Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon today urged countries to seize the opportunity provided by the upcoming United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development (Rio+20) to set the world on a path towards a sustainable future, stressing that collective power in the form of partnerships will be crucial to address the challenges the planet is facing.
“Rio offers a generational opportunity to hit the reset button: to set a new course toward a future that balances the economic, social and environmental dimensions of prosperity and human well-being,” Mr. Ban said in an opinion-piece published in the International Herald Tribune newspaper.
More than 130 Heads of State, along with thousands of parliamentarians, mayors, UN officials, Chief Executive Officers and civil society leaders will come together at Rio+20, in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, next month, to shape and adopt new policies and measures to promote prosperity, reduce poverty and advance social equity and environmental protection.
The conference will mark the 20th anniversary of the 1992 Earth Summit, also held in Rio de Janeiro, which set out the principles of sustainable development.
“We recognize that we can not continue to burn and consume our way to prosperity. Yet we have not embraced the obvious solution – the only possible solution, now as it was 20 years ago: sustainable development,” Mr. Ban noted in his opinion-piece.
He emphasized the importance of establishing partnerships and engaging global leaders to obtain the support needed to “set in motion a conceptual revolution in how we think about creating dynamic yet sustainable growth for the 21st century and beyond.”
In particular, the Secretary-General highlighted that the conference should serve to inspire new ways of thinking about economic models, as well as food security and employment; build on the anti-poverty targets known as the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs); give voice to parts of society often heard the least, especially women and youth; and trigger action from States to better use limited resources.
“Because so many of today’s challenges are global, they demand a global response – collective power exercised in powerful partnership,” Mr. Ban added. “Now is not the moment for narrow squabbling. This is a moment for world leaders and their people to unite in common purpose around a shared vision of our common future – the future we want.”