Mr. President of the Economic and Social Council
Mr. Deputy Secretary General,
Ladies and gentlemen,
I am pleased to extend a warm welcome to this ECOSOC Integration meeting.
At Rio+20, Member States initiated a process to develop a set of sustainable development goals. These SDGs are to become an integral part of the post-2015 development agenda. The outcome document of Rio+20 —“The Future We Want”– lays out a strong vision for this agenda. It inspires and guides the Council’s efforts to improve the quality and impact of its work.
It also mandates the Economic and Social Council to play a key role in the balanced integration of the three dimensions of sustainable development. The Council’s subsidiary bodies – with expertise across the full spectrum of economic, social, and environmental dimensions – are central to forging consensus around critical policies and their implementation.
The ECOSOC system can also be instrumental in strengthening the global partnership for development through its Development Cooperation Forum.
Science, technology and innovation hold great potential as tools and enablers to integrate the three dimensions of sustainable development. They can be used to promote health, increase productivity, improve the efficiency of resource use, and reduce negative human impacts on the environment. They will be critical to tackling some of the major sustainable development challenges of this century. These include providing food security to a growing population, eradicating poverty and tackling climate change.
Today’s discussions will focus on two sectors central to global sustainability – agriculture, and energy.
One of the most difficult challenges facing many countries is that of food insecurity. Addressing this challenge requires investing in sustainable agriculture. Research, development and innovations are essential to increasing agricultural productivity while producing food more sustainably. They are also essential to adapting crop production to changing climatic conditions.
The Consultative Group of International Agricultural Research (CGIAR) model of internationally funded and linked agricultural research institutes, has proven successful in fostering the first Green Revolution. A collaborative effort of comparable, or even greater, scale will be needed to address the sustainable food production challenges of the future.
Science, technology and innovation are also essential for the promotion of sustainable energy. They can increase energy efficiency. They can address key technology bottlenecks to the more widespread uptake of alternative, clean energy. Some of the technological solutions are simple, as with clean cookstoves. However, social and economic barriers to their broader diffusion can be complex. Innovation extends beyond developing hardware, to finding solutions, to the broad social acceptance and economic affordability of improved technologies.
These complex and yet interlined challenges must be addressed in an integrated way. I am fully confident that ECOSOC will continue to play a coordinating role in facilitating the integration of the three dimensions of sustainable development in its work.
Today’s discussions are an important milestone on this ambitious journey.