In the shadow of current crises and conflicts

In the shadow of current crises and conflicts

General debate of the UN General Assembly © Richard Drew

With a two-day summit, the UN wanted to put the fight against poverty in the international spotlight. For by 2030, 17 goals are to be achieved that will make life better for everyone. But current crises are pushing the ie to the sidelines.

The self-set goals are not reached so far: International states want to put clearly more energy into the fight against poverty in the coming decade. They made the arance in a joint statement at the UN Sustainable Development Summit in New York on Tuesday and Wednesday.

At the meeting, nations said there was an urgent need to step up efforts to meet goals for a better life worldwide by 2030. The coming decade, they said, will be a decade of action and implementation. Meeting during United Nations General Assembly should bring ie more into focus of rulers. But current crises, such as tensions in the Gulf region, made the event a sideshow.

Implementation of 17 goals

The summit was about implementing 17 goals agreed by the international community in 2015. They should enable all people to live in prosperity and dignity. The most important project is to completely eradicate extreme poverty and hunger by 2030. It was the first time that the state of implementation was discussed at the level of heads of state and government. Businesses and international organizations were also involved. It became clear that there is still much to be done.

German Development Minister Gerd Muller (CSU) told the Evangelischer Pressedienst : "The summit shows that we are lagging far behind the set timeframe."Globally, the necessary investments are not available, while at the same time arms spending is increasing," he said. "This is a worrying trend that we need to reverse," Mueller said. Referring to the "Fridays for Future" movement, he added: "We would need a global turnaround, a 'Fridays for Development' movement, to create awareness."

Germany wants to promote voluntary projects

To ensure that it does not remain a mere declaration of intent, Germany joined forces with Ghana and Norway to advance voluntary projects in the area of health. Good health is a prerequisite for everything, said partners who want to review whether their actions are on track in 2023.

However, the extent to which the summit actually mobilizes countries to do more is doubtful. UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres appealed, "We need to step up our commitment – and we need to do it now."He praised the growing commitment of businesses to environmental stewardship.

Governments shared their experiences to date at various dialogue events. Most commented on organizational or technical aspects. Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi emphasized the need to support national institutions on the ground in implementing their plans. A joint approach and partnerships at all levels are needed to achieve the goals, they said.

Montenegrin President Milo Djukanovic called for better integration of all activities and regular exchange of information. Sierra Leone's head of state, Julius Maada Bio, said one of his country's priorities was to create a good and free education system. Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta reported progress on health care and his country's efforts to improve access to clean water.

Rising sea levels

The prime minister of the island nation of St. Vincent and the Grenadines, Ralph Gonsalves, used his three-minute speaking time to sharply criticize: the plan to achieve the 2030 Sustainable Development Goals was not a side ie, but the main event. "We are at a crossroads and cannot continue as before," he said. Supporting small countries in the fight against rising sea levels, for example, is "not a gift, but in your own interest".

It is an obligation of the industrialized countries. Because for their economic development "you make us suffer".

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