The Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) represent the future for millions of girls who want education, women who fight for equality, and youth fighting for clean air, Nobel Laureate and UN Messenger of Peace Malala Yousafzai said on Friday, Sept. 18.
Speaking at a side event of the General Assembly, Ms. Yousafzai challenged Member States, asking the world body “when are you planning to do the work”?
The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, adopted by all United Nations Member States in 2015, provides a shared blueprint for peace and prosperity for people and the planet, now and into the future.
“When I last spoke here, I was just about to enter university…optimistic about what was ahead: university life, making new friends and access to an incredible education,” she told the inaugural SDG Moment event.
“This June, I graduated in the midst of a reeling world — one many of us could not have predicted”.
The Nobel Peace prize winner recalled that five years ago Member States signed on to the SDGs, but, “so far, you have not kept up with your work”, she declared.
The event was intended to renew the effort to meet the ambitious Sustainable Development Goals over the coming decade.
While acknowledging that COVID-19 has been “a striking setback to our collective goals” she stressed, “it cannot be an excuse”.
“On education alone, 20 million more girls may never go back to the classroom when this crisis ends [and]the global education funding gap has already increased to 200 billion dollars per year,” she flagged.
The young advocate signalled that moving forward, things should not return to the way they were.
“When will you commit the necessary funding to give every child 12 years of quality education? When will you prioritize peace and protect refugees? When will you pass policies to cut carbon emissions?”
Underlining the need for “a profound commitment to the way the world should be – a place where every girl can learn and lead, a place where we put people and our planet ahead of profits, a place where leaders keep their promises”, Ms. Yousafzai requested that those gathered “set the norms” of a new sustainable, healthy, educated and equitable era.
Meanwhile, Secretary-General António Guterres noted that in embarking on a Decade of Action to deliver the SDGs by 2030, we must “strike out for a world of dignity and opportunity for all on a healthy planet”.
“We must look beyond the current crisis and set our sights high…to show that transformation is possible and is happening right now,” he said. (Source: UN News)