The United Nations Sustainable Development Summit was held from 25-27 September at UN Headquarters in New York. Aim of the Summit is to formally adopt an ambitious new sustainable development agenda which will serve as the launch pad for action by the international community and by national governments to promote shared prosperity and well-being for all over the next 15 years. Goals include end poverty, achieve gender equality, reduce inequality, ensure access to water and many more.
Secretary General of Amnesty International Salil Shetty was the keynote speak of the Summit. He emphasized that Sustainable Development Goals represent people’s aspirations and rights which can and must be realised, by the following tests:
1. The ownership test. The key to success is for poor and marginalised people to be primary decision makers at every stage. The Sustainable Development Goals must be integrated and resourced in national and local plans and budgets and in line with the state’s existing human rights obligations.
2. The accountability test. People should know exactly what governments have promised and what they have delivered – the right to information. And if governments don’t deliver, people should be able to hold them to account through independent mechanisms. It is not enough anymore for governments to say that they are legitimate because they were elected or have a mandate.
3. The non-discrimination test. Inequality is largely the direct result of discrimination based on gender, race, descent, religion or other status and the failure to ensure the rights of Indigenous peoples, minorities, migrants, persons with disabilities, children and the elderly.
4. The Tunisia test or the double standards test. Tunisia had one of the best Millennium Goals performances in the region. But outrage against the persistent human rights violations led to a revolt. Because people’s lives are not divided into development, environment, peace and human rights – only bureaucracies are.
Secretary General of Amnesty International Salil Shetty: “You cannot preach about human rights while using mass surveillance. You cannot lecture about peace while being the world’s largest manufacturers of arms. You cannot allow your corporations to use financial and tax loopholes while railing against corruption. You cannot adopt the Sustainable Development Goals in the name of development and at the same time attack and arrest peaceful protesters and dissenters”
For the full keynote speech please visit here.