Forum Promotes Global Engagement for SDGs
UN Photo/Cia Pak
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The first Global Engagement and Empowerment Forum on Sustainable Development considered the theme ‘Putting People and Planet at the Center’.

Participants discussed, inter alia: youth's path to engagement and empowerment; information and communication technology (ICT) for higher education and for technical and vocational education and training; ensuring sustainable and responsible consumption and production; climate change adaptation in the context of the SDGs; and partnerships for sustainable development.

8 February 2018: UN Secretary-General António Guterres cautioned against rising inequality across the world, saying the feeling of being “left behind” undermines the confidence of people, communities and regions, in governments and international organizations like the UN, which ultimately results in increased instability. Guterres was speaking during the first Global Engagement and Empowerment Forum on Sustainable Development, where participants considered the theme, ‘Putting People and Planet at the Center.’

Co-hosted by the Institute for Global Engagement and Empowerment of Yonsei University and the Ban Ki-moon Centre for Global Citizens, the Forum involved several high-level speakers including: Ban Ki-moon, former UN Secretary-General; Kim Won-soo, former UN Under Secretary-General; Irina Bokova, former Director-General of the UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO); Lee Nak-yeon, Prime Minister of the Republic of Korea; Heinz Fischer, former President of Austria; Oh Joon, former President of the UN Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC); Chey Tae-won, Chairman and CEO of SK Holdings; Jack Ma, Founder and Executive Chairman of Alibaba; and Jeffrey Sachs, Director of the Center for Sustainable Development at Columbia University.

We must “go beyond diplomatic efforts” and government programmes to implement the 2030 Agenda.

Participants discussed: youth’s path to engagement and empowerment; information and communication technology (ICT) for higher education and vocational education and training; ensuring sustainable and responsible consumption and production; climate change adaptation in the context of the SDGs; and partnerships for sustainable development. Guterres stressed that efforts to implement the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development need to “go beyond diplomatic efforts and Government programmes.” He noted that massive challenges such as climate change, rapid population growth, unplanned urbanization, large scale movement of people, food insecurity and water scarcity contribute to further fragility and multiply the negative impacts of the threats to global security. He highlighted that enormous efforts, engagement and empowerment are needed to use the SDGs as a way to achieve a fair globalization, and called for strengthening the fight against tax evasion, money laundering, and illicit flows of capital to ensure there are sufficient resources to implement the SDGs.

UN General Assembly (UNGA) President Miroslav Lajcak discussed multilateralism in a turbulent world, saying “we no longer live in a world of once-off, or standalone, crises,” which is why “we can no longer rely on once-off, or standalone, solutions,” and therefore the demand for multilateralism will grow. On criticisms made against the UN, Lajcak said “we should work to improve it” but “we should not and we cannot give up on it,” adding the UN plays a unique role in our world, with billions of people depending on it.

The Forum took place from 7-8 February 2018, at Yonsei University in Seoul, Republic of Korea. The event sought to serve as a platform for all stakeholders and actors to collaborate towards accomplishing the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. [Event Website] [UN Press Release on UN Secretary-General’s Statement] [UNGA President Statement]

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