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Businesses need to be more involved to reach UN targets on poverty and hunger: Ban Ki-moon

RIYADH: Governments, businesses and civil society are not working properly together to achieve the UN’s goals of ending poverty and ending hunger by 2030, according to the organisation’s former secretary-general.

Speaking at the World Travel and Tourism Council Global Summit in Riyadh on 29 November, Ban Ki-moon said it was highly unlikely that the world would achieve all 17 Sustainable Development Goals within the next eight years.

Other goals include quality education, gender equality, clean water and sanitation, and affordable and clean energy.

Ki-moon said, “It is almost impossible to achieve our 17 Sustainable Development Goals by 2030, instead it may go beyond 2053. For African countries it may go to 2060.”

He said: “The 17 SDG goals demand a global partnership between governments, business companies and civil societies. When this tripartite partnership starts working, I think we can make it happen.”

During their conversation, they also highlighted the importance of global cooperation and collaboration among governments to achieve sustainability goals.

“Geopolitical tensions, including the ongoing illegal Russian invasion of Ukraine, represent one of the most dangerous moments for global security in decades. I am deeply concerned that world leaders are not united,” he said.

Ki-moon further said that the travel and tourism sector can play an important role in uniting the world.

“The travel and tourism sector has an important role to play in ensuring cross-border cooperation that will result in a peaceful and sustainable future, based on justice, solidarity and prosperity,” Ki-moon said.

Citing a report by the United Nations World Food Programme, the former Secretary-General warned that by 2023 at least 1.9 billion people would suffer from poverty, famine and starvation.

He further said that climate change is burning the earth, and if adequate climate action is not taken, humans will witness the sixth mass extinction in the next 100 years.

“Our planet is on fire, both literally and figuratively. The climate crisis is deepening with rising temperatures, raging floods and rising sea levels. Climate change is coming faster than we think,” said Ki-moon.

He said that the business community, with the help of governments, can play an important role in changing the future of planet Earth.

“The business community can change the world for the better by investing wisely, thus achieving the Sustainable Development Goals and also helping to implement the Paris Climate Agreement,” he added.