On 24 and 25 September 2019, Heads of State and Government gathered for the SDG Summit 2019, an event designed to comprehensively review progress in the implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). The event was the first UN summit on the SDGs since the adoption of the 2030 Agenda in September 2015.
Opening the event, Tijjani Muhammad-Bande, President of the 74th session of UNGA, noted that progress on the SDGs is uneven and called for new partnerships to unlock the trillions of dollars needed to finance the SDGs. Mona Juul, President, UN Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC), stressed the need to aim higher to meet the SDGs, while promoting sustained and inclusive economic growth, bridging the investment gap, and combating exclusion and poverty.
Stefan Löfven (Prime Minister, Sweden) promoted the Leadership Group for Industry Transition, a partnership with India announced earlier in the week. Both countries hope to foster build public-private partnerships for the sake of transitioning to cleaner energy on an industrial level, and for sharing best practices among member states.
During a “fireside chat”, Peter Messerli outlined findings from a new GSDR report titled “The Future is Now: Science for Achieving Sustainable Development”. He warned that the Earth system is approaching tipping points that may be “irreversible or even unmanageable.” He called on countries to act on the report’s recommendations, and to establish national SDG knowledge platforms to enable policy makers to interact with different sectors.
Accenture also published a new survey which found that CEOs believe the only way to achieve the SDGs would be through sharing best practices, even among competitors. There are already a number of existing models for these industry partnerships, like the Sustainable Apparel Coalition, founded by Walmart and Patagonia which currently has more than 250 active members.
The SDG Summit resulted in the adoption of the Political Declaration, “Gearing up for a decade of action and delivery for sustainable development”. World leaders called for a decade of action to deliver the SDGs by 2030 and announced actions they are taking to advance the agenda. More than 100 acceleration actions in total were announced.