PM Sarec Attends UN General Assembly and UN sustainable development goals summit

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Slovenia’s prime minister Marjan Šarec attended the 74th session of the UN General Assembly, and took part in the UN sustainable development goals summit. This year’s General Assembly session is centred around the theme of galvanising multilateral efforts for poverty eradication, quality education, climate action and inclusion.

The Prime Minister took part in the discussions at this year’s sustainable development goals summit, which aims to provide a comprehensive review of progress in meeting the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development (Agenda 2030). This is the first UN summit on sustainable development goals since the adoption of Agenda 2030 in September 2015.

Agenda 2030 is based on previous international commitments, including the millennium development goals and the Millennium Declaration. It builds on the success of the millennium goals, and faces up to the challenges that the millennium goals were unable to resolve. At the same time Agenda 2030 addresses the goals and areas that have presented by far the greatest challenges to the world since 2000. These include demographic trends and economic growth, environmental degradation, rising inequality within countries and between countries, climate change, and scientific and technological progress. All of these challenges could trigger a chain reaction, as the world is ever-more connected through developments in different ecosystems, and through flows of goods, capital, people, information and knowledge. These are global trends, but the circumstances in which they occur affect individuals, communities and countries differently.

The prime minister appeared at the UN sustainable development goals summit as part of the leaders’ dialogues entitled Megatrends impacting the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals, and emphasised that there are clear socioeconomic trends affecting our ability to meet all 17 of the sustainable development goals. “Demographic changes, environmental degradation, globalisation and technological innovation are the megatrends shaping tomorrow’s standard of living and wellbeing. They are both opportunities and challenges,” he said, before adding that these challenges demand leadership, responsibility and long-term measures. He stressed the need for cooperation at national, regional and global levels: “Between governments, the world of business, civil society, young and old, we must be united and aligned in addressing global challenges.” The prime minister also noted that specific regional and national trends require long-term, strategically measured political decisions.

He emphasised that Slovenia is ambitious in meeting the Agenda 2030 goals. This year’s UN report on the realisation of the 2030 Agenda sustainable development goals ranks Slovenia in 12th place out of 162 countries. It has been particularly successful in eradicating severe forms of poverty and in ensuring access to green energy resources. “We want to be leaders in the area of environmental protection. I am proud that Green Destinations declared Slovenia to be world’s first green destination,” he said, before pointing out that although Slovenia is often described as a green country because almost two-thirds of it is covered by forest and one-third is farmland, “being green does not begin in the landscape, but in the way of thinking, the way of life and the attitude to nature.” According to the prime minister, this is why we are “particularly concerned about the huge fires in the Amazon rainforest, and in the Arctic Circle.”

He ended his address by noting that Slovenia adopted its new Slovenia 2030 development strategy in 2017, which the OECD recognised as one of the first national development documents in the world to fully link every national development goal to Agenda 2030 and its 17 goals. Slovenia is also showing its determination to meet the Agenda 2030 goals by announcing that in 2020 it will conduct its second national review of the realisation of Agenda 2030, which is based on the process of the high-level political forum for sustainable development under the auspices of the UN’s Economic and Social Council.

During the first day and the opening of the 74th session of the UN General Assembly, the prime minister held bilateral talks and meetings with a number of figures, including Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, president of Ghana, Jüri Ratas, prime minister of Estonia, and Xavier Bettel, prime minister of Luxembourg. The talks with President Akufo-Addo focused on opportunities for furthering economic cooperation between the two countries, which is strengthening, while the discussions with the prime ministers of Estonia and Luxembourg dealt with subjects related to the challenges facing the EU.

Today, alongside the General Assembly, the prime minister is also attending a reception hosted for delegation heads by President Trump and his Slovenian wife, Melania.

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