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September 23, 2016
In the new 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, every country is a developing country

New York, 23 September 2016In the context of the Sustainable Development Goals’ first anniversary week, the Special Adviser for the 2030 Agenda, David Nabarro, informed today that more than 50 countries have already embedded the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) in their national plans and strategies, and an estimated 50 more are currently undertaking consultation processes to do so. Mr. Nabarro also reminded the audience that in the context of the new Agenda, “every country is a developing country”, especially as some of the 17 goals, such us fighting climate change and gender equality will require the participation of everyone.

The UN Special Adviser participated in the morning forum on the margins of the UN General Assembly organized by the International Peace Institute (IPI) and the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals Fund (SDGF), on business and peace in the context of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. Moderated by Ambassador Terje Rod-Larsen, President of IPI, the high-level panel included Thani Ahmed Al Zeyoudi, Minister of Climate Change and Environment for the United Arab Emirates (UAE); Rebeca Grynspan, Secretary-General of the Iberoamerican Conference; Ambassador Miguel Camilo Ruiz, Deputy Permanent Representative of Colombia to the UN; Tonye Cole, CEO and Founder of Sahara Group; and Paloma Durán, Director of the SDG Fund.

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More than 50 countries have already embedded the SDGs in their national plans and strategies, and an estimated 50 more are currently undertaking consultation processes to do so.

After Mr. Nabarro’s initial remarks, Dr. Al Zeloudi opened the floor with a clear statement: “Without peace, there will not be sustainable development”. As the Minister of Climate Change, he listed some examples of the ongoing work currently underway by the UAE for the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals and the increasing awareness and participation of companies in these efforts. “We must accelerate our sustainable development projects and join forces with the private sector”.

Rebeca Grynspan highlighted that one of main differences between the previous Millennium Development Goals and the SDGs is that the new Agenda provides a more universal approach. “While the MDGs represented only a roadmap for the developing world, centered in the public sector, the 2030 Agenda is a universal agenda, where private sector and society have been included in the dialogue from the beginning”.

Moreover, Ms. Grynspan classified three categories for the private sector in the 2030 Agenda. First, companies can provide investment for the achievement of the SDGs; second, they can support the public sector with new ideas and innovative solutions; and third, companies must align behavior with the principles of the 2030 Agenda, for example, through inclusive employment practices or joining efforts in combatting tax evasion.

The 2030 Agenda has created a better air of trust, understanding and collaboration between the UN, world leaders and private sector

Ambassador Camilo Ruiz considered that the great achievement of the recent peace agreement in Colombia is “only the beginning” in the construction of a peaceful and inclusive society in this country. Ambassador Ruiz explained that social justice and prosperity for all are necessary conditions to achieve the targets under Goal 16 (peace, justice and strong institutions). He also suggested that the private sector should play an essential role in this process by integrating the SDGs in their business operations.

In his speech, CEO Tonye Cole applauded the new 2030 Agenda which has created a better “air of trust, understanding and collaboration” between the UN, world leaders and private sector. He also noted that “the SDGs are a perfect tool for business as no one can argue against peace, against eradicating poverty, promoting women’s equality or fighting climate change.”

Paloma Durán, of the SDG Fund, highlighted three lessons learned during this inaugural year of the SDGs in regard to public-private partnerships. First, that the SDGs when properly communicated and explained are a valuable tool to guide business operations. In addition, businesses are looking for new models of partnerships with the public sector, including UN. And finally, companies increasingly see the importance of peace and strong institutions as key elements for their success, and for their communities and stakeholders. Moreover, she reminded the audience that according to experts, violence and conflict around the world cost some $13.6 trillion. “This is too high of a cost for the people of this planet to pay”.