United Nations, Aug 4: The 193 member states of the United Nations have reached agreement on a new development agenda for the next 15 years that calls for eradicating poverty and hunger, achieving gender equality, improving living standards and taking urgent action to combat climate change.
The draft agreement reached Sunday evening outlines 17 goals with 169 specific targets on issues ranging from ending poverty "in all its forms everywhere" to ensuring quality education and affordable and reliable energy, and protecting the environment.
"We can be the first generation that ends global poverty, and the last generation to prevent the worst impacts of global warming before it is too late," Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon told reporters yesterday.
The document called "Transforming our World: The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development" will be adopted at a UN summit just before the annual meeting of world leaders at the General Assembly in late September.
Ban said "the goals represent a 'to-do' list for people and the planet." "They address the requirements for all humanity to be able to live decent lives free from poverty, hunger and inequality," he said.
"They commit all of us to be responsible global citizens, caring for the less fortunate as well as for our planet's ecosystems and climate action on which all life depends."
The 17 new, non-binding goals will succeed the eight Millennium Development Goals adopted by world leaders 15 years ago. In his final report last month on the Millennium Development Goals, Ban said the effort has helped lift more than one billion people out of extreme poverty over the last 15 years, enabled more girls to go to school than ever before, and brought unprecedented results in fighting diseases such as HIV/AIDS.
Despite significant progress on all the MDGs, the only original goal that was achieved ahead of time was cutting in half the number of people living in extreme poverty, and that was due primarily to economic growth in China.
Ban stressed inequality remains, with 80 per cent of the people living on less than USD 1.25 a day located in southern Asia and sub-Saharan Africa, and 60 per cent in just five countries, India, Nigeria, China, Bangladesh and Congo.
Agreement on the new goals is the culmination of more than three years of intense and complex negotiations.