We, the member states, adopted the 2030 Agenda as a plan of action for people, prosperity and the planet. In doing so, we committed to achieving sustainable development in its three dimensions – economic, social and environmental – in a balanced and integrated manner.
In order to achieve the sustainable development goals by 2030, we need to intensify our efforts, and do what we do better. The Second Committee is no exception. We cannot continue to address sustainable development as if it had only one dimension – environment – but must include macroeconomic issues in our discussion. To deliver on our mandate it is necessary to address the three dimensions of sustainable development in an integrated manner.
Allow me to address a few of the sub-items on the agenda, keeping in mind the need for a more integrated approach:
First: Agenda 2030 cannot be achieved unless we manage to address climate change. The livelihoods of both current and future generations are at stake. People in all regions of the world, not least many living in Small Island Development States, will be affected.
The recent hurricanes in the Caribbean, extreme flooding in Asia and fatal droughts in Africa are cruel reminders of the effects of climate change. Extreme weather is becoming more common, and our thoughts are with all those affected. Both in the short and in the longer term, climate change aggravates poverty. Climate change is the great multiplier. Both directly, and through effects on underlying factors like education, health and food security. Furthermore, it increases the risk of conflicts and mass migration, particularly in fragile states. If we do not act fast, climate change could undermine all other efforts for sustainable development.
Second: Prevention is important in this regard. The Sendai framework for disaster risk reduction is key, in that it provides clear targets and priorities for reduced disaster risk reduction by 2030.
Third: We must not limit ourselves to address living conditions on land. We also need to take better care of our oceans. They offer huge potential for economic growth and human development. Ensuring their sound management and sustainable use is a vital part of our work to achieve the SDGs.
And fourth: Energy is the dominant contributor to climate change. Clean and renewable energy will not only contribute to combating climate change, it may simultaneously advance our agenda on poverty eradication, food security, clean water and sanitation, health, education, economic growth and the empowerment of youth and women. Energy is central to social and economic well-being. Yet more than 1 billion people have no access to electricity, while over 3 billion people have to cook with polluting, inefficient fuels. Without rapid progress on SDG 7, it will impossible to deliver on other SDGs by 2030.
To achieve Agenda 2030, we must work together. It is only through forging partnerships with the private sector, with other development actors, between member countries and within the United Nations that we can reach our targets. A holistic, integrated approach is key in ensuring progress.