Mogens Lykketoft, the president of the UN General Assembly, on Thursday called on the international community to take action on the UN Sustainable Development Agenda (SDGs) in order to begin a transformation that will bring the benefit of all people and the planet.
Otherwise, the world risks failure that will be felt for generations to come, he said. "The choice is yours."
Lykketoft made the remarks as he opened the High-Level Thematic Debate on Achieving the Sustainable Development Goals at UN Headquarters in New York, one day ahead of the signing ceremony of the Paris climate accord.
"You, the global political, business and civil society leaders can kick-start SDGs implementation," the president said. "You can catalyse ambitious and immediate actions at all levels. You know how to make this transformation happen."
In September last year, world leaders approved the SDGs, also known as the 2030 Agenda, as the blueprint for the global development efforts for the next 15 years.
"It was a moment of genuine hope in a world beset by crises -- hope that was built on in Paris through an incredible breakthrough on climate change," he said.
The SDGs and the Paris climate change agreement, a deal reached in December and to open for government signatures here Friday, deliver a clear message to the world: that a transformation has begun which will ensure both shared prosperity and the vitality of our planet, he said.
Meanwhile, world events have underlined even further the need for urgent action, said Lykketoft.
Violent extremists have destroyed the lives of thousands around the world, while conflicts are threatening the lives of millions. In addition, an inadequate response to a global humanitarian and refugee crisis is undermining human rights, global solidarity and the concept of leaving no one behind, he said.
The agreements, taken together, provide world leaders with a "solid framework" to address the root causes of such crises, he said.
"But this will only happen if they are implemented with urgency; if we build on the foundations laid by the MDGs and if we manage the opportunities before us for the benefit of all," he said.