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Achieving the SDGs: UN Secretary-General Calls for System Overhaul

 System Overhaul
In her first official statement as newly appointed U.N. Deputy Secretary-General, Amina Mohammed called for a new approach to the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). She gave her speech to the U.N. Economic and Social Council’s operational activities segment, which met from Feb. 28 to March 2, 2017. Topics of this year’s Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) meeting included: increasing integration, coordination, accountability, and transparency in the U.N. development system to garner trust and rebuild confidence in the U.N. development system’s ability to actualize the SDGs.

The organization must adapt to the needs of the international community and not the other way around. In Amina Mohammed’s address to the council, she stated, “achieving the SDGs will require all countries to rethink systems, approaches, redefine traditional planning, delivery and monitoring.”

Amina Mohammed has an impressive track record fighting for the environment as the former Minister of the Environment of Nigeria, Founder of the Center for Development Policy Solutions and a professor for the Masters in Development Practice program at Columbia University’s world-renowned Earth Institute. Mohammed’s commitment to the SDGs can be seen throughout her professional career. In her address, she said that “achieving the SDGs is not an option, but an imperative for a safe and secure future of prosperity, opportunity and human rights for all.” The SDGs are an investment to prevent crises from forming out of global challenges like poverty, climate change, environment and hunger. The SDGs will make the world a safer, more inclusive and peaceful world.

Mohammed believes that achieving the SDGs will require the U.N. to “reinvent itself by taking a bolder approach.” While the U.N. is actively engaged in efforts to achieve the SDGs, some future strategies still need to be dreamed up. We have come a long way from the creation of the Millennium Development Goals in 2000 to the SDGs in 2015, to the Addis Ababa Action Agenda, policy and finance framework for the SDGs in 2015, to the Inter-agency Task Force, which analyzes the progress being made towards the SDGs in 2016. Only time will tell what developments come in the future.

Josh Ward

Photo: Flickr