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19 January 2015

‘The World Is Watching and Expectations Are High’, Secretary-General Says at Intergovernmental Negotiations on Post-2015 Development Agenda

Following are UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon’s remarks to the Intergovernmental Negotiations on the Post-2015 Development Agenda, in New York today:

Thank you, Mr. President, for organizing this important meeting today, at the beginning of this new year.  I am particularly encouraged by such a strong participation of all the Member States.  This room is completely crowded.  I can feel the excitement and energy and passion coming from the floor.  This is a good sign at the beginning of this year, when you are now beginning this important intergovernmental negotiation on this issue.  I really count on your strong commitment and engagement.

Mr. President, I congratulate you for choosing co-facilitators — very distinguished ambassadors — who are well equipped to lead the negotiations.  Those two Permanent Representatives of Kenya and Ireland I hope will guide and lead this negotiation with wisdom and flexibility, and sometimes the force of drive, if necessary.

The roots of this process lie in the Rio+20 Conference of June 2012, and in the Summit on the Millennium Development Goals in September 2010.  The process has featured landmark efforts to involve the global public.  Never before has there been such a broad and inclusive consultation on development.  We now begin a seminal year, which should kick-start a new era of sustainability for all humankind.

Member States have the extraordinary opportunity — and the responsibility — to agree a far-reaching vision to 2030; to adopt an inspiring set of sustainable development goals; to make sure that they are adequately financed; to address human-induced climate change; and to rigorously monitor and review progress, so that the transformation we seek becomes a reality.

The six Essential Elements I put forward in my Synthesis Report last December can help to frame and bring clarity to the post-2015 development agenda:  dignity, people, prosperity, planet, justice and partnership.

To secure a future of dignity for all, we must radically reform our economies, tackle inequalities and protect our planet.  We must engage our youth and change mindsets and behaviours that will address destructive patterns of production and consumption.  We must ensure no one is left behind and build resilient and cohesive societies, in pursuit of a more peaceful and just world.

In summary:  we must realize the promise of the United Nations Charter:  “To reaffirm faith in the dignity and worth of the human person, in the equal rights of men and women and of nations large and small.” 

In the year ahead, we will meet on three continents to usher in a new era of sustainable development.  In July, we will gather in Addis Ababa to pave the ground for bold actions on financing and the global partnership for sustainable development.  In September, here in New York, leaders will converge for the United Nations special summit for the adoption of a universal and transformative post-2015 development agenda, including the sustainable development goals.  And in December, the twenty-first Conference of United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) will meet in Paris to adopt a legal framework for a meaningful, universal climate change agreement.

We have come a long way, and we are close to agreeing on a shared vision with specific goals.  Member States want an ambitious agenda that can end poverty, achieve shared prosperity and peace, allow us to live in harmony with our environment and leave no one behind.

The post-2015 development agenda will reflect the fundamental links between security, development and human rights — the three pillars of the United Nations.  It will be universal, applying to the least developed countries, as well as to the richest countries, where there are still pockets of vulnerability, especially among women, girls and children.

This agenda reflects the messages that came out of consultations with civil society.  People everywhere called for concrete joint actions involving all [countries], in support of an integrated plan.

In the coming months, you will negotiate the final parameters of this agenda.  It is clear that it should include a compelling and principled narrative, based on human rights and human dignity.  It will have the sustainable development goals at its core.  It will require a global partnership to help mobilize financing and other means of implementation.  And it should include strong public mechanisms at all levels for sharing knowledge, reporting, reviewing progress, learning lessons and ensuring that everyone delivers on their commitments.

The overarching message of my Synthesis Report is that we need a new and universal compact that is people-centred and planet-sensitive.  It must encompass the fight against poverty and inequality and against gender-based discrimination; it must include those who do not enjoy full participation in society; and it must be based on safe and peaceful societies and strong institutions led by women and men from all backgrounds.

We must continue along the path of the Millennium Development Goals, consolidate their achievements and fill the remaining gaps.  Implementation will be the test of this new development agenda.  Resources will be crucial.  All funds must be tapped — public and private, national and international; and non-financial resources must also be brought to bear.

The Financing for Development Conference in Addis Ababa must agree on concrete and ambitious proposals.  Work has already begun; the intergovernmental committee of experts on sustainable development financing has outlined a range of options.  My own Synthesis Report proposed ambitious recommendations based on those options.  Progress in Addis will be crucial for the credibility of the work that will follow.  I urge you to recognize the need to step up and make the commitments and investments needed.

Seventy years after the founding of the United Nations, we must answer the call for shared prosperity and a sustainable future for all.

I am encouraged by your decision to continue to listen to people’s voices, as represented by civil society and other actors, particularly young people, during the final phase of the negotiations.  I urge you to respond to the call for transformative action and to conduct this process with the vision, passion and ambition you have already shown.

The world is watching and expectations are high.  Let us demonstrate that we are determined to work together to build a better life and a brighter future for the most vulnerable, their children and their grandchildren.  Let us show those who bear the brunt of poverty, disease, inequality, climate change and conflict that we can build a better world, based on solidarity, trust and mutual responsibility. Let us demonstrate global citizenship, foresight, moral courage and political leadership as we reach final agreement on plans to support people, communities, societies and our beautiful planet.

The whole United Nations system stands with you throughout this negotiating process. I, myself, give you my full commitment and strong support, through my Special Adviser on post-2015.  Thank you very much.

For information media. Not an official record.