World leaders at UN to focus on development, climate change under Ukraine War’s shadow

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United Nations: Presidents, prime ministers, princes and monarchs begin their annual gathering in New York on Monday focusing on development and climate change, while the harrowing Ukraine War which the world body is powerless to stop hovers over them.

The two issues are primary concerns of the Global South, many countries of which face a severe financial crunch in meeting the challenges, while their problems have been exacerbated by the Covid pandemic and Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

Secretary-General Antonio Guterres will push the industrialised countries to increase their funding for the causes of development and climate change.

They start their week of packed programmes on Monday with the summit on the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), the 17 lofty ambitions hoping to cure the world's ills from poverty and hunger to climate change and inequality, while bringing about peace and justice by 2030.

Guterres said that he considers the SDGs meeting "my most important objective" for the week.

"I’m very hopeful that the SDG Summit will indeed represent a quantum leap in the response to the dramatic failures that we have witnessed until now in relation to the implementation of the SDGs", he said at a news conference previewing the high-level week.

The SDGs were adopted by world leaders in 2015 and as they meet on Monday halfway to 2030, they will find most are unreachable by the deadline and will need reinvigorated commitments, especially from the industrialised nations.

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