SDG Advocates statement at COP28
12 December 2023

Statement by Members of the United Nations SDG Advocates

For a clear path to fulfilling the SDGs and achieving climate justice

12 December, DUBAI

Merely seven years.

That’s how long we have to fulfill the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and to halve global greenhouse gas emissions - a key milestone on the path to secure a sustainable future for all.

We defined and agreed on the 17 Global Goals as a critical roadmap for putting humanity on the right track for a better future, and as a guide to the efforts from governments and society to tackle hunger, poverty, climate change, biodiversity loss, and inequality while driving progress on health, education, justice and peace.

At the recent SDG Summit during UNGA opening week, the UN Secretary-General António Guterres raised the alarm about our lack of progress on the SDGs. In sum, we are way behind with only 15% of the targets on track. This alarm rings louder here at COP28 when we address our failure to secure life on our planet and in halting the crises that affects half of humanity.

Whether they are rising sea levels, wildfires destroying livelihoods and forests, torrential floods that leave thousands without homes in just a few days, or extended droughts that are leaving so many without nourishment or means to produce food - this polycrisis is not only about the way we are impacted by climate driven disasters; it is also about how well-fitted we are to face them.

Unfortunately, the reality is that we, the peoples of this complex world, do not all have the same technological or financial capacities to face such impacts and rebuild our lives, livelihoods and economies after they have been impacted by extreme weather phenomena. We must resist the false assumption that all countries and people’s experiences are the same – and should respond to -- climate change in the same way.

We call on the negotiators here in Dubai to address the fundamental drivers of the social, environmental and economic injustices that aggravate the climate emergency, and perpetuate the cycle of inequalities between peoples and nations.

The poorer nations need much better access to capital. Those who have contributed the least to climate change are the ones suffering the most with the least financial support. We began this COP by operationalizing the global fund on loss and damage, with pledges of over $700 million to provide the most vulnerable with the resources they need to respond to the worst impacts of climate change. That’s a start, but there is much more to do in a world where climate damages are now several hundred billion dollars each year. We will need to go far beyond the $100 billion promised long ago and we will need to mobilize vastly greater flows for adaptation funding, in part by an expansion of the Green Climate Fund.

We must come together to build an international financial architecture that is fit for purpose. We call on the major economies, in the G20 and other fora, to help address the SDG financing gap.

We also have the technology to support adaptation and build resilience. In light of the escalating impact of the climate crisis, the importance of early warning systems is evident. Warning people of upcoming storm, floods or droughts are not a luxury but a much-needed tool to save lives and protect livelihoods. They must be accessible and affordable to all.

We also hope that voices of youth, Indigenous Peoples and women be amplified and fully heard. Their perspectives, knowledge and ideas are absolutely necessary and they must be included at decision-making tables. As agents of change, youth, Indigenous Peoples, and women and girls in all their diversity have great potential to help build a better world, including around climate response – as long as we continue to fight discrimination and ensure they have equal opportunities to succeed and participate in decision-making.
Join us in the call for zero emissions, fossil fuels phase out, a global financial system fit for purpose, and climate justice for all. It is time for credible ambition and urgent action!


Hindou Oumarou Ibrahim
UN Secretary-General’s SDG Advocate
Founder of the Association for Indigenous Women and Peoples of Chad

H.H. Muhammad Sanusi II
UN Secretary-General’s SDG Advocate
14th Emir of Kano

Dia Mirza
UN Secretary-General’s SDG Advocate
Actor and Producer

Brad Smith
UN Secretary-General’s SDG Advocate
Vice-Chair and President of Microsoft

Graça Machel
UN Secretary-General’s SDG Advocate
Founder of Graça Machel Fund

Jeffrey D. Sachs
UN Secretary-General’s SDG Advocate
Director at the Center for Sustainable Development at Columbia University

Edward Ndopu
UN Secretary-General’s SDG Advocate
Award winning activist and humanist

Kailash Satyarthi
UN Secretary-General’s SDG Advocate
2014 Nobel Peace Prize Laureate

Forest Whitaker
UN Secretary-General’s SDG Advocate
Founder of the Whitaker Peace and Development Initiative

Hamdi Ulukaya
UN Secretary-General’s SDG Advocate
CEO of Chobani and Founder of Tent Partnership for Refugees

Richard Curtis
UN Secretary-General’s SDG Advocate
Film Writer, Director and Co-Founder of Project Everyone

Valentina Muñoz Rabanal
UN Secretary-General’s SDG Advocate
Feminist and Digital Rights Activist

Media Contacts

Solmy Lee (New York)

Diego Casaes (Dubai)