Businesses urged to ‘think differently’ and adopt Sustainable Development Goals

The Secretary-General of the United Nations (UN) has called on business, governments and local authorities to adopt new ways of thinking that align the "critical challenges of our time" with operational models and frameworks.

Launching the first-ever Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) report, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon told delegates at the UN High-level Political Forum on Sustainable Development that the SDGs had got “off to a good start” but that businesses should take the lead in pledging “never to rest until we have achieved a world of peace, dignity and opportunity for all.”

“We must all learn, in national governments, in local authorities, in business and civil society, and also at the United Nations, to think differently,” Ki-moon said. “Ensuring progress in achieving the SDGs will be greatly enhanced by making sure that lessons are shared and best practices are replicated.”

Ki-moon noted that silos between governments and businesses would need to break down in order to create holistic change. Ki-moon believes that the SDGs provide the ideal platform to launch into a low-carbon future.

The SDGs were officially unveiled during the New York City Climate Week in September 2015, with the overall aim to end extreme poverty, fight inequality and justice and combat climate change by 2030.

This week’s forum was used to launch the first SDG report, which will serve as a benchmark for a 15-year implementation period for businesses and governments to adopt new models and frameworks in line with the global goals.

Latest data reveals that while the SDGs were creating a greater sense of social impact, more than 1.1 billion people are living without electricity, while water scarcity still affects more than two billion people.

One of the key features for this year’s Forum is the voluntary national reviews – an enabling mechanism for Governments to voluntarily explain what and how they are doing to implement the SDGs. This year, 22 countries are pencilled-in to share their experience. Ki-moon called on Governments to intensify voluntary efforts and engage with the business sector to drive the movement.

Paris movement

The UN chief reiterated his desire for countries to ratify the Paris Agreement, and revealed that a special event in September this year would be used to encourage 40 countries, including the US, China and Australia to ratify the deal.

In previous months Ki-moon has been joined by fellow UN heavyweights to implore countries to ratify the deal, in a means to pass the double threshold required to make the agreement binding.

Matt Mace

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