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Secretary-General, Addressing General Assembly, Applauds ‘Agenda 2030’ as Mark of Global Commitment at Dawn of New Era for Sustainable Development

Following are UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon’s remarks at the General Assembly plenary meeting to adopt a draft resolution to transmit the Agenda 2030 outcome document, in New York today:

Today is the start of a new era.  We have travelled a long way together to reach this turning point.  For 15 years, our pursuit of development has been inspired by eight Millennium Development Goals that captured our ambition to eradicate extreme poverty and appalling social ills.

Five years ago, you asked me to initiate thinking on a post-2015 development agenda.  Two years later, at the Rio+20 summit meeting, you embarked on a process to craft a set of sustainable development goals — the SDGs — to be at the centre of this agenda.

You set in motion unprecedented international reflection, consultation and negotiations.  All Member States joined in.  We asked countless people what they want the world to be like in 2030.  You listened to civil society organizations, academia, the private sector and many others, establishing a new standard for the inclusion of stakeholders in UN policy-shaping.

You spoke to each other and carried on a constructive dialogue.  You have overcome differences in the interest of common good and after three years of negotiations, you reached an agreement in early August on a bold vision for transforming our world.

I commend the President of the General Assembly, as well as the co-chairs of the Open Working Group and the co-facilitators of the post-2015 negotiations, for their extraordinary leadership.

Today, we are ready to hand over this agenda to world leaders for endorsement at the Summit later this month.  Agenda 2030 aims high.  It puts people at the centre of development.  It aims to foster human well-being, prosperity, peace and justice on a healthy planet.  It pursues respect for the human rights of all people and gender equality.  It speaks to all people in all countries and calls for action from everyone everywhere.  It aims to inspire and create genuine partnerships among all countries and actors.

This agenda marks a paradigm shift.  It completes the unfinished business of the MDGs [Millennium Development Goals], lifts the level of ambition and tackles emerging issues and challenges.  It recognizes the close interdependence of the economic, social and environmental dimensions of sustainable development.  It breaks new ground in the way it links peace and security to sustainable development, highlighting the centrality of the rule of law, accountable institutions and access to justice.  It presents solutions to deal with root causes of the complex problems in our world today, from migration and conflict to exclusion, violence against women and humanitarian crises, and it prioritizes the vulnerable and marginalized, vowing to leave no one behind.

The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development is an agreement of which you can be proud.  Implementation will require all stakeholders to continue to champion this cause.  Reliable data and indicators will be essential for measuring progress and making sure our efforts reach everyone.

Ladies and gentlemen, 2015 is a watershed year for putting the world on a sustainable pathway.  The Financing for Development Agreement reached in Addis Ababa in July and efforts to forge a new path forward on climate change in Paris in December are critical elements for the success of our endeavours.  Together, they are foundational steps to begin implementing the 2030 Agenda.

They will be followed next year by further crucial steps, including the World Humanitarian Summit in Istanbul in May, the Habitat III Conference in Quito in October and the Special Session of the UN General Assembly on the World Drug Problem.  I urge you to continue showing the same strong commitment, flexibility and vision you have demonstrated in adopting the new development agenda.

At this month’s Summit, we expect Heads of State and Government to not only endorse the new Agenda, but to affirm their strong political commitment to its timely implementation.  I am delighted that more than 150 world leaders, as well as His Holiness Pope Francis will join us to start this new era for sustainable development.  We must all now act with utmost ambition — and mobilize maximum political will.

Seventy years ago, the United Nations was born from the experiences and convictions of great men and women who had seen the horrors of war.  With today’s resolution, the United Nations has brought the international community to the cusp of decisions that can help realize the founders’ dream of a world of peace and dignity for all.

I thank you for having taken the world so far on our collective journey towards a better world for all the world’s peoples.  Let us all now work with determination to reach that destination.  Thank you, Mr. President.

For information media. Not an official record.