UN summit day #3: SDGs in the spotlight

(EurActiv, 25 Sep 2019) Over this special series on the UN climate action summit (23 September) and SDGs summit (24-25 September), EURACTIV gives you a glimpse into the goings-on in New York and what is driving the conversation there. In this edition: A radical change of the food system, climate adaptation, dozing commerce secretary and World Heritage.

Monday was all about climate at the UN headquarter in New York, Tuesday (24 September) saw the opening of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) Summit that will last until tomorrow.

Climate change is part of the SDGs while they are meant to address major humanitarian challenges such as reducing poverty, hunger, disease, or improve access to education. They define 17 priorities for socially equitable, environmentally secure, economically prosperous, inclusive and predictable development by 2030. They were adopted in September 2015 by the UN as part of the Agenda 2030.

Just like the fight against global warming, the implementation of the SDGs is lagging behind. In mid-2019, the various data collected at national level show that countries are still far from achieving this objective, including in the 20 richest countries in the world, the G20. The OECD stated in a report that “advanced economies still have a lot of work to do to meet the SDGs,” particularly on gender equality issues and reducing inequalities.

Not only national governments are expected to contribute to the SDGs – corporations, NGOs, investors, cities, and citizens are also expected to play a part.

Private sector. As it is, one of the major announcements made this Tuesday came from the corporate sector. French food giant Danone Chairman and CEO Emmanuel Faber called for a radical change of the food system as we know it and announced the launch of a new business coalition to do just that.

“The food system that we built over the last century is at a dead-end. In essence, we thought that science could change the cycle of life and its rules. The resulting monocropping consequences are standing right in front of us now. We depend for 2/3 of our food on this planet on only nine plants today. And 40% of our lands are already degraded. In a nutshell, we have broken the cycle of life,” he said.

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EurActiv, 25 Sep 2019: UN summit day #3: SDGs in the spotlight