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Swedish environmental activist Greta Thunberg participates in a demonstration in front of the United Nations. Swedish environmental activist Greta Thunberg, center, participates in a demonstration in front of the United Nations, in New York, Aug. 30, 2019 (AP photo by Mary Altaffer).

Sustainable Development Takes Center Stage at the U.N.

Monday, Sept. 16, 2019

In September 2015, the member states of the United Nations unanimously endorsed a blueprint to guide global development efforts through 2030, known as the Sustainable Development Goals, or SDGs. Next week, world leaders will evaluate progress on the guidelines, together known as the “2030 Agenda,” when they convene in New York for the annual opening of the U.N. General Assembly.

Their assessment will be bleak. No country is on track to achieve all of the SDGs, and the United States, a traditional leader on global development, has abdicated this role under President Donald Trump. Those seeking inspiration will need to look beyond—and below—sovereign governments, to global cities and the world’s youth. ...

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