Mr. Wu Hongbo Under-Secretary-General for Economic and Social Affairs, Secretary-General for the International Conference on Small Island Developing States

Inaugural session of the high-level political forum on sustainable development Strengthening the science policy interface:
Global Sustainable Development Report and the need for a data revolution

Distinguished Delegates,
Ladies and Gentlemen,

We are here to inaugurate a new UN platform. 

The forum must be at the forefront of analysis and policy thinking on sustainable development. 

Rio+20 wisely calls on the high-level political forum to strengthen the science-policy interface. A global sustainable development report will help serve this important purpose.

The UN system has developed a prototype version of such a Report.  Its policy summary has been distributed.

We reached out to scientific communities to identify its key messages. We also drew from the wealth of assessments on sustainable development. 

The scientists identified several issues for decision-makers to prioritize.  These include: unsustainable consumption and production; the nexus between climate-land-energy-water-development; increased wealth inequalities and persistence of poverty; natural resource conflicts; and worsening pressures of human activities on the biosphere.

Scenarios prepared by experts show that we can achieve an alternative sustainable development pathway for the future.

To make it happen, we must  strengthen international cooperation.  And we must take into account the inter-linkages among sectors.

The preparation of the report also highlighted the scarcity and low quality of data.  This is a major concern as we define SDGs and the UN development agenda beyond 2015. 

There is a need for a new international initiative to improve the quality of data on sustainable development. A true data revolution would fully integrate statistics into decision making. It would take advantage of new technologies.  It would promote open access to and use of data.  And, critically, it would ensure increased support for statistical systems.


A future global report on sustainable development could assist this Forum in reviewing global progress in the achievement of the SDGs.

We look forward to your deliberations and guidance.

Thank you.