Sustainable Development Goals in peril due to overseas aid cuts: UN

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Geneva: United National  Secretary-General, Antonio Guterres raised concerns about the deep cut to Overseas  Development Aid (ODA) and warned, that it will have a “direct negative impact” on the ability of the world to reach the 2030 Sustainable Development Goal (SDGs).

The Secretary-General made these remarks in a meeting of UN Chief Executive Board, to discuss ways of alleviating the crisis holding back economic recovery from the Covid-19 pandemic and boosting the implementation of the SDGs.

The Sustainable Development Goals or Global Goals are a collection of 17 interlinked global goals designed to be a “blueprint to achieve a better and more sustainable future for all”.  

The SDGs were set up in 2015 by the United Nations General Assembly and are intended to be achieved by 2030.

He noted that the current “moment in history” had thrown up “cascading challenges” including a climate emergency, uneven economic recovery, and the triple crisis of food, energy and debt, all exacerbated by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

Guterres said that a critical ingredient of the UN’s ability to “rescue” the SDGs and provide lifesaving humanitarian assistance was “predictable and additional funding”, underpinned by the commitment of nations to provide 0.7 per cent of Gross National Income, to overseas aid – a target adopted in a UN General Assembly resolution, for advanced economies, back in 1970.

He acknowledged that a number of countries have met, “and in some cases” gone beyond, the threshold

“However, there are recent indications that other Member States are making deep cuts of ODA, in a reversal of their commitment,” he said.

“This will have direct negative impacts on the achievements of the Sustainable Development Goals. This is alarming and I urge the Member States to reconsider, given the dire consequences for the vulnerable among us in these turbulent times,” he noted

He reiterated the UN’s commitment to strengthened coordination in support of “coherent” national strategies for reaching the ambitious targets of the SDGs, agreed by 193 countries in 2015, a universal call to action to end poverty, protect the planet and make peace and prosperity accessible to all.

“We can deliver results and ensure they meet the needs and rights of the people whom we are meant to assist”, said the UN chief.

“At a time when global conflicts are at their highest levels since the creation of the United Nations, the evidence demonstrates that investing in development is the best way to prevent crises and maintain international peace, which remains the UN’s central mission. Prevention remains at the heart of my agenda” he added.


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