Sign In

Delivering UN Global Goals demands plans, not speeches

By United Nations Deputy Secretary-General Amina Mohammed

The year 2020 has been dubbed  a ‘Super Year’ because of its importance in guiding the world towards achieving 17 internationally-agreed Global Goals over the next decade.

This week, the United Nations General Assembly meets in New York with the task of securing action to achieve them.

Here, in the first part of an exclusive series that features an extraordinary list of internationally-acclaimed contributors, the United Nations Secretary-General Amina Mohammed, reveals the urgency of moving towards a more equal, more sustainable world.


5 Summits. 1 week. 17 Sustainable Development Goals.

This year’s United Nations General Assembly, the 74th of its kind, is for the first time, hosting five Summits fully focused on the Sustainable Development Goals. Member States and partners from around the world will come with the knowledge that despite progress; we are off pace to deliver at the scale we need to reach the people in most need.

To make good on global commitments, the Secretary-General has asked world leaders to come with plans, not speeches.

As we gear up for 2020 to kick-off a decade of Action to Deliver on the SDGs, we must harness the power of partnership and collaboration. We have the individual and collective responsibility and ability to head in the right direction – towards action and impact.

The Global Goals were designed to reflect inclusion, empowerment and equality, which is why we simply must do more to reach the most excluded and discriminated in our societies - including migrants and refugees, women and girls, and persons with disabilities.

We must respond with greater urgency to the risks facing hundreds of millions of people living in fragile and conflict-affected contexts. We must channel greater investment towards the full empowerment and employment of young people. We must speed up – not fall back – on our push for gender equality. And we truly must come to terms with the requirements of SDG10 – recognizing that extreme inequality is never inevitable.

Governments, civil society organisations and the private sector are highlighting the importance of effective, transparent and accountable institutions in achieving the Global Goals. These inextricable linkages between institutions and the protection of human rights, and the principles of the 2030 Agenda will form the bedrock of successful Global Goals implementation.

We need to see more political will turned to political action. At the Secretary-General’s Climate Action Summit, leaders can demonstrate their commitment to respond to the climate emergency, with clear plans that are fully aligned with a 1.5 degree world.

At the SDG Summit, governments are called on to bring concrete acceleration commitments that will help get the world on track to success by 2030. And in the high-level meetings on universal health coverage, financing for development and the Samoa Pathway for Small Island Developing States, we have a chance to identify actions and partnerships to address these critical aspects of the 2030 Agenda.

In each of the five meetings, we need action from governments at the highest political levels. We need to hear the voices of our partners from the private sector, civil society, science and technology, academia and many more, to bring our response to the next level. And we need to listen to the world’s children and young people who are telling us very clearly what changes they expect their leaders to deliver.

We have seen some important advances in data analysis and visualisation this year but there remains a critical need for clear baselines and better-quality data to judge the effectiveness of our actions.

This is the time to put in place the foundations for a decade of action, to deliver on the Global Goals and put a pathway towards peace and prosperity for all on a healthy, thriving planet. It will be a massive effort. But together we can get it done.

Amina Mohammed is Deputy Secretary-General of the United Nations.

Next week: Naomi Campbell on No Poverty.


  • The 2020 Super Year series is a collaboration between freuds, Goals House and Raconteur