NEW YORK : Pakistan has welcomed the UN Secretary General António Guterres’ announcement that he will convene a high level meeting in September on financing the 2030 Sustainable Development Goals Agenda.
Speaking at the High Level Political Forum on Sustainable Development, Pakistan’s Ambassador to the UN, Maleeha Lodhi expressed concern at the lack of progress on many Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and underscored the need for adequate funds to achieve SDGs within the envisaged timeframe.
“This lack of sense of urgency on certain SDGs can be detrimental to us all”, she said. She pointed out that in a world where global flows of Foreign Direct Investment are rapidly falling, with a 23 percent decline seen just last year, efforts for joint mobilization of necessary funds for sustainable development may suffer the greatest setback.
The Pakistani envoy called for increased focus and commitment by the international community to achieve the objectives of Agenda 2030. She said that world hunger was on the rise again and conflicts, droughts and climate change were directly affecting progress on SDGs. “We need to step up our response with greater focus and honest commitments”, she stressed.
The HLPF is the main United Nations platform on sustainable development and it has a central role in the follow-up and review of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development at the global level. The broad scope of the 2030 agenda, Ambassador Lodhi said, was a challenge in itself. “Policy makers and planners all over the world have to ensure that all goals and targets get equal attention. But this sadly does not seem to be the case”, she asserted.
Ambassador Lodhi pointed to the lack of progress on various SDGs in the Asia-Pacific region which has been noted by The United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific, in its latest SDG Progress Report.
“The report has found that the Asia-Pacific region is failing to meet two thirds of the targets set in the 2030 agenda”, she stated, adding that the report paints a grim picture of lack of progress on SDG 15 (life on land), and assesses that SDG 13 on Climate Action was also unlikely to be achieved at the current pace.
“Besides environmental targets, the report states that Goals 8, 10 and 16 are also lagging behind as efforts to promote decent work and inclusive economic growth, reduce inequality and build justice through peace and strong institutions have had only limited success, as the fruits of rapid economic growth have not so far been equitably shared”, she added.
While acknowledging the essential role of HLPF in realizing the Agenda 2030 objectives, she reiterated Pakistan’s position that States have the primary leadership role in implementing various SDGs, in line with their respective national policies, priorities and needs.
Pakistan, Ambassador Lodhi said, was among the pioneers in this area, demonstrating and mobilizing full political support and ownership of the sustainable development agenda. “In my country, sustainable development has figured high in the list of priorities. Even before the formal adoption of the 2030 Agenda, we had started recalibrating our policy frameworks on sustainable principles.
Pakistan’s vision 2025 has embedded all SDGs into its seven pillars and twenty-five goals”, she added. She told the world body that Pakistan’s Parliament was first in the world to localize SDGs through adoption of a unanimous resolution in its National Assembly in 2016. She concluded by expressing the hope that deliberations during the course of this year’s HLPF would mark an important step forward in providing integrated policy solutions and ideas to lead to transformation towards sustainable and resilient societies; solutions that are creative, actionable and sustainable