10th Plenary Meeting of General Assembly 70th Session - part 2

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27-Sep-2015 02:22:32
World Leaders Call for ‘New Chapter’ in Global Growth as General Assembly Concludes Sustainable Development Goals Summit
Seventieth Session,10th & 11th Meetings (AM & PM)

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United States President Barack Obama today joined other world leaders in calling for a “new chapter” in global development — to be manifested in the 17 newly adopted Sustainable Development Goals — as the General Assembly closed its special summit on the adoption of the 2030 Agenda.

“Today, we set aside scepticism and lift up the hope that is available to us through collective action,” he said, referring to the unanimous adoption of the new Agenda on Friday. Stressing that the seemingly never-ending cycle of poverty could, in fact, be broken, he described progress made in many target areas over the past 15 years. But the task had not been finished, as some 800 million people were scraping by on less than $1.25 per day.

Mr. Obama committed his country, the largest development donor, to achieving the new Goals, emphasizing that the new chapter must not fall victim to the divide between developed and developing countries, nor the false choice between development and the protection of the planet. He also underscored the need to address bad governance, inequality, old attitudes that denied rights and opportunities to women, and climate change. Development was also threatened if the world did not recognize the potential of the African continent, or if it allowed wars and conflict to continue.

Many speakers highlighted the link between development and peace, with Alyaksandr Lukashenka, President of Belarus, warning that the world had come to the Sustainable Development Goals Summit more divided than it had been over the past three decades. There was a loss of trust among nations, which could only be corrected by recognizing the diversity of States as a prerequisite for common progress. The world was experiencing a crisis of responsibility, with many decisions based on self-interest and short-term advantages. Renewal of trust was the only way to safeguard peace and security and find effective responses to global threats and challenges together.

Luis Guillermo Solis Rivera, President of Costa Rica, said his country had repeatedly proposed that disarmament was a mechanism to channel significant resources to sustainable development. “Betting on disarmament is betting on peace. An equivalent of $1.7 trillion was spent worldwide in 2014 on military spending,” he said, calling on the five permanent members of the Security Council to reorient spending towards sustainable development. “I assure you there is no better formula for the safety of their countries than to ensure sustainable development throughout the world,” he said.

Tomislav Nikolić, President of Serbia, said that as a middle-income, landlocked country in transition, his nation still shouldered the heavy burden of caring for a large number of refugees and displaced persons in and after conflicts in the region, and coped with development-related problems. The uncontrolled influx of migrants transiting via Serbia to Europe was a collective challenge requiring a solution.

Also figuring prominently into today’s discussion was the untapped potential of Africa as a major force to help achieve the new development Agenda. John Dramani Mahama, President of Ghana, said it would be necessary to review that continent’s role in world production patterns, and to bring to Africa a significant portion of processing and value addition. In addition, he said, a new paradigm of development must be defined. The current high consumption of wasteful societies classified as “developed” could not be the model for sustainable development going forward.

Marie Louise Coleiro, President of Malta, was among the many speakers who highlighted the importance of Goal 5 on gender equality and empowerment of women. She said that stories of inequality and discrimination flooded the media daily. “How can we talk about progress without talking about women, girls and gender minorities?” she asked. Meanwhile, Enrique Peňa Nieto, President of Mexico, hailed the fact that the new Agenda included gender equality and the empowerment of women as cross-cutting elements across all the Sustainable Development Goals.

The Assembly also held two interactive dialogues — one on “Building effective, accountable and inclusive institutions to achieve sustainable development” and the other on “Protecting our planet and combating climate change”.

Also speaking today were Heads of State and Government, or other high-ranking Government officials, from: Austria, Brazil, Ecuador, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Venezuela, Tajikistan, Bulgaria, South Africa, Kazakhstan, Romania, Sri Lanka, Djibouti, South Sudan, Pakistan, Belgium, Bangladesh, Grenada, Malaysia, Italy, Tunisia, Greece, Ukraine, Russian Federation, Qatar, Maldives, Singapore, Iraq, Saudi Arabia, Israel, Paraguay, France, Lithuania, Montenegro, Solomon Islands, the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Japan, Thailand, Luxembourg, United Kingdom, Mauritius, Turkey, Slovakia, Philippines, Portugal, Andorra, Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, Australia, Algeria, Argentina and Poland.

A representative of the European Union Delegation also spoke.
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