Starting on September 25, world leaders will gather at the United Nations for a summit to adopt the next set of global development goals, followed by high-level debate of the 70th session of the UN General Assembly.
The UN is the one place where every country of the world has a voice on the issues that matter to all of us. As we approach the start of what is commonly known as UN 70, here are seven key issues to watch:
1. Coming together around global goals for people and the planet: From September 25-27, representatives from 193 countries will gather to adopt the next set of global goals, known as the Sustainable Development Goals, which will guide international development efforts for the next 15 years. These goals, created for the people and by people from around the world in the most inclusive process in UN history, form a shared agenda for a healthy world where no child lives in poverty and every child lives with opportunity.
2. Taking Urgent Action on Climate Change: As leaders gather at the UN, the need for climate action will be top of mind. On Friday, September 25, Pope Francis will address the UN General Assembly on issues impacting humanity, and it’s expected he will speak about climate change during his visit to the U.S. Additionally, the Sustainable Development Goals include goals on climate action and environmental protection – an important recognition of the link between the wellbeing of people and the planet, and a springboard for momentum as world leaders gather in Paris in December to reach a climate change agreement.
How to engage: To view Pope Francis’ speech, watch webtv.un.org/ at 8:30am ET on Friday, September 25. You can also watch the Sustainable Development Goals Summit from September 25-27 at webtv.un.org/.
3. Improving Women’s, Children’s, and Adolescents’ Health: Healthy families are the key to healthy communities and a healthy world. In 2010, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon launched the Every Woman Every Child initiative to mobilize governments, businesses, academia, health institutions, and others partners to strengthen the health of women and children. Since then, incredible progress has been made to save the lives of women and children. As we prepare to launch the next set of global goals, the Secretary-General will launch an updated Global Strategy for Women’s, Children’s, and Adolescents’ Health to guide global efforts under the new development agenda.
4. Equal Opportunities for Girls and Women: Empowering girls and women is the right thing to do and the smart thing to do to realize the promise of the global goals. Twenty years ago, world leaders gathered in Beijing to commit to gender equality. While we’ve made significant progress since then, no country in the world has achieved equality. On September 27, UN Women and the People’s Republic of China will mark 20 years since the historic conference in Beijing with an event where participants are encouraged to make commitments to realize gender equality goals.
5. Advancing Innovative Solutions for a Better World: Science, technology, and innovation will be key to advancing solutions to improve lives and achieve the global goals. Two events will feature cutting-edge ideas and technologies that are helping solve international challenges. From September 27-28, the annual Social Good Summit will explore how technology and new media can be leveraged to make progress on global problems. Additionally, on the evening of September 27, the UN Foundation and other partners have put together a Solutions Summit to highlight and encourage innovative solutions for the global goals.
How to engage: Learn more about the Social Good Summit and watch online from September 27-28 at www.socialgoodsummit.com. Learn more about the Solutions Summit at www.solutions-summit.org/ and watch live from 6pm-7:30pm ET at webtv.un.org/.
6. Strengthening Peacekeeping: Around the world, more than 120,000 people serve in UN peacekeeping operations, working to restore and maintain peace in some of the world’s most dangerous places. On September 28, U.S. President Barack Obama and other world leaders will convene at the UN to discuss strengthening peace operations and to announce new contributions to UN Peacekeeping.
How to engage: Tune in on Monday, September 28 from 3:00pm-6:00pm ET to watch the Leaders’ Summit on Peacekeeping live: webtv.un.org/.
7. Aiding Refugees: Right now, nearly 60 million people have been forced to flee their homes because of violence, conflict, and persecution. The UN is on the frontlines of aiding these people in their greatest hour of need, but its humanitarian work is severely underfunded, and as we’ve seen in the news, countries need to do more to respond to the refugee crisis. On September 30, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon will host a high-level meeting to “mobilize a humane, effective, and rights-based response to the refugee crisis.”