UN Deputy Secretary-General Amina Mohammed said the Decade of Action is an opportunity to course-correct, and it is a priority for the Secretary-General, with “special amplification around climate action and gender equality".
She said the Decade will prioritize solutions that catalyze progress on multiple SDGs at the same time.
Mohammed also announced that the first annual 'SDG Moment' will take place in September 2020, either in conjunction with the high-level meeting to mark the UN’s 75th anniversary or on the opening day of the UNGA’s general debate for the 75th session.
UN Deputy Secretary-General Amina Mohammed briefed UN Member States on plans for the UN’s ‘Decade of Action’ for SDG implementation and the annual ‘SDG moments’ that will begin in September 2020.
At an informal briefing on 19 December 2019, Mohammed recalled that the September 2019 high-level week had “provided a wake-up call” that efforts to achieve the 2030 Agenda are not reaching the needed scale to bring about the “deep transformative change” required. The Decade of Action is an opportunity to course-correct, she said, noting that it is a priority for the Secretary-General, with “special amplification around climate action and gender equality.”
Mohammed highlighted three specific needs for the Decade of Action, noting that the plans follow consultations “across the system and with stakeholders from civil society, business, the arts, academia and beyond.” The first need is to rethink the narrative about the connection between the SDGs and the issues that young people care about, and to pursue the right communication strategies. These include harnessing the power of the media, community leaders and local influencers, strengthening engagement with national parliaments, business and local governments, and developing new relationships.
The second area for action during the Decade is to raise ambition. Among the ways to do this, Mohammed highlighted:
- Strengthen nationally determined contributions on climate change action (NDCs) at the 2020 session of the Conference of the Parties to the UNFCCC (COP 26) in Glasgow, UK;
- Demonstrate commitment and increased ambition in the context of international meetings in 2020 on gender equality, biodiversity, the ocean and sustainable transport;
- Review national development plans and financing frameworks to ensure the needed magnitude of change; and
- Translate existing SDG engagement by businesses, cities, and the finance community into clear and measurable action.
Mohammed also noted the upcoming reviews of the UN High-level Political Forum on Sustainable Development (HLPF) and the UN Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC), saying the reviews could yield a “new wave of voluntary national reviews” (VNRs). A new approach to the VNRs, she indicated, could showcase the milestones governments will pursue between now and 2030.
Finally, the Deputy Secretary-General underlined the need for solutions that deliver concrete results for those most in need, in particular solutions that catalyze progress on multiple SDGs at the same time. She said the Decade of Action will prioritize such solutions. Some examples are: improving renewable energy-related battery technology; increasing access to finance for climate-vulnerable countries; removing fossil fuel subsidies; and creating a new consensus on sustainable food. Mohammed said the 2019 Global Sustainable Development Report (GSDR) will provide inspiration for these solutions through its “entry points” for transformative change. The Decade of Action also will build on the UN Secretary-General’s Strategy on Financing the 2030 Agenda, she said.
On the SDG moment, Mohammed reminded participants that the political declaration of the SDG Summit calls for an SDG moment to take place annually during the high-level week of the UN General Assembly (UNGA), each September until 2030. She said the Moment will highlight successes and identify where more action is needed. It is expected to:
- Provide a snapshot of what is and is not working, where more action is needed, how to do so. This component will draw on data, analytics, innovation and technology.
- Showcase the best SDG solutions that have been adopted by governments and other stakeholders.
- Keep SDGs at top of political agenda, to complement the engagement and analysis conducted by the annual sessions of the HLPF.
The first SDG moment will take place in September 2020, either in conjunction with the high-level meeting to mark the UN’s 75th anniversary, on 21 September, or on the opening day of the UNGA’s general debate for the 75th session, on 22 September. [Briefing by UN Deputy Secretary-General]