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Tijjani Muhammad-Bande (General Assembly President) on the 2020 High-level Political Forum on Sustainable Development (HLPF 2020), 11th meeting
14 Jul 2020 -  Remarks by Tijjani Muhammad-Bande, the President of the UN General Assembly on the 2020 Ministerial Segment of the High-Level Political Forum on Sustainable Development and the High-Level Segment of the Economic and Social Council - 11th meeting.

" (...) Excellencies,
Progress requires financing. We acknowledged this in the Addis Ababa Action Agenda, however in the light of the socio-economic fall-out resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic funding is critical.
The coronavirus pandemic has exacerbated pre-existing systemic and structural inequalities in all countries. Our response must focus on the two-thirds of the world’s population at risk of being left behind.
Markets have closed, supply chains have been disrupted, schools have been shut. Up to 160 million jobs in tourism, manufacturing and commodity sectors in developing countries have been jeopardized threatening economic growth and decent jobs. Those who are malnourished are more likely to have underlying conditions and thus susceptible to more severe symptoms of COVID-19. Social distancing and handwashing are a luxury for too many people living in poverty or fragile contexts. For the most vulnerable people, there will never be a return to normal.
Together, we must work to alleviate the impact on the well-being and livelihoods of people in developing countries and build back better to bolster their economies. In order to move beyond COVID-19 we must uphold our commitments to finance sustainable development efforts.
As we move forward, we need to re-think how we undertake our work. We must forge new partnerships and create vital fiscal space for investments to guarantee sustainable development for countries in need. We need to support the most vulnerable countries from sliding into disorderly defaults. This will require improved governance, fair tax systems and a renewed commitment to eliminate illicit financial flows. Durable solutions emanate from strong political will and resilient institutions.
We have to build economies for the future and ensure decent work for all. This is the foundation of a future where no one is excluded; where the voice of every woman and girl around the world is heard and heeded.
When we sat together at the SDG Summit, we could not have imagined that the HLPF in 2020 would be in an entirely virtual format. I commend the 47 countries presenting Voluntary National Reviews which begin the first year of the second cycle for the follow-up and review of the 2030 Agenda.
We each have something to teach and something to learn and this week we will learn about important developments and experiences at the national level through the Voluntary National Reviews. These VNRs will highlight accelerated actions that can set us up on the transformative pathways necessary to achieve the Goals. Preparation has not been easy, and I applaud all Member States and Major Groups and Other Stakeholders for their determination to succeed despite the crisis.
The reality is our Decade of Action and Delivery has become the Decade of Recovery. The SDGs must be at the forefront of government strategies for recovery to safeguard our communities against future shocks by building resilient systems.
This is a moment of reckoning. Now is the time to build back better, to step up our ambition and translate the Global Goals into local action in order to create the future we want (...)" - Tijjani Muhammad-Bande, the President of the UN General Assembly [Excerpt]
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