The theory of sustainable development was defined in 1987 as development that meets the demands of the present without negotiating the ability of future generations to fit their own demands.
There are four sustainable development dimensions– society, culture, environment, and economy. Sustainability is a model for thinking about the prospect in which environmental, societal and economic factors are balanced to improve quality of life.
Sustainability is usually thought of as a long-term goal, while sustainable development leads to many processes and ways to achieve it.The SDGs identify where we have to create a sustainable world and outline new opportunities for companies worldwide.
The United Nations General Assembly conducted a plenary meeting to discuss goals for the year 2021. After the “tragedy and peril” of 2020, the UN Secretary-General urged governments that the Sustainable Development goals are more vital than ever to get the world back on track in 2021. He identified ten critical goals for the coming year.
The United Nations Secretary-Ten General’s Priorities for 2021 are as follows:
- COVID-19 is a response to COVID-19.
- Begin an inclusive and long-term economic recovery.
- Make peace with the environment.
- Defend against poverty and inequality
- Put an end to the assault on human rights.
- The most significant human rights challenge is gender equality.
- Resolve geopolitical schisms
- Restore the nuclear non-proliferation and disarmament regime’s integrity.
- Take use of digital technologies while also safeguarding yourself from their expanding threats.
- Reset the clock for the twenty-first century.
The first goal, according to Guterres, is to respond to COVID-19, and the year’s “first big moral test” is to make vaccinations available and inexpensive to everyone, recognising them as a global public good. In addition, he advocated for prioritising vaccine distribution to the most vulnerable to avoid mutations from spreading and becoming more lethal, as well as increased funding for the World Health Organization’s COVAX facility (WHO).
“The 2030 Sustainable Development Agenda paves the way,” Guterres said of economic recovery. He emphasised the importance of healthcare investments, universal health coverage, mental health treatment, social protection, and safe school returns. He advocated for a “quantum jump in financial support,” including debt relief and an expansion of the G20 Debt Service Suspension Initiative, to prevent forcing developing countries to choose between delivering essential services and servicing their debts. He also advocated for the use of renewable energy as well as environmentally friendly and robust infrastructure.
Guterres emphasised crucial milestones for climate and biodiversity and Sustainable Development in his speech on making peace with nature, set for 2021. He called on countries to declare national climate emergencies, submit nationally determined contributions (NDCs) on reducing emissions, phase out fossil fuels, increase support for adaptation, and help build the coalition for a carbon-neutral world – which requires every country, city, company, and financial institution to have a clear road map – ahead of the UNFCCC COP in Glasgow, UK, in November. He claims that this combination presently accounts for 65 per cent of world CO2 emissions and must reach 90 per cent by 2021. Furthermore, he stated:
- Developed countries must mobilise USD 100 billion per year for climate action in developing countries.
- Development banks must align their portfolios with the Paris Agreement and the Sustainable Development Goals by 2024
- Governments must adopt transformational policies, such as putting a price on carbon, stopping the construction of new coal power plants, phasing out coal, and ending fossil fuel subsidies.
Small island developing states (SIDS) may vanish during our lifetimes due to increasing sea levels, according to Guterres, which is unacceptable given that the problem is within our ability to solve.
The Secretary-General referred to the 15th meeting of the Conference of the Parties to the Convention on Biological Diversity as an example of biodiversity (CBD COP 15).
He believes that the post-2020 biodiversity framework that states are likely to embrace will assist in addressing the problem of zoonotic diseases and that this summit will help “halt the extinction crisis.” In addition, the high-level conversation on energy, the second UN Ocean Conference, the Food Systems Summit, and the global conference on sustainable development and sustainable transport are all critical events for forging peace with nature.
The Secretary-General proposed a New Social Contract based on education and digital technologies to combat poverty and inequality and favour Sustainable Development. On gender equality, he said that the formal economy “only exists because women’s unpaid care work finances it.” Investing in the care economy can help to boost growth and recovery while also protecting women’s rights. Guterres emphasised that women, girls, minorities, and LGBTI persons face persistent discrimination and violence and that the COVID-19 pandemic has compounded the increase of human rights risks around the world.
In addition, Guterres stressed the importance of ceasefires in significant wars and cyberspace. On nuclear disarmament and non-proliferation, he underlined the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons‘ recent entry into force and urged support for its aim. He also emphasised digital technology priorities, such as ensuring that everyone in the world has affordable, meaningful, and safe Internet access by 2030.
All schools are online as soon as possible. He believes that there is a need to address the digital propagation of hatred, exploitation, misinformation, and the use of our data. A path ahead must be found that does not compromise privacy or dignity and favours Sustainable Development. In 2021, he will implement the UN’s digital cooperation strategy for Sustainable Development, which was established in 2020.
Finally, Guterres stated that states have requested that he provide suggestions for pursuing the vision outlined in the UN’s 75th-anniversary declaration, which will be adopted in September 2020. The Secretary-General has commenced a process of reflection based on the global public engagement that took place in 2020. He stated that the report he would present in September 2021 would mark the start of a “reset for the twenty-first century,” focusing on “strengthening global governance to provide global public goods.
He believes that the challenges ahead will necessitate a more inclusive and networked multilateralism, a New Global Deal to distribute power, benefits, and opportunities among countries, a more prominent voice for developing countries in global decision-making, and a role for young people in shaping their own future.