Budapest, Hungary

24 April 2014

Secretary-General's message to meeting on Model Institutions for a Sustainable Future, 24-26 April

I am pleased to send greetings to this gathering of policymakers and experts on constitutional law.

Strong institutions that protect the interests of our descendants are critical to meeting our global goals for a more sustainable future. Institutions are especially important for safeguarding the natural and social capital that will allow coming generations to enjoy greater wellbeing than societies experience today.

I am deeply concerned that in too many parts of the world, people adopt patterns of production and consumption geared towards satisfying immediate needs without regard for their long-term impact. We see evidence of this in skyrocketing national debt levels, particularly in developed countries; in conflicts over land and resources in many parts of the world, especially those endowed with natural riches; and in the dismantling of social safety nets, pensions and other services intended not only to meet basic needs but also to strengthen resilience.

This conference shows that there is a better way forward. A small minority of countries, many of which are represented here in Budapest, have created institutions that are formally entrusted with protecting the interests of future generations. I hope more and more countries will adopt this approach until it becomes standard around the world.

We at the United Nations look forward to the unfolding work of the High-Level Forum on Sustainable Development as a trusteeship entity for the future. This will complement our efforts to accelerate progress towards the Millennium Development Goals while shaping a vision for the post-2015 sustainable development agenda.

Keeping our eyes on the future means doing far more to address climate change.  I will convene a Climate Summit this September with leaders from government, business, finance and civil society to catalyze action to reduce emissions, mobilize climate solutions and generate political will for a global legal climate agreement by next year.

I encourage this Conference to support these interlinked global imperatives by delivering a powerful message to all countries about the need to create effective institutions that will maintain a robust focus on our common future.

In that spirit, I wish you great success.