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UN: Government Must Accelerate Investments in Key Areas to Meet Global Development Goals

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

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global development goals
FILE - United Nations Deputy Secretary-General Amina Mohammed, left, addresses the Security Council meeting on peace and security in Africa, Aug. 10, 2017, at U.N. headquarters. VOA

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.”

global development 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. 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.

global development goals
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)

Next Story

Global Warming Threatens UN Goals of Tackling Inequality, Conflicts

Greenhouse gases have continued to climb, and "climate change is occurring much faster than anticipated," the report said

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global warming
Greenhouse gases have continued to climb, and "climate change is occurring much faster than anticipated," the report said. Pixabay

Relentless global warming threatens the potential success of a sweeping set of goals established by the United Nations to tackle inequality, conflict and other ills, officials said on Tuesday. Climate change imperils food supplies, water and places where people live, endangering the U.N. plan to address these world problems by 2030, according to a report by U.N. officials.

Member nations of the U.N. unanimously adopted 17 global development goals in 2015, setting out a wide-ranging “to-do” list tackling such vexing issues as conflict, hunger, land degradation, gender inequality and climate change.

The latest report, which called climate change “the greatest challenge to sustainable development,” came as diplomatic, business and other officials gathered for a high-level U.N. forum to take stock of the goals’ progress.

global warming
Global warming and changing ocean chemistry affect marine nutrients and marine life. VOA

“The most urgent area for action is climate change,” said Liu Zhenmin, U.N. Under-Secretary General for Economic and Social Affairs, in the report.

“The compounded effects will be catastrophic and irreversible,” he said, listing increased extreme weather events, more severe natural disasters and land degradation. “These effects, which will render many parts of the globe uninhabitable, will affect the poor the most.”

Progress has been made on lowering child mortality, boosting immunization rates and global access to electricity, the report said. Yet extreme poverty, hunger and inequality remain hugely problematic, and more than half of school-age children showed “shockingly low proficiency rates” in reading and math, it said. Two-thirds of those children were in school.

global warming
The cost of implementing the global goals has been estimated at $3 trillion a year. Pixabay

Human trafficking rates nearly doubled from an average 150 detected victims per country in 2010 to 254 in 2016. But it was unclear how much of the increase reflected improved reporting systems versus an increase in trafficking, said Francesca Perucci of the U.N.’s statistics division, who worked on the report. “It’s hard to exactly distinguish the two,” she said at a launch of the report.

ALSO READ: UN: World Showing Lack of Ambition in Reducing Inequality, Countering Climate Change

But climate change remained paramount. Greenhouse gases have continued to climb, and “climate change is occurring much faster than anticipated,” the report said. At this week’s goals summit, 47 countries were expected to present voluntary progress reviews. Almost 100 other countries and four cities including New York have done so.

Earlier U.N. reports said the goals were threatened by the persistence of violence, conflict and lack of private investment. Outside assessments have also cited nationalism, protectionism and insufficient funding. The cost of implementing the global goals has been estimated at $3 trillion a year. (VOA)