Minister within the Office of the Prime Minister, responsible for Sustainable Development, Carmelo Abela maintained that in the so-called post-COVID-19 era, implementing Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) has become even more important. “There should be no excuses as to what we need to do to save our planet, the environment and humanity as we know it. COVID should increase our resolve as a global community. What was important before COVID will still remain through this time and after”. The minister was addressing, ‘The Horasis – The Global Visions Community Conference’, dedicated to inspiring our future. Amongst the participants were CEOs of the world’s most respected corporations, key leaders from emerging markets, and public figures including heads of government.
“If it is jobs that we need to re-create, then the SDGs deal with that, if it is sustainable economic regrowth that we need, then the SDGs are part of the solution. At the same time, I also believe that what we went through will sensibilise our populations further with regards to the social, environmental and economic aspects of our work on the SDGs”.
During his intervention, the Minister Abela spoke how governments globally are now at a crossroads in terms of the implementation process and targets due of the assigned 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, which commenced on 1st January 2016, due to the outbreak of COVID-19. He discussed the importance of policy coherence and the mainstreaming of sustainable development principles across the workings of government to integrate the economic, social, environmental and governance dimensions. He spoke about the work of the Maltese Government to develop tools and guidance for implementation in collaboration with the European Union and the United Nations, amongst others. In this regard, he mentioned the current ongoing efforts for a “Sustainable Proof Budget”.
“National budgets have an important role in the implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) as they influence government’s work programmes and what policy makers are able to address when they make policies”, said Minister Abela. He added that the integration of sustainable development considerations across all policy domains of the budget, ranging from the environment and climate to transport, to education, employment, social services and health as well as and finance and economic growths, would support the alignment of incentives and lead to a coherent informed approach to policy making supported by budgetary decisions.
In his concluding remarks, he appealed for the involvement of a wide range of stakeholders to provide policy makers with a holistic perspective, to address potential trade-offs, give voice to diverse interests, raise public awareness and create a sense of ownership.
This week, the Ministry within the Office of the Prime Minister is celebrating the European Week for Sustainable Development through a series of initiatives.