Check against delivery.
Ladies and Gentlemen,
Allow me to begin by thanking the Permanent Mission of India for bringing us together for the International Day of Non-Violence. It is a great honour and pleasure to join you here today as President of the Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC).
During a time of conflicts, violent extremism, displacement and humanitarian need in many parts of the world, the courage and non-violent leadership of Mahatma Gandhi is an inspiration to us all.
It is timely also to frame our discussions with the issue of climate action. The last five years are on track to be the five hottest years on record. And young people all over the world have taken to the streets. Through non-violent protest, they demand urgent action to combat climate change.
Recognition mounts that time is running out. Young leaders warned us at the recent Climate Action Summit that they ‘will be watching’.
We are the last generation that can prevent irreversible climate change. We are also the first generation in a position to eradicate extreme poverty.
Fortunately, we have the overarching 2030 Agenda to guide our efforts. We, together, own this global Agenda. It is our shared roadmap to transform the world.
Transformation from poverty to prosperity. From inequality to equity. And from apathy to climate action. Our 2030 Agenda has the power to change everyday life for all, regardless of residency.
ECOSOC has a significant role to play, to advance international economic and social cooperation and development.
Over the past seven decades, Member States have strengthened the core mission of ECOSOC as an integrated platform towards sustainable development.
My vision for ECOSOC is making the whole ECOSOC system as relevant and efficient as possible. To enable the Council to do its very best for our common future.
The High-level Political Forum on sustainable development (HLPF) serves as the apex for the follow-up and review of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Through linking the global commitments to national action; the Forum’s work has never been more crucial.
The SDG Summit just last week showed the power of the HLPF as an accountability mechanism. To keep our commitment to the SDGs at the highest level. Last week world leaders announced more than 100 acceleration actions. We are gearing up for a decade of action and delivery for sustainable development.
The countries lagging the most on the SDGs tend to be those in crisis or most vulnerable to it. In a peaceful world, the SDGs are achievable. In a world of conflicts, the Goals may remain out of reach.
To address this, an integrated approach to peace is set out in the 2030 Agenda, especially through Goal 16 on “Just, peaceful and inclusive societies”. And is strengthened by commitments made by Member States to work together towards ending discrimination, advancing women’s participation and ensuring equal opportunities.
It is fitting to honour Gandhi today, this most-action oriented leader. He drew the world’s attention to the gap between what we do, and what we are capable of doing.
We must go further and act faster. We must accelerate our actions now.
We are capable of doing so much more. Here we should heed the ways of Gandhi. He looked at the world from the point of view of the lowest and most humble. This perspective gives strength and meaning to the most important principle of the 2030 Agenda: Leaving no one behind.
Let us renew our commitment to non-violence and lives of dignity for all