Helen Clark: Opening Remarks and Moderation Notes at the Interactive Dialogue of the UN High-Level Political Forum on “A Universal Integrated Policy Agenda to Implement Rio+20 and Realize the Future We Want”

07 Jul 2014

Helen Clark, UNDP Administrator
Opening Remarks and Moderation Notes
at the
Interactive Dialogue of the UN High-Level Political Forum
on
"A Universal Integrated Policy Agenda to Implement Rio+20 and Realize the Future We Want"
United Nations, New York

Welcome to this High-Level Political Forum on Sustainable Development dialogue on “a universal and integrated agenda to implement Rio + 20”.

The Rio+20 Outcome document, agreed by Member States in June 2012, made it clear that future development agendas should encompass all three strands of sustainable development.

Member States agreed that sustainable development goals should be designed to be “coherent with and integrated into the UN development agenda beyond 2015”.

This was timely – by the following year, debate over what should be in the post-2015 agenda was in full swing.

Guided by Rio +20, Member States have since agreed that there should be a single, unified, and universal post-2015 agenda. This conclusion reflects the reality that development gains cannot be sustained if the very environment on which life depends is wrecked in the process.

The impact of climate change makes this increasingly obvious. Ever more extreme weather events are ending lives and wiping out years of progress, sometimes in a matter of hours – as we have seen recently from the Philippines and the Solomon Islands, to Bosnia and Herzegovina, Serbia, Croatia, and Paraguay. The need to act on climate change and build adaptation and resilience to it into development strategies is clear, if economic and social progress is to be maintained.

It will be challenging to negotiate a universal post-2015 agenda - applicable to all countries and suited to the particular context of each.
Yet the universality reflects our interdependence on the one planet we share. Whether the issue is extreme poverty, climate change, dwindling biodiversity, high inequalities, or crime and violence – we are all affected one way or another.
 
Sustainable development goals and targets will need to be relevant to these challenges – and tackle the drivers of them. They should reflect the shared aspirations of people and countries - North and South, and large and small.

Yet the post-2015 agenda will also need to differentiate between countries – reflecting different starting points and capacities. Developing countries have basic needs, which the world has agreed must be met. There is a strong desire for the new agenda to complete the unfinished business of the MDGs and to leave no one behind. The objective is no less than poverty eradication – and achieving that will mean all countries enjoying peace and stability, and the rule of law, and having effective governance capable of delivering the services citizens need.

I look forward to our panelists and discussants covering these and many related issues with you over the next hour and a half.