After intensive intergovernmental negotiations that brought in the viewpoints of civil society and business, UN Member States agreed to the full text of a document that ushers in a 15-year, 17-point plan for sustainable development.
“This Agenda is a plan of action for people, planet and prosperity”, the declaration states. “It also seeks to strengthen universal peace in larger freedom. We recognise that eradicating poverty in all its forms and dimensions, including extreme poverty, is the greatest global challenge and an indispensable requirement for sustainable development”.
The ability to reach early agreement on goals concerning poverty eradication, women’s advancement, climate change, political and economic inclusiveness, and governance standards is cited by observers as a major achievement for the world body. But real success, it is noted, will only come as Governments translate this universal agenda into national policies and priority areas and engage with their populations and a broad range of stakeholders.
Throughout the agreement, which contains 17 “sustainable development goals” (SDGs) and 169 related targets, the private sector is recognized as a central player.
“Private business activity, investment and innovation are major drivers of productivity, inclusive economic growth and job creation”, the outcome document states. “We acknowledge the diversity of the private sector, ranging from micro-enterprises to cooperatives to multinationals. We call on all businesses to apply their creativity and innovation to solving sustainable development challenges”. Governments further encourage companies to adopt sustainable practices and to integrate relevant information into their reporting cycles.
From the UN Global Compact perspective, Executive Director (until last September 1st) Georg Kell calls on the business community to “seize this historic opportunity to align corporate goals with the SDGs and to engage at country level and through global issue platforms”, such as the Global Compact’s CEO Water Mandate, Caring for Climate, Women’s Empowerment Principles, Children’s Rights and Business Principles and Business for Peace.
The “Post-2015 Development Framework”, including the SDGs, officially will be gaveled into existence on 25 September in the General Assembly Hall.