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President Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo has underscored the duality of the current global situation, highlighting both remarkable progress and significant challenges in an opening address at the SDGs Action Summit 2024.

The President, serving as Co-chair of the Emeritus Group of the UN Secretary-General’s Eminent SDGs Advocates, welcomed participants from around the world to Accra, emphasizing Ghana’s renowned hospitality.

“Akwaaba,” President Akufo-Addo greeted, symbolizing Ghana’s warm welcome. He acknowledged the leadership of the SDGs Advisory Unit at the Office of the President and the collaborative efforts of several international and national partners in organizing this summit, including the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA).

Addressing the assembly, the President painted a vivid picture of a world at a crossroads. While advancements in technology, medicine, and communications have transformed lives, the President warned of a confluence of crises that threaten human existence. Climate change, he noted, is accelerating with devastating impacts such as extreme weather phenomena, rising sea levels, and shrinking biodiversity. These effects, he stressed, are felt most acutely by vulnerable communities.

The President highlighted the ongoing repercussions of the COVID-19 pandemic, which has exposed the fragility of global systems, disrupted economies, strained healthcare infrastructures, and exacerbated inequalities. Internecine conflicts and political instability continue to cause immense suffering and displacement, hindering development and human rights advancements. Economic inequalities are widening, stifling human potential and fueling social unrest.

“The consequences of inaction are dire,” President Akufo-Addo stated. He warned that future generations would inherit a world plagued by environmental degradation, economic instability, and social fragmentation unless decisive action is taken. He stressed that no single country could tackle these cross-border challenges alone, emphasizing the necessity for global cooperation, which the SDGs represent.

In his address, President Akufo-Addo underscored the growing relevance of the SDGs in today’s world. The Goals, he noted, address the root causes of global issues, promoting inclusive and responsible development. “The SDGs remind us that no one should be left behind as we advance towards a more equitable world,” he said.

President Akufo-Addo also highlighted Africa’s commendable strides over the past decade in various sectors. He pointed to improvements in access to safe drinking water, healthcare, education, electrification, and gender equality. He cited Ghana’s significant progress in electrification, aiming for universal access by the end of the year, as a testament to the nation’s resolve.

However, the President candidly acknowledged areas where progress has lagged. He mentioned ongoing challenges in reducing poverty rates and addressing inequalities, particularly between urban and rural areas. He also highlighted the impacts of climate change and global events that complicate development efforts, underscoring the need for urgent, innovative actions.

In conclusion, President Akufo-Addo called for bold and united efforts to scale up action on the SDGs. He proposed a Four-Point Agenda to enhance global, regional, and national chances of achieving the Goals. This agenda includes unlocking financing for accelerated SDGs implementation, prioritizing human capital development, driving innovation in critical sectors, and building resilient infrastructure.

“Together, we can build a sustainable and prosperous Africa that leaves no one behind,” President Akufo-Addo asserted, urging participants to commit to bold and decisive actions to maintain the momentum towards achieving the SDGs,” he added.

Source: Presidency