Sustainable Development

'Business as usual' is not an option anymore

"Sustainable development means long-term actions." Image: REUTERS/Bob Strong

Michael Møller
Director-General, United Nations Office at Geneva
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Sustainable Development

This week, at Davos, we discussed the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development – the new global road map that world gave to itself.

The 2030 Agenda, with its 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), is much more than a plan of action, it is a universal, integrated and transformative vision for a better future for everyone, everywhere. Together with the Addis Ababa Action Agenda on financing for development, the Sendai Framework on Disaster Risk Reduction and the Paris Climate agreement, they will guide our collective work in the future.

Now, the true test will be the implementation. And there is a clear sense of urgency in achieving the required transformative change: achieving the global goals is not an option anymore, it is a necessity for the well-being of human-kind. And we have only 15 years.

Today, we are facing more complex and interconnected global challenges. Often, even the most local problem has a global dimension. Thus, as the UN Secretary-General said “No organization or country can do it alone”. To achieve the global goals, we will need the highest-level political commitment, the collective effort of all people, and the engagement of all actors, at all levels, including the private sector.

Sustainable development means long-term actions, and thus requires ownership, capacity, and consensus. The only way is through the development of a renewed global partnership, that creates trust between the actors and innovative solutions that provide mutual benefits. And, to ensure that stakeholders have a greater sense of ownership for decisions made and thus are more likely to comply with them. A win-win situation.

"Business as usual" for the UN is not an option any more: the organisation has opened to multi-stakeholder partnerships, which brought resources and new synergies - resources intended as funds but not only, also human capacity, innovations, technology, research, etc. They also contributed to the UN modernization by introducing new ideas and methods of work.

A multi-stakeholder approach to sustainable development is pivotal in bringing to the table innovative methods and strengthened tools for leveraging funding, innovation and research.

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