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UN confab looks to cooperation to reach SDGs

Xinhua, September 27, 2015 Adjust font size:

While speaker after speaker in the UN General Assembly on Saturday hailed the Sustainability Development Goals (SDGs) for the next 15 years, many concentrated on their most urgent objectives and nearly all stressed equality and cooperation, shared responsibility, among nations.

The United Nation's 193 member countries on Friday adopted 17 Sustainable Development Goals ranging from eradication of poverty through gender equality to sustainable development where no one is left behind. They are meant to supplant and build on the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) expiring this year.

"The post-2015 development agenda adopted by this Summit draws up a new blueprint for global development and provides international development cooperation with fresh opportunities," said Chinese President Xi Jinping. "We should take it as a new starting point to work out a course of equitable, open, all-round and innovation-driven development in the interest of common development of all countries."

"All countries should be participants, contributors and beneficiaries of global development. Development must not be made available to just one or certain number of countries and not available to a lot more others," he said.

"Countries may differ in capacity for and achievement in development, but they have common but differentiated responsibilities with shared objectives," Xi said. "It is important to improve global economic governance, increase the representation and voice of developing countries and give all countries equal right to participating in international rule-making."

"Environmental problems have taught us humans living on planet earth that we are all in the same boat," said Hassan Rouhani, president of Iran. "What others do also impacts our destiny. We cannot be assured of our own peace and security, whilst ignoring how others are living," he said. "

Without extensive cooperation at the national, regional and international levels, achieving the SDGs will be very difficult."

"Such cooperation should be mindful of our common destiny and joint commitment towards important human responsibilities," Rouhani said. "A common destiny requires a common goal. But this doesn't mean that the responsibilities of all are the same. It would be impossible to achieve the post-2015 SDGs without considering the responsibilities of states and their share in creating the current environmental status quo and would result in fruitless argument."

"The West Asia region is not only facing hotter climate conditions and challenges of continued extensive drought, but, it is also grappling with the scourge of terrorism and extremist violence," Rouhani said. "In other words, violence against man and nature are the dual calamities befalling the West Asia region."

The emir of Kuwait, Sheikh Sabah Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah, said, "The goals of sustainable development require creative means in raising new funding resources that are predictable and keep pace with development needs and requirements to carry out the Post-2015 development agenda, with the aim of uprooting poverty in 2030, through international collective work and effective global partnership according to the principle of common but differentiated responsibility."

"Kuwait emphasizes the need for the developed countries to fulfill their commitment to allocate 0.7 percent of their Gross National Product to Official Development Assistance (ODA), in order to ensure that the developing countries receive sustainable funding, in confirmation of the commitment the international community has taken upon itself," he said.

Filipe Jacinto Nyusi, president of Mozambique, said his country learned over the life of the MDGs that "it is only possible to achieve the desired outcomes if the Global Goals are part and parcel of our National Governance Agenda. We have learned that it is possible if with our initiative we can mobilize and engage all stakeholders to a collective action."

"We have learned about the need to strengthen coordination so that the center stage of our action focuses on Man, the most important capital available to our countries," he said.

Stefan Lofen, prime minister of Sweden, used his personal story to underscore the goodness of Man cooperating and helping others.

"I was a foster child," he began his remarks. "Ten months old I arrived by train to my new parents in the northern part of Sweden. I had the good fortune to be taken into a loving home and to be brought up in a society where the legacy from the past does not prevent a good future, a society where people take responsibility, not only for themselves but also for others."

"The 2030 agenda carries that same shared responsibility," Lofen said. "It is grounded in the firm belief that poverty can and should be eradicated, that climate change can and must be stopped, that equal societies are better societies, and the foundation for a better future for all of us. We have a new roadmap, it is universal. No country can shirk its responsibility. But governments' efforts alone will not be enough. Efforts are needed at all levels, across all sectors, and by all stakeholders."

President Raul Castro of Cuba, too, lauded cooperation, while feeling the pain of antagonism from the lack of cooperation.

"The reestablishment of diplomatic relations between Cuba and the United States of America, the opening of embassies and the policy changes announced by President Barack Obama with regard to our country constitute a major progress, which has elicited the broadest support of the international community," he said.

"However, the economic, commercial and financial blockade against Cuba persists, bringing damages and hardships on the Cuban people, and stands as the main obstacle to our country's economic development, while affecting other nations due to its extraterritorial scope, and hurting the interests of American citizens and companies," Castro said.

"Such policy is rejected by 188 United Nations member states that demand its removal," he said. "Nevertheless, Cuba fulfilled the Millennium Development Goals and offered its modest cooperation to other developing nations in various areas, something we shall continue to do to the extent of our limited capabilities."