The United Nations 193-member states agreed on Sunday on an agenda for the world’s sustainable development over the next 15 years that pledges to leave no-one behind and is now due to be formally adopted by world leaders at a summit in September.
After two weeks of final negotiations and several all-night sessions, the sustainable development agenda of 17 goals and a declaration that covers implementation and review were agreed by consensus to replace eight Millennium Development Goals.
There was a standing ovation and cheering by diplomats when the agenda was agreed. U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon’s Chef de Cabinet Susana Malcorra described the agreement as “historic” but warned that the work ahead is immense.
“The sheer size, the depth and the complexity of this agenda challenges all of us, challenges the United Nations,” she said.
The eight Millennium Development Goals had helped focus attention on the needs of poor nations for the past 15 years.
The new Sustainable Development Goals will aim to eradicate hunger and extreme poverty, reduce inequality within and between states, achieve gender equality, improve water management and energy, and take urgent action to combat climate change.
Meeting the goals would cost between $3.3 trillion and $4.5 trillion a year in state spending, investment and aid, analysts say, an amount roughly equivalent to the United States 2016 federal budget of $3.8 trillion.
More than 100 countries agreed on a framework in Ethiopia last month to bankroll the sustainable development goals by mobilizing domestic resources such as taxes, leverage private investment and channel foreign assistance.
World leaders will meet from Sept. 25-27 at the United Nations in New York to formally adopt the new sustainable development agenda. Pope Francis will address the United Nations before the summit starts.