António Guterres, the United Nations’ (UN) secretary-general, said that the UN will continue to bring people together, build bridges, and create space for conflict resolution in 2019.
“We will keep up the pressure, and we will never give up. As we begin this New Year, let’s resolve to confront threats together, defend human dignity, and build a better future,” stated Guterres in his message on the occasion of the New Year.
Guterres added that last New Year, he issued a red alert, and the dangers which were referenced, and which still persisted, noting that these were anxious times for many, and that the world was undergoing a stress test.
“Climate change is running faster than we are. Geopolitical divisions are deepening, making conflicts more difficult to resolve. Record numbers of people are moving in search of safety and protection,” said Guterres.
Inequality is growing, meanwhile some people are nominalist about a world in which a handful of people hold the same wealth as half of humanity, he added.
“Intolerance is on the rise. Trust is on the decline, yet there are also reasons for hope,” Guterres noted, explaining that the talks on Yemen have created a chance for peace, and the agreement signed in Riyadh in September between Ethiopia and Eritrea has eased long-running tensions, and brought improved prospects to an entire region.
The agreement between the parties to the conflict in South Sudan has revitalised chances for peace, bringing more progress in the past four months than in the previous four years, Guterres affirmed.
The UN was able to bring countries together in Katowice to approve the Work Programme for the implementation of the Paris Agreement on climate change, Guterres said.
“Now we need to increase our ambition to beat this existential threat. It’s time to seize our last best chance. It’s time to stop the uncontrolled and spiralling climate change,” Guterres added.
In recent weeks, the UN also oversaw landmark global agreements on migration and refugees, which will help to save lives and overcome damaging stereotypes, acknowledged Guterres.
“Everywhere, people are mobilising behind the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) – our global blueprint for peace, justice, and prosperity on a healthy planet,” said Guterres, noting that when international cooperation works, the world wins.
The SDGs are the blueprint towards achieving a better and more sustainable future for all by 2030. They address the global challenges facing the world, including those related to poverty; inequality; climate; environmental degradation; prosperity; peace and justice.
According to the UN’s website, the SDGs build on decades of work by countries along with the UN, including the UN Department of Economic and Social Affairs. The Division for Sustainable Development Goals (DSDG) in the UN Department of Economic and Social Affairs (UNDESA) provides substantive support and capacity-building for the SDGs and their related thematic issues, including water; energy; climate; oceans; urbanisation, transport; science and technology.
The Global Sustainable Development Report (GSDR) plays a key role in the UN’s evaluation of a systemwide implementation of the 2030 Agenda, and on advocacy and outreach activities related to the SDGs.
In order to make the 2030 Agenda a reality, broad ownership of the SDGs must translate into a strong commitment by all stakeholders to implement the global goals, and the DSDG aims to help facilitate this engagement.