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UN adopts new goals, Pope addresses General Assembly

By ZHANG YUCHEN in New York (China Daily USA)

Updated: 2015-09-26 03:58:55


The United Nations on Friday adopted a new sustainable development agenda at the start of its three-day Sustainable Development Summit.

With 17 global goals and 169 objectives at its core involving issues such as food security, health, education, gender equality, and especially eradicating extreme poverty and protecting the environment, the agenda was adopted by all 193 member states.

"The new agenda is a promise by leaders to all people everywhere. It is a universal, integrated and transformative vision for a better world," said UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon at the summit's opening ceremony.

"It is an agenda for people, to end poverty in all its forms," he said. "An agenda for the planet, our common home."

In an address to the UN General Assembly before the summit opening, Pope Francis called on global financial institutions to ensure that countries "are not subjected to oppressive lending systems which, far from promoting progress, subject people to mechanisms which generate greater poverty, exclusion and dependence."

During his remarks on the adoption of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development Goals, the pope also said he has "similar confidence that the Paris Conference on Climatic Change will secure fundamental and effective agreements."

General Assembly President Mogens Lykketoft called the 2030 Agenda on Sustainable Development "ambitious" in confronting the injustices of poverty, marginalization and discrimination.

“We recognize the need to reduce inequalities and to protect our common home by changing unsustainable patterns of consumption and production,'' he said. ``And, we identify the overwhelming need to address the politics of division, corruption and irresponsibility that fuel conflict and hold back development.”

The adoption process for the agenda started during the Rio + 20 Conference in 2012. The objectives should guide national and international cooperation activities policies in the next 15 years, succeeding the Millennium Development Goals.

On Sept 21, China published its position paper on the 70th anniversary of the UN. The document highlighted the UN's irreplaceable role in promoting peace and security, development and human rights, calling the UN the most representative inter-governmental international organization. The paper called on member states to defend the purposes and principles of the UN Charter.

Chinese President Xi Jinping will address the Summit on Sept 28.

On Thursday night, thousands of people gathered in the square opposite UN headquarters to show their support for the sustainable agenda goals. Called "Under the Sky", the gathering held a light show with candles, flashlights, cell phones and other types of lights, and called for ``a better world."