UN Secretary-General Addresses the Challenges of Sustainable Development and Equality

15 February 2011: Addressing students and faculty at the University of San Marcos in Lima, Peru, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon listed the "sweeping changes in the global landscape," highlighting "disasters striking with greater force" and "the impacts of climate change growing ever clearer."

He focused on two main challenges, namely sustainable development and equality. On the first, he recalled that "revolution started here in Latin America" with the 1992 Earth Summit in Brazil that "put sustainable development on the map." He called for going further, underlining that new threats such as climate change have emerged since the Earth Summit that took place nearly two decades ago. Ban listed the impacts of climate change in Peru and Latin America, such as melting glaciers and sea-level rise. He stressed the need for a new path that de-couples greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from economic growth through energy efficiency.

Ban indicated that his High-Level Panel on Global Sustainability will recommend ways to "connecting the dots among climate, water, food and energy" in the lead up to the UN Conference on Sustainable Development (UNCSD or Rio+20) in 2012. Underlining the potential of the Andean region to become a major producer of biofuels, he underlined the potential of this area if developed in a sustainable manner.

On equality, Ban stressed that the ranks of women in senior posts at the UN have increased by over 40% in the past few years, noting that "our top lawyer, our top humanitarian, our top development administrator, our top climate negotiator, our human rights commissioner, the head of management, our top doctor, and even our top police officer" are women. [UN Secretary-General's Address] [UN Press Release]