01/01/16Urban challenges 

As 2016 begins, UN calls for Delivering on Sustainable Development Goals

As 2016 Begins, UN Calls for Delivering on Sustainable Development Goals
New York, January 13th, 2016


The world officially has commenced the implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development on January 1st, 2016, with  17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), and with Goal 6 dedicated to water and sanitation. They succeed the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) which expired on December 31st, 2015.  On the occasion, the UN highlighted the importance of partnerships and international solidarity in implementing the 2030 Agenda, and called for sharing experiences and tracking progress, including through an Annual SDG Progress Report.

Source: IISD Report

UN General Assembly President Mogens Lykketoft said, “2016 must be "all about action and implementation.” He called on governments to: identify and plan for necessary changes; invest in essential services; create an enabling legal and policy framework; and advance inclusive, transparent governance. 

In its press release on the eve of the SDGs' taking effect, the UN noted that the High-Level Political Forum on Sustainable Development (HLPF) will review progress on the Goals each year by assessing global progress, identifying gaps and emerging issues, and recommending corrective action. An annual SDG Progress Report will assess progress using a set of global indicators, which are expected to be finalized later in 2016. 
According to the UN, the "first test of political will" to implement the 2030 Agenda is the Paris Agreement on climate change, which was reached in December 2015. UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon and Lykketoft both stressed the importance to address climate change as critical in advancing the 2030 Agenda, in recent statements.

Also on December 30th, 2015, the UN Special Rapporteur on the Human Rights of Safe Drinking Water and Sanitation, Léo Heller, highlighted the importance of action on SDG 6: Ensure availability and sustainable management of water and sanitation for all. Two weeks before, the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) has recognized sanitation as a distinct human right.  Heller expressed hope "that this recognition will focus attention on achieving access to sanitation, which," he said, "has a spillover effect on the pursuit and enjoyment of other human rights". He added that the UNGA resolution strengthens people's capacity to claim the right to sanitation “when the State fails to provide the services or when they are unsafe, unaffordable, inaccessible or with inadequate privacy.”


(Photo: AquaFed - Sao Paolo, Brazil)