UN chief points to urgency of global sustainable development challenge

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Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon

The urgency of the global sustainable development challenge is clear, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said Thursday in remarks to the open working group on the Sustainable Development goals (SDGs).

The Secretary-General said that despite important progress in improving peoples' well-being, more than one billion people still live in absolute poverty; Far too many in our world still lack the basics for a decent life; Inequality and social exclusion are widening within many countries, both rich and poor; Environmental degradation threatens the welfare of both present and future generations; Humanity is pressing hard against the planet's ecological boundaries.

He warned that in some respects, we are crossing critical thresholds. But, he said, there is good news. There is hope.

Secretary-General Ban stressed that the Millennium Development Goals and development solutions of the past decades can guide us.

“The MDGs and SDGs are mutually supporting concepts. Greater progress towards the MDGs will fuel confidence and mobilize support for an ambitious post-2015 development agenda. And the SDGs should accelerate and continue the work begun under the banner of the MDGs. The eradication of poverty and promotion of health, education as well as economic and social development retain their prime importance. These challenges will need to be addressed in the SDGs. But the SDGs must go further to integrate more comprehensively environmental sustainability. The SDGs should contribute to transformative change, in support of a rights-based, equitable and inclusive approach to sustainability at global, regional, national and local levels.”

Secretary-General Ban said We can make extreme poverty history and we can bring clean water, sanitation and energy to millions and millions of more people.

And he warned that "the costs of inaction are simply too great".

Donn Bobb, United Nations Radio.

Duration: 2’09″

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