UN Secretary-General Presents Summary Report of High-Level Panel on Global Sustainability

16 March 2012: UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon presented a summary of the Report of the High-level Panel on Global Sustainability to an informal plenary session of the UN General Assembly (UNGA) convened for that purpose. The report, titled “Resilient People, Resilient Planet: A Future Worth Choosing,” presents recommendations for eradicating poverty and reducing inequality, while combating climate change.

In his presentation, Ban noted that the report makes 56 recommendations under three main headings: empowering people to make sustainable choices; working toward a sustainable economy; and strengthening institutional governance. He highlighted that the report calls for, inter alia, adopting the "nexus approach," stressing that food, water, and energy security are linked and must be pursued together.

Ban indicated that he would explore the possibility of developing a global sustainable development outlook report that would periodically assess progress toward the goals of sustainable development and low-carbon prosperity.

In subsequent discussions, countries had mixed reactions to the report, with some praising it as a “bold initiative,” while others expressed concern at a lack of concrete recommendations on ways to ensure the implementation of the Mauritius Strategy for the Further Implementation of the Programme of Action for the Sustainable Development of small island developing States (SIDS), the Johannesburg Plan of Implementation (JPOI) and Agenda 21.

Papua New Guinea, speaking on behalf of the Pacific SIDS, welcomed the report's concern for ocean acidification and the dangers it poses for marine food chains and coral reefs. He called for a focus on the blue economy and on the ecosystem-based approach for fisheries management. He concluded by expressing the "dismay" of Pacific island States that the Panel could not agree on recommendations regarding the need to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions.

The High-level Panel on Global Sustainability was launched on 9 August 2010 to “reflect on and formulate a new vision for sustainable growth and prosperity, along with mechanisms for achieving it.” It was co-chaired by Tarja Halonen, President of Finland and Jacob Zuma, President of South Africa. The report was submitted to the UN Secretary-General on 30 January 2012. [UNGA Press Release] [UN Secretary General's Comments] [Global Sustainability Panel Report]