Today, three years after the adoption of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, progress is being made. This progress, however, is not fast enough. Countries all over the globe will have to significantly raise their level of ambition to achieve the global Sustainable Development Goals by 2030.
Federal ministers Müller and Schulze will take stock of progress on implementing the 2030 Agenda at the joint conference "Accelerating change – for a sustainable development worldwide and in Germany" in Berlin on 5 November. Together with Hajia Alima Mahama, the Ghanaian Minister of Local Government and Rural Development, and high-ranking representatives from civil society, industry and the scientific community, they will discuss how to significantly accelerate change in Germany and at international level.
Federal Environment Minister Svenja Schulze commented: "Sustainable development is not a project for the elite. On the contrary: The objective is that by 2030, people and nature will be better off than today. This is an approach everyone would benefit from. The transition to a zero-emission economy generates added value, creates jobs and will help innovations in global demand make a break-through. Ambitious sustainable development policy is therefore our great joint project for progress, and the 2030 Agenda is our compass."
Federal Development Minister Gerd Müller stated: "The world is looking to us when it comes to implementing the 2030 Agenda. As prosperous countries we have to set an example. People in developing countries suffer because of our way of life and our consumption patterns. One of the consequences is climate change, which, as figures show, is mainly caused by industrialised countries. We emit an average ten tonnes of CO2 per person. In Somalia, the figure is a mere 100 kilograms. Yet people in Africa, Bangladesh and many other developing countries are the ones suffering the most. We can and must shape globalisation in a fair way that will transform our consumption patterns and our economies in a sustainable way and, in doing so, preserve our planet for future generations."
Despite positive trends and international efforts, the progress towards achieving the 2030 Agenda and its 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) is insufficient. Absolute poverty around the world has fallen from 26.9 percent in 2000 to 9.2 percent today, and child mortality in developing countries has been halved since the year 2000. However, the number of people starving has risen again over the past three years, especially in sub-Saharan Africa and Southern Asia. The likelihood of limiting global warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius is dwindling, and every year our oceans are littered with more than 8 million tonnes of plastic. The next UN Sustainable Development Summit in New York in September 2019 will be the first meeting where heads of state and government will convene to take stock of the progress on implementing the 2030 Agenda. This summit will play a decisive role; heads of state and government should send a strong political signal for accelerated economic and social changes.
By adopting the new German Sustainable Development Strategy in 2017, the German government has taken an important first step towards implementing the SDGs both in Germany and in the context of international cooperation with its partner countries. The German government is currently updating this strategy in order to further strengthen the principle of sustainable development in all areas of policy. In this process, it also takes into consideration input from civil society, industry and the scientific community.
The BMU and the BMZ are supporting these activities with additional measures. The BMZ supports developing countries and emerging economies in implementing the 2030 Agenda, and the BMU contributes through its International Climate Initiative. Both ministries are striving for climate neutrality on their own premises by 2020. In 2015, the United Nations adopted the 17 Sustainable Development Goals of the 2030 Agenda. This showed that it is possible to unite the international community in order to overcome key challenges. These 17 closely interwoven goals have introduced the concept of considering environmental, social and economic issues together all across the globe, and they are the reason why society is now taking these ideas forward.