I am honoured to be with you.
I will keep my remarks brief to allow the maximum time for discussion. I want to listen to your concerns, your questions, and your suggestions.
I have had discussions today on many topics – including Syria; the Middle East peace process; Mali; nuclear non-proliferation.
But tonight, I understand that you wish to focus on development – an issue that affects all these subjects.
Let me set the stage by looking at the bigger picture – the world we live in and the world of tomorrow – the world we will create with the decisions we make today.
We live in a time of great transition.
The transformation is economic, as vigorous new centres of growth emerge and new relationships evolve.
It is demographic, as populations age in some regions, while in others, the balance is weighted towards youth – who are too often underemployed and under-resourced.
This is related to a third shift – a political one – where young people, especially, are demanding greater opportunity and freedom. They want accountability and a say in how their countries develop.
Finally, the transformation is environmental.
The negative effects of climate change are already affecting our world, and will do so increasingly until a global climate agreement gives us the tools we need to meet the challenges of adaptation and mitigation.
The environmental transition is also linked to the demands of a growing population on a finite resource base.
Our environmental footprint has overstepped planetary boundaries. But people in all regions have a legitimate expectation of improved living standards. This means we will have to move to a model of sustainable consumption and production.
We all face these challenges – as countries, as global organizations, and as an international community.
They also represent considerable opportunity – for nations and for businesses.
Last year, world leaders – and thousands of representatives from non-governmental organizations and the business community – met in Rio de Janeiro for the UN Conference on Sustainable Development.
The conference reaffirmed recommitment at all levels to sustainable development and generated new partnerships and initiatives for achieving it.
Work is now under way to define a development agenda for the period after 2015, which is the deadline for the Millennium Development Goals.
Our objective is to eradicate extreme poverty in our lifetime, promote equitable economic opportunity for all and protect the environment as we do it.
The first priority is to meet the promise of the Millennium Development Goals. The credibility of the post-2015 development agenda depends on our success with the current one.
The MDGs have been a highly successful framework for international development.
They rallied the donor community around some of the most pressing challenges of our time and helped set global and national development policy.
Global poverty has been reduced by half. So has the proportion of people without access to improved sources of water. We have improved the lives of 200 million slum dwellers.
But, we have yet to reach the other goals -- and the deadline is fast approaching.
Progress is uneven among and within countries. Inequalities have increased around the world. Many of the most vulnerable populations and countries are being left behind.
We need a new development framework that builds on the lessons of the MDGs -- a long-term vision for people and the planet.
This is the second priority. The UN is leading the global conversation, engaging all actors in all regions.
We need a set of clear, concise and easy to communicate development goals that are universal but recognize national differences.
The core MDG issues will remain priorities, but the new agenda will encompass a broader set of interlinked challenges -- including sustainability essentials such as climate and energy, urbanization and agriculture, while also incorporating attention to conflict and fragility, and issues such as governance and accountability.
The time of addressing issues in silos is over.
Third, we need a strong financial framework, with clear and effective monitoring mechanisms.
New actors such as the emerging economies, the private sector and the philanthropic community will need to play a greater role in the global partnership for development.
The current global partnership for development needs to be rebalanced and redefined – taking into account emerging economies, South-South partnership, private sector engagement and innovative financing.
This is already happening, and you can play a significant role.
Increasingly, I am looking at the potential of multi-stakeholder partnerships to push the envelope of sustainable development.
These include Sustainable Energy for All; Scaling Up Nutrition and the Zero Hunger Challenge; and the Every Woman Every Child initiative on better health for women and children.
We also have an initiative – Global Education First – to put every child in school; improve the quality of learning; and foster global citizenship.
These initiatives – these partnerships – have the potential to have broad multiplier effects enabling the achievement of many current and future development goals.
I encourage you to learn more about them. Discover what opportunities they offer you. Engage and lead.
In this globalized and interconnected world, I am always looking for leaders – whether they are from government or the private sector – who can see the big picture – and take decisions that go beyond the narrow boundaries of short-term interest.
This is not always easy, but it is necessary, and increasingly urgent.
I firmly believe it is in the national interest of all countries to work together for global solutions to global problems.
I count on this group – with its influence and its tradition of concern and engagement with the world – to advocate this essential message.