UNGA Adopts SDG Summit Outcome, Looks to Decade of Achievement
Photos by IISD/ENB | Kiara Worth
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The UN General Assembly adopted the political declaration of the SDG Summit by consensus, with the US and Hungary distancing themselves from specific references.

Sweden and Mexico addressed the upcoming intergovernmental review of the UN High-level Political Forum on Sustainable Development.

The United Arab Emirates and the Republic of Korea expressed support for the launch of a “decade of achievement” of the SDGs.

15 October 2019: The UN General Assembly (UNGA) has adopted the political declaration of the SDG Summit by consensus, with the US and Hungary distancing themselves from specific references. Sweden and Mexico addressed the upcoming intergovernmental review of the UN High-level Political Forum on Sustainable Development (HLPF). 

The SDG Summit took place from 24-25 September 2019, in New York, US, and heads of state and government attending the Summit adopted the political declaration as part of the opening session. The text had been negotiated earlier in the year, with consultations led by the Permanent Representatives of Bahamas and Sweden.

On 15 October 2019, the UNGA met in plenary to take action on the declaration (A/74/L.2). After the text was adopted, the US dissociated itself from the language on climate change, explaining that the US will withdraw from the Paris Agreement on climate change “at the earliest opportunity.” The delegate said her country will continue to play “a leading role” in sustainable development by being the largest donor to both the UN budget and multilateral development banks. She said today’s global challenges require international efforts to mobilize domestic resources and include other stakeholders, such as civil society and the private sector. She emphasized the importance of good governance, explaining that private sector participation with non‑governmental actors is under threat in some countries. 

Hungary distanced itself from references to the Global Compact for Safe, Orderly and Regular Migration and all other references to migration in the political declaration, included those contained in paragraphs 21 and 27.

Sweden said the governments’ collaboration in the negotiation process and the resulting agreement demonstrate that multilateralism works. He noted that in 2020 UNGA will celebrate UN’s 75th anniversary, from which point only a decade will remain for achieving the SDGs. He reinforced the call in the political declaration for the UN Secretary-General to involve all stakeholders in finding solutions to accelerate SDG implementation. He also underscored the political declaration’s pledge to carry out an “ambitious and effective review of the HLPF,” expressing hope that the positive spirit of collaboration manifested during the negotiations on the political declaration will be carried on in the process of the HLPF review. Mexico said it will reject any attempts to renegotiate the 2030 Agenda. The United Arab Emirates (UAE) and the Republic of Korea expressed support for the launch of a “decade of achievement” of the SDGs.

Several countries highlighted the need for public-private partnerships to achieve the SDGs, including Belarus, Canada, Guatemala, Mexico, the Republic of Korea and Saudi Arabia. 

Canada, Qatar and the Republic of Korea called for a focus on supporting the most vulnerable groups of countries, such as the least developed countries (LDCs), landlocked developing countries (LLDCs) and small island developing States (SIDS). Canada emphasized her government’s belief that the shared goal of leaving no one behind represents “the best of multilateralism.”

The Republic of Korea announced plans to more than double its official development assistance (ODA) contributions by 2030 in support of the SDGs, with a focus on countries that risk to be left behind. Afghanistan underscored the necessity for “sustained international assistance” to achieve the SDGs in Afghanistan. Nepal and the League of Arab States urged developed countries to honor their financial commitments. India said it is possible to achieve “a healthy balance” between development and conservation, citing the 33% growth in India’s tiger population from 2006 to 2019.

The International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) said the world must build on the momentum from the September summits to make 2020 “a watershed year,” and an opportunity for Member States to increase their contributions for nature‑based solutions and adopt an ambitious new global biodiversity framework in Kunming, China, during the 15th Conference of Parties (COP 15) to the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD). [UN Meeting Summary] [SDG Knowledge Hub Sources]


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