THE DEPUTY SECRETARY-GENERAL — REMARKS FOR THE LAUNCH OF THE CIVIL SOCIETY CAMPAIGN BY PROJECT EVERYONE

New York, 25 September 2019

Good evening everyone,

It is fantastic to be here with so many people who care about the Sustainable Development Goals.

And it is really encouraging to see so many already responding to the Secretary-General’s call for a Decade of Action to deliver the SDGs.

Thank you to our young leaders.

Together with your comrades across the world, you are shaping the political agenda; you are changing political calculations; and you are challenging all of us to do more.

And thank you to everyone here this evening who is committed to joining forces for a super year of activism in 2020.

This has been a good week so far, but we are only just beginning.

These past few days have demonstrated that governments remain united behind the 2030 Agenda and the Paris Agreement.

But what we have also seen and heard, including from governments themselves, is that they simply cannot do it alone.

In some instances, they need a strong push – to be more ambitious, to meet their international obligations; and to leave no one behind.

In other instances, they need to be accompanied – to unlock resources, to overcome obstacles or to operationalize solutions.

Since 2015, we have seen many stakeholders embrace the SDGs. But given the challenges we face, we need to widen the tent and deepen the engagement.

What the Secretary-General is calling for, therefore, is nothing less than an unstoppable global movement to transform our economies and our societies, to deliver a fair globalization.

We are already seeing parts of this movement working hard on climate, on inequality, on the empowerment of women and girls.

But what we need now is a movement that is united for both people and planet.

A movement that narrows the gap between awareness, action and accountability.

A movement that will be with us throughout this make-or-break decade.

I believe that many of you here this evening hold the key to growing this movement.

We need the moral voice of the world’s young people and the power of a united civil society.

We need the engine of sustainable development that only a responsible and progressive private sector can provide.

And we need the influence of an active and well-informed and engaged media and entertainment industry.

So, I encourage you all to go out there with ambition and with urgency.

Go out there also with humility and build a movement that is based on values of diversity, empowerment and most of all, unity.

As you move forward, the United Nations will be with you.

With a revitalized UN Development System, we will help to land this decade of action at the country level, including through our engagement with civil society, business and others.

We will also push for effective coalitions in those areas where global cooperation can add most value – on systemic issues such as food, energy or financing human well-being.

And lastly, we will provide the space, here at the General Assembly, for an annual temperature check on SDG progress.

Each September, we will provide a snapshot of what’s working and what’s not; of where we need more action; and who we need more action from.

So, let’s move forward, together, delivering on a decade of action for the SDGs.

Thank you.