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The U.N. Deputy Secretary-General said Wednesday that with 10 years to go to meet ambitious global development targets, governments must accelerate and expand investment in key areas if they are to succeed.

“There have been investments made in jobs, in education, health,” Amina Mohammed told VOA at a side event for a stocktaking session on the goals, which began this week at U.N. headquarters and will continue until July 18. “[But] we aren’t putting those investments in fast enough or in the numbers we need to see.”


Mohammed, a development expert from Nigeria, who as deputy U.N. chief oversees the 17 targets known as the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), said that four years since they were launched, they are not yet on course to be met by the 2030 deadline.

“I would say that there isn’t one that would be on track at this stage,” she said. “But I think that in every sense of it, because they are an integrated whole, that there is a lot of scope for us catching up, and in the next decade really put emphasis on the action that needs to happen and the scale at which it needs to bring collaborations and partnerships together.”


The 17 goals seek to eradicate extreme poverty and hunger, while boosting education, jobs, health care and fighting climate change — just to name a few. Wikimedia Commons

17 goals

The 17 goals seek to eradicate extreme poverty and hunger, while boosting education, jobs, health care and fighting climate change — just to name a few.

The SDGs are not just about lifting up poor countries, prosperous ones also have some catching up to do. Mohammed pointed to the quality of education, healthcare and gender inequalities as areas where developed nations need to do better.

She acknowledged there are “huge challenges ahead,” but she sees the period between now and 2030 as a potential decade of action’ where gaps can be closed and progress accelerated if momentum, investment and cooperation can be sustained and expanded.

Next week, some 80 ministers are expected in New York to share what they have been doing to advance the goals. These meetings are a prelude to a two-day September SDG summit that will take place on the sidelines of the annual gathering of world leaders at the U.N. General Assembly.


Mitigating the effects of climate change is at the top of an ambitious To Do list. In addition to the SDG summit, the U.N. will host a climate summit in September. Wikimedia Commons

Climate change tops list

Mitigating the effects of climate change is at the top of an ambitious To Do list. In addition to the SDG summit, the U.N. will host a climate summit in September.

The progress report on the SDGs out this week warns that if record-high greenhouse gas emissions are not cut now, the effects will be catastrophic and irreversible, affecting the oceans, agriculture and food production, the ecosystem, and could even leave parts of the planet uninhabitable, displacing tens of millions of people as early as 2050. Failure to curb global warming also will be disastrous for achieving the other 16 goals.

ALSO READ: Great Barrier Reef Facing Unprecedented Challenges Amid Serious Ecological Disturbances

But Mohammed is optimistic on this front, noting the involvement of the world’s youth in pressing their governments for climate action. And she dismissed the U.S. withdrawal from the Paris climate accord saying that more countries are on board than not.

“The voices have been very loud in that we don’t have time to lose,” Mohammed said. “And we’ve been showing how you can get involved, individually and collectively on the climate agenda.” (VOA)


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The aim of the book is to teach children that families can exist in different forms, and show them how to accept the diversity in family backgrounds.

By Siddhi Jain

Delhi-based author Pritisha Borthakur is set to release her new book, 'Puhor and Niyor's Mural of Family Stories'. The 1,404-word children's book was put together to address a new kind of societal debacle in the family system. The author says the aim is to teach children that families can exist in different forms, and show them how to accept the diversity in family backgrounds.

The author who named the book after her twin sons -- Puhor and Niyor -- is a parent who has seen and heard the tales of ridicule and discrimination suffered by many in India and beyond. She says the book is an artistic illustration for kids that details how different families can live and coexist. Whether it's children with two dads or two moms, children with a single dad or single mom, and even multiracial family units, Borthakur's book teaches love, understanding, and compassion towards unconventional families.

Beyond race, gender, color, and ethnicity which have formed the bases for discrimination since the beginning of time, this book aims to bring to light a largely ignored issue. For so long, single parents have been treated like a taboo without any attempt to understand their situations; no one really cares how or why one's marriage ended but just wants to treat single parents as villains simply for choosing happiness and loving their children.

Homosexual parents, a relatively new family system, is another form that has suffered hate and discrimination for many years. Pritisha emphasizes the need to understand that diversity in people and family is what makes the world beautiful and colourful. 'Puhor and Niyor's Mural of Family Stories' is a firm but compassionate statement against all forms of discrimination on the bases of sexual identity, gender, race, and even differences in background

four children standing on dirt during daytime 'Puhor and Niyor's Mural of Family Stories' is a firm but compassionate statement against all forms of discrimination on the bases of sexual identity, gender, race and even differences in background. | Photo by Ben Wicks on Unsplash


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