Press Releases

PRESS RELEASE : The UK remains committed to the universal vision for economic, environmental, and social development of Agenda 2030 – UK statement at the UN General Assembly [September 2023]

The press release issued by the Foreign Office on 29 September 2023.

Explanation of Vote by Tom Woodroffe, UK Ambassador to the ECOSOC, at the UN General Assembly meeting on SDG Summit Political Declaration.

Presidents and esteemed colleagues, I would like to begin by expressing our gratitude to you and the Co-facilitators, Their Excellencies, the Permanent Representatives of Qatar and Ireland, and indeed their full teams, for their hard work, which has enabled the adoption of the declaration today. We are pleased that, after months of negotiations, we have been able to join consensus here in the GA following endorsement of the declaration at the highest levels during the SDG summit last week.

Now, as our Deputy Prime Minister set out at that summit, the UK remains fully committed to delivering the universal vision for economic, environmental, and social development set out in Agenda 2030 and the SDGs. With seven years to go, our collective promises are in jeopardy. We need robust political will and commitment to greater action to get them back on track.

Indeed and in fact, as His Excellency, the Permanent Representative of Pakistan, set out earlier, the declaration includes a number of ambitious and welcome commitments which should provide the impetus to do so.

The UK recognises how important finance is to achieving the 2030 agenda. That is why we are pushing for a bigger, better, fairer international financial system which increases the voice and representation of the poorest and most vulnerable. We are driving reforms of the Multilateral Development Banks, including stretching their balance sheets to release over $200 billion of additional finance over the next 10 years, scaling MDB lending to unlock $1 billion in education financing and $1.8 billion of climate finance for countries in Africa and the Asia Pacific, and making the MDBs more agile, shock-responsive, and better able to mobilise private investment.

We are also encouraging the MDBs, NDBs, and all other creditors to offer climate-resilient debt clauses to pause debt payments when disaster strikes. And that is also why, at the G20, our Prime Minister announced a further $2 billion for the Green Climate Fund.

But, of course, finance is only one part of the equation. We must also ensure that this is invested in areas which will accelerate progress across all the goals, such as gender equality, science and data, education, health, food security, and renewable energy. We must rapidly cut emissions, decarbonise, and transition to renewable energy to keep 1.5 degrees in reach.

The UK remains committed to our 2013 nationally determined contribution, reaching net-zero by 2050 and supporting developing countries to achieve their climate and biodiversity ambitions. We would have liked to see the declaration reflect the need for continued high policy ambition to tackle climate change and limit global temperature risk as we look towards a critical COP 28.

Given the importance of gender equality to accelerating progress across the goals and to their delivery, we are also disappointed that the declaration does not represent the full range of gender commitments we collectively made in Agenda 2030.

It will be critical for us to build on our 2050 agreements as we go into the second committee this year, CSW and ICPD30 next year, the proposed social summit, and indeed the Summit of the Future, in order to be sure we really do leave no one behind.

Thank you.