Antonio Guterres –
“In our world of plenty, hunger is a shocking stain on humanity.”
This from the secretary general of the United Nations (UN) António Guterres in an address at the High-Level Political Forum held in New York on Monday.
Noting that only 15 per cent of planned sustainable development goals (SDGs) had been met globally, Guterres reminded forum members of a promise they made eight years ago.
“With the world watching, including 193 young people in the balcony holding blue lamps of hope, you made a solemn promise. A promise to build a world of health, progress and opportunity for all.”
He underlined the need for a global rescue plan, emphasising to the audience that their promise was not made among diplomats in the comfort of the chamber but to the people. He spoke about the anguish of parents witnessing their children dying from preventable diseases and the loss of jobs, also reflecting on the impact of climate change on communities.
Guterres reaffirmed the mission of the SDGs, emphasising that they represented the hopes, dreams, rights, and expectations of people everywhere. He stressed that SDGs were the surest path to helping developing countries, reminding those in attendance that it was also an obligation they had under the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.
He also discussed the issue of poverty and highlighted instances where children were denied access to education as their families fled war-torn countries in search of a better life.
Additionally, Guterres outlined six areas in need of urgent attention, including the transformation of food systems, the acceleration of renewable energy, bridging the digital divide, improving education quality, and addressing decent work and social protection.
He also called for ending climate change, pollution and biodiversity loss and emphasised the importance of gender equality and inclusion.