Protecting people and planet, promoting prosperity: UNEP director Achim Steiner talked about how to integrate sustainability in development after the UN member countries adopted the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
On September 25, the193 United Nations member states committed to the SDGs, intending to end poverty and hunger, protect the environment, and fight inequality in the next 15 years.
In an interview with DW, Achim Steiner, Executive Director of the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), said he was confident that "all countries support the SDGs". The reasons were obvious, Steiner added: "We see crisis in so many different countries: unemployment, poverty, pollution, depletion of natural resources. These crises are not distant, as they once seemed to be." The refugee situation was one example which "shows the entire world we need to act collectively."
According to Steiner, no end to the recent developments was in sight, considering the world population is projected to reach 8.5 billion by 2030: "As rising seas and escalating natural disasters wreak worsening havoc across the world, the number of people displaced from their homes may one day dwarf the magnitude of the crisis in Europe now." He believes the current refugee crisis could motivate countries to adopt the SDGs seriously.
Quoting a UN calculation that requires an annual investment of up to seven trillion US dollars in order to deliver the SDGs, Steiner said UNEP’s aim was "to inspire governments to act – but also civil society and business sectors." He urged leaders to "develop policies for the new green, circular economy, and innovative financial instruments that foster prosperity and resource efficiency."
DW’s web special ‘My2030’ analyses the challenges related to the new SDG’s and gives people around the world a voice. They tell what they want their world to look like in 2030.