UN Secretary-General Outlines “The Future We Want”

25 January 2012: In a statement titled, “The Future We Want” delivered at the UN General Assembly (UNGA), UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon outlined his plans for action over the next five years. He underscored sustainable development as first in his list of “five generational opportunities to creatively deliver on our core mission." His vision for advancing on sustainable development includes making progress on climate change, sustainable energy, and empowerment of women.

The other four areas are: preventing conflicts and disasters, human rights abuses and development setbacks; building a safer and more secure world, which includes standing strong on fundamental principles of democracy and human rights; supporting States in transition; and working for women and young people.

In his remarks to the UNGA and in a press conference following the meeting, Ban sought to outline a detailed plan for the coming five years, which is also being distributed as his second term Action Agenda.

On sustainable development, Ban expressed his intention to: pay special attention to the needs and priorities of Africa, make a final push to achieve the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), and address extreme poverty and hunger and focus on inequalities, with particular emphasis on countries with special needs and those that have not achieved sufficient progress. For the period after 2015, he expressed the hope to forge consensus on a new generation of sustainable development goals that build on the MDGs, and indicated that he will appoint a senior advisor to coordinate these efforts.

Ban spoke of mobilizing the UN system to address the “building blocks of sustainable development,” including food and nutrition security, sustainable energy for all, sustainable transportation, universal access to safe drinking water, and improved oceans governance.

He noted that sustainable development also depends on addressing climate change, and said that in the next five years, while countries negotiate a binding accord to reduce emissions, it also was necessary to facilitate mitigation and adaptation action on the ground, including on REDD+ (reducing emissions from deforestation and forest degradation, and the role of conservation, sustainable management of forests and enhancement of forest carbon stocks in developing countries), and to operationalize the Green Climate Fund, aiming to reach US$100 billion in public and private funds by 2020.

He also announced his plan to work with States to make Antarctica a World Nature Preserve.

Ban further highlighted that he would work to reduce risk from disasters – his second priority area – including those caused by climate change and environmental degradation, with a special emphasis on least developed countries (LDCs) and most vulnerable countries.

Finally, he noted that empowering women and young people is the essential cross-cutting element in all of his other goals, and outlined plans to develop an action agenda to ensure the full participation of women in social and economic recovery, and to support “a new social contract of job-rich economic growth,” beginning with young people.

He underscored that accomplishing his five priorities would depend on “the power of partnership,” such as those demonstrated by Sustainable Energy for All (SE4ALL) and the UN Global Compact. He expressed his intention to create a new UN Partnerships Facility, coordinated by a Senior Advisor, to work with the private sector, civil society, donors and academia to advance common goals, catalyze commitments and promote accountability.

He concluded by stressing that the achievement of his goals would also depend on a stronger UN, for which he plans to extend the work of the Change Management Team. He proposed launching a second generation of “Delivering as One,” to focus on increased accountability and improved outcomes. [UN Press Release] [Statement of UN Secretary-General] [Statement of President of UN General Assembly] [Webcast of Briefing to UN General Assembly] [Transcript of Press Conference] [Webcast of Press Conference]