New York, 27 September 2015
Mr. Secretary General of the United Nations,
Ladies and Gentlemen.
This historic moment, coinciding with the United Nations’ 70th anniversary celebrations, represents a major turning point in the way we perceive development.
Fifteen years ago, world leaders came together in this city to create an unprecedented multilateral agreement in response to global challenges, embodied in the Millennium Development Goals.
It is important to recognize that, since then, much has been accomplished, but much still remains to be done, requiring a renewed determination from us all, considering lessons learned from the implementation of the Millennium Development Goals and from the world’s development landscape.
The adoption of the 17 Sustainable Development Goals is an unparalleled agreement promoting sustainable development and the eradication of poverty, and envisioning a world where all Human Rights are fully respected.
For this, I would like to commend the United Nations and express my deep appreciation to all those who participated in this major negotiation process.
Today’s world challenges, such as climate change, epidemics and the dramatic situation that migrants and refugees are facing daily, putting their lives at risk, are proof that it is not possible to think of our own welfare and security individually or according to geographic divides.
The universality of the 2030 Agenda is therefore paramount, embodying true shared responsibilities in search of a better future, beyond the traditional and outdated North-South approach, the division between public and private actors and the understanding that Official Development Assistance is the one and only response to our common challenges.
A multiplicity of different actors exist today whose capacity to contribute can, and should, be enhanced. Among these, emerging economies and countries with a growing weight as donors should be taking on accrued responsibilities according to their political, economic and financial capacity.
This agenda also requires, from all of us, a qualitative and results-based approach, geared towards greater policy efficiency and coherence at all levels.
Ladies and Gentlemen,
This is definitively a time of celebration, but also of great responsibility. It is now time to shape the new international cooperation paradigm and implement the commitments contained therein. The United Nations must continue to play an essential role in addressing these global challenges.
Nevertheless, it is up to us – member states, multilateral agencies, parliaments, local authorities, civil society and the private sector – to take ownership, implement and follow-up on these 17 Goals.
Within this framework, it is essential to consider the challenges faced by Fragile States, Least Developed Countries (namely from the African continent) and Small Island Developing States in implementing these goals, requiring, therefore, our special attention.
Portugal has subscribed to the EU commitments for the Addis Ababa Conference, including the commitment to collectively mobilize 0,15%-0,20% GNI for Official Development Assistance to the Least Developed Countries and to prioritizing aid to the African continent.
Portugal’s development cooperation focuses on strengthening the link between peace, security and sustainable development. This approach will continue to represent an absolute priority.
To achieve this aim, we have given special focus on sectors with structuring and multiplying effect on sustainable development, such as governance, rule of law, human rights, education, health and institutional capacity building, as well as the adoption of measures aiming at the empowerment of women and girls and the eradication of all forms of gender-based violence.
Portugal has also pursued significant investments in renewable energies and “blue growth”, with a special focus on protecting our environment, biodiversity, and seas and oceans, all the while aiming at integrating the three dimensions of sustainable development.
Ladies and Gentlemen,
Portugal believes that the implementation of the 2030 Agenda will have to be pursued in true partnership. We will therefore continue to work with and involve civil society and local authorities in implementing the commitments that we will be adopting during this Summit.
We are ready to work in partnership with our fellow members of the Community of Portuguese Speaking Countries (CPLP), to integrate the 2030 Agenda in its work, and we stand ready to do so also in other multilateral fora in which we participate.
We have come a long way since this agenda started its initial negotiations. We are now at the starting point of a new chapter.
Allow me to conclude by reiterating Portugal’s full support to this new Agenda and to the values and principles of the United Nations. We remain convinced that only by joining efforts, promoting economic and social progress and practicing tolerance will we live in peace.