Remarks at a High-Level Political Forum on Sustainable Development Town Hall Meeting

Jonathan Shrier
Deputy U.S. Representative for ECOSOC
New York, New York
July 10, 2023


Thank you, Madam, President, and thank you to today’s excellent panelists.

Excellencies, colleagues, as we gather today, the world is facing an array of complex and interlinked challenges:  the lingering effects of the COVID-19 pandemic; a global food security crisis exacerbated by  conflict and resulting food and energy price volatility and supply chain disruptions; rising poverty and inequality; and increasingly frequent and pervasive climate impacts that have reversed or stalled the last two decades of development gains, especially in the poorest and most vulnerable countries.  These compounding crises – and their impact on countries’ ability to make critical investments in health, education, and other core development priorities – represent serious obstacles to achieving the SDGs.

As with the UN Charter, our commitment to full implementation of the 2030 Agenda and achievement of all 17 SDGs is grounded in our belief in a free, open, prosperous, and secure international system – and ultimately in our determination to uphold the inherent dignity of every human being.  Moreover, we believe economic development is transformative for all countries – including the United States.  We are all in this together.

In the U.S. National Security Strategy, President Biden highlighted the need to redouble our efforts to reduce poverty and hunger and expand access to education to get back on track to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals by 2030.  At the federal, state, and local level, the United States is making good on this call to action both domestically and internationally.  Panelists today addressed SDG 2 – zero hunger.  Since last year, the United States has provided over $14 billion in humanitarian and development aid to fight food insecurity and remains the single largest donor to each of the Rome-based food agencies.

Indeed, we are investing toward progress across all 17 SDGs including water, energy, climate, sustainable cities, and many of the other SDGs that will be the focus of our discussions over the next two weeks.  Over each of the last two years, the United States has provided over $50 billion in total official development assistance and leveraged billions more in private finance for development projects.

Across our development work, the United States emphasizes the principles and best practices that underlie durable progress and impact, including transparency and accountability; high environmental, social, and labor standards; inclusion; respect for human rights; and local partnerships supported by foreign assistance and sound, sustainable financing.

Madam President, we know that achieving gender equality is foundational to the 2030 Agenda and a key accelerator to achieving all 17 SDGs.  We cannot advance development without women and girls and their leadership, their full, equal, and meaningful participation, and the full realization of their human rights.

The bottom line is this:  we can meet even these most daunting global challenges if we translate our commitment to the SDGs into meaningful action at all levels and do so with the urgency and ambition that this moment calls for.  We are strongest together – and when we mobilize the power of collective action to tackle shared goals.  Thank you.