World mayors warn of threats to mankind, commit to UN development goals

More than 65 mayors from around the world pledged on Wednesday to implement the United Nation’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) in their cities and to combat global warming, saying society was facing numerous threats.

The mayors signed a pledge at a Vatican-hosted conference where participants included New York’s Bill de Blasio, Anne Hildago of Paris as well the mayors of Rio de Janeiro, Stockholm, Johannesburg and Mexico City.

“The very tissue of our societies is under threat of growing inequalities, the unmet needs of the extreme poor and the extremely vulnerable, and a natural environment being hit by more frequent and intense heat waves, droughts, floods, rising sea levels, and other climate-related threats,” the pledge said.

The UN is due to adopt the SDGs in September. They include 17 commitments from world leaders to eradicate hunger and extreme poverty by 2030, reduce inequality within and between countries, achieve gender equality, ensure sustainable water management and energy, and take urgent action to combat climate change.

Meeting the goals would cost between $3.3 trillion and $4.5 trillion a year, while combating climate change and adapting to its effects will cost poor countries an estimated $100 billion annually.

The mayors, whom Pope Francis addressed on Tuesday, pledged to promote the success of the SDGs in their cities and to form the Urban SDG Alliance committed to sustainable development.

The two-day conference was the Vatican’s latest attempt to influence government policies on issues such sustainable development and climate change.

In April, the Vatican hosted scientists to discuss climate change and last month the pope issued the Catholic Church’s first ever encyclical dedicated to the environment.

The call to his church’s 1.2 billion members could spur the world’s Catholics to lobby policymakers on ecology issues. 

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