Deputy Secretary-General, at Opening Ceremony for ‘Envision 2012’, Underlines Potential of Documentaries to Advance United Nations Goals, Ideals

17 April 2012
DSG/SM/613

Deputy Secretary-General, at Opening Ceremony for ‘Envision 2012’, Underlines Potential of Documentaries to Advance United Nations Goals, Ideals

17 April 2012
Deputy Secretary-General
DSG/SM/613
Department of Public Information • News and Media Division • New York

Deputy Secretary-General, at Opening Ceremony for ‘Envision 2012’, Underlines

Potential of Documentaries to Advance United Nations Goals, Ideals

Following is UN Deputy Secretary-General Asha-Rose Migiro’s remarks at the opening ceremony of “Envision 2012:  Stories for a Sustainable Future” in New York on 16 April:

I am delighted to join you for the opening of “Envision 2012”.  And I am glad that the Ford Foundation’s JustFilms initiative, the Independent Filmmaker Project and the UN’s Department of Public Information have worked so well together to make this event possible.

Documentaries are powerful tools.  More than ever before, they are attracting large audiences, not only in theatres, but also through social media.  Their impact is growing.  We at the United Nations are very excited about the potential of documentaries to advance United Nations objectives and ideals.

As Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has said many times, sustainable development is the leading challenge of our times.  Dignity, opportunity, the very stability of our societies — all this depends on our ability to find a path of development that can reduce poverty, advance social equity and ensure environmental protection on an ever more crowded planet.

The United Nations has long been at the forefront of efforts to accelerate sustainable development.  A generation ago, the Earth Summit in Rio led to the adoption of a historic action plan for a sustainable future called Agenda 21.  But, not all of the commitments made in 1992 have been carried out.  The pressures on the planet continue to mount.  If we don’t take immediate and determined action, the strain will soon reach a breaking point.

This year, the world returns to Rio in June in an effort to bring new impetus to this work — from the grassroots to the highest political levels.  Governments will adopt what we will hope will be an ambitious outcome document.  Moreover, the conference will also see Governments and thousands of members of civil society — businesses and trade unions, scientists and farmers, indigenous peoples, youth and others — announce hundreds of new voluntary initiatives aimed at improving peoples’ lives while ensuring the well-being of ecosystems and resources.

But, of course, our work will not end in Rio.  The United Nations is working hard to accelerate efforts to achieve the Millennium Development Goals by the 2015 deadline.  The conference is an opportunity to propel that work forward — and an opportunity we cannot afford to miss.

Envision 2012’s documentaries and discussions have a crucial role to play in our effort to transform our economies and place our societies on a more just and equitable footing.  We at the United Nations believe in the power of film to raise awareness and to mobilize the action we need to change the world.  Through our Creative Community Outreach Initiative, we are working closely with filmmakers and with other gifted storytellers to shine a light on shared global challenges.

We hope that you will be inspired and entertained by this year’s programme.  We also hope that the conversations started at this forum will ultimately contribute to a sustainable future and empower people to make sustainable choices.

Thank you for joining us in building the future we want.

Enjoy the show.

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