Global Human Development Forum in Istanbul this week to focus on sustainability and equity as priorities for “Rio + 20” conference

19 Mar 2012

United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) Associate Administrator Rebeca Grynspan and Deputy Prime Minister Ali Babacan of Turkey will open the first “Global Human Development Forum” on March 22nd in Istanbul, leading discussions of development experts, government ministers, civil society leaders and UN officials on the new global policies needed to ensure a sustainable future for people today and for generations to come.

Convened three months before world leaders gather in Brazil for the “Rio + 20” U.N. Conference on Sustainable Development, the Istanbul Forum will provide a unique and timely opportunity for a fresh examination of the critical social, economic and environmental challenges now facing the world community.

The Forum, an initiative of UNDP’s Human Development Report Office and Bureau of Development Policy, is co-sponsored by the Government of Turkey. The 2011 Human Development Report —“Sustainability and Equity: A Better Future for All”— will serve as the overarching framework for the Istanbul dialogue.

The two-day symposium will culminate with an “Istanbul Declaration” articulating agreed goals and priorities for the “Rio+20” UN Conference on Sustainable Development in June 2012.

“Rio+20 is a historic opportunity for the international community to agree on urgently needed action to ensure human development progress and a healthy environment for future generations,” said Rebeca Grynspan. “In Istanbul, we will focus on the global policies, resources, and commitments needed to make this sustainable future a reality.”

The recommendations of UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon’s High Level Panel on Global Sustainability will be examined, including the proposed commitment to new ‘Sustainable Development Goals’ to guide global priorities in the decades following the 2015 conclusion of the UN’s 15-year Millennium Development Goals campaign, and the Secretary-General’s “Sustainable Energy for All” initiative, which would provide clean fuels and basic electricity service to the 1.5 billion people who now live entirely off the power grid.

Tarja Halonen
, the outgoing president of Finland and co-chair of the Secretary-General’s Global Sustainability Panel, will be among the speakers at the Forum, as will Janos Pasztor, the Panel’s executive secretary. Other speakers include Kandeh K. Yumkella, Director-General, United Nations Industrial Development Organization; Thakur Singh Powdyel, Minister for Education of Bhutan; Brian Atwood, Chair, Development Assistance Committee, the OECD; Gunilla Carlsson, Minister for Development Cooperation, Sweden; Wycliffe Ambetsa Oparanya, Minister of Planning, Kenya; and Senator Cristovam Buarque of Brazil, among many other leading government officials and development experts.