Business man standing in modern building.

Leadership for Sustainability

Last year, the UN laid out a blueprint to tackle the world's thorniest issues, including climate change, poverty, and the pursuit of sustainable development. But while global agreements are important, even the best accords are no more than words on paper if they cannot be implemented.

DAVOS – Last year was one in which the United Nations proved, in the words of Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, its ability “to deliver hope and healing to the world.” In a series of global accords – including the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction, the Addis Ababa Action Agenda on Financing for Development, the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, and the Paris climate agreement – the international community laid out a blueprint to tackle the world’s thorniest issues.

But, while global agreements are important – providing a framework for progress and accountability – even the best accords are no more than words on paper if they cannot be implemented. The challenges we face are mostly the result of our own actions, and we also have the ability to overcome them, but not if we continue doing business as usual and expect different results.

The Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) were adopted by the UN in 2000 with the goal of tackling some of the most daunting development challenges: eradicating poverty and hunger; enrolling all children in school; turning the tide on HIV/AIDS, malaria, and TB; and reducing infant, child, and maternal mortality.

To continue reading, please log in or enter your email address.

To read this article from our archive, please log in or register now. After entering your email, you'll have access to two free articles every month. For unlimited access to Project Syndicate, subscribe now.


By proceeding, you agree to our Terms of Service and Privacy Policy, which describes the personal data we collect and how we use it.

Log in;

Cookies and Privacy

We use cookies to improve your experience on our website. To find out more, read our updated cookie policy and privacy policy.