Ban Ki-moon's speeches

Opening remarks at press conference on Rio+20

Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, UN Headquarters, 06 June 2012

Ladies and Gentlemen,

The UN Conference on Sustainable Development is just 14 days away.

Rio+20 is a once-in-a-generation opportunity to make real progress towards the sustainable economy of the future.

It can help us to build a more equitable world – a world of greater prosperity and inclusive, dynamic green growth for a healthy planet.

I have been calling on Member States to show leadership. We want to make Rio+20 a conference of decisive impact and ambition.

Progress was achieved on key issues during last week’s negotiations.

I thank the co-chairs and all the negotiators for their efforts. I saw willingness to find common ground.

There is still much work ahead, however; the foundations are in place for agreement on the remainder of the negotiating text.

I expect the negotiators to accomplish this in the days before ministers and world leaders arrive in Rio.

Leaders will then act to resolve all outstanding issues.

Their job is to achieve renewed political commitment for sustainable development.

We aspire to nothing less than a global movement for generational change.

We need world leaders to make the issues on the table at Rio+20 their own personal priority.

Nothing else will do.

We live in a world of economic uncertainty, growing inequality and environmental decline.

That is why I expect concrete outputs from Rio – outcomes that will improve the lives of real people around the world.

First, we need to agree to define a path to an inclusive green economy that will lift people from poverty and protect the global environment.

This requires international collaboration; it requires investment; it requires that countries exchange experiences and technology.

Second, leaders should agree to define sustainable development goals with clear and measurable targets and indicators. These SDGs will be a central part of the post-2015 global development framework.

Third, we need to make decisions on key elements of the institutional framework for sustainable development.

Fourth, we need strong, action-oriented outcomes on a wide range of cross-cutting areas.

I see encouraging progress on food security and sustainable agriculture, oceans, gender equality and women’s empowerment, education and energy.

1.4 billion people live without access to modern sources of energy.

Sustainable energy for all is the golden thread that links development, social inclusion and environmental protection – including addressing the growing threat of climate change.

Fifth, we need progress on implementation. This includes reaffirming past commitments and initiatives on trade, financing for development, technology transfer and capacity building.

Sixth, we need more partnerships with civil society and the private sector – strategic alliances that can galvanize global public support and drive change.

I look forward to new commitments and initiatives on critical challenges -- from job creation and social protection, to energy, transportation and food security.

These undertakings, and the global mobilization that has produced them, will be a major part of Rio+20’s legacy.

Ultimately, Rio+20 will be measured in the transformation it sets in motion –the lives it changes for the better.

For too long, we have tried to consume our way to prosperity.

Look at the cost. Polluted lands and oceans. Climate change. Growing scarcities of resources, from food to freshwater. Rampant inequality.

We need to invent a new model – a model that offers growth and social inclusion – a model that is more respectful of the planet’s finite resources.

That is why I have made sustainable development my number one priority.

Our hopes for future prosperity, health and stability rest on finding a path that integrates the economic, social and environmental pillars of development.

Agreeing on that roadmap is what Rio+20 is about.

Sustainable development is an idea whose time has come. It is the future we want.

Thank you very much, Ladies and Gentlemen. I will be happy to take some questions from you.