At a speech in Sydney, United Nations chief Ban Ki-moon has pointed out that sustainable development is the single most important agenda for the 21st century, with the seven billionth person on the planet expected to be born in October this year.
“Next month, the seven billionth citizen of our world will be born,” the UN secretary general said during the speech. “For that child, and for all of us, we must keep working to fight poverty, create decent jobs, and provide a dignified life while preserving the planet that sustains us. That is why the sustainable development agenda is the agenda for the 21st century. Above all, that means connecting the dots between challenges such as climate change and water scarcity, energy shortages, global health issues, food insecurity and the empowerment of the world’s women.”
Ban Ki-moon mentioned the skeptics, suggesting they pay a visit to Kiribati and the Solomon Islands. “Look into the eyes of the young boy who told me ‘I am afraid to sleep at night’ because of the rising water.” He discussed talking with parents who stood guard, fearing their children would drown on their homes as soon as the tide came in.
U.N. climate talks taking place later in the year are seen to be the last chance to renew the Kyoto Protocol, which is currently the only global deal to cut greenhouse gases. Covering 37 countries, the Protocol’s five-year commitment period expires in 2012. He believes the group needs to continue building on what has already been accomplished. The future of the Protocol is uncertain due to the fact that China and United States, the world’s two largest polluters, are not subject to the constraints.
When the chief of the United Nations says sustainable development is the leading necessity in order for the world to continue to prosper, you know it’s time to get down to business.
Image CC licensed by Henrik Jagels: Crowded street, Varkala, India