“Now more than ever, leaders need to focus on what matters most - the long-term resilience of people and the planet” - the High-level Panel on Global Sustainability urged in its report presented today to UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon in Addis Ababa.
The 22-member Panel, established by the Secretary-General in August 2010 to formulate a new blueprint for sustainable development and low-carbon prosperity, was co-chaired by Finnish President Tarja Halonen and South African President Jacob Zuma. The Panel’s final report, “Resilient People, Resilient Planet: A Future Worth Choosing,” contains 56 recommendations to put sustainable development into practice and to mainstream it into economic policy as quickly as possible.
“With the possibility of the world slipping further into recession, policymakers are hungry for ideas that can help them to navigate these difficult times,” said President Zuma. “Our report makes clear that sustainable development is more important than ever given the multiple crises now enveloping the world.”
Addressing the Secretary-General via video, co-chair President Halonen stressed the importance of placing people at the centre of achieving sustainable development. “Eradication of poverty and improving equity must remain priorities for the world community,” noted President Halonen. “The Panel has concluded that empowering women and ensuring a greater role for them in the economy is critical for sustainable development.”
The Secretary-General, in receiving the Panel’s report, stated that sustainable development is a top priority for his second term of office. “We need to chart a new, more sustainable course for the future, one that strengthens equality and economic growth while protecting our planet,” said the Secretary-General.
“Resilient People, Resilient Planet” calls for the integration of social and environmental costs in how the world prices and measures economic activities. It also calls for a set of sustainable development indicators that go beyond the traditional approach of Gross Domestic Product and recommends that Governments develop and apply a set of Sustainable Development Goals that can mobilize global action and help monitor progress.
A number of the recommendations in the report have direct relevance to the SUN / Greening the Blue initiative, namely:
“....Governments and international organizations should promote energy-saving technologies and renewable energy through the incentivization of research and development and investment in them.”
“Governments, other public institutions such as universities, and international organizations should develop sustainable development criteria for their procurement, with the aim of achieving a shift towards cost-effective sustainable procurement over the next 10 years, and should issue annual public reports on their progress as from 2015.”
“Governments, international institutions and international development banks should step up their efforts to promote sustainable development and to assess and monitor adequately the consequences of their policies in the social and environmental spheres....."
“The Panel endorses the Secretary-General’s “Sustainable Energy for All” initiative, which should be implemented without delay.”
The report of the High-level Panel is a significant contribution to the UN’s work on sustainable development, and provides a timely contribution to preparations for the UN Conference on Sustainable Development (Rio+20) in Brazil in June 2012.
The summary report and the full report can be viewed on the High-Level Panel website.