×
ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT

Sustainability has to be the anchor for development in 21st century: UNGA President Dennis Francis

'We have identified five key areas or economic sectors that we think have extraordinary potential for really transformative change.… and we know these five sectors have a great impact on sustainability. They are tourism, transportation, infrastructure, energy and debt” sustainability,' the UNGA President said.
Last Updated : 08 April 2024, 04:24 IST
Last Updated : 08 April 2024, 04:24 IST

Follow Us :

Comments

United Nations: UN General Assembly President Dennis Francis has said that there is no conflict between promoting sustainability and economic growth and development, underscoring that sustainability has to be the anchor for development in the 21st century.

Francis will convene the UN’s first-ever ‘Sustainability Week’ April 15-19 under the theme ‘Paving the Way for a Sustainable Future’ at the world body’s headquarters here. The week will feature dedicated events focused on sustainability in critical sectors such as tourism, infrastructure connectivity, transport, energy and debt.

“The reality is that sustainability has to be the anchor for development in the 21st century. Since we are talking about prioritizing people and the planet, the sustainability dimension of things lies at the very heart of everything we are seeking to do developmentally in the UN,” Francis, President of the 78th session of the UN General Assembly, told PTI in an exclusive interview here.

“We have identified five key areas or economic sectors that we think have extraordinary potential for really transformative change.… and we know these five sectors have a great impact on sustainability. They are tourism, transportation, infrastructure, energy and debt” sustainability," Francis said.

He added that these sectors have a huge impact and potential “if we make sensible choices in the way we restructure our behaviours in those sectors, to have an extraordinary impact in effecting the transition towards sustainability.” He highlighted issues such as climate change, energy security concerns, and investments in sustainable infrastructure as well as addressing problems of debt traps that create “further cycles of poverty in which people get left behind or get left out of the system.”

"The consequence (of) the debt trap that confronts and confounds many developing countries in the Global South is also a development crisis,” because they do not have enough resources to invest in education, housing, national security and poverty alleviation, he described.

During the Sustainability Week, Francis will convene a ‘High-level thematic debate on debt sustainability and socio-economic equality for all’, ‘High-level thematic event on Tourism’, ‘High-level meeting on Sustainable Transport’, ‘Informal dialogue on Building global resilience and promoting sustainable development through infrastructure connectivity’ and ‘Global stocktaking marking the completion of the UN Decade of Sustainable Energy for All to further accelerate the implementation of SDG 7 of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development’.

The UN leader underscored that the high-level week will emphasise “the most important lesson that there is no conflict whatsoever between promoting sustainability and promoting economic growth and development. There is no conflict.” Francis underlined that sustainable living and concepts will create new opportunities and jobs to replace the ones that may be lost, as he cited the example of transitioning from hydrocarbon-based energy to green energy and the resultant creation of new green jobs.

“It is possible to adopt sustainability and yet be profitable and highly productive. That's the key message that we would like countries to take away, to understand that both are achievable. In fact, in the 21st century, not just achievable, it is going to be necessary.” He said living sustainably and promoting sustainability has to become the “standard in the 21st century to save the planet. The old ways have delivered us to where we are now where climate change is a major problem."

Francis has said that the goal of the week will be “to unleash progress across the 2030 Agenda towards a more sustainable future— as we also ready ourselves for the Summit of the Future” to be held in September 2024 during the high-level General Assembly session.

As the UN gears to host the ambitious summit in September, Francis said the UNGA Sustainability Week is “something in the way of a down payment as we head into the Summit of the Future." Francis emphasised that through the Sustainability Week, the intention is to catalyse action towards completion of the Sustainable Development Goals, which he said “have been off track, woefully so.”

He then stressed that the UN had given the international community a commitment in 2015 to get the SDGs accomplished by 2030. He however noted that at the time, “no one knew, we could not anticipate that there was going to be a pandemic, we could not anticipate that there were going to be wars, regional wars raging, of which there are many now, we could not anticipate, for example, that global food security would become an issue. It has.” He added, "So all of these things have happened at the same time to really dampen and divert attention away from progress towards the SDGs. We now need to get them back on track. And part of what the Summit of the Future will do is just that."

He stressed that the Sustainability Week will give a clarion call to Member States and other stakeholders to recommit not just orally, but through transformative actions “that will usher in this new dawn of sustainable development.” "We have to learn to get accustomed mentally to the new ways of living and doing things in order to ensure that we can continue to live on this planet and that future generations will have the opportunities we do to utilize the extraordinary biodiversity that we have, and can use these natural assets that define the ecosystems in which we live,” he said.

He added, “The Sustainable Development Agenda is about lifting people up, giving them hope, and creating opportunities so that they can self-actualise for a better future. And so the Sustainability Week is going to make a contribution to that effort."

ADVERTISEMENT
Published 08 April 2024, 04:24 IST

Follow us on :

Follow Us

ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT