Dear friends, colleagues, and partners,
As we enter 2024, we are faced with many challenges around us ranging from the deepening of inequalities, the multiple debt crises, the effects of climate change, biodiversity loss and the impact of wars and conflicts on people and particularly on women and children.
Despite this context, I still believe that positive change is possible and that — by taking action together — as individuals, as governments, as business leaders we can build a future that is peaceful, sustainable and fair.
Our hope is further bolstered by witnessing the extraordinary resilience of people worldwide, especially those grappling with the stark realities of conflict and displacement. This is profoundly captured in this photograph taken by UN SDG Action Awards Judge, Pulitzer-prize winning photographer and Canon Ambassador, Muhammed Muheisen. His photograph of Afghan refugee girls holding hands and singing near their mud homes in Islamabad, Pakistan, speaks volumes.
The drive to make a difference is evident among many of us. This is visible in our UN SDG Action Awards applicants, finalists, and winners and also in numerous local heroes who tirelessly work to bring about change in their communities every day. Their unwavering dedication to fostering positive transformation is a testament to their commitment.
Looking ahead, the Summit of the Future in September 2024, convened by the UN Secretary-General, also ignites hope. His vision of a new Pact for the Future aims to bolster global solidarity and international cooperation, recognizing that no single nation or group of nations can tackle our shared challenges alone.
The zero draft of the Summit, recently released by the co-facilitators (Germany and Namibia), resonates with promising declarations: a commitment to re-earn trust, to strive for a world that is safer, more peaceful, just, equal, inclusive, sustainable, and prosperous. It acknowledges the urgent need for financial architecture reform, broadening participation in global economic decision-making, and strengthening global debt architecture for fair and timely debt restructuring.
The Summit’s focus on human rights commitments, the pursuit of progress beyond GDP, and a comprehensive action plan — from eliminating violence against women and girls to setting a deadline for the elimination of fossil fuel subsidies and addressing climate change impacts — reflects a high level of ambition and vision. This Summit could mark a pivotal moment in our multilateral system and how we collaborate based on trust, transparency, fairness, and solidarity.
At the UN SDG Action Campaign, we are wholeheartedly committed to supporting this crucial process and ensuring meaningful participation from diverse sectors of society.
In closing, I am reminded of Nelson Mandela’s words: “Do not judge me by my success, judge me by how many times I fell down and got back up again.” This sentiment echoes our collective journey — one of resilience, perseverance, and unwavering commitment to a better world.
UN SDG Action Campaign