, the peaceful use of outer space and how to strengthen the United Nations for the 21st century.
“This must be the year when we lay the foundations for more effective global cooperation that can deal with today’s challenges as well as new risks and threats down the line,” said Guterres.