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Secretary-General Issues Annual Report on UN’s Work

August 2011: The UN General Assembly has circulated the Report of the Secretary-General on the work of the Organization. This year's report (A/66/1) points to significant changes in the world since 2007, including the impacts of food, fuel and economic shocks, democratic movements in North Africa and the Middle East, and the rising incidence of mega-disasters, and outlines the UN's responses to these and other developments.

On responses to disasters, the UN has begun to place a higher premium on disaster risk reduction, according to the report, and to forge new types of partnerships with the business community and civil society.

On responses to development needs, the report underlines the outcome of the Fourth UN Conference on the Least Developed Countries (LDC IV), by which States committed to address the structural challenges faced by LDCs. Embarking on a “new era of sustainable development for all” is urgently needed, the Secretary-General reports. As an outcome of the UN Conference on Sustainable Development (UNCSD, or Rio+20), the publication calls for agreement on “an ambitious and actionable framework that complements the Millennium Development Goals” (MDGs), to follow the 2015 target date for meeting the eight MDGs.

In a section on the special needs of Africa, the report points to worsening problems (extreme poverty, unemployment, armed conflicts, sexual and gender-based violence) masked by the region's overall economic growth. In response, the UN is working to advance implementation of the Declaration on Enhancing UN-African Union (AU) Cooperation: Framework for the 10-Year Capacity-Building Programme for the AU, and partnering with governments to boost financing in sustainable forest management and other areas.

In a section on climate change, under "Securing Global Goods," the report highlights its importance to global peace and prosperity, and calls for “sustained global cooperation coupled with accelerated national actions to reduce emissions and strengthen climate resilience.” It praises the results of the Cancun Climate Change Conference as having provided an important set of tools that now must be put into practice.

The report also calls attention to the Secretary-General's High-level Panel on Global Sustainability (GSP), which aims to provide a practical road map for sustainable, climate-resilient development that addresses poverty eradication, energy, food, water and other key issues, the recommendations of which are expected to provide input to the UNCSD.

On participation of the business community, the report notes that its successful integration through the “private sector track” at LDC IV provides a model for closer engagement around the UNCSD and other high-level events.

In the conclusion, the report notes that “achieving sustainable development is imperative.” A crucial part of this agenda, in the Secretary-General's view, will be forging a sustainable global energy strategy. [Publication: Report of Secretary-General] [UN News Centre Story]