UN General Assembly president calls for sense of urgency in SDG financing

Source: Xinhua| 2018-06-12 00:44:48|Editor: Mu Xuequan
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UNITED NATIONS, June 11 (Xinhua) -- UN General Assembly President Miroslav Lajcak on Monday called for a sense of urgency in financing the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

"We only have two choices: one, we finance the SDGs and we achieve them; or two, we don't and we fail. There is no in-between. And the longer we stand at this fork in the road, the less choice we will have," Lajcak told a high-level event on financing for the SDGs.

"We will start to drift down the wrong path. And frankly we may already have started, but we have not gone very far. There is still time. We just need to get ourselves back on track. And we need to do it fast."

He asked for efforts to engage the private sector.

The SDGs require 5 to 7 trillion U.S. dollars of global investment annually. This sum seems to be enormous. But it represents only 7 to 10 percent of global GDP or 25 to 40 percent of annual global investment, he said.

"So, the money is out there. However, the problem is: we cannot get it as we usually do. ... And that is why we need to try new means and mechanisms -- from blended financing to domestic resource mobilization. And, crucially, bigger and better partnerships with the private sector."

Some 92 percent of business executives support the SDGs. But only 17 percent of them have put any plans or policies in place to achieve these goals, he quoted recent studies by Deloitte as showing.

"The interest is there. The enthusiasm is there. But the follow-up -- the concrete action, partnerships and policies -- are not," he noted.

"We need to sell the SDGs. We cannot just put our hands out and expect the investments to come. Instead, we need to show how these goals can result in benefits for all," said the General Assembly president.

Lajcak asked developed countries to keep their commitments with regard to official development assistance.

Developed countries have committed to come up with 100 billion dollars per year by 2020 to ensure developing countries can meet their climate-related needs. But, so far, nothing close to this has been raised, he said. "We also need mobilization from developing regions, including stronger South-South and triangular cooperation."

He warned that time is running out.

"We are into our third year of SDG implementation. And, already, the chances of achieving some of our goals are at risk," he said.

"We committed to protecting marine and coastal systems. But, some of them have already disappeared. We promised to make sure everyone has access to safe drinking water and sanitation. But 2 billion people are now living in countries under serious water stress. We said we would take action on climate change. We even adopted a dedicated framework through the Paris Agreement. But our planet is still getting even warmer. In fact, 2017 was one of the hottest years on record. And, we said we would make our urbanization sustainable. But the portion of the world population living in slums -- often in appalling conditions -- is expected to reach 66 percent by 2050."

"So, we need action -- and we need it now," said Lajcak.