Photo: General Assembly President Peter Thomson briefs delegates on the strategy of his office to support the implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals. UN Photo/Manuel Elias - Photo: 2016

UN to Step Up Implementation of 2030 Development Agenda

By J Nastranis

NEW YORK (IDN) – In a significant move, UN General Assembly President Peter Thomson has set up an expert team to push for implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), ‘leaving no-one behind,’ ensuring human rights for all, and engaging young people.

The SDG implementation team is tasked with motivating everyone at global, regional, national, and community levels to ensure realization of the Goals.

The team is led by Special Adviser Ambassador Dessima Williams of Grenada along with experts from the UN Secretariat and secondees from the UN Development Programme (UNDP), World Bank Group, the UN Population Fund (UNFPA), the UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF), and Member States. Ambassador Macharia Kamau of Kenya will serve as the Special Envoy on SDG Implementation and Climate Change.

The team will focus on three key tracks: raising the global public’s awareness of the importance of SDG implementation; strengthening momentum in the implementation of each of the 17 SDGs; and supporting the UN and related agencies in making their maximum contribution to SDG implementation at all levels.

In order to ensure success of the first track – which seeks to raise awareness – Thomson and his team support including the SDGs in school curricula around the world. They also favour maximizing online communication, working with young advocates, and promoting high-level advocacy through events and workshops in order to engage the public and attract new stakeholders to the movement.

The second track aims to strengthen the momentum of implementing each goal. Thomson has outlined specific objectives and strategies to accompany each of the 17 goals. These include collaborating with the private sector, organizing new meetings, promoting new technologies, securing commitments from new actors, convening leading thinkers and academics, promoting local leader participation in international agenda-setting.

The second track will focus efforts in the following six specific areas:

Aligning increased private investments and capital flows with the SDGs, including through “greening” the financial system and its regulatory mechanisms;

Strengthening domestic resource mobilization capacity;

Convening a joint meeting with the United Nations Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) on global economic governance;

Mobilizing young innovators including on the margins of the ECOSOC Forum on Science Technology and innovation;

Fostering further work on South-South and Triangular cooperation, and;

Collaborating with partners in the margins of the UN Statistical Commission on how concrete and targeted assistance can help countries improve their data-systems and overall capacity in this area.

Track three aiming at supporting the UN and its agencies in order to ensure a maximum contribution to the SDGs at all levels, will be achieved by convening regular briefings with the new Secretary-General, Member States, and the members of the UN Chief Executive Board.

Thomson also favours maximizing the role of the General Assembly in SDG implementation and strengthening the UN’s engagement with civil society, the private sector, and other important stakeholders.

Briefing Member States informally on November 8, he spoke of transforming our world by eradicating poverty and generating collective prosperity, addressing inequalities – particularly with regards to gender and the advancement of rights for women and girls, creating a safer and more just world, and combatting climate change and protecting the natural environment.

Thomson reaffirmed the commitment he made when he took the Oath of Office in June as General Assembly President, which he said is “rooted in my deep belief that only through the attainment of sustainable development will sustainable peace and human rights be realized for all”.

“And in turn,” he added, “sustainable development will only be achieved by sustaining peace and the full realization of human rights.”

The General Assembly President acknowledged that while responsibility for implementing the SDGs lies primarily with Governments, the UN has a central support role in order to see that the Goals are put into action.

“Part of that role,” he explained, “is to activate and align all relevant partners in the universal and integrated pursuit of the SDGs – international financial institutions, multilateral bodies, regulatory authorities, the private sector, philanthropic foundations, civil society, women’s organizations, academia, local authorities, and people everywhere.”

“Dedicated workshops, meetings and events, at both expert and high levels, will be organized throughout the session,” he added.

“I hold myself accountable to this Strategic Plan,” said Thomson, who will report on the progress in July 2017. Other key dates are: 24 January: SDG Action event focusing on the connections between Sustaining Peace and the 2030 Agenda; April/May: SDG Action event with a focus on Finance; June: Mandated UN Conference on Oceans (SDG 14). There will also be SDG Action Regional Meetings with a focus on Poverty Eradication.

To the General Assembly, he said, “I welcome cooperation, partnership, and positive input towards the fulfilment of this Strategic Plan, by and from all those who believe in the need for real momentum to be achieved for the Sustainable Development Goals.” A universal effort is required if our world is indeed to be transformed towards a sustainable future for human kind, he concluded. [IDN-InDepthNews – 09 November 2016]

Photo: General Assembly President Peter Thomson briefs delegates on the strategy of his office to support the implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals. UN Photo/Manuel Elias

IDN is flagship agency of the International Press Syndicate.

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