Implementation of #SDGs calls for further mobilization with more concrete actions

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All participants from the inter-ministerial conference on the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development pose in front of the UN logo | ©UNRIC

Thursday, 23 November 2017 - Stakeholders from all levels of society took part in a one-day inter-ministerial conference on Belgium’s current implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development (22 November 2017) in Brussels. High-level speakers such as Ms. Barbara Pesce-Monteiro, the United Nations Representative in Belgium and former UN Special Rapporteur on the right to food, Professor Olivier De Schutter, set the tone for the event by revealing the enormous challenges and consequences that remain under the current engagement levels.

Olivier De Schutter highlighted that we must all start changing the way we live. "Combating inequality matters and our lifestyles matter to meeting the sustainable development goals. We need a whole of society approach and the center of gravity for political innovation lies within cities and people. We have an impressive set of initiatives run by associations in Belgium that provide civic platforms between people and the government.”

The participants from the conference on Sustainable Development listen closely to the first speaker, Olivier De Schutter | © UNRIC

In her speech, Ms Pesce-Monteiro welcomed Belgium’s commitment but urged even more ambition with more progress. “We've hit the sustainable development goals walking not running. More still needs to be done. It has to be about having a new vision, a new paradigm with implementation from all sectors. We want Europe to be leading from the front and Belgium is in a strong position to be a champion of change.”

The participants from the conference on Sustainable Development listen closely to the UN Secretary-General representative in Belgium | © UNRIC

Several interactive thematic round-table discussions then followed allowing participants to pinpoint and discuss in greater detail how Belgium can tackle the current obstacles and oversee a truly transformative multi-stakeholder approach.The SDG Action Hub provided a space for visitors to learn about the human stories behind development challenges with UN Virtual Reality (UNVR) as well as an SDG photo exhibition which served as platform to generate dialogues between civil society and representatives from the Belgian Governments and the UN. An approach that brings together harmonized actions from all sectors of society with direct results leading to the implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.

Professor Jean-Pascal van Ypersele, one of 15 eminent scientists responsible for drafting the UN Global Sustainable Development Report, closed the conference and stressed the need for concrete actions today with time running out. “There has been an urgency for the last thirty years already. Climate change will soon be irreversible and threatens any hope of us having a future world let alone a sustainable one. Our present development patterns are on a crash collision course. Lifestyle changes must now be made and facilitated by decision-makers here.”

We went around #Brussels and asked the 'man/woman on the street', Do you know what the #SDGs are? How can we work towards meeting the SDGs and which goal is closest to your heart.