Statement by President of the Republic of Finland Sauli Niinistö at the SDG Summit during the 78th session of UNGA in New York on 18 September 2023

Photo: Riikka Hietajärvi/Office of the President of the Republic of Finland
Kuva: Riikka Hietajärvi/Tasavallan presidentin kanslia

President Tokayev, President Novák, Excellencies

This Summit comes at a critical time. We are halfway to the timetable set for the implementation of the 2030 Agenda. And we are nowhere near to reaching our goals.

Globally, we are facing a perfect storm of interlinking challenges. Climate change and loss of biodiversity. Rising food insecurity and energy prices. Immense humanitarian needs around the world. Russia’s continuing war in Ukraine with its many global ripple effects.

All of these factors further complicate our work to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals. But that only means one thing: we must work harder.


Sustainability should not be an afterthought. It has to be at the core of all our activities.

In Finland, we have integrated sustainability assessment in the state budget planning. As a founding member of the Coalition of Finance Ministers for Climate Action, we continue to share our best practices and learn from other Coalition members’ experiences.

We should also make full use of the opportunities brought about by digitalisation. New technologies can help us achieve better development outcomes with the resources we have. At the same time, we should make sure that digital development is fair and inclusive.

Finally, sustainability, development and equality go hand in hand. Gender equality, as well as equal and inclusive access to education, have been key elements in Finland’s rise from poverty to prosperity. We remain strongly committed to supporting the right to education globally.


To quote Secretary General Guterres: SDG progress is not about lines on a graph. It is about the people and the planet. We need to overcome our divisions and work together. None of us can afford to fail in this.

Thank you.