, NEW YORK, United States, Sep 26 – The world began a new 15-year journey Friday, when leaders from across the globe adopted the post-2015 Sustainable Development Goals at the United Nations General Assembly in New York.
Pope Francis set the pace ahead of the adoption in his address to the assembly, when he spoke on an array of issues ranging from the rights of the girl child to education, drug trafficking, climate change and the Iran nuclear deal.
“International financial agencies should care for the sustainable development of countries and should ensure that they are not subjected to oppressive lending systems which, far from promoting progress, subject people to mechanisms which generate greater poverty, exclusion and dependence,” Pope Francis told the assembly.
The ambitious post-2105 UN development agenda which Kenya played a key role in formulating, sets out 17 goals and 169 targets to end poverty, ensure healthy lives, promote education and combat climate change until the year 2030.
The targets replace the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) that expire this year.
The MDGs grew out of the 1992 Earth Summit held in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, where the concept of sustainable development began to gain momentum. With 2015 set as the target year for the MDGs, the new sustainable development agenda emerged from three years of negotiations to address the three interconnected elements of economic growth, social inclusion and environmental sustainability.
On Friday, picking up from Pope Francis, Dannish PM Anders Fog Rasmussen pointed out that the world had managed to get one billion people out of extreme poverty and reduced the mortality rate by more than half.
“The MDGs showed that certain targets can be met but the work is not done. Today marks the beginning of a new journey.”
He said the Sustainable Development Goals are “a more far sighted vision which require leadership and direction to achieve.”
He told the assembly that history will judge and hold implementers accountable for the achievement of the new targets.
Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni who co-chaired the high level plenary session that adopted the SDGs observed that the moment marked the dawn of a new era to eradicate poverty, improve livelihoods, transform economies and protect the environment.
“In the successor framework, key drivers of economic growth must be prioritised; energy, transport and ICT; Industrialisation and value addition are also key,” Museveni said.
He said it was necessary for nations to integrate the SDGs with national and regional plans to mobilise resources to ensure full implementation.
Kenya was a co-facilitator in drafting the 17 post 2015 development goals, and is now set to host the second high level meeting on the Global Partnership for Effective Development Cooperation in November 2016.
“Many of the goals in the post-2015 development agenda resonate with Kenya’s development aspirations as articulate in our blueprint Vision 2030. We are convinced that under this agenda, a world free of poverty and hunger is achievable within the next 15 years.”
President Kenyatta pointed out that the world must acknowledge progress in achieving the preceding Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) had been uneven across the globe, and across the goals.
UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon described the adoption of the SDGs as a defining moment in human history. “We need political commitment and renewal of global partnerships,” Ban emphasised.
The start of the summit was marked with performances by Shakira and fellow UN Goodwill Ambassador singer Angelique Kidjo and a call to action by female education advocate and the youngest-ever Nobel Laureate, Malala Yousafzaii.