By Francisco Pichon
HAVANA, Cuba, Oct 5 2023 (IPS)
In 2015, 193 countries adopted the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development as “a shared plan for peace and prosperity for people and the planet.”
We are now halfway towards the target date for achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), and while the world has made some progress over the past seven years, many challenges remain.
The UN’s annual SDG Progress Report, which was published in July, triggered serious alarm bells. Of the 140 targets for Agenda 2030 for which data is readily available, 30% have remained static or even seen some backsliding.
In Latin America and the Caribbean, ECLAC estimates that two-thirds of the SDG targets require urgent policy action.
Boosting partnerships for the goals
In Cuba, where I have served as the UN Resident Coordinator over the last nine months, our team has been working closely with the Government and other development partners to close the remaining gaps in the country’s SDG targets.
Underpinning these efforts was the recent launch of Cuba’s first Integrated National Financing Framework (INFF); a system which brings together and aligns different sources of financing to boost sustainable development in the country.
The INFF, which was jointly prepared by five Cuban economic and financial institutions, together with the UN country team, offers a roadmap for development financing in Cuba through public policy recommendations, analytical tools, opportunities for new partnerships and strengthened capacities among key development partners.
Despite the challenging circumstances – including Cuba’s exclusion from international financial mechanisms and the severe external restrictions imposed on its economy– the INFF is bringing innovative ideas and creating space for meaningful engagement between government actors, academics and other national and international experts to make informed policy decisions.
In fact, our joint efforts to support Cuba’s INFF process recently received the ‘UN SIDS Partnerships Award’, which recognizes initiatives that boost partnerships for sustainable development in Small Island Developing States.
Next, we need to address complex development challenges in the most open and participative way possible. This also means developing innovative thinking and cultivating political will in the decision-making sphere.
This vision for the future of global cooperation was firmly set out by the UN Secretary-General in the ‘Our Common Agenda’ report launched last year. The report highlights the role of science, technology and innovation in overcoming development challenges, and delivering transformative change in the fields of renewable energy, green economies and inclusive education systems.
As head of the Group of 77+China over the past year, Cuba has actively contributed to giving voice to this kind of transformative vision. The countries in the Group represent two-thirds of the United Nations membership and 80% of the world’s population.
As such, they have found an epicenter in Havana for consensus-building in key areas such as education, culture and the environment. Last month, Cuba hosted the G-77+China summit– a milestone moment to address the central issue of bridging the North-South development gap, including through technology and innovation.
Soon after this meeting, all eyes turned to the SDG Summit at the UN General Assembly in New York in September, which offered a rallying point for Cuba, and the rest of the world to accelerate joint action to reach the targets of the 2030 Agenda.
Our UN team in Cuba is part of this movement; standing side by side with the national authorities and partners to advance the SDGs across the country. It is in this context that the process to start formulating Cuba’s new UN Sustainable Development Cooperation Framework– the roadmap which guides the UN’s joint development planning in the country over a five-year period- is about to begin.
The second half of the journey towards achieving the 2030 Agenda represents a decisive hour for sustainable development in Cuba and around the world. Our UN team is committed to supporting Cuba over this finish line.
Francisco Pichon is the UN Resident Coordinator in Cuba. This article was adapted from a version originally published in Prensa Latina.
Source: UN Development Coordination Office
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