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UPDATED: August 18, 2015 Web Exclusive
Opening up a New Era
UN's 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development is of historical significance
By Ding Ying

UN Under Secretary General for Economic and Social Affairs Wu Hongbo speaks during an interview with Xinhua News Agency in New York City on August 3 (XINHUA)

On August 2, 193 UN member states agreed on a draft blueprint for sustainable development in New York City after more than two years of tough negotiations. The agreement, entitled "Transforming Our World: The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development," is expected to be approved by a UN development summit in September.

"The agreement marks the first time in history that the whole of human society has reached consensus on the concept of development," said Wu Hongbo, UN Under Secretary General for Economic and Social Affairs, in an interview with Xinhua News Agency.

According to Wu, the agenda contains three basic aspects of development--economic development, social progress and environment protection, which are inseparable from one another. "It is applicable to all countries in the world, poor or rich," he stressed, "All UN member states have participated in the discussion. We believe the agenda has an extremely firm and strong basis."

The agenda has 17 sustainable development goals (SDGs) and 169 sub-SDGs, which are divided into five categories--human beings, the globe, prosperity, peace and partners.

"For the sake of our children and future generations, and for that of the earth itself, we must stick to the path of sustainable development," Wu pointed out.

The SDGs, which address issues ranging from poverty, gender equality and economic development to climate change and protection of ocean resources, are set to replace the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), a set of eight anti-poverty targets to be reached by the end of this year. According to the final report on the MDGs released by the UN on July 6, more than 1 billion people have been lifted out of extreme poverty since 1990. The report highlighted achievements in areas such as securing access to safe drinking water, universal primary education, child and maternal health, gender equality and eliminating hunger, among many others. However, the report also stressed the need for more work as part of the post-2015 development agenda and the proposed SDGs to ensure that the poorest and most vulnerable people are not left behind.

Wu revealed that the new development agenda also includes regulations concerning the implementation of enforcement and related tracking and supervision systems, which enable the agenda as a complete global development blueprint. "We will be much more confidence of turning the SDGs into reality," Wu added.

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