President at SDG Summit calls for sufficient allocations to achieve goals

Extremely limited resources have been allocated to the success of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and the Paris Agreement on climate change albeit the adoption in 2015, President Ranil Wickremesinghe told SDG Summit 2023 in New York.

The two-day high-level political forum on sustainable development came to an end on Tuesday (Sept. 19). The world leaders adopted a Political Declaration which left them with a ‘to-do list’ to turn words into action to attain SDGs.

Addressing the event, the Sri Lankan leader underscored the need to accelerate the mobilization of finance and investments and the means to developing and vulnerable countries in order to achieve SDG targets.

Recalling that the G20 countries at its 2023 Summit in New Delhi had agreed that developing countries require financing up to USD 5.9 trillion by 2023 to fulfil their nationally determined contributions to climate goals, he said an additional USD 4 trillion is needed every year until the end of the decade if developing countries are to reach net zero emissions by 2050.

Drawing attention to this, President Wickremesinghe raised concerns about extremely limited resources being allotted to achieve the SDGs.

The Sri Lankan leader pointed out the COVID-19 pandemic has stalled or reversed the economic growth in many countries including Sri Lanka, leading to bankruptcies.

In 2019, it was estimated that 9% of Sri Lanka’s gross domestic product (GDP) has to be invested to realize SDGs, but following the pandemic and the economic crisis, this is not realistic now, President Wickremesinghe emphasized, adding that due to country’s sovereign debt crisis, its debt servicing cost was equivalent to 150% of government revenue in 2022.

Meanwhile, UN Secretary-General António Guterres, closing the Summit, appealed to the participants to make the most of the Summit’s momentum to spur progress in the months ahead.

Calling for the formation of a leaders’ group to deliver clear steps that enable the USD 500 billion per year needed for sustainable development to start flowing before the end of 2024, he also urged developed countries to finally meet their official development assistance (ODA) target of 0.7% of gross national income. – ada derana

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