Following are UN Deputy Secretary-General Amina Mohammed’s virtual remarks to the European Committee of the Regions, in Geneva today:
Thank you for the opportunity to address the Committee of the Regions and to help renew the impetus on implementing the Sustainable Development Goals at regional and local levels.
I commend your commitment to prepare and present the first European Union voluntary review on the Sustainable Development Goals this year. This will be an important opportunity to take stock of the European Union’s internal and external implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals and to look at best practices.
From your work on climate and biodiversity to your innovative partnerships and your leadership on data and monitoring, I commend Europe’s commitment to a sustainable continent in a sustainable world.
It’s no secret that halfway through implementation, the Sustainable Development Goals are in trouble.
After decades of progress, key indicators on hunger and poverty are going into reverse; the climate emergency is accelerating, and inequalities are growing; the world is still recovering from the COVID-19 pandemic.
The war in Ukraine has now brought enormous suffering and heartbreak to Europe and turbocharged global crises in access to food, energy and finance.
We urgently need to redouble our efforts on sustainable development and the 2030 Agenda.
As members of the European Committee of Regions, you have an essential role in bringing the Sustainable Development Goals down to earth and making them real and concrete in people’s lives.
You have unique contact with people and communities at local and regional levels.
Your engagement with under-represented groups including women and girls, young people, and those who are isolated or marginalized, can empower them and bring the Sustainable Development Goals to life.
If we are to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals, they must deliver for people in cities and regions. The United Nations voluntary local reviews showcase inspiring examples of action from Argentina to Japan via Hawaii and Finland.
Local action is essential to mobilize key constituencies including civil society, the private sector and academia — all critical to Sustainable Development Goals implementation.
Local partnerships can spark innovative new ideas and solutions that accelerate progress.
Cities and regions in the European Union can also play an important role beyond Europe’s borders, through your learning exchanges and partnerships with local governments in other countries around the world.
Last October, I had the pleasure of opening the Local2030 Secretariat in Bilbao. I once again thank the Basque authorities and the Government of Spain for their strong support.
Local2030 is a strategic network that aims to help local and regional leaders around the world to share best practices and solutions, unlocking bottlenecks and implementing strategies to advance the Sustainable Development Goals at the local level.
I invite you to participate in Local2030 and to lend your support.
At the global level, there is a growing understanding that the challenges of our age — from the climate crisis to the dangers posed by unregulated technologies — cannot be solved by Governments alone.
The Secretary-General has set out proposals for a more inclusive multilateralism that benefits from the insights and approaches of local and regional governments, civil society, the private sector, academia and more.
We are determined to amplify the voices of local governments, young people, and women at all levels of decision-making.
In closing, I urge you all to play a full part in the Sustainable Development Goals Summit in New York in September.
This will be the centrepiece of our work on sustainable development this year — an opportunity to agree on transformative policies to rescue the Sustainable Development Goals and get back on track for implementation by 2030.
Policies and initiatives that have been tried and tested by cities and regions can catalyse change that will save and improve lives and livelihoods around the world.
We count on you to bring your strong engagement, creative ideas and energy to the Sustainable Development Goals Summit.
I wish you a productive discussion.