Nearly 20 Years after Rio Earth Summit, Few of Challenges Identified Have Been Adequately Tackled, Secretary-General Tells Sustainable Development Commission

14 May 2010
SG/SM/12892-ENV/DEV/1137

Nearly 20 Years after Rio Earth Summit, Few of Challenges Identified Have Been Adequately Tackled, Secretary-General Tells Sustainable Development Commission

14 May 2010
Secretary-General
SG/SM/12892 ENV/DEV/1137
Department of Public Information • News and Media Division • New York

Nearly 20 Years after Rio Earth Summit, Few of Challenges Identified Have Been

Adequately Tackled, Secretary-General Tells Sustainable Development Commission

Following are UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon’s remarks to the concluding session of the 18th session of the Commission on Sustainable Development, in New York, 14 May:

It is a great pleasure to join His Excellency, Dr. Luis Alberto Ferraté Felice, at the concluding plenary of the 18th session of the Commission on Sustainable Development.

I regret that I couldn’t be with you at the High-Level Segment.  I was in Canada, as you may know, which as you know is hosting the next G-8 and G-20 summits meeting.

These two groupings have an important role in ensuring that our efforts for sustainable development stay on track.

As you are aware, sustainable development is among my highest priorities for 2010.  That is why I will be convening a Millennium Development Goals Summit here in September.

We need to accelerate momentum for meeting the Goals.

We also need to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, and strengthen the resilience of vulnerable countries and communities.

The Commission on Sustainable Development is the highest political forum within the United Nations for addressing the interlinkages between these challenges. 

I understand that you have had a very productive two weeks. 

I welcome your emphasis on learning from best practices.

That approach will be a central plank of the Millennium Development Goals Summit meeting.

I also appreciate your efforts to consider how your decisions can have more impact.

Ultimately, everything we do is tested by one criterion:  has it improved peoples’ lives?

With that in mind, I would like to stress four points.

First, let us focus on practical decisions that can be translated into action and scaled-up.

Second, all important decisions should be concrete, with time-bound goals.

Third, let us do more to build links with other international bodies and key forums and processes.

And fourth, we must continually assess performance and progress. 

The twentieth anniversary of the Commission on Sustainable Development is fast approaching. 

Few of the challenges identified at the Rio Earth Summit have been adequately tackled.  New ones have gained added urgency.

As we look forward to the 2012 conference on sustainable development, also known as Rio+20, let me take this opportunity to announce that I have decided to designate the Under-Secretary-General for Economic and Social Affairs, Mr. Sha Zukang, as Secretary-General of the Conference.  Mr. Sha will be supported by two Executive Coordinators, whose names I will announce shortly.

Rio+20 will be supported by a dedicated secretariat, located in DESA — the Department of Economic and Social Affairs — drawing staff from other UN organizations. 

I thank Brazil for its generous offer to host the Conference. 

I wish the preparatory meeting every success as it gathers for its first meeting starting on Monday.  In our planning for this landmark event, let us recapture the solidarity and creatively of the Earth Summit.

We have a responsibility to future generations to implement what we have pledged.

Good ideas are not enough.  We need focused action.

We know what we need to do.  We know what works.  The time for delay is over.  The time for delivery is now.  

Thank you very much.

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For information media • not an official record
For information media. Not an official record.