‘Clock is ticking’ on sustainability, says U.N. leader

The world is running out of time to achieve the United Nations’ 17 sustainable development goals, UN Deputy Secretary-General Amina Mohammed said recently.

“Climate change is ravaging the planet… staggering numbers of children and youth – especially girls and young women – still lack access to basic education and healthcare services,” Mohammed said at the 2019 ECOSOC Partnership Forum of politicians, executives and activists. “People in many countries are starved of economic opportunities, decent work and social protection measures.”

As former Nigerian environment minister, she highlighted the need for investors to expand the universe of sustainable finance. “Investments in cross-cutting, high-return priorities have strong potential to unlock progress across multiple SDGs,” she said, adding that education and healthcare were as vital to sustainability as zero-carbon energy and environmental conservation.

All U.N. member states adopted the 17 sustainable development goals three years ago. The goals aim to end poverty, reduce economic and other inequalities, reduce carbon emissions, protect marine habitats and attain other vital environmental, social and corporate and political governance goals by 2030.

Economic challenges, like China’s potential slowdown, and political roadblocks, like American politicians who question the validity of climate change, have potentially slowed down progress toward the goals, she said.

“Reflect honestly about where we are falling short, because those shortcomings are also where the opportunities lie to make a difference,” said Mohammed.

Image credit: Jordan Opel via Unsplash

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