St. Petersburg, Russian Federation

21 June 2012

Secretary-General's message to the XVI St. Petersburg International Economic Forum, 21-23 June [delivered by Alexander Trepelkov, Director, Financing for Development Office, Department of Economic and Social Affairs]

I am pleased to send greetings to the XVI St. Petersburg International Economic Forum.  Bringing together global business leaders with high-level representatives from Government, academia, the media and the cultural community, your Forum is an important platform to explore the increasing role that emerging economic powers can play in helping to enhance and expand international cooperation for the common good.

Your gathering is also a timely opportunity to take an in-depth look at economic progress in Russia and the country’s efforts to reinforce its reform agenda.  The Russian economy was hit hard by the world financial and economic crisis.  But the measures taken by the Government helped mitigate adverse impacts and preserve the significant economic and social gains that were made in recent years.  I hope your deliberations will result in further steps that will enable Russia to fully realize its economic potential and play a constructive role in the world economy.

You meet at a time of global economic uncertainty.  Concerns over the euro crisis, growing volatility in commodity prices and financial markets, as well as widespread unemployment, continue to threaten the modest recovery that is under way.  Concerted efforts on a global scale are needed to prevent bank runs and financial panic in the months ahead, and to forge a common agenda for sustainable development.

The United Nations continues to call for a more pro-active role by the public sector in tackling the jobs crisis, protecting the vulnerable, making green investments and enhancing global economic governance. 

As you meet here today, the United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development is seeking to achieve concrete results and new commitments in many areas that feature on your agenda, including infrastructure, inclusive green growth, sustainable energy and social protection.  Rio+20 is a once-in-a generation opportunity to define a model for a 21st-century economy that rejects the myth that there is a trade-off between prosperity and the environment.  I have been pressing world leaders to send a signal that they are committed to a sustainable future – a future that lifts people from poverty, generates dynamic and equitable growth, and respects the limits of our planet’s finite resources.  That is the future we want; it is the transformation we need. 

The implementation of the Rio+20 outcome and our broader efforts to set the world economy on a more stable and equitable path will require the efforts of all the stakeholders gathered here today.  I encourage all of you to use this opportunity to take a step forward for our common future.  Please accept my best wishes for a productive meeting.