We need to revitalize international cooperation to build a better future for people, planet, prosperity and peace. It is a collective commitment and responsibility. Credit: UNDP

As prepared for delivery.

Since the adoption of the Action Plan on Agenda 2030 in 2016 and the subsequent Hamburg Update last July, G20 members have committed to aligning their work with the universal 2030 Agenda to achieve sustainable development, build an inclusive future for all, and ensure that no one is left behind. 

This commitment implies putting sustainable development at the core of the G20 agenda, leveraging the group’s political clout to give further momentum to advance a long-term and common vision. The world is at a crossroad and the G20 as a group, bringing together large advanced and emerging economies, can demonstrate that international cooperation is fundamental to addressing global challenges. 

Many of the challenges the world currently faces – ranging from climate change to violent extremism – remain resolutely global and are increasingly interconnected. Local and national solutions alone will not suffice; collective actions are more than ever indispensable. We need to revitalize international cooperation to build a better future for people, planet, prosperity and peace. It is a collective commitment and responsibility.  

Agenda 2030 and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) are a blueprint for doing just that, bridging the gap between globalization’s potential and unequal gains. Even though globalization has stimulated dramatic improvements in well-being and poverty reduction, and accelerated global economic convergence over the last decades, it remains unfair when inequalities within countries have been increasing or remaining extremely high. The current course of globalization needs to be redirected towards sustainable development for all. Agenda 2030 is the plan. 

The UN Secretary General already expressed his determination to lead the UN system to ensure that the objectives of Agenda 2030 are fully reflected in international economic and financial policies that impact the implementation of the SDGs. We want to enhance our work and cooperation with key inter-governmental platforms such as the G20. 

A clear structural impediment to progress is inadequate financing of the SDGs despite the availability of ample global savings. Just this weekend in Washington DC, we called for a more direct engagement by G20 Finance Ministers and Central Bank Governors with Agenda 2030, through the design and implementation of macroeconomic and financial policies facilitating resource allocations towards SDG implementation. Indeed, G20 members can lead by example in adopting economic and financial policies that are consistent with the SDGs, and agree on collective actions that can pave the way for broader systemic changes to a global financial architecture providing a framework for SDG implementation. The G20 finance track should be fully involved in this endeavor. 

Today’s workshop of the G20 Development Working Group gives us the opportunity to discuss how to pursue the implementation of the G20 Action Plan and develop options for further actions that might be needed between now and 2030 for the G20 to rise to their ambition. 

While the group is transitioning from the German to the Argentinian Presidency, we have the opportunity to inform the possible priority areas of the G20 agenda for 2018. However, consistency, continuity and longer-term perspective are more than ever indispensable for G20 to tackle global challenges and provide global public goods. Risks to the global economy are multifaceted and responses need a long-term horizon. The UN system and the G20 can work together to develop a more structured and multi-year approach, and we need to engage with the forthcoming presidencies (Argentina 2018; Japan 2019; Saudi Arabia 2020) towards this end.

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