Prime Minister of Nepal K P Sharma Oli addressed this morning the SDG Moment 2020, a high-level event convened by UN Secretary-General on the margins of the 75th session of the UN General Assembly.
In his address, the Prime Minister expressed concerns that the pandemic threatened the hard-earned development gains particularly in the countries such as LDCs, LLDCs and SIDs. The freezing economy, shrinking revenue, increasing public expenditure, rising poverty and unemployment have severe impact on these countries’ efforts to realize the SDGs, he added.
He stated that it was not a moment to shift the goalposts further and that the SDGs must continue to serve as the compass of clarity for global action.
The Prime Minister further said that the sustainable development was at the center of Nepal’s development vision and it underpinned the national aspiration of ‘Prosperous Nepal, Happy Nepali’. He also touched upon Nepal’s achievements in key areas including poverty reduction, food security, education, gender equality, basic sanitation, and energy access.
He underlined the need to move beyond rhetoric and accelerate action at all levels in order to recover and rebuild better, and to ensure that no one is left behind.
Nepal was one of the five countries from the Asia Pacific region to be featured in the SDG Moment 2020. There were 22 Heads of State/Government from around the world representing different regional groups, a number of SDG advocates and partners, and senior UN officials, among others.
Prime Minister’s full statement on SDG Moment 2020 :
Excellencies the Heads of State and Government,
UN Secretary General Mr. Antonio Guterres,
At the outset, I would like to commend the Secretary General for convening this high-level event.
We are meeting at a critical juncture. The COVID-19 pandemic has devastated livelihoods, disrupted economies, and distressed the public health and social security systems.
Most importantly, as we embark on the decade of action and delivery of the 2030 Agenda, the pandemic has derailed the momentum of its implementation. The challenges have compounded, and gaps have widened.
However, this is not a moment to shift the goalposts further. Nor is it a time to back off in despair.
To navigate these turbulent times, the SDGs must serve as the compass of clarity.
Sustainable development is at the center of Nepal’s development vision and priorities. It underpins our national aspiration of “Prosperous Nepal, Happy Nepali”.
We have mainstreamed the SDGs into the national plans and programs. They are now being localized.
Showcasing our progress in SDGs, we presented our second Voluntary National Review Report in High-level Political Forum in July this year.
We have made some significant achievements in key areas –including poverty reduction, food security, education, gender equality, basic sanitation, and energy access. Our people have been enjoying fundamental rights and freedoms as enshrined in the Constitution.
However, the challenges and gaps remain. The current health crisis threatens our hard-earned gains, pushing our plan to graduate from the LDC status in peril.
This COVID-19 pandemic has affected the countries in special situation such as LDCs, LLDCs and SIDs disproportionately.
Their freezing economy, shrinking revenue, increasing public expenditure, rising poverty and unemployment have severe impact in the attainment of the SDGs.
We welcome the global initiatives and support measures taken in response to COVID-19.
But this is not enough.
Aligning these support measures with the 2030 Agenda, Istanbul Program of Action, Vienna Program of Action, Addis Agenda and the Paris Agreement is equally important.
For this, there is an urgent need to accelerate action at all levels and by all stakeholders beyond rhetoric.
Our message should be of a cautious hope to steer the decade of action as well as recovery with sustainability at its core.
In conclusion, a renewed sense of urgency and accountability in our collective efforts is critical to build back better, and to ensure that no one is left behind.