Thank you moderator for the floor,

My name is Rashima Kwatra, I sit here today in my capacity as a Co-Chair of the Major Groups and Other Stakeholders Coordination Mechanism and Senior Advisor at RFSL.

I am a young, lesbian, migrant, woman, and the product of refugees of one of the largest forced migrations of the 20th century.  I feel it is important to name those as I know that while I am privileged to be here, so many others have been systematically left behind or silenced for carrying these very same identities.

Since we last met in these rooms during HLPF, at least:

  • 4 million unsafe abortions have taken place globally.
  • 7,600 women or girls have been killed by their families.
  • 52 trans women have been murdered
  • 1.4 million people died from fossil fuel-based pollution
  • 41,000 children died due to dirty water and unhygienic living conditions.

All in just 58 days!

There is nothing that we can say here today that has not been said, written, researched and published, about what is required to achieve the 2030 Agenda. We know the solutions.

We know that we need:

  • International Financial Architecture Reform – To democratize global economic governance and shift decision- making away from developed countries and large corporations, address unsustainable and illegitimate debt, and to meet the 0.7% target for ODA in the form of unconditional grants.
  • Public Investments in the Care Sector – Which would create millions of new jobs and boost women’s economic participation.
  • For rich countries to acknowledge historic responsibilities of the climate crisis and colonialism, and account for loss and damage.
  • To invest in Small-scale Farmers – Who receive less than 2% of climate financing, but who could have the power to make transformative global changes.
  • To Abolish criminal and punitive laws that drive stigma and discrimination, and address systemic forms of oppression like sexism, racism, xenophobia, homophobia, and transphobia, that drive inequality.
  • To protect civil society and our freedoms, and to finance us so that we can scale impact.

Now is not the time to divest from multilateralism, or slash development aid budgets to beef up militarization and defence, at the cost of human rights and freedom.

We can continue to scapegoat a lack of data, insufficient policies, or a number of other reasons for inaction, or we can make the radical commitment to shift the status quo now, and commit to taking action at this Summit.

The Major Groups and Other Stakeholders have been key to achieving the 2030 Agenda. Our mandated role in the process has enabled this role, which we can only further if we are meaningfully included in decision-making. We are determined to continue our bold, ambitious and transformative actions to accelerate the SDGs.

We ask that you all join us on betting on a collective humanity and elevating the power of civil society. To put aside sovereign and capitalistic interests and centralize the collective needs of the planet and its people, so that all of us and all generations to come  have a future worth living.

Thank you.

Photo credit: UN SDG Action Campaign