The UN member states today agreed on a new, universal set of sustainable development goals for the next 15 years. The Sustainable Development Goals will replace the UN Millennium Development Goals at the beginning of next year, and they will combine the fight against poverty with a renewed effort to protect the environment. ‘The agreement reached in New York marks the start of an unparalleled global effort,’ said Minister of Foreign Affairs Børge Brende.
‘If we manage to reach these goals, we can be the first generation to eradicate extreme poverty while at the same time reinforcing a global shift to green growth. This is one of the UN’s most far-reaching initiatives ever. It will apply to all countries – and in all countries,’ said Mr Brende. In his view, Norway has won considerable support for its positions and priorities during the process to draw up the goals.
It took two days longer than planned to reach the agreement, which marks the conclusion of an extensive process that has lasted for more than two years. The new Sustainable Development Goals are to be adopted at a summit in New York in September.
The Sustainable Development Goals will follow on from the Millennium Development Goals, which have helped to bring about a concerted effort, particularly in the areas of health and education, over the last 15 years. This effort will be continued, and at the same time the work to secure access to water and energy, create jobs and ensure sustainable management of the world’s oceans will be intensified. Under the new sustainable development agenda, the UN member states also undertake to respect human rights, strengthen the rule of law, promote gender equality and step up the fight against corruption.
‘For Norway, it has been important to ensure that the goals build on international human rights obligations. We cannot achieve the goal of eradicating extreme poverty if we don’t also promote and safeguard human rights. Nor can we eradicate poverty without limiting the effects of climate change. So we have to address these issues together,’ said Mr Brende.
Today’s agreement covers not only the new goals themselves but also an ambitious plan for implementing them. This is to be done through broad global cooperation and partnership between the UN, national authorities, the private sector and civil society. But the most important work has to be done in and by the individual countries, including Norway. ‘Norway’s work to follow up the new goals will have implications far beyond its development policy. Now that agreement has been reached on the goals, the Government will be able to turn its attention properly to how they can be followed up at the national level,’ said Mr Brende.
In addition to all UN member states, civil society organisations and the private sector all over the world have participated actively in developing the goals, and they will play a key role in ensuring that the goals are implemented.