Saturday 22nd October 2016                 Change text size:

Environmental threats to be addressed by UN sustainable development goals

UN building

UN officials have stressed that challenges around eradicating poverty and promoting education, social development and health, “must be addressed” in the sustainable development goals (SDGs).

After the Rio+20 conference and the subsequent resolution document, The Future We Want, was published back in June 2012, a working group of 30 countries has been developed to set up the SDGs in order to fulfil the UN’s development agenda.

In New York on Thursday, during the open working group, UN officials stressed that environmental degradation, which is threatening the livelihoods of present and future generations, must be addressed by the member states involved.

“The eradication of poverty and promotion of health, education as well as economic and social development retain their prime importance”, said secretary-general Ban Ki-moon, at the start of the conference.

SDGs seek to balance economic development with social development and environmental protection.

“To safeguard the world from runaway climate change, we will need to de-couple economic growth from our dependence on carbon-based energy systems”, said Vuk Jeremic, the president of the UN General Assembly.

He added that environmental issues needed to be implanted in the world-views of top diplomats and become an integral part of the SDG process: “I see no other effective option on the horizon. Continuing to build the global economy on fossil fuels would likely destroy our hopes to achieve sustainability.”

The UN recently called for an “international response” to challenges relating to the melting Arctic ice, and also opened up a climate centre to aid technological development. 

Further reading:

International response urgently needed for the Arctic, says UN

Reflections on Rio: was it really that bad?

UNESCO: women’s rights ‘essential for sustainable development’

Four UN bodies form green partnership across 30 countries

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