Ladies and Gentlemen,
It is my pleasure to join you in this beautiful city for the 2020 Guangzhou International Documentary Film Festival.
On behalf of the United Nations in China, I wish to thank the organizers for their kind invitation to attend this special event.
We gather today in the shadow of a year, that has presented monumental challenges for the world.
We have witnessed COVID-19 devastate lives and livelihoods, hitting the most vulnerable the hardest. More than a health crisis, this socio-economic and humanitarian crisis has revealed the many fragilities of our societies.
Our gains on poverty and inequality are on the line.
Our climate and natural environment remain in crisis.
The case for greater global solidarity and multilateralism has been made all too clear.
As the Secretary-General has said, “We simply cannot return to where we were before COVID-19 struck…we need to build a better world.”
Adopted in 2015 by all Member States, the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development provides a shared blueprint. A roadmap for peace and prosperity for people and planet, now and into the future.
In these unprecedented times, the 17 Sustainable Development Goals are more relevant than ever.
If we allow the pandemic to threaten our progress towards the SDGs,
we risk pushing the world we want out of reach.
To “recover better”, we must make good on the 2030 Agenda in this “Decade of Action”, and as we do “leave no one behind”.
Achieving the SDGs requires us to mobilize now.
Governments, civil society, businesses and individuals will all need to join forces, so that we can emerge from this year stronger and better equipped to work together.
This year marks the 75th anniversary of the UN.
To mark this occasion, a UN75 global dialogue initiative was launched in January to answer the call for greater cooperation.
This large and inclusive conversation has taken place in every setting, from the boardroom to the classroom, for the UN to learn from as many people as possible and identify their ideas for a more sustainable future.
And the UN in China made sure we enabled the people of China to participate. In our UN75 Youth Dialogue series, we invited Chinese youth from every background to bring their ideas on the SDGs in front of UN representatives and national experts.
Ideas such as the need to make society more accessible through technology for persons with disabilities were raised.
And projects to build a fair workplace, where gender equality is a reality were suggested.
In the twelve UN75 youth dialogues hosted by UN agencies in China, we showcased their creativity and ingenuity, to an audience in the tens of millions.
And in our “PostYour2045” social media campaign, we encouraged the people of China to share their aspirations for the next twenty-five years.
Their vision for smarter cities.
Their vision for a world free of hunger.
The UN in China will not relent in making sure that everyone has a role to play in fulfilling the promise of the SDGs.
No one can achieve these ambitious goals alone.
This is why we are glad to see this year’s Guangzhou International Documentary Film Festival launching an exciting project to promote awareness of the SDGs in China.
As China’s largest international documentary film festival, GZDOC is determined to build on its strength, through their Imagine2030 program, to promote public awareness and dialogue on global issues, critical to our future.
With a focus on the Sustainable Development Goals covering poverty and life on land, we are seeing film screenings, forums and educational programs hosted in a number of Chinese cities as part of the film festival programme in 2020. Documentary films are a unique medium, bringing inspirations to all of us to examine our actions, to foster lasting change.
I commend the GZDOC for picking up this torch, in its use of art in advocacy for the SDGs.
For this year’s event, GZDOC and the UN are delighted to present a special screening of “Nations United” in China.
Nations United is a one-of-a-kind film, created by the UN to mark the five years since the adoption of the SDGs.
It tells the story of the world as it is, as it was, and as it could be.
It features interviews of leading icons who will highlight the interventions that could transform our planet over the next decade.
I hope the film inspires you to join us in this fight.
The UN in China stands ready to walk hand in hand with the people of China in equal partnership as we achieve the SDGs together.
I call on your support to making sure we build a better, brighter, more sustainable future.