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Director General  José Graziano da Silva

During FAO visit, UNGA president stresses role of young people in achieving SDGSs

Swift action and massive education push needed to put humanity on path to sustainability
Photo: ©FAO/Cristiano Minichiello
FAO Director-General José Graziano da Silva meeting with H.E. Peter Thomson, President of the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA), FAO headquarters.

23 November 2016, Rome - UN General Assembly President Peter Thomson of Fiji met with the FAO Director General today to discuss implementation of the internationally-agreed 2030 Sustainable Development Agenda.

Thomson later outlined his vision for achieving progress on the global goals during an informal event at FAO headquarters during which he placed emphasis on the role of young people in keeping humanity from plunging into the “precipice of unsustainability.”

Thomson urged a massive effort to educate young people on why implementing the SDGs is critical for their future, stressing that rising to these development challenges “presents humanity with its greatest test.”

“My generation will not change and will continue on the path to the precipice. But young people -- who have most skin in the game, because they will be adult when 2030 comes around -- do have the ability to change -- and to force their parents to change -- their consumption patterns,” Thomson said.

“The choices they make will determine whether we succeed or fail,” he added, calling on governments to ensure that the SDGs are incorporated into curriculums and “taught in every school on this planet.”

A global masterplan that can work

The SDGs, the Paris Treaty, and other international agreements achieved over the past 15 months “provide us with the universal masterplan we need for peace and prosperity,” he argued, adding that “Humanity’s place on this planet depends on its success.”

All states now have a responsibility to mainstream the Sustainable Development Goals and these agreements into their national planning and programming, Thomson stressed, and work together to find innovative ways to come up with the $5-7 trillion in public and private financing needed.

Thomson praised recent advances in doing just that, citing the “inspiring” high level of commitments by leaders at the just-concluded Marrakesh Climate Summit to build on recent momentum to address climate change and implement of the 2030 Agenda.

“Working together is fundamental to ensuring that no one is left behind,” Graziano da Silva stressed.