On 23 September, UNESCO Director-General, Irina Bokova, took part in the International Conference on Sustainable Development, under the theme “Implementing the SDG’s: Getting Started” at the Earth Institute in Columbia University, New York.
Key speakers included the President of Liberia, H.E. Ms Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, the Deputy Secretary General of the UN, Mr Jan Eliasson, and the Director of Columbia University and The Earth Institute and Special Advisor to the UN Secretary-General on the Millennium Development Goals, Professor Jeffrey Sachs.
President Sirleaf said the new agenda reflects a truly universal vision, for a "world without extreme poverty, a world without hunger and acute deprivation, a sustainable world."
"We are one humanity and one world, and working together, we can tackle the challenges of the century ahead," said the President, underlining the lessons from the Ebola crisis and the importance of the data revolution in moving forward.
“This is a historic year for the new sustainable development agenda and the climate change negotiations -- these are intertwined and we must get both right," said Irina Bokova.
"For this, we need to craft new partnerships for innovation, inclusion and ownership -- we need to give governments all the tools they need, the policy advice, norms and standards and capacities, to move all humanity together, working with civil society, the private sector, especially with young women and men", said the Director-General.
"This calls for a new approach to development -- this is not about charity, this is about all humanity moving forward together. We must mobilize new sources, broader partnerships that work across all new goals,” said Irina Bokova -- underlining the development multipliers of education as well as STI, in particular, to empower girls, to redress inequalities, to leave no one behind.
Deptuy Secretary-General Jan Eliasson reminded about the connections between all Goals and the importance of human rights: "There can be no peace without development and no development without peace -- and none of these without human rights and the rule of law."
Jeffrey Sachs underlined the collective responsibility of making the new agenda real: "No one is in charge -- we are all in charge," he said.
The event brought together professionals from the private sector academia, government and civil society, along with student from the world’s top universities two days before the United Nations Summit, to identify and share practical, evidence-based solutions that can support the Sustainable Development Goals.
"This is a historic moment," said the Director-General. "Let's get started..."