Remarks by Secretary-General António Guterres to the press on the launch of the Sustainable Development Goals Report 2024

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28 June 2024


Good morning to all of you.

I am very pleased to join both the Deputy Secretary-General and today in particular, Under-Secretary General Li [who] will be presenting afterwards the report.

We are here for the launch of the 2024 Sustainable Development Goals Report.

This report is known as the annual SDG report card – and it shows the world is getting a failing grade.

I will leave it to Mr. Li to go through what this report says; I wanted to be here to underscore what this report means.

The takeaway is simple:

Our failure to secure peace, to confront climate change, and to boost international finance is undermining development.

We must accelerate action for the Sustainable Development Goals – and we don’t have a moment to lose.

Only 17 per cent of the SDG targets are on track.

Progress on over one-third has stalled or even regressed.

In a world of unprecedented wealth, knowledge and technologies, the denial of basic needs for so many is outrageous and inexcusable.

At the same time, we have what it takes to breakthrough to a better future.

And the report carries some glimmers of hope.  I’ll give you a few examples.

Girls in most regions are now achieving parity with boys in education.

Many women are breaking more glass ceilings – in politics, in business and beyond.

Internet access is up.

HIV infections are down.

New malaria vaccines are being rolled out that could save millions of lives.

On the other hand, renewables are booming — and already make up thirty percent of the world’s electricity supply.

But the speed and scale of the change needed for sustainable development is still far too slow.

The examples I gave prove that it is possible, but we need to go further and faster in three areas simultaneously.

First, we need action for peace.

From Gaza to Sudan, Ukraine and beyond, it’s time to silence the guns, to support the displaced, and to pivot from spending on destruction and war to investing in people and peace.

Second, we need action on the green and digital transitions.

I urge countries to put forward ambitious National Climate Action plans in 2025 that align with the 1.5 degree limit, cover the whole economy and double as investment plans.

I also encourage a surge in investment in expanding access to digital connectivity and the benefits of the digital economy.

And I call on countries to make these transitions just, inclusive and fully aligned with broader efforts to achieve gender equality.

Third, we need action on finance.

Many developing countries lack the financial resources and the fiscal space to invest in their futures and the future of their people.

We must step up efforts to deliver the SDG Stimulus.

That means doing much more to reduce debt pressures and debt servicing costs.

It means expanding access to contingency financing for countries at risk of a cash flow crisis.

And it means multiplying the lending capacity of Multilateral Development Banks to provide more resources for climate action and sustainable development, and changing the business model to leverage the necessary massive amounts of private finance.

I am working with ten leaders from a diverse group of countries who are championing efforts to make the SDG Stimulus a reality.

As today’s report card shows, there is much room for improvement.

As countries prepare for next month’s UN’s Sustainable Development Forum, September’s Summit of the Future, and next year’s major meetings on Social Development and Financing, I urge them to double down on SDG acceleration.

We must not let up on our promises – to end poverty, protect the planet and leave no one behind.

Thank you.

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