Sachs, UNSDN, push for implementation of SDGs

Tuesday, July 12, 2016

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The world has entered the age of sustainable development and governments should work together to implement Agenda 2030: The Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) agreed by all 193 member states of the United Nations in September 2015, according to celebrated professor of economics, Jeffrey Sachs.

The SDGs are a 17-point plan for achieving a better future for all, over the next 15 years, to end extreme poverty, fight inequality and injustice and protect our planet.

Sachs, director of the United Nations Sustainable Development Solutions Network (UNSDSN) and special advisor to UN Secretary General, Ban Ki-Moon, on the SDGs 2016-2030 noted that, "Sustainable development means economic development that is socially inclusive and environmentally sustainable."

Speaking at the University of the West Indies Regional Headquarters, Mona, at a forum on energy and sustainable development for the Caribbean hosted by UNSDN and UWI through the Institute of Sustainable Development, Sachs, called on the Caribbean to expedite implementation of the SDGs.

Pointing to issues all over the world such as "climate change, chemical pollution, ocean acidification, stratospheric ozone depletion and biodiversity loss", Prof Sachs said that "humanity is violating the planetary boundaries.

He said that governments of the region and elsewhere should move with urgency to fulfill the recommendations of the Paris Agreement including strategies "to hold the increase in the global average temperatures to well below 2°C and pursue efforts to limit the temperature increase to 1.5°C.

"All parties should formulate and communicate long-term low greenhouse emission development strategies by 2010", he quoted from the Agreement.

Dr Damien King, Head, Economics Department, UWI said that the forum was one of several initiatives being used to build a coalition of interests, gather information and make recommendations to Caribbean leaders on "leveraging the SDGs for an energy secure Caribbean" — the title of the forum.

He said that failing to act with urgency may see continued changes in ocean temperatures and sea level rise which will affect the livelihoods of Caribbean people and pacific islanders in particular.

Dr David Smith, coordinator, Institute of Sustainable Development (ISD), said that a stakeholder group spearheaded by ISD, UWI, Mona, was collaborating to assist Caribbean leaders.

Over 30 participants from across the region, including innovators in the renewable energy sector, NGOs, public and private sector representatives and persons involved in climate change mitigation attended the forum.

The 17 SDGs posit: No poverty, zero hunger, good health and well-being, quality education, gender equality, clean water and sanitation, affordable and clean energy, decent work and economic growth, industry innovation and infrastructure, reduced inequalities, sustainable cities and communities, responsible consumption and production, climate action, life below water, life on land, peace justice and strong institutions and partnerships for the goals.

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