With the UN Sustainable Development Summit taking place later this week, there is much talk about the new Sustainable Development Goals and how they will improve lives while protecting the planet over the next fifteen years. In a recent interview, Wu Hongbo, UN Under-Secretary-General for Economic and Social Affairs, explained why we should all care about these goals.

“If all of the world’s people lived like people in the developed countries do, then we would need three or four different globes to support the demand in terms of natural resources. So, sustainability is the word for the whole world,” Mr. Wu told reporters.

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“The way it is currently, with consumption and production, and with the ever-increasing population, the planet’s resources will not sustain unless something is done to change the way we treat our planet.”

Mr. Wu said that the issue of sustainability is one that belongs to everybody because the issue of our environment and the depletion in resources is one that will affect generations to come, regardless of location.

Should the world exceed its two-degree warning limit and become a lot warmer, then the consequences could be more natural disasters, poverty and famine. In order to prevent this, governments and businesses from across the world need to work together to ensure sustainable development – ensuring that economic growth doesn’t come at the expense of the planet.

“If we can have better development, economically, socially and environmentally, some of the crises can be addressed properly, ” he said.

Mr. Wu also spoke of how valuable it is to have a common global agenda: “Just imagine, even having a board meeting, or even people sitting in one room, you’ll have different views, but 193 countries, they managed to produce a commonly acceptable program for future development. This is unprecedented.

“The Sustainable Development Goals is something we have never seen before. This is a great achievement, not only for the United Nations, but for human beings, for the globe.”