UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon's message to the Istanbul GHDF

22 Mar 2012

The Secretary-General message to global human development forum

Delivered by Rebeca Grynspan, Associate Administrator, United Nations Development Programme

Istanbul I am pleased to send greetings to the Global Human Development Forum.  Coming just three months before the Rio+20 United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development, the work you do here can have a real impact on the outcome in Brazil. 

Sustainable development is one of the top priorities for my second term.  The world stands at a crossroads.  We need everyone – government ministers and policy makers, business and civil society leaders, and young people – to work together to transform our economies… to place our societies on more just and equitable footing… and to protect the resources and ecosystems on which our shared future depends.

Connecting the dots between these issues -- between water, food and energy security, climate change, urbanization, poverty, inequality and the empowerment of the world’s women – lies at the heart of sustainable development.  But it will take resolute will from all sectors of society. 

Sustainable development recognizes that our economic, social and environmental objectives are not competing goals that must be traded off against each other, but are interconnected objectives that are most effectively pursued together in a holistic manner. We need an outcome from Rio+20 that reflects this understanding and that relates to the concerns of all.

The concept of human development originated in well-founded dissatisfaction with using only gross domestic product as a measure of human progress.  Though this understanding has become something of a benchmark in our thinking about development, there remains a need to dramatically change the way we value and measure progress.

That is among the messages put forward by the just-issued report of my Global Sustainability Panel.  And it is a message we should take to heart as Rio+20 approaches.

I look forward to the recommendations that will emanate from this forum, and I count on you to continue to champion them when you leave here. 

I wish you a successful Forum.