Expo 2020 galvanises global goals

10 January 2022
Media briefing hosted by Expo 2020 Dubai and United Nations stresses the need for conversations and actions around the sustainable development goals

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A media briefing held both virtually and in-situ at Expo 2020 Dubai on Monday 10 January has set the stage for the upcoming Global Goals week at expo. 

Maher Nasser, commissioner-general of the United Nations (UN) at Expo 2020 said that progress towards achieving the 17 sustainable development goals (SDGs) by 2030 thus far has been limited and not bereft of challenges. 

"Even before Covid-19, the world was not ready to achieve the SDGs," said Nasser. "We were not any closer to achieving gender equality or reducing poverty. Progress has not been even across the world and even within nations."

Nasser notes that it was this progress update that prompted the UN to launch the Decade of Action in September 2019, to galvanise efforts surrounding the goals and enhance the involvement of governments, businesses and individuals alike.

The pandemic has, however, further derailed the goals. For the first time since 1998, the number of people living in extreme poverty has increased, with a rise from 8.4 per cent in 2019 to 9.5 per cent in 2020, undoing the progress made since 2016. It has also worsened the issue of hunger and widened socio-economic inequality.

"[The Global Goals week] is a reminder of the further action required by governments, businesses and individuals, so we can come back on track," said Nasser. "We need to use the recovery from Covid-19 to build back better."

Running between 15-22 January, the thematic week will bring together governments, businesses and non-profits to jointly accelerate the progress towards the 17 SDGs. This is the first time that the Global Goals week will be held outside the United Nations General Assembly in New York City.

"[Global Goals week] is the most important of all our weeks, because it underpins all the global challenges we have been addressing throughout our 10 thematic weeks," said Sconaid McGeachin, senior vice-president, communications, Expo 2020, during the briefing. "We have the largest global gathering here at Expo, we have all the countries and everybody is focused and wants to play their part in addressing the challenges."

Participants during the week will include speakers such as Reem al-Hashimy, UAE Minister of State for International Cooperation and Director General, Expo 2020 Dubai; Mohammed al-Najjar, Minister of Water and Irrigation, Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan; Amina Mohammed, deputy secretary-general, UN; Sanda Ojiambo, COO and executive director, UN Global Compact; and Jerome Foster II, White House advisor, White House environmental justice advisory council.

The SDGs, launched in 2015 by the UN, provide actionable targets for 193 participating member states to address issues including poverty, gender inequality and climate change. 

Lead image: (L) Maher Nasser, commissioner-general of the UN at Expo 2020 Dubai, and director of the Outreach Division in the UN Department of Global Communications; and (R) Sconaid McGeachin, senior vice president communications at Expo 2020 Dubai speaks during the Global Goals Week media briefing at Expo Media Centre, Expo 2020 Dubai. (Photo by Antony Fleyhan /Expo 2020 Dubai)

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