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Published on January 23, 2024

UN Resident Coordinator in Guatemala: Six transitions for sustainable development

The Member States of the United Nations have reaffirmed their full conviction in the need to make progress in achieving sustainable development. On September 18 and 19, 2023, within the framework of the UN General Assembly and during the Sustainable Development Summit, it was agreed to prioritize six "transitions" aimed at overcoming the gaps in central issues for all people.

Studies on the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) have agreed that the following "transitions" can have catalytic and multiplier effects on all the SDGs and a determining impact on the achievement of their 169 targets: 1) food systems; 2) energy access and affordability; 3) digital connectivity; 4) education; 5) employment and social protection; and 6) climate change, biodiversity loss and pollution.

The six "transitions" form an agreed organizational framework to drive policy, program and investment decisions to accelerate SDG progress in countries taking into account their national context and plans.

UN Member States decided in 2023 to focus on six transitions to accelerate the Sustainable Development Goals.

The intention is to ensure better convergence, stimulating the commitment of States and international cooperation and improving the alignment of the important work already done in these areas by countries, the private sector, civil society, communities and local actors, with the support of development financing.

Each of these transitions requires consideration of multiple policy strategies that span economic, social and environmental dimensions. This helps ensure that, collectively, efforts are multiplied and that all policy actors amplify each other's work. Driving these transitions also requires a transformation of traditional economic models, markets, incentives and policies within and between countries.

But the success of these transitions depends primarily on the outcomes that benefit the sustainable development of people and societies. They must be just and equitable transitions, with human rights, gender equality and the principle of leaving no one behind as fundamental design elements.

Transitions cannot be achieved without effective means of implementation, including improvements in the use of science, technology and innovation, bridging the data gap and strengthening the localization of the SDGs. Also, it involves strengthening governance through transformed policy and regulatory frameworks and by enhancing the capacities of national public sectors to execute and implement policy measures, as well as to mobilize the necessary investments, but mainly they need political will and social consensus.

A final strategic element required is the transformation of financing. With an estimated global deficit of some $4.2 trillion per year, the SDGs require a quantitative and qualitative leap in financing flows from billions to trillions. The main source of financing for countries remains the national budget. A more systematic and integrated review and adaptation of the budget system to the financing needs in national frameworks is needed.

But public funds alone are not enough to achieve them. National budgets in developing countries are constrained due to the massive fiscal response over the past two years to offset the negative effects of the Covid-19 pandemic. They have also been affected by the political and humanitarian crises in various places that affect everyone.

Therefore, we require a joint effort where the commitment of the United Nations System is and will continue to be to accompany national decisions and efforts.


Originally in Spanish: Seis transiciones para el desarrollo sostenible – Diario de Centro América



The Joint SDG Fund's joint programmes are under the prestige leadership of the Resident Coordinator Office and implementing United Nations Agencies. With sincere appreciation for the contributions from the European Union and Governments of Denmark, Germany, Ireland, Italy, Luxembourg, Monaco, The Netherlands, Norway, Portugal, Republic of Korea, Saudi Arabia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland and our private sector funding partners, for a transformative movement towards achieving the SDGs by 2030.