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UN Secretary-General calls for financial system overhaul to support SDGs

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On April 17, 2023, UN Secretary-General Ant0nio Guterres expressed concern that the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development is at risk of becoming a “mirage of what might have been” during his opening address at the Financing for Development Forum (FfD) held at UN Headquarters in New York. Guterres highlighted reports indicating that since the pandemic, the wealthiest one percent of the global population has accumulated nearly double the new wealth compared to the rest of the world combined.

UN Secretary-General calls for financial system overhaul to support SDGs

The Secretary-General emphasized that inequalities within certain countries are regressing towards levels seen in the early 20th century, a period when women did not possess voting rights and social protection concepts were not widely acknowledged. To address this, Guterres pointed to the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) Stimulus Plan, which aims to increase investments that support the SDGs, alleviate the debt burden on developing countries, and enhance access to funding.

Guterres urged Multilateral Development Banks, including the World Bank and Asian Development Bank, to leverage their resources to attract more private financing for developing countries. Additionally, he called for member states to fulfill their government aid commitments. In the long term, the UN chief asserted that the global financial architecture, which he believes “has failed countries at their moment of greatest need,” must undergo a comprehensive overhaul to create a more coherent, coordinated system that reflects the current global economic reality.

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