Secretary-General Welcomes High-Level Forum as ‘Major Step Forward’ as Member States Agree on Novel Formula for New Body to Boost Follow-up on Rio+20 Outcomes

9 July 2013
ENV/DEV/1369

Secretary-General Welcomes High-Level Forum as ‘Major Step Forward’ as Member States Agree on Novel Formula for New Body to Boost Follow-up on Rio+20 Outcomes

9 July 2013
Press Release
ENV/DEV/1369
Department of Public Information • News and Media Division • New York

Secretary-General Welcomes High-Level Forum as ‘Major Step Forward’ as Member States

Agree on Novel Formula for New Body to Boost Follow-up on Rio+20 Outcomes

Establishing the High-level Political Forum in place of the United Nations Commission on Sustainable Development marked a major step forward in implementing “The Future We Want”, United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said today.

“The Forum can provide the political leadership and action-oriented recommendations we need to follow up on all the Rio recommendations and meet urgent global economic, social and environmental challenges,” he said following the General Assembly’s adoption of the resolution establishing the Forum.  “Countries must do their utmost to realize the Forum’s potential.”

Convening annually at the ministerial level under the auspices of the United Nations Economic and Social Council, the Forum will bring Heads of State together every four years to provide added momentum for sustainable development.  The Forum will review progress in the implementation of sustainable development commitments, enhance the integration of the three dimensions of sustainable development — economic, social and environmental — focus on themes consistent with the post-2015 development agenda and ensure that new sustainable development challenges are properly addressed.

General Assembly President Vuk Jeremić said the new Forum must be more than just a meeting place, emphasizing that it must be the place where countries and civil society generated momentum for change.  “We are simply not doing enough to meet the fundamental challenges of our time:  to end extreme poverty in this generation and significantly narrow the global gap between rich and poor, without inflicting irreparable damage to the environmental basis for our survival.”

Wu Hongbo, Under-Secretary-General for Economic and Social Affairs, described the event as a great opportunity to advance the sustainable development agenda.  “There is so much that we need to do in concert — to accelerate action on the Millennium Development Goals, to eradicate poverty and promote prosperity, to ensure that everyone has a chance for a better life, while addressing important environmental challenges that threaten progress, such as climate change and biodiversity loss and developing a new set of sustainable development goals.”

United Nations Member States agreed to establish the new Forum to boost efforts towards global sustainable development that would improve people’s economic and social well-being while protecting the environment.  The decision by the General Assembly followed up on a key recommendation of “The Future We Want”, the outcome document from the “Rio+20” United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development, held in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, in June 2012.

The Forum will replace the Commission on Sustainable Development.  Formed after the 1992 United Nations Conference on Environment and Development (UNCED), or “Earth Summit”, also held in Rio, the Commission helped to generate action on a range of issues that led to international agreements or treaties.  It was also in the forefront in promoting civil society involvement in its work.  However, Governments and civil society actors came to share a belief that a body with a higher profile was needed to guide sustainable development towards the desired future.

The General Assembly resolution stresses the need to enhance the role and participation of major social groups and other stakeholders, while retaining the intergovernmental character of the Forum, which will hold its first meeting in September, during the Assembly’s forthcoming sixty-eighth session.

For interviews and more information, contact Dan Shepard, United Nations Department of Public Information, tel.:  +1 212 963 9495, or e-mail:  shepard@un.org; or visit the website at http://sustainabledevelopment.un.org/.

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