The SDGs are a blueprint for fighting poverty and hunger, confronting the climate crisis and achieving gender equality by 2030. The path to achieve sustainability exists, outlined in the SDGs or, as we like to call them the World’s To-Do List.
The first SDG Moment, 28 September 2020
Setting the stage for UNGA 75, our inaugural SDG Moment focused on finding the solutions to “recover better from COVID-19 and deliver the SDGs by 2030.” United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres emphasized that although the COVID-19 pandemic had brought a new, grievous challenge, it also introduced an opportunity for action and ambition.
He issued a powerful and inspiring call to action:
“The COVID-19 pandemic, the greatest challenge faced by us since the founding of the United Nations has brought us low.
But we will not be beaten.
We, too, must look beyond the current crisis and set our sights high, as we strike out for a world of dignity and opportunity for all on a healthy planet.
Together, let us make this a decade of action; a decade of ambition; a decade of transformation; a decade of hope and peace." - António Guterres, United Nations Secretary-General
The Second SDG Moment, 20 September 2021
The Moment’s goal was to “provide a snapshot of progress, highlight actions that show change is possible, and advance the transformations needed to achieve the 2030 Agenda.” The event mainly focused on gender equality, connectivity, youth in action, localizing the SDGs, and effective and inclusive institutions.
One important highlight was the contributions of youth advocates. They shared their experience and thoughts on issues that not only pertain to their own age demographic, but those that affect everyone. Memorably, a member of the UN Secretary-General’s Youth Advisory Group on Climate Change, Vladislav Kaim, stressed that young people are “not the future but the present.” He praised the key role that young people have played in the climate action movement. Kaim clarified that this role is often “forced upon them” by the failures of political leaders, and advocated for young people struggling to work without the resources available to those at decision-making levels. Similarly, Yande Banda, Chair of Transform Education, called upon young people to take on positions of power, and to fight for their full and systematic inclusion in leadership roles, free from patriarchal standards.
Another event to remember in 2021's SDG Moment was the electrifying performance by Korean pop sensation, BTS. Ahead of their appearance, the band members joined the United Nations’ Keep The Promise campaign, which aims to unite individuals and communities around the world to adopt the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals and contribute to their fulfillment by 2030.
The artists discussed how their generation felt lost last year at the peak of the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020 as graduations and other key milestones were canceled. In response, they sent a message of encouragement to all people around the globe. Several band members Junkook and J Hope shared these beautiful yet poignant messages:
"I hope we just don't consider the future as grim darkness. We have people concerned for the world and searching for answers. There are still many pages left in the story about us and I feel like we shouldn't talk like the ending has already been written.” - Junkook