Businesses need to be more involved to reach UN goals on poverty and hunger: Ban Ki-moon

RIYADH: UN goals on ending poverty and eradicating hunger by 2030 are set to be missed as governments, businesses, and civil societies are not working properly together, according to the organization’s former secretary-general.

Speaking at the World Travel and Tourism Council Global Summit in Riyadh on Nov. 29, Ban Ki-moon said that it is extremely unlikely the world will achieve all 17 sustainable development goals within the next eight years.

Other targets include quality education, gender equality, clean water and sanitation, and affordable and clean energy.

“It is almost impossible to achieve our 17 sustainable development goals by 2030, instead it may go beyond 2053. For African countries, it may go up to 2060,” said Ki-moon.

He added: “The 17 SDG goals demand global partnerships between governments, business companies and civil societies. When this trilateral partnership starts working, then I think we can do it.”

During his talk, he also highlighted the importance of having global collaboration and cooperation between governments to achieve sustainability goals.

“Geopolitical tensions including the illegal ongoing Russian aggression on Ukraine represent one of the most dangerous moments for global security in decades. I am deeply concerned that world leaders are not united,” he added.

Ki-moon further noted that the travel and tourism sector can play a crucial role in uniting the world.

“The travel and tourism sector has a crucial role to play in ensuring cross-border collaboration, which will result in a peaceful and sustainable future, underpinned by justice, solidarity and prosperity,” Ki-moon added.

Citing a UN World Food Program report, the former Secretary General warned that there will be at least 1.9 billion people who will be suffering from poverty, famine, and starvation by 2023.

He went on and said that climate change is burning the earth, and humans will witness a sixth mass extinction in the next 100 years if sufficient climate actions are not taken.

“Our planet is on fire, both literally and figuratively as the climate crisis is deepening with surging temperatures, raging floods, and rising sea levels. Climate change is approaching much faster than one may think,” said Ki-moon.

He pointed out that business communities, with the help of governments, can play a pivotal part in changing the future of planet Earth.

“Business communities can change the world in a better manner by investing wisely, thus achieving sustainable development goals and also helping implement the Paris climate agreement,” he said.

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