Secretary-General, at Special Session, Calls UNCTAD ‘Anchor’ of United Nations Development Pillar, with Vital Role in Delivering Post-2015 Agenda

17 June 2014

Secretary-General, at Special Session, Calls UNCTAD ‘Anchor’ of United Nations Development Pillar, with Vital Role in Delivering Post-2015 Agenda

17 June 2014
Department of Public Information • News and Media Division • New York

Secretary-General, at Special Session, Calls UNCTAD ‘Anchor’ of United Nations

Development Pillar, with Vital Role in Delivering Post-2015 Agenda

Following are UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon’s remarks to the twelfth special session of the United Nations Trade and Development Conference (UNCTAD) Trade and Development Board, in Geneva today:

Merci de votre invitation et de votre accueil.  Ce jour marque une étape importante non seulement pour laConférence des Nations Unies sur le commerce et le développement mais pour l’ensemble de la famille des Nations Unies.

Nous sommes réunis pour marquer une date qui, il y a cinquante ans, fut un moment important pour la mission de l’ONU dans le domaine du développement.

Avec la création de la CNUCED, tous les membres de l’Organisation ont explicitement adopté une perspective du développement marquée par l’ouverture et tournée vers l’avenir.

Le monde était divisé entre nord et sud, est et ouest.  Pourtant, les nations sont convenues qu’il fallait répondre aux aspirations des pays en développement, dont beaucoup venaient de gagner leur indépendance.

A la première conférence ministérielle de la CNUCED a été exposée l’ambition d’un système de coopération internationale pour le développement meilleur et plus efficace, qui permette de surmonter la scission du monde entre zones de pauvreté et zones d’abondance et d’assurer la prospérité de tous.

Les États Membres ont mis en relief l’interdépendance de toutes les parties du monde et établi le lien essentiel entre le développement et la paix.

I have just come from Bolivia, where I joined Heads of State in marking the fiftieth anniversary of the “Group of 77” (G-77) and China, which itself was established at the first meeting of UNCTAD.

Over the past half century, the entire United Nations family has strengthened its commitment to fair and inclusive socioeconomic development.  We have worked to reduce poverty and spread prosperity, in recent years by adopting the landmark Millennium Development Declaration and implementing the Millennium Development Goals.

Fifty years later, our world is very different.  The divisions between North and South — East and West — have blurred.  Some developing countries have emerged to become economic powerhouses and global players.  Hundreds of millions have been lifted out of extreme poverty.  There has been progress along a range of socioeconomic fronts.

But there is much work ahead.  This birthday comes when we in the international community are facing a turning point in the drive for sustainable development.  We have little over 500 days left until the deadline for achieving the MDGs.  We need to speed up our efforts and build on the achievements.

At the same time, our Member States are on the cusp of shaping a far-reaching development agenda for the period after 2015.  This development agenda must be bold and ambitious.  We need to chart a path for economic development that is inclusive and environmentally sustainable.  We must look for transformative solutions that expand the boundaries of opportunity for people while respecting the boundaries of our planet.

There is a growing understanding that climate change is not just a threat but also an opportunity to re-orient our economies for the better.  This is one of the reasons I will convene a climate summit in September to bring together global leaders and catalyse action.  We must intensify our fight against poverty.  We must tackle social deprivation and expand access to crucial services.  We must empower women and girls and offer a better future to young people.

We need to pursue this transformative agenda in an increasingly interconnected world.  Problems and challenges cross borders and policy disciplines with a tremendous speed and ease.  We face the threats of environmental degradation.  We also face dangers from conflict, food and energy crises and deadly diseases.

As it has for 50 years, UNCTAD will continue to play an important role.  You have faced challenges linked to the big changes in international trade and economic relations over the past five decades.  Your focus has widened from the trade issues that were of main concern to developing countries in 1964 to embrace a bigger, and more complex, set of questions.  Your work has evolved from North-South relations and problems to today’s greater emphasis on interdependence between countries and between economic sectors.  In the process, the contribution of UNCTAD to the United Nations’ development work has been — and continues to be — crucial.

Our task today is in some senses more difficult than it was 50 years ago.  But if the issues are more complex, the opportunities for common progress are more compelling.  If we are to succeed in our quest for sustainable development, we will have to strengthen multilateral cooperation and global partnerships.

In preparation for post-2015, we in the United Nations system are working on making ourselves “fit for purpose”.  As an anchor in the UN’s development pillar, UNCTAD has a vital role to play in helping to deliver the post-2015 agenda.  As we celebrate today, let us resolve to deepen our work together for sustainable development and a life of dignity for all.  For that we will need a strong UN and a strong UNCTAD.

Thank you for your commitment to building ever stronger institutions to help us build a better world for all.

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