CLOSING REMARKS AT THE UNITED NATIONS GENERAL ASSEMBLY’S INFORMAL THEMATIC DEBATE ON “THE ROAD TO RIO+20 AND BEYOND”
New York, 22 May 2012
Ladies and Gentlemen,
We have just completed a frank and rich discussion on one of the most urgent issues of our time:
Paving the way for a safe and secure future for humanity and our planet.
I would like to thank you for your constructive and substantive interactive debate, undertaken in a spirit of cooperation and true commitment.
I would like to express my gratitude to the panelists for sharing their valuable, wise and candid thoughts.
My thanks go to Mr Sha Zukang and his team and to the Mission of Brazil, for their tire-less efforts in making this thematic debate a success.
I would like to thank all the Member States, Observers and civil society representatives who offered a diversity of well-thought out, constructive views.
Despite some divergence, there was today a strong willingness to listen to each other, and a determination to work together to make the development agenda a success in Rio and beyond.
I would highlight, in particular, a few key points that emerged from today’s discussion.
First, in the discussions on the Sustainable Development Goals and their link with the development agenda, many delegations agreed that SDGs are a crucial element post-2015.
SDGs offer a path to making sustainable development a reality.
Our focus should be on designing global priorities that are universal, voluntary, and flexible.
The process to define the SDGs should be coordinated with the review process on the MDGs, as well as the process for the development agenda beyond 2015.
Rather than two parallel tracks, we need one process that is holistic, balanced and inclusive.
On SDGs we also heard from civil society and the private sector.
We heard that the missing link in connecting all the dimensions of sustainable development is housing as part of human dignity and human development.
We also heard that the SDGs require a major change in the model of consumption, and a shift in values.
Second, in addition to the SDGs, delegates considered the institutional framework of sustainable development and other effective means to support the implementation of Rio+20 objectives and outcome.
A shared view emerged that any future institutional framework should be universal, ensure system-wide participation and be equipped to monitor the implementation of agreed commitments and targets.
The importance of the transfer of technology was also emphasized.
Critical in this regard would be the establishment of a facility for technology assessment, where Member States could share experiences and best practices.
It was also highlighted that the General Assembly should be a catalyst in the implementation of the Rio Outcome Document.
With a strong institutional framework, the General Assembly can fulfill its obligations as the world’s most legitimate global body, working for all humanity.
As my modest contribution to Rio+20, a summary of our discussions will be prepared and circulated to all including the Bureau of the Preparatory committee Rio+20.
Let me again thank each of your for your important contribution today.
It is clear that all parties are willing to create a Rio legacy that we can be proud of.
Together, let us seize the historic opportunity translate global aspirations into tangible actions.
The world is watching. The time is now.