In recent decades, the economy has expanded globally, social indicators have improved for many, and the proportion of people living in absolute poverty has fallen. Yet we have also seen a dramatic rise in inequalities within and between countries, and the concentration of wealth and power in fewer and fewer hands. Many people, particularly the poorest and most marginalized, are being excluded from development and falling farther and farther behind. This only breeds frustration and mistrust, and undermines progress and peace.
Rising inequalities and pervasive discrimination are not inevitable. Rather, they are the result of decades of policies and dynamics that have undercut equality and rolled back efforts to build better lives for all. This contradicts the very purposes and principles of the United Nations, as enshrined in the Charter’s commitment to “equal rights”, “better standards of life” and the “economic and social advancement of all peoples”. The United Nations system is therefore duty-bound to combat these trends.
The transformative 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, including its Sustainable
Development Goals, offers fresh hope, setting out a new paradigm for more inclusive and sustainable development to ensure freedom from fear and want for all people, without discrimination. If that hope is to be realized, all stakeholders must act urgently in a whole-of-society effort to implement the new Agenda, working in partnership to address the root causes of conflict and deprivation — including discrimination, marginalization, exclusion and other human rights abuses — and to halt and reverse the deepening divisions in our societies.
It was with this vision in mind that the United Nations System Chief Executives Board for
Coordination committed to put equality and non-discrimination at the heart of the United Nations system’s support to the Sustainable Development Goals. Indeed, inclusive and sustainable development is the best way to prevent conflict and crisis and to generate equitable progress for all people, everywhere.
I count on all United Nations system entities to embrace this Framework for Action and to work with Member States, communities, and our partners in civil society and the private sector to fulfil the promise to build more peaceful, resilient and just societies and to ensure that no one, anywhere, is left behind.