Mher Margaryan, the vice-president of the UN Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC), was speaking at the Integration Segment of a day-long meeting on the eve of the High-Level Political Forum (HLPF), the annual stock-take of the world’s progress towards achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, the UN’s blueprint for a better future, for people and planet. The segment aims to help prepare the thematic reviews of the Forum, which takes place between 7 and 16 July.
SDGs must ‘guide our recovery efforts’
In his opening address, Mr. Margaryan acknowledged that the conference programme had been altered, in light of the COVID-19 pandemic, “to reflect our realities today”, with a focus on overcoming the human crisis and “recovering better”.
Echoing comments made in the latest Secretary-General’s report on progress towards achieving the SDGs – as the basis of HLPF discussions – the ECOSOC deputy chief underlined the importance of collective action to respond effectively to a crisis whose implications run beyond the health sector to impact each of the 17 Goals.
The SDGs, he said, are more important than ever, to “guide our recovery efforts and make our countries and communities more inclusive, equal and resilient”.
Mr. Margaryan named six subject areas, identified in the 2019 Global Sustainable Development Report, as a basis for discussion on achieving the 2030 Agenda: human well-being and capabilities; sustainable and just economies; food systems and nutrition patterns; energy decarbonization with universal access; urban and peri-urban development; and global environmental commons.
In a video message released on Monday, Mr. Guterres warned that the COVID-19 pandemic is laying bare inequalities, such as inadequate health care and gaps in social protection; reversing progress on poverty and hunger; and particularly affecting the vulnerable, such as marginalized groups, women, and children.
The UN, said Mr. Guterres, has called for massive global support for vulnerable groups and countries. The Organization is supporting research into a “people’s vaccine”, that is affordable and accessible for all; and is leading efforts towards creating societies that are more resilient, inclusive and sustainable. “Returning to the frameworks and systems that gave rise to this crisis”, said Mr, Guterres, “is unthinkable”.