National Statement at the High-Level Political Forum on Sustainable Development, United Nations, New York, New York, July 17, 2023


Excellencies and Esteemed Colleagues,

Over the past three years the world has faced unprecedented challenges. As we united in the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic, countries continued to face concurrent crises such as armed conflict, climate change, and economic and food insecurity.

While no country has been immune, we know that the impacts of these intersecting crises have been felt unequally. Least Developed Countries, Small Island Developing States, and other countries in special situations have been hit hardest by these shocks.  

As we see an erosion of hard-won development gains, it has never been more clear that we must accelerate our recovery from the pandemic and advance the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

Business as usual no longer serves us. We must be ambitious, and we must unite around our common objectives to uphold human rights, promote sustainable growth, and protect the planet we cherish.

As we mark the halfway point of the 2030 Agenda, we should celebrate the progress we have made, but recognize that there is much more to be done.

Concrete solutions, led by a whole-of-society approach are essential to our success.

People are at the centre of the Sustainable Development Goals and they must be at the centre of our work ahead.

When everyone has a role and a voice, the possibilities for innovation are endless. It is crucial that we learn from each other, and learn from the leadership of civil society organisations, local partners, Indigenous Peoples, academia and many other stakeholders who are already actively contributing to advancing the goals.

Canadians from coast to coast to coast are working hard to be change-makers in their own communities and accelerate reaching the goals. Businesses are prioritizing socially and environmentally responsible actions. Youth are raising awareness on the SDGs and establishing innovative partnerships. And local governments are incorporating the Goals into their planning.

Canada’s Voluntary National Review, which I look forward to presenting in the coming days, provides an important occasion to share our successes and challenges, and how we can continue to improve. We remain steadfast in our commitment to enabling and accelerating progress to achieve the SDGs.

Domestically, we have exceeded our interim target of a 20 per cent reduction in poverty, lifting over 2 million Canadians out of poverty since 2015. Canada’s new early learning and child care initiative also provides high quality, affordable child care that gives all children a strong head start, while ensuring that women have real choices about how and when to work.

As one of our key actions to achieving reconciliation with Indigenous peoples, Canada’s Indigenous Early Learning and Child Care Framework provides dedicated funding to enable Indigenous children to have equitable access to culturally relevant, distinctions based and linguistically appropriate early learning and child care. 

Internationally, like we are doing domestically, Canada will continue to strengthen our efforts to advance gender equality, tackle climate change, and lift people out of poverty.

Our Feminist International Assistance Policy puts gender equality and empowerment of all women and girls at the heart of our international actions. We continue to take an intersectional, gender-responsive approach that ensures that everyone has the opportunity to reach their full potential.

I am proud of the work we have done, both in Canada and around the world. Together, we can find the right solutions that support countries’ objectives and accelerate progress towards a more peaceful, inclusive and prosperous world that leaves no one behind.

Thank you. Miigwetch.

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