Foreword: ARUNA 2014/2015

The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development: Global Commitments for a Better World 
by 
Amina Mohammed 
Special Advisor to the United Nations Secretary-General 
on Post-2015 Development Planning 

As the United Nations celebrates its 70th anniversary, the international community has taken a major step toward ushering in a new era of sustainable development, an era of transformation in which all are protected and empowered. The Sustainable Development Summit, which took place in New York on 25-27 September 2015, marked the adoption of “Transforming our world: the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development”. With this action, world leaders sought to launch the world on a path of inclusive, sustainable and resilient development.

Work to define the post-2015 agenda started a few years ago. It has been conducted through a very open and transparent process. Millions of people all over the world have participated – from governments, international organizations, academia, civil society, and the private sector. This work builds on the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) adopted in 2000, namely eight goals that the world community committed to achieving by 2015. The seventeen Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) take the MDGs a step further; presenting a universal agenda that is rights-based, people-centered and planet-sensitive. It is an agenda that should be taken as a whole, integrating in a balanced manner the three dimensions of sustainable development, with poverty eradication as its core. The SDGs aim at addressing the root causes instead of the symptoms and reflect the interconnectedness between development, peace and security.

Implementation and delivery through coherent action and global cooperation will be one of the litmus tests of this agenda and will require serious financial commitments, partnerships with all stakeholders and other means of implementation. We must leverage a variety of resources – financial and non-financial – to meet the needs of such a complex and integrated agenda.

In this regard, the potential of technology and innovation must be unlocked by embracing the data revolution and investing in capacities at the country-level for reporting and monitoring progress.

All financing streams must be optimized toward sustainable development, and coordinated for the greatest impact. Financing the 2030 agenda will not be found in one solution, nor borne by one set of actors. It will require tapping into all resources – public, private, national, and international. Existing official development assistance (ODA) commitments must be met. At the same time, additional resources need to be found domestically. While ODA and international public funding will continue to play a central and catalytic role, the responsibility for raising the domestic public revenues necessary for the core economic and social functions will rest primarily with each national government.

In addition, urgent action is needed to mobilize, redirect and unlock the transformative power of trillions of dollars of private resources to deliver on sustainable development objectives. Private resources will need to be leveraged and channelled where they are the most needed.

A strengthened global partnership will be crucial for the implementation of the new development agenda: a partnership that should be equitable, inclusive, with mutual accountability, and a fair sharing of responsibilities.

All people, citizens, civil society, responsible businesses, local authorities, sub-national and national governments, parliaments, regional organizations, global institutions, and the scientific and academic communities have an essential role to play in this transformation.

If we are to build a more secure, just and sustainable future for all, now is the time to step up our efforts and promote rights and confront the persistent inequalities among people – including women. Women can be the most powerful drivers of sustainable development. Indeed, women are the nexus to water, food and energy and hold the keys to economic growth. To set a direct path toward poverty eradication, inclusive economic growth and gender equality, it is vital that we invest in women's leadership and participation in political, economic and public life. Women must be at the front lines in decision-making and implementation at all levels.

We must eliminate all barriers to women’s full inclusion – including discriminatory practices based on gender, lack of financial support, any forms of violence and intimidation. Gender sensitive policies are needed to protect the rights and welfare of women and unlock their full potential through empowerment.

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The Sustainable Development Summit has set us on a trajectory toward sustainable development. The key is now implementation. We need to marshal all our energies toward this objective.

The United Nations system will continue to provide its support. But the transition from the Millennium Development Goals to the 2030 agenda requires strong leadership by the Heads of States and Governments, backed by robust advocacy and mobilization from civil society. The changing development landscape and the implementation of the new agenda will require governments and societies to be fit for purpose to drive effective implementation.