No one will be left behind

Thursday, 2019-09-26 13:09:15
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U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres (Photo: Xinhua)
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NDO - The first-ever Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) Summit has recently been held at the New York headquarters, in the US, with the participation of leaders of countries, businesses and international organisations, calling for “taking the decisions necessary in order to come together more effectively to ensure that the 2030 Agenda is successfully implemented”. In which, ending poverty, building a low-carbon economy, and promoting a fair and peaceful society are the goals that countries are striving to accomplish.

The summit took place in the context of the world trying to achieve sustainable development goals. U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres warned that deadly conflicts, the climate crisis, gender-based violence and persistent inequalities are undermining efforts to achieve the goals. Ironically, while some individuals own half the world’s wealth, nearly 500 million people will still live in poverty by 2030. Therefore, the UN called on the world to take action to change this situation, with the hope that member countries would pledge to make financial contributions at the summit, to strengthen the system of regulations and laws to implement the SDGs and “leave no one behind”. Several countries have announced strong commitments, with Finland claiming to go carbon neutral by 2035, Maldives having achieved a number of specific sustainable development goals, whilst Mexico pledging that every citizen of the country will access to internet.

Of the 17 goals set out in the 2030 Agenda adopted by the UN in 2015, countries have been focused on sustainable growth goals, including: eradicating poverty; enhancing education quality; reducing inequality; sustainably developing communities and cities; and holding climate action programmes. In fact, the picture of world poverty reduction has turned brighter in the past 25 years; more than one billion people have risen above the extreme poverty line. The majority of them are from East Asian countries, where poverty rates fell from 52% in 1990 to less than 1% in 2015. Recently, South Asia has also achieved impressive goals of escaping extreme poverty. UN experts stated that the proportion of people living in extreme poverty in the world has dropped sharply, from 35.9% in 1990 to 9.9% in 2015.

The above figures are impressive, but forecasts still show that if this momentum continues to be maintained, by 2030, the world’s extreme poverty rate will drop to 6%. Meanwhile, 413 million out of the 736 million extremely poor people in the world are living in Sub-Saharan Africa. The UN warned that if countries do not make significant policy adjustments, the extreme poverty rate in this region will increase to double digits by 2030.

In order to realise the sustainable development goals, the head of the UN has called for world leaders to take concrete actions to create equitable and sustainable changes. He asserted that development would not be sustainable if it was not fair and comprehensive, and inequality would also affect long-term growth. He also stressed four key issues to be implemented, including increasing investment for sustainable development goals; fighting against global climate change and converting to a green economy; safe, orderly and regular migration; and leaving no one behind.

In the “race” to meet the SDGs, all regions have strived to promote alignment and set top priorities in addressing important issues. Besides progresses, there are many challenges facing countries in the implementation process, especially for developing countries. Poor countries need the help of rich countries to solve their resource problems in order to meet their development goals, so that the world will not go off track on the road to poverty eradication by 2030.