The President of the UN General Assembly, Ambassador Tijani Muhammad-Bande, has called for concerted global action against illicit financial flows to actualise the Sustainable Development Goals.
Muhammad-Bande made the call in his remarks during the closing session of the 74th UNGA General Debate at the UN Headquarters in New York.
He said with IFFs robbing the global economy of $2.6 trillion annually, curbing it would save more than enough resources to meet the additional $2.4 trillion required to fund the SDGs.
He said: “The High-Level Dialogue on Financing for Development, the first since the adoption of the Addis Ababa Agenda, highlighted the need to mobilise resources to implement the SDGs.
“To honour our commitments, we need an additional sum of $2.4 trillion.
“One place to start is by curbing illicit financial flows which siphon $2.6 trillion every year from the global economy.”
Muhammad-Bande also called on UN member states to prioritise good governance to “ensure that corruption does not continue to derail progress and fuel conflict as we approach the year 2030”.
The global financial system must meet the needs of all member states and “move them away from unsustainable commitments and high indebtedness,” he said.
Muhammad-Bande made a case for small Island Developing States, which had shown resilience and leadership in hard times.
He said: “Now, it is up to the world to assist them in every way possible, and to ensure that they participate as equal partners in global economic activities.
“By helping them we are also helping ourselves and living up to the requirement of our humanity.
“Fortunately, partnerships underscore all of our actions here at the UN. We will not achieve progress without engaging all stakeholders as equal partners.”
Beyond the High-Level Week, Muhammad-Bande said he looked forward to member states joining forces with the UN to galvanise multilateral efforts towards poverty eradication, quality education, climate action and inclusion.
According to him, current and emerging challenges confronting the world are beyond the powers of individual nations, hence the joint efforts in the search for solutions.
He added: “Seventy-four years after the founding of the United Nations we remain connected by the search for solutions to current and emerging challenges which cannot be tackled by one Member State alone.
“The General Debate demonstrated that we have far more that unites us than that which divides us.
“Many leaders at the General Debate made reference to similar challenges: conflict; violent extremism; nuclear proliferation; migration; climate change; and persisting inequalities.
“Member states called for a more representative Security Council and cost-effective Secretariat and General Assembly.
“We have listened and now we must take heed as we move forward collectively throughout the 74th Session.”
Muhammad-Bande thanked all members of the UN and the US for providing the security that made the event successful.
He said: “I also salute the dedicated staff of the United Nations, notably, the safety and security personnel, the staff of the Pass Office, the protocol teams, the interpreters, the entire members of staff of the DGACM, and of course, the Office of the President of the General Assembly.
“You have proved that you, the staff members, are the resource that the UN relies upon to accomplish its mission and serve the world.”