Regions4 joined the 75th United Nations General Assembly to continue bringing bold actions of regional authorities to the international events. We participated in the Act4SDGs campaign and, together with the Global Taskforce, we launched the report of our constituency to voice our demands.

Five years ago, world leaders adopted the 17 SDGs at the UN Sustainable Development Summit. With just ten years to go, an ambitious global effort is underway to deliver the SDGs by 2030 – even though not advancing at the speed or scale required. Check below the highlights of the main events that marked the 5th anniversary of the 2030 Agenda and the 75th anniversary of the United Nations.

SDG Moment (18 September)

Convened by the UN Secretary-General, the first SDG Moment of the Decade of Action was marked by discourses calling for global solidarity and stressing the SDGs’ potential to bounce back further and faster the pandemic recovery efforts. The UN Secretary-General outlined three priorities: improved financing; inclusive COVID-19 recovery plans; and raised political ambition.

The reality check on progress on the SDGs stressed the very slow progress, including the failure to understand the interconnectedness of SDG targets and the lack of data. UNDP emphasized the importance of investing in social protection and enhancing access to quality basic services, including universal health care. UN Women reported on widening gender poverty gaps, resurgent gender-based violence, and threats to girls’ education and health; calling for bold policies to boost women’s economic empowerment. UNEP urged countries to consider global and national goals to deal with climate change in their recovery efforts, phase out fossil fuels, and invest in renewable energy.

The session on SDG gaps and plans exposed challenges and advantages from States in five regions: Africa, Asia-Pacific, Eastern Europe, Latin America and Caribbean, and Western Europe. All agreed on the fact that we are now in a turning point for people and the planet. It is time to transform the crisis into an opportunity, reshaping development with equality and sustainability, and effectively leaving no one behind. Leaders agreed that strengthened regional cooperation would guarantee a sustainable and inclusive recovery.

The event was mandated in the political declaration of the 2019 SDG Summit and will be held annually until 2030 to provide a snapshot, drive, and inspire SDG progress. A digital platform was launched with a reality check of the implementation of the Goals at the global, regional and local levels.

High Level Meeting to Commemorate the 75th Anniversary of the United Nations (21 September)

Under the theme, “The Future We Want, the UN We Need: Reaffirming our Collective Commitment to Multilateralism,” the event celebrated the interrelated and interdependent pillars of the United Nations: peace and security, development, and human rights. It called for a reinvigorated multilateralism and an upgraded UN that consult widely with all relevant stakeholders.

As we enter the 75th Session it is now time to act: to mobilize your resources, strengthen your efforts and show unprecedented political will and leadership. I am taking the call for renewed global action seriously. The United Nations is only as strong as its members’ commitment to its ideals and each other.” Volkan Bozkir, President of the 75th Session of the United Nations General Assembly

The event exhibited the film Nations United exploring the solutions and action needed to tackle the biggest issues facing humanity, from COVID-19 and the climate crisis to poverty and inequality. The event presented the outcomes of the UN75 initiative, the world’s largest conversation, launched in January 2020 to gather public opinion and crowdsource solutions to global challenges. It also launched the UN75 Report, summarizing the findings of the global dialogues. Among them, a need for greater inclusion of regional actors was identified.

The Secretariat marked this anniversary with a global conversation that reached more than a million people around the world. People are fearful about the climate crisis, poverty, inequality, corruption, and systemic racial and gender discrimination. They see the United Nations as a vehicle to make the world a better place and they count on us to meet today’s tests.” António Guterres, United Nations Secretary-General

The session adopted the previously agreed Declaration on the Commemoration of the 75th Anniversary of the United Nations.

SDG Action Zone (22-24 September)

The SDG Action Zone provided a virtual space for multi-stakeholder engagement and participation during the UN General Assembly’s high-level week. Over three days discussions were held about the role of people, the planet, and partnerships in accelerating the achievement of the SDGs. The sessions addressed how to tackle societal inequalities and commit to transformative change, protect jobs and bridge the digital divide, promote gender equality, guarantee access to healthcare, foster sustainable practices, and circular economy, rebalance our relationship with nature, advance intergenerational equity, stimulate stakeholder participation, further local action, break silos and build alliances for action.

The series of events concluded the SDGs remain the most valid reference to frame development trajectories and called for cooperation across different spheres of government and in partnership with all sectors of society. You can watch all events here.

Other events that happened during the UN75

Regions4 also followed and participated in the events bellow:

  • High-Level Roundtable on Climate Change to discuss bold actions on the Secretary-General’s  six climate-positive actions (24 September );
  • Financing for Development in the Era of COVID-19 and Beyond (30 September)
  • Summit on Biodiversity under the theme “Urgent Action on Biodiversity for Sustainable Development” (30 September); which had the participation of Azuay, Basque Country, and Québec to share their messages within the “Voices for Nature” session.
  • High-level meeting on the twenty-fifth anniversary of the Fourth World Conference on Women – Beijing +25 under the theme “Accelerating the realization of gender equality and the empowerment of all women and girls” (1 October);
  • Nature for Life Hub, particularly the SDG Day and Global Ambition Day (24-29 September).

Further information

The IISD coverage of all high-level meetings and events can be found here.

For more information on Regions4 work on SDGs, please e-mail Ivy Moraes at