Good Afternoon,

Dr. Ingolf Dietrich, Commissioner for the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development at the Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development;

Dr. Ifeolu Falegan, Senior Advisor to the Senior Special Assistant on SDGs to the President of Nigeria,

Distinguished guests, Ladies and Gentlemen,

It gives me great pleasure to welcome you to the High-Level event on Innovation for SDGs and Climate Action hosted by the UN SDG Action Campaign, in this truly magnificent venue brought to Bonn by BMZ.

Almost a year and a half ago to this day, I had the honor of signing, jointly with BMZ State Secretary Dr. Kitschelt, a Statement of Intent between UNDP and BMZ for the establishment of a Global Campaign Center in Bonn and the implementation of an SDG global campaigning and advocacy programme.

Today, the Bonn Center is a bustling hub which provides real-time cutting-edge advocacy support, big data expertise and analytics to Member States and partners across the globe. The Global Festival of Ideas for Sustainable Development held here in Bonn in March, brought together over 800 participants from over 80 countries. The Global Day of Action marked the 2nd anniversary of the announcement of the 2030 Agenda and its 17 SDGs, with over 1,000 actions taken in 119 countries. This broad mobilisation is a testament to the success of our joint vision. But we can do more, and we will!

The Government of Nigeria has also been a committed partner of the UN SDG Action Campaign in the endeavor to engage citizens all over the world in the implementation of the SDGs. Building on the tremendous work of reaching millions of its citizens in the Post-2015 process, the Government is now harnessing the energy of young people as SDGs Champions to mobilize, monitor and report on the SDGs.

The focus of COP23 here in Bonn is to turn agreements into action, by for instance establishing the guidelines for implementing countries’ self-defined commitments – the Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs). As such, the Conference serves as a reminder that the ravaging effects of climate change constitute a major threat to achieving the SDGs, and that national efforts to ensure adaptation and build resilience to climate change can only flourish if there is a concerted strategy and action to implement the SDGs across sectors. Recent catastrophic climatological events in the Caribbean, Central America, Niger, Vietnam, Nepal, Peru, Sri Lanka, Madagascar, Mozambique and Kenya - the list goes on - tell us that dangerous climate change is a reality the less resilient societies and communities pay with their lives. The embedding of a stand-alone goal on climate change (Goal 13) in the SDGs is a recognition of this complimentary and reinforcing nexus.

As the best plan for people and planet, the SDGs constitute a source of inspiration. But they are also a tremendous laboratory for innovation; a transformative agenda that calls upon the institutions we represent, to design new solutions to the old challenges faced by humanity, and build a better future for the upcoming generations, leaving no one behind.

I look forward to hearing about practical examples of how this is currently being done, and would like to use this opportunity to wish you all a very successful COP23! Thank you.

Icon of SDG 13

UNDP Around the world