Presidency of the Republic of Cyprus

“Unity and Solidarity: Strengthening the multilateral system for enhanced support, cooperation, follow-up and review”

Eight years ago, at the UN Sustainable Development Summit, our countries achieved an important milestone in international cooperation. For the first time, we reached an agreement on a specific set of 17 targets covering all three dimensions of sustainable development. By doing so, we committed ourselves to implementing the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development with a view to fundamentally transforming our societies and economies and aiming at greater sustainability, opportunities and well-being of future generations.

However, despite our efforts and determination, we are a long way from achieving the targets that we have set. Admittedly, the past 8 years have not been easy. We are still dealing with the aftermath of the COVID pandemic, the recent and continuing wars, internal conflicts, and the ensuing food insecurity. With all these, the urgency of the task that lies ahead becomes painfully apparent.

Nevertheless, we are fortunate in that today we have a more diverse arsenal of tools at our disposal to implement the SDGs. Advanced technologies, digital transition, as well as an increased understanding of the problems we are facing. These tools can help us ensure that the policy strategies we put in place today, are both targeted and effective.

In the process of implementing the 2030 Agenda, it has become clear that we need, in parallel, to efficiently tackle the inequalities and distrust embedded in the multilateral system.

As such, we need to take steps so that all regain confidence in the multilateral system; a task that it is not easy but possible. A multilateral system that is grounded in international law, including the principles of the UN Charter and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, as this is the only guarantee for peace and security but also for pursuing the implementation of Agenda 2030. A successful implementation of multilateralism on such a large-scale requires unity and common ownership and this is what we should be aiming for.

We all know that unwavering unity, ambition and inclusive action is key to success. We have a choice. Either we rise to the occasion, mend our differences and prove our commitment to the future generations, or we stand on the side-lines and allow all that we worked for, to fall apart. The next seven years will be a litmus test. Our decisiveness will be on display, our actions judged. Let us take a page from the history of the great leaders that have come before us and demonstrate once more, what mankind is capable of when it works in unison.