74th United Nations General Assembly: A Review of the Past Week

Photo: SDG banners outside the United Nations Headquarters in New York.  Credit: UN News| Conor Lennon

In 2015, the 193 UN member countries decided on the Sustainable Development Goals, comprising of 17 SDGs and 169 targets, to be met by 2030. From the 24th – 30th of September, leaders from all over the world have gathered in New York for the 74th United Nations General Assembly to assess the global progress made towards achieving these goals.

Historically, research panels set up to evaluate progress with the SDGs have suggested that there will be difficulty in achieving many of the goals on a global level, specifically those around climate and biodiversity. The most gains, they say seem to be around the SDG’s centered around improving conditions for people. One of the key agencies spearheading this focus on improving conditions for people is the Food and Agriculture Organization (FOA) which has identified at least 10 of the 17 goals that correlate directly or indirectly to agriculture, namely:

Goal 1: Poverty Alleviation; With rural people representing the largest segment of the world’s extreme poor (pegged at >70%) improvements in agriculture are believed to be twice as effective in reducing poverty than other sectors; Goal 2: Zero Hunger; In order to promote a system of sustainable agricultural, smallholder farmers need to be supported with access to land, technology and markets; Goal 4: Education; Through proper education, farmers will access the necessary skills, tools, input and knowledge to improve their productivity and incomes; Goal 5: Gender Equality; Due to differences in their access to and use of resources, female farmers have been said to produce less than male farmers. By bridging the gap in genders global hunger could be reduced by up to 17%; Goal 6: Water Use; Global water demand is projected to increase with agriculture requiring more; Goal 7: Energy Use; Projected world demand to increase by up to 50% Goal 8: Economic Growth and employment; Agriculture has been identified as one of the major drivers of economic growth in rural areas able to generate employment and growth Goal 12: Sustainable consumption and production;  Goal 13: Climate Change; Building smallholder resilience to changing climate conditions and Goal 15: Ecosystem Management.

This then raises the question; What more needs to be done to bring us closer to achieving these goals? According to Antonio Guterres,(current Secretary General of the United Nations) the answer lies in global action in key areas such as conflict prevention, development finance, climate crisis, local action that impacts directly on peoples lives and working partnerships across principal development sector players.

Finance for Development

“It is necessary to think of new ways of accelerating SDGs action for those that are still behind in meeting the goalsprogress is largely uneven within and across countries and regions. We, therefore, must deepen partnerships to unlock the trillions of dollars needed to finance the SDGs”.

Mr Muhammed-Bande, President of the General Assembly

On Thursday, 26 September the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) held a high-level dialogue on financing for development. At Babban Gona, we recognize the significant role that financing, particularly driven by the private sector plays in the achievement of the SDGs. Our company advocates that empowering smallholder farmers is a key index to propelling the world to becoming a more equitable and fairer world where no one is left behind.

Here is a line-up of our top articles for the week:

Sustainable development summit a reminder of ‘the boundless potential of humanity’

Sustainable Development Summit: ‘We must step up our efforts – now’, Guterres declares

The Story of Agriculture and the Sustainable Development Goals

Finance for Sustainable Development Report 2019