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New York, 15 December 2011

Mr. Sha Zukang, Under-Secretary-General for Economic and Social Affairs and Secretary-General of the 2012 United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development,
His Excellency Mr. John Ashe, Co-Chair of the Bureau for UNCSD and Permanent Representative of Antigua and Barbuda to the United Nations,
His Excellency Mr. Kim Sook, Co-Chair of the Bureau for UNCSD, Permanent Representative of the Republic of Korea to the United Nations,
Ladies and Gentlemen,

I have the honour to address this important intersessional meeting on the United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development, and to deliver the following statement on behalf of His Excellency Mr. Nasser Abdulaziz Al-Nasser, President of the United Nations General Assembly.

I would like to take this opportunity to commend Mr. Sha Zukang, Secretary-General of the 2012 United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development, the Co-Chairs and members for the Bureau for their tireless efforts in preparing for Rio+20 and  congratulate H.E Mr. Kim Sook, Permanent Representative of the Republic of Korea for his election as Co-Chair of the Bureau for UNCSD.

Since my appointment as President of the General Assembly, I have had the pleasure of speaking with many world leaders across the globe about their vision for Rio+20.

One single message emerges: the strong willingness to work towards a successful outcome.

We certainly can’t afford the risk of inaction. After two decades of implementation of sustainable development, poverty remains the major impediment in the face of developing countries’ capacity to achieve sustainable development. In particular, poverty hinders their ability to provide basic physical and social services such as education, health care, nutrition, water and sanitation, and sustainable human settlements.

There is urgent need for renewed international action on the basis of the principle of common but differentiated responsibility, as stated in the Rio declaration. The success of this process demands the harmonization of positions among all countries.

Reinforcing the Institutional Framework of Sustainable Development and integrating the three pillars for a council on sustainable development is also key.

As President of the General Assembly, the Rio+20 preparatory process has been receiving my particular attention, since it reflects one of my four pillars this session: Sustainable development and global prosperity.

I am also personally either organizing or participating in a number of related events, with a view to advancing broader agreement for Rio.

I am convinced that Rio+20 should reinvigorate the international community’s commitment to achieving the goals of sustainable development. It is an opportunity to give effect to a new vision. One based on a concrete programme of action for addressing gaps in means of implementation, as well as addressing new and emerging challenges.

It is also a chance to broker genuine international partnership for achieving the development goals outlined in the United Nations Millennium Declaration and in the outcome of the UN conferences and summits held since Rio.

I encourage the international community to build a stronger sense of urgency and responsibility regarding the Outcome of Rio+20. We must build consensus, enhance coordination and cooperation, and develop an efficient and effective governance framework that is action-orientated and actor-driven. The benefits of sustainable development must also be extended to people of all countries.

I share the view that the expected outcome of Rio+20 should be a concise, non-repetitive document. We need an ambitious and action-oriented outcome, with a results-oriented programme of action that includes clear timeframes and specific targets. For the effective achievement of this programme of action, concrete global partnerships between Governments on one hand, and between Governments, business and civil society on the other hand, are required. 

Integration, coherence and implementation are the cornerstone of the conference outcome, and should be a practical expression of the political commitments made by the international community.

These commitments envisage a global consensus on the eradication of poverty and global inequality. The third United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development will provide a unique platform for the realization of this vision.

I believe that through its outcome, the Summit will give practical meaning to the achievement of the hopes of future generations.

In concluding, I will continue to provide my full support and encouragement to this process. My door is always open.

Thank you.



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