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Allocution d'ouverture de Sa Majesté la Reine à l'occasion du SDG Forum 2020

28 octobre 2020

Looking beyond COVID, a new impulse for the Sustainable Development Goals

Dames en Heren,
Mesdames et Messieurs,
Dear participants,

“De Duurzame Ontwikkelingsdoelstellingen van de Verenigde Naties” werden vijf jaar geleden unaniem aanvaard. Tegen 2030 zouden ze gerealiseerd moeten zijn. Maar zelfs vóór de uitbraak van de wereldwijde COVID-crisis, verliep de geboekte vooruitgang van een aantal doelstellingen ongelijk en zaten sommige doelstellingen zelfs niet op schema.

Aujourd’hui, notamment en raison de la pandémie, c’est le sentiment d’urgence qui semble s’être perdu. Nous devons le ranimer.

We need a new narrative. We have to involve young people, with their energy and creativity. We have to educate children to play their role as concerned citizens of tomorrow.

It is obvious that the crisis has set us back by several years in the fight against poverty and hunger. And in matters of health and education, too. The most vulnerable have been hit disproportionately - the most destitute, women and girls, people with a handicap or with mental issues.

Indeed, the pandemic has laid bare the weaknesses of our societies. The way we focused on the immediate satisfaction of individual needs and aspirations, with little consideration for growing inequalities and planetary boundaries. Our slowness in reacting to alarm signals. Our patchy efforts to transform and move toward a shared and sustainable future. 

But just look at how, during this crisis, many people have reconnected with real values, such as solidarity and social connections. Or how consumption habits have been altered, in terms of food, energy, mobility and clothing. These are stepping-stones on which we can build for the future. For in building back after this crisis, we must not “go back to normal”. We need to build back better, for everyone. 

I am pleased to be able to address your virtual assembly. Today, we need people who are capable of looking beyond the horizon in a variety of ways. People who are willing to think, to exchange knowledge and to work together in order to accelerate progress towards the SDGs, for the wellbeing of the people and our planet.

This new edition of the SDG Forum comes at an appropriate time to remobilize the energy of all those who care about the SDGs and who want to contribute, very practically, to their swift implementation. We need to move beyond awareness, towards action. And we need to move together.

One of the great innovations of the SDGs is indeed their focus on the importance of partnerships. SDG 17 reminds us that progress is difficult to achieve without cooperation. Citizens, NGOs, the private sector and the public sector, all have a role to play.  No one can do it alone. Year after year, this forum brings together people from different backgrounds, with different approaches, but with the same vision and dedication. Their creative ideas and their coherent action will indeed be key in implementing the SDGs and in bringing about transformation.

I wish you very fruitful exchanges, that will produce new ideas, new initiatives, new partnerships and a renewed engagement in favour of sustainable development.