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UNCSD Secretary-General Outlines Eight Priorities for UNCSD

13 July 2011: Sha Zukang, Under-Secretary-General for Economic and Social Affairs and Secretary-General of the UN Conference on Sustainable Development (UNCSD, or Rio+20), summarized his recent speech in Washington, DC, US, in a new post to his blog. He elaborated on eight “new and emerging challenges” that States and other stakeholders have highlighted for priority attention. The challenges include energy access, green jobs, sustainable agriculture, marine resources and financing.

The eight emerging areas represent “a tall agenda for world leaders” at the UNCSD, Sha said, at the National Press Club. As priority challenges, Sha identified: green jobs and social inclusion, emphasizing the social pillar of sustainable development and the problem of unemployment; energy access and security, noting the problem of energy poverty and calling for endorsement of the initiative for universal energy access by 2030; food security and sustainable agriculture, calling for protecting soils, water, and biodiversity in efforts to feed more people; sound water management, to combat desertification and drought, as well as the risk of conflict over scarce water; urbanization and sustainable cities, noting the potential for cities – through building and transport practices – to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and solve other sustainable development problems; management of the oceans and marine resources, calling for accelerated implementation of Chapter 17 of Agenda 21; enhancing disaster preparedness and resilience, particularly in “vulnerable developing countries;” and means of implementation, on which he noted developing countries' need for international support to build greener infrastructure and industries, which he suggested could be met through a new public and private financing initiative, such as a global green economy fund.

Sha also noted that climate change cuts across all of these areas and is a high priority in its own right. [“New and Emerging Challenges” blog post by Sha Zukang]