Following are UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon’s remarks, as prepared for delivery, at a dinner honouring Macharia Kamau and Csaba Kőrösi, recipients of the Elizabeth Haub Award for Environmental Diplomacy, in New York, today:
I thank the Pace University School of Law and the Haub family for inviting me to honour the recipients of the Elizabeth Haub Prize for Environmental Diplomacy.
This dinner takes place as the international community moves towards historic decisions on sustainable development. Member States are soon to agree on an ambitious and transformative post-2015 development agenda. It brings together the environmental, social and economic dimensions of development to eradicate poverty, reduce inequality and preserve our planet.
The process of arriving at the post-2015 development agenda has been unprecedented. At the Millennium Development Goals Summit in 2010, I was asked to initiate thinking on a development agenda to succeed the MDGs. The object was to complete unfinished business and address emerging and neglected challenges.
At the Rio+20 Conference in 2012, Governments called for a set of sustainable development goals. The subsequent deliberations have galvanized the international community. We have seen engagement from all actors in all countries. Civil society, the private sector, academia and parliamentarians have used this opportunity to bring their needs and aspirations to the attention of United Nations Member States. The post-2015 development agenda represents a universal vision of the world we want.
Ambassador Macharia Kamau and Ambassador Csaba Kőrösi are rightfully being honoured for their extraordinary service in helping to establish a set of visionary sustainable development goals. They have skilfully guided Member States through 18 months of in-depth — and sometimes difficult — discussions. Throughout, they ensured that the voices of non-State actors were heard.
One year ago this month, Member States agreed on the final report of the Open Working Group on Sustainable Development Goals. The Group’s proposal includes a set of 17 goals and 169 targets that fully capture the integrated nature of sustainable development. Together, they will guide us towards completing the unfinished business of the MDGs.
They encompass emerging and cross-cutting issues, including environment, gender and inequality, and link peace and security to sustainable development. Last but not least, they advance how we approach implementation. In addition to a stand-alone goal on Means of Implementation, they outline specific means of implementation for each goal.
I thank Ambassador Kamau and Ambassador Kőrösi for their hard work, engagement and energy. Without their tireless efforts we would not be where we are today. Let us now match their commitment as we work to achieve the sustainable development goals. By working together we can achieve a life of dignity and promise for all. Thank you.