In adopting the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, world leaders resolved to free humanity from poverty, secure a healthy planet for future generations, and build peaceful, inclusive societies as a foundation for ensuring lives of dignity for all.
The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development aims to improve the lives and future prospects of everyone, everywhere. Along with the “Sustaining Peace” resolutions adopted by the General Assembly and Security Council, the world now has, in its hands, roadmaps for reducing vulnerability, increasing resilience and averting armed conflict. Indeed, sustainable and inclusive development is both a goal in its own right and the world’s best form of prevention.
The 2030 Agenda is deliberately ambitious and transformational, with a set of 17 integrated and indivisible Sustainable Development Goals and targets to guide us. Crucially, it is a universal agenda, applying to all countries; even the richest have yet to fully ensure women’s rights, conquer inequality or safeguard the environment.
Implementation for reaching the Sustainable Development Goals have begun, but the clock is ticking. However, reports have shown that the rate of progress in many areas is far slower than needed to meet the targets by 2030. These reports show that focused actions are needed to lift the 767 million people who still live on less than 1.90 US dollars a day, and to ensure food security for the 793 million people.
The world needs to double the rate at which we are reducing maternal deaths. There is a need for a determined progress towards sustainable energy, and greater investments in sustainable infrastructure. And we need to bring quality education within reach of all; if all children in low-income countries completed upper secondary school by 2030, per capita income would increase by 75 per cent by 2050 and we could advance the fight to eliminate poverty by a full decade.
Gender inequality is still deeply entrenched, as manifested in the slow progress in women’s representation in political life, in decision-making within their own households, and in the violence, most often with impunity, that women and girls face in all societies.
Young people continue to face alarmingly high rates of unemployment, and their voices are yet to be sufficiently included in the deliberations affecting their lives and futures. More than 2 billion people are living in countries with excess water stress. Nine out of 10 city dwellers are living in cities where air pollution is a health hazard. Planetary warming continues unabated, setting a new record of about 1.1 degrees Celsius above the preindustrial period and contributing to an increased frequency of extreme weather events.
Now, the world’s challenge is to mobilize action that will bring these agendas meaningfully and tangibly to life. We therefore call on Governments as well as stakeholders to recognize the gaps in implementation, financing and political will and make actionable progress towards the 2020 mark.
I also call on you, young people, to put on your thinking caps to bring out significant executable ideas that can move the world closer and closer to the goals of the sustainable Development Goals.
Welcome to the 2020 Nigeria Model United Nations Conferences.
Chika Nwaozuzu, Chairman, Governing Council NigMUNS