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Speech by Acting President of the Government at 'Goalkeepers' event of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation

New York, Wednesday 25 September 2019

Good day New York.

Thank you all very much; it is a true honour to be here with you today; thank you very much for this generous invitation.

It is true that we face some huge challenges nowadays - the climate emergency, increasing inequality and a lack of fairness, and the profound transformation of our societies thanks to the digital revolution, to name but a few.

Allow me to give you an idea of what is at stake. This year, on 29 July, the day of the 'ecological debt' dawned, which means that as from that day, we have started to use more resources than the planet can generate in a year. At this rate, we will require 1.75 planets each year to maintain our lifestyle, something that is unsustainable, because there is no planet B.

There are two ways to face up to this new reality, one of them is to deny it, to think that we, our country, our community, is somehow isolated in this interconnected world, and think that we don't need anything else but our own strengths, closing ourselves off inexorably from change.

The other is to be aware of it, audaciously, with leadership, with determination, with courage and fully committed to take action. Believing that the future is in our hands, understanding fully that whatever we do or don't do will now have consequences.

Dear friends, I obviously choose the second option. I want to join with those who believe we can address these huge challenges of our time. I firmly believe that multilateralism, dialogue and understanding are the only tools we have to tackle these questions which are so complex.

In a nutshell, the 2030 Agenda is our plan. It is the result of an incredible joint effort to profoundly transform our societies and adapt them to the future we want, a sustainable and inclusive future for everyone that leaves no-one behind, which is crucial.

In the next 10 years, there is no excuse that is valid, we know what we have to do, we have the framework, we have the roadmap and we have the desire to turn this 2030 Agenda into a new global social contract. We must ensure that this extraordinary spirit becomes a global alliance.

In Spain, we are highly committed to the 2030 Agenda, at the level of the Central Government, regional governments, local authorities, civil society, academics, young people, and the not so young. Everyone is turning this agenda into their own agenda, into their own plan for the generations to come. We have decided to convert the 2030 Agenda into our ethical contract with all citizens and our contributions to the global world. We have placed the 2030 Agenda at the heart of our policies, which will influence all the actions and initiatives we undertake.

All the Sustainable Development Goals are crucial, they are all intertwined and interconnected, which is one of the good things that characterises the 2030 Agenda. Allow me to tell you a little more about the importance of goals number 3 and 4 on health and education.

In my opinion, investing in these two goals will have a knock-on effect on many other goals, such as eradicating poverty and reducing inequalities and the lack of fairness. It would also lay the foundations for people to reach their full potential and prosper in their lives. If you are not healthy, if you have no access to education then life is more difficult and has additional obstacles. I see these goals as the great social levellers, as tools that can bring an end to social determinism, which is why for me it gives me great pleasure to announce that Spain will return to the community of donors. We are prepared to contribute 100 million euros to the Joint Fund for the 2030 Agenda over the next five years and 100 million euros more to the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria over the next three years.

Dear friends, I would like to end by congratulating the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation for the tremendous and great effort they are making, for all the hard work to make progress on many of these issues. You set an example of leadership, of generosity, of solidarity, and of hard work and effort. And we share the slogan of your foundation; we are impatient optimists that work to reduce inequality in our country. I defend a humanist programme that places people at the heart of all action in a planet with limited resources.

We need our planet to last; I advocate equal opportunities for everyone, regardless of where they live, their sexual orientation, their gender identity, their race, their economic status and, above all, equal opportunities for men and women. I defend the liberty of each and every person to address the challenges of the future with the guarantee of being able to carry through their life project without having their rights limited and I obviously defend the principle of solidarity and the ethical commitment to the development and prosperity of one and all.

You can rely on Spain. We want to build the future with you. We want to transform our world so that no-one is left behind. Thank you very much for your attention.

(Transcript edited by the State Secretariat for Communication)

Non official translation