Global leaders unite in push for sustainable development

World Government Summit 2019 begins in Dubai on Sunday

Deputy Secretary-General of the United Nations Amina J. Mohammed  speaks onstage during the 2017 Global Citizen Festival in Central Park to End Extreme Poverty by 2030 at Central Park on September 23, 2017 in New York City. (Photo by ANGELA WEISS / AFP)

Governments are placing sustainable development at the heart of their future economic and political success, world leaders have said.

Speaking on the eve of the annual World Government Summit in Dubai, senior ministers described how sustainability goals had become a framework for recovery and a means to develop stronger public-private sector partnerships.

Ghassan Hasbani, the deputy prime minister of Lebanon, explained the challenges his country faced with the highest per capita refugee population in the world.

“The refugee situation places a major burden on infrastructure,” he said. “Against this backdrop, we have started to view sustainable development goals as a necessary activity and prioritise them at the heart of the planning and economic recovery process.”

In Spain, Cristina Gallach, the country's High Commissioner for the United Nations 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, said:  "Sustainable development goals are now at the centre of Spanish political, economic and social policy for the future.

“At the central level we are working closely with the regions and our municipalities to achieve this priority," she said.

“It is clear that our cities and their leadership play an important role in this process and will be fundamental to our success.”

The three-day World Government Summit 2019 begins on Sunday and runs until February 12.

More than 4,000 participants from 140 countries are attending, including heads of state, scientists, entrepreneurs and business leaders.

The event aims to showcase the latest in sustainable innovations and policies, to help the next generation of governments prepare for the changing political and economic landscape.

“Our world has become an increasingly complex place but SDGs remain a beacon of hope and progress for the planet, helping to promote peace and partnership,” said Dr Amina Mohammed, Deputy Secretary-General of the United Nations.

“However, it remains imperative for government leaders to take the tough decisions required to ensure sustainability is at the heart of government policy.”