Ladies and Gentlemen of the press, I humbly welcome you to this very important Press Conference. This briefing couldn’t have come at a better time due to the exigency of the situation, especially at this critical period. Every Action Counts! [Brain Builders Youth Development Initiative] is Joining Forces to Mobilize Millions to Take Action on the Sustainable Development Goals. This press briefing is part of the activities marking this year’s United Nations General Assembly and Global Week of Action.

Olasupo Abideen, ED, CEO Brain Builders Youth Development Initiative

As we all know the 77th Session of the United Nations General Assembly started already Tuesday, 13 September 2022 with the theme, “A watershed moment: transformative solutions to interlocking challenges”.

This year’s theme acknowledges the impact of crises such as COVID-19, climate change, and conflict around the world with a focus on seeking solutions that build global sustainability and resilience against it.

The development of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) is one of the major highlights of the 21st century. After the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), it was clear that for the world to reach its desired destination, we needed another set of actionable goals. But it’s been seven years since the beginning of the SDGs; the question remains, how well have we performed in actualizing the goals?

The agenda 2030 of the SDG is under threat. The unprecedented impact of the Covid-19 pandemic set us several steps back. Although the pandemic was also a test of our resolve, it showed how much work still needed to be done.

Today, there is still a myriad of issues facing the global community. The recent floods in Pakistan; the war in Ukraine, the growing number of out-of-school children in Nigeria, and many others, are sufficient reasons to strive for a sustainable world. We need all hands on deck to achieve a more peaceful and just society where every life is protected and our planet is cared for.

The Covid-19 pandemic pushed humanity’s resilience to the limit and continues to have vast impacts on the lives of people and the wider social, economic and environmental fabric of our world. Hundreds of millions of people lost their jobs and income and were pushed into poverty.

These events have shone a glaring light on the persistent and underlying injustices and inequalities of our societies.

We need to transform a system that is no longer fit for purpose, flip the script and re-imagine our planet as our shared home, respecting the rights of all people and the natural world.

The recovery must leave no one behind… there is still time to deliver sustainable development within the Decade of Action… if leaders in each country act for Peace, Climate & Justice.

Will you take action?

  1. Peace

Now is the time to step back from armed conflicts, militarism must be reduced around the world:

The war in Ukraine comes in a human context where armed conflict, violence in all its forms, authoritarianism, corruption and indiscriminate repression affects the lives of millions of people around the globe and violate the human rights of people – young and old – in countries around the world. All lives affected by conflict are of equal value. Wars and conflicts are one of the major factors leading to increasing poverty in the world.

●        We call on your support for an immediate end to the war in Ukraine – a ceasefire and a withdrawal of Russian forces, and the phased removal of all sanctions according to an agreed timeline. 

●        We further call for a global commitment from states to reduce military expenditures and to shift these funds to address the shortfall in financing for the achievement of Agenda 2030 commitments, such as on social protection and clean energy.

  1. Climate

Will you join us to call for an end to the fossil fuel era? We call on you to stop financing of coal energy sources by the end of 2022 and shift funding towards clean and green R&D, fully address loss and damages from climate impacts, and solutions that provide quality jobs to power the future ethically and sustainably.

●        Deliver on your Paris Agreement goal to limit mean global temperature rise to 1.5C.

●        Protect the ecosystems on which all life depends by strengthening your commitment to international environmental law and reversing biodiversity loss by 2030.

  1. Social Justice

Are you ready to build a more equitable future? Poverty and inequality are once again on the rise in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic. In many countries, people are being pushed back into increasingly fragile situations, with the critical gaps in healthcare and loss of livelihoods being compounded by the lack of sufficient support from governments and international partners.

●        Put in place a ‘Vaccines for all global roadmap’, donor countries must agree to finalise a temporary waiver of intellectual property protections on all Covid-19 technologies in 2022.

●        We further call on you to ensure universal social protection for all including provision of free universal healthcare to ensure everyone on earth has access to free, public, high quality health care across their life course.

  1. Economic Justice

This is the moment to agree on a just recovery for all. We call for an end of austerity and instead a major economic stimulus package that radically reduces inequality, gender inequalities and lays the foundations for a just, equal and sustainable economy.

●        Keep your promises to finance a more just and sustainable future with clear commitments to 0.7% of GDP for development cooperation including at least $50 billion/year for health and social protection

●        Deliver extensive debt cancellations and create a sovereign debt workout mechanism at the UN; increase access to capital for low- and middle-income countries by re-allocating new Special Drawing Rights.

●        Ensure everyone contributes by taxing companies and individuals fairly with progressive tax systems and ending illicit financial flows and tax evasion.

●        Target financial support to reach those who most need it, by prioritising funds for women, disadvantaged minorities, young people, persons with disabilities, older persons, migrants and other most affected groups.  

At Brain Builders Youth Development Initiatives, we have committed ourselves to actualize the SDGs by 2030. We do this not just by words but by actions. That is why this year’s global goals week is another opportunity to onboard more people in our quest for sustainability.

Our past activities speak for us. For example, we collaborated with the University of Ilorin to celebrate the 100 days of SDGs, a vital stakeholder engagement that nurtured hundreds of new SDG advocates.

To ensure that we do not leave anyone behind, we translated the SDGs into local languages and partnered with traditional and religious leaders using town hall meetings on the SDGs to spread the purpose of the goals and the roles that everyone has to play. To corroborate these efforts, we hosted programmes on indigenous radio stations to spread awareness further.

We also appointed state coordinators and campus ambassadors who volunteered to lead various initiatives focused on localizing the goals. We participated in critical stakeholder meetings on the achievement of the global goals at national, regional and international levels. We have published data-driven issue briefs, fact-sheet, and policy statements to highlight the critical actions needed to achieve Agenda 2030.

Despite the remarkable efforts by all our volunteers, we have also realized that there is still a lot more to be done. Hence, we kicked off our activities to mark the United Nations General Assembly 2022 and Global Week of Action with a radio program to discuss the goals and actions to be taken.

This morning, we had a walk to Oja Oba market and conducted a #FliptheScript stunt to raise awareness in the market. We also had a vox-pop citizen engagement where we asked citizens about their expectations for the Global Goals.

On Wednesday, we will have a Peoples Assembly featuring Delegates from the 36 states of the Federation and Six Geo-Political Zones, representatives of private sectors, religious and traditional institutions, marginalized groups, women and youths, academicians, policymakers, Civil Society organizations, and Artiste. In addition, we have invited seasoned facilitators with the hope of doing justice to different topics.

We aim to develop a comprehensive document containing recommendations from different sectors of society to help stakeholders identify the next lines of action as we enter the 8th year of the SDGs. We are confident in the possibility of the goals, but we also recognize that nothing will be achieved without everyone taking action.

TheMiddleBelt Reporters


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