G20 Development Ministers’ Meeting

Statement by Rebeca Grynspan, Secretary-General of UNCTAD

G20 Development Ministers’ Meeting

Varanasi, India
12 June 2023


The 2030 Agenda, with its 17 goals, is not just a set of targets; it is a promise we made to ourselves and to future generations. It is the last collective roadmap in a world that is more polarized than ever, a world in desperate need of solidarity and multilateralism.

If we do not save the SDGs today, there will be nothing left to save us tomorrow. And yet, we will fail to save it, if we do not quickly change

We cannot act as if failure is an acceptable option. SDGs are simply too big to fail.

Cascading crises have set us back. A cost-of-living crisis has disproportionally hit developing countries and the most vulnerable.

By nearly every measure, we are moving backwards. Backwards on ending poverty. Backwards on hunger. Backwards on women’s rights. And backwards on development, with only 12 per cent of the Sustainable Development Goals on track.

The United Nations SDG Stimulus plan calls for three things to widen countries’ fiscal space for development and foster sustainable investments: first, massive lending increases from multilateral development banks, leveraging private resources; second, a multilateral answer to growing debt distress, so that no country is forced to either service their debt or serve their people; and third, strengthening the global financial safety net.

In closing, I want to commend the Indian G20 presidency for its wonderful hospitality but especially, for today’s excellent outcome documents the development priorities stated, the centrality of the 2030 Agenda, and for taking note of the UN SDGs Stimulus plan.

Esteemed ministers, your positions within the G20 provide you with unique leverage. Rabindranath Tagore said, “Truth comes as conqueror only to those who have lost the art of receiving it as a guest”.

The crises may be all around us. But the solutions are here, at the centre of this table. Let us receive them as guests, together, before it is too late.

Thank you.