Mr. Ban Has a Dream: that the World Eradicates Poverty, Protects the Planet and Ensures Dignity for All


Human Wrongs Watch

UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon marked Human Solidarity Day on 20 December 2014 by calling for joint action to craft and take forward a new, inclusive development agenda that eradicates poverty, protects the planet and ensures dignity for all.

Two children in a Bronx, New York, school solidifying their friendship with a spontaneous expression of mutual understanding. UN Photo/Marcia Weistein

In his message on the International Day, Ban said this year’s observance comes as the world shapes a new sustainable development agenda to succeed the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), the largest anti-poverty campaign in history, by 2015.

Member States, the UN system, experts, representatives of civil society, business executives and millions of individuals from all corners of the globe, have come together with a shared sense of purpose to make the most of this once-in-a-generation opportunity.

“The new agenda will centre on people and planet,” the Secretary-General continued, explainig that it will be underpinned by human rights and supported by a global partnership determined to lift people from poverty, hunger and disease.

“It will be built on a foundation of global cooperation and solidarity,” he decalred.

Protestors in New York City demonstrate in the wake of the verdict in the case of the police shooting of Missouri teenager Michael Brown (24 November 2014). Photo: Jacques Baudrier | Source: UN News Centre

Protestors in New York City demonstrate in the wake of the verdict in the case of the police shooting of Missouri teenager Michael Brown (24 November 2014). Photo: Jacques Baudrier | Source: UN News Centre

Indeed, the United Nations believes that solidarity with people affected by poverty and an absence of human rights is vital, he said adding that, based on equality, inclusion and social justice, solidarity implies a mutual obligation across the global community.

“As we map our future development path, we must be firm in our commitment to champion solidarity and shared responsibility as part of the sustainable development agenda. These are fundamental values that must be upheld,” affirmed the UN chief.

Only through collective action could the world tackle such far reaching issues as poverty and growing inequality, climate change, chronic poverty and major health challenges, such as the Ebola outbreak in West Africa.

Nuclear Missiles | Source: International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons

Nuclear Missiles | Source: International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons

“On International Human Solidarity Day, I call for a renewed commitment to collective action. Let us act together as one to end poverty, achieve shared prosperity and peace, protect the planet and foster a life of dignity for all,” said Ban, echoing a call he made just two weeks ago when he introduced and advance version of his so-called “synthesis report,” which will guide negotiations for the new global agenda.

In an informal briefing to the General Assembly, the UN chief on 4 December presented his report, The Road to Dignity by 2030: Ending Poverty, Transforming All Lives and Protecting the Planet, which aims to support States’ discussions going forward, taking stock of the negotiations on the post-2015 agenda and reviewing lessons from pursuit of the MDGs.

It stresses the need to “finish the job” – both to help people now and as a launch pad for the new agenda.

In the report’s conclusion, the Secretary-General issues a powerful charge to Member States, saying: “We are on the threshold of the most important year of development since the founding of the United Nations itself. We must give meaning to this Organization’s promise to ‘reaffirm faith in the dignity and worth of the human person’ and to take the world forward to a sustainable future.” (*Source: UN).

Source: UN/DPI

Source: UN/DPI

Calling for inclusive, agile and coordinated action to usher in an era of sustainable development for all, Ban Ki-moon on 4 December 2014 presented the United Nations General Assembly with an advance version of his so-called “synthesis report,” which will guide negotiations for a new global agenda centered on people and the planet, and underpinned by human rights.**

“Next year, 2015, will herald an unprecedented opportunity to take far-reaching, long-overdue global action to secure our future well-being,” Ban said as he called on Member States to be “innovative, inclusive, agile, determined and coordinated” in negotiating the agenda that will succeed the landmark Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), the UN-backed effort to reduce extreme poverty and hunger, promote education, especially for girls, fight disease and protect the environment, all by 2015.

Asylum-seekers and economic migrants take to the seas, waiting out the dangerous journey in the boat’s cramped cargo space. Photo: UNHCR/A. D’Amato

Asylum-seekers and economic migrants take to the seas, waiting out the dangerous journey in the boat’s cramped cargo space. Photo: UNHCR/A. D’Amato

[We] have an historic opportunity and duty to act, boldly, vigorously and expeditiously, to turn reality into a life of dignity for all, leaving no one behind.

In an informal briefing to the 193-Member Assembly, the UN chief presented his synthesis report, The Road to Dignity by 2030: Ending Poverty, Transforming All Lives and Protecting the Planet, alongside the President of the General Assembly, Sam Kutesa who also addressed delegates, describing the process of intergovernmental negotiations that fed into the report’s compilation to set the stage for agreement on the new framework at a September 2015 summit and stressing the “historical responsibility” States faced to deliver a transformative agenda.

Photo: Greenpeace

Photo: Greenpeace

The synthesis report aims to support States’ discussions going forward, taking stock of the negotiations on the post-2015 agenda and reviewing lessons from pursuit of the MDGs. It stresses the need to “finish the job” – both to help people now and as a launch pad for the new agenda.

In the report’s conclusion, Ban issues a powerful charge to Member States, saying: “We are on the threshold of the most important year of development since the founding of the United Nations itself. We must give meaning to this Organization’s promise to ‘reaffirm faith in the dignity and worth of the human person’ and to take the world forward to a sustainable future…[We] have an historic opportunity and duty to act, boldly, vigorously and expeditiously, to turn reality into a life of dignity for all, leaving no one behind.”

A group of African migrants in a detention centre in Malta. Photo: UNHCR/M. Edström

A group of African migrants in a detention centre in Malta. Photo: UNHCR/M. Edström

Never before has so broad and inclusive a consultation been undertaken on development, Mr. Ban told the Assembly today, referring to the consultations that followed Rio+20 [ the 2012 UN Conference on Sustainable Development], adding that his synthesis report “looks ahead, and discusses the contours of a universal and transformative agenda that places people and planet at the centre, is underpinned by human rights, and is supported by a global partnership.”

The coming months would see agreement on the final parameters of the post-2015 agenda and he stressed the need for inclusion of a compelling and principled narrative, based on human rights and dignity. Financing and other means of implementation would also be essential and he called for strong, inclusive public mechanisms for reporting, monitoring progress, learning lessons, and ensuring shared responsibility.

Nearly 400,000 children in Gaza are suffering from psychosocial distress as a result of the 50-day armed conflict in 2014. Photo: UNICEF/Alessio Romenzi

Nearly 400,000 children in Gaza are suffering from psychosocial distress as a result of the 50-day armed conflict in 2014. Photo: UNICEF/Alessio Romenzi

He also welcomed the outcome produced by the Open Working Group, saying its 17 proposed sustainable development goals and 169 associated targets clearly expressed an agenda aiming at ending poverty, achieving shared prosperity, protecting the planet and leaving no one behind.

Discussions of the Working Group had been inclusive and productive and he the Group’s proposal should form the basis of the new goals, as agreed by the General Assembly. The goals should be “focused and concise” to boost global awareness and country-level implementation, communicating clearly Member States’ ambition and vision.

The synthesis report presented dignity, people, prosperity, the planet, justice and partnerships as an integrated set of “essential elements” aimed at providing conceptual guidance during discussions of the goals and Ban stressed that none could be considered in isolation from the others and that each was an integral part of the whole.

Each year the developing world loses an estimated US$ 1 trillion to illicit financial flows, money that could better the lives of millions of citizens but ends up funding the lifestyles of the corrupt, criminals and tax abusers. | Source: Transparency International

Each year the developing world loses an estimated US$ 1 trillion to illicit financial flows, money that could better the lives of millions of citizens but ends up funding the lifestyles of the corrupt, criminals and tax abusers. | Source: Transparency International

“Implementation will be the litmus test of this agenda. It must be placed on a sound financial footing,” he said welcoming the work of the Intergovernmental Committee of Experts on Sustainable Development Financing and encouraging countries to scale up their efforts.

The Financing for Development Conference in Addis Ababa next year would play a major role in outlining the means for implementation, and he stressed the “key role” national Governments would play in raising domestic revenue to benefit the poorest and most vulnerable members of society.

New UN report says trafficking in children on the rise. Photo: UNODC

New UN report says trafficking in children on the rise. Photo: UNODC

Official development assistance (ODA) and international public funds, particularly for vulnerable countries, would also be vital to unlocking “the transformative power of trillions of dollars of private resources”, while private investment would be particularly important on projects related to the transition to low-carbon economies, improving access to water, renewable energy, agriculture, industry, infrastructure and transport.

Implementation would also rely on bridging the technology gap, creating a new framework for shared accountability, and providing reliable data, which he called the “lifeblood of sound decision-making.”

Stressing his commitment to ensuring the best outcome from the post-2015 process, he underlined the need for States to be guided by universal human rights and international norms, while remaining responsive to different needs and contexts in different countries.

“We must embrace the possibilities and opportunities of the task at hand,” he said.

If left unchecked, climate change will increase the likelihood of severe, pervasive and irreversible impacts for people and ecosystems | Source: UN

If left unchecked, climate change will increase the likelihood of severe, pervasive and irreversible impacts for people and ecosystems | Source: UN

In an earlier interview with the UN News Centre Amina J. Mohammed, the Secretary-General’s Special Adviser on Post-2015 Development Planning stressed that one of the report’s main “takeaways” is that “by 2030 we can end poverty, we can transform lives and we can find ways to protect the planet while doing that.”

“I think that’s important because we’re talking about a universal agenda where we’re going to leave no one behind. It’s not doing things by halves or by three-quarters, it’s about everyone mattering…To say you don’t want to leave anyone behind is to look to see who is the most vulnerable and smallest member of the family and what is it that we’re going to have to do to ensure that they’re not left behind, because that will be the litmus test and success of what we do.”

Sustainable development goals
Goal 1 End poverty in all its forms everywhere
Goal 2 End hunger, achieve food security and improved nutrition and promote sustainable agriculture
Goal 3 Ensure healthy lives and promote well-being for all at all ages
Goal 4 Ensure inclusive and equitable quality education and promote lifelong learning opportunities for all
Goal 5 Achieve gender equality and empower all women and girls
Goal 6 Ensure availability and sustainable management of water and sanitation for all
Goal 7 Ensure access to affordable, reliable, sustainable and modern energy for all
Goal 8 Promote sustained, inclusive and sustainable economic growth, full and productive employment and decent work for all
Goal 9 Build resilient infrastructure, promote inclusive and sustainable industrialization and foster innovation
Goal 10 Reduce inequality within and among countries
Goal 11 Make cities and human settlements inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable
Goal 12 Ensure sustainable consumption and production patterns
Goal 13 Take urgent action to combat climate change and its impacts*
Goal 14 Conserve and sustainably use the oceans, seas and marine resources for sustainable development
Goal 15 Protect, restore and promote sustainable use of terrestrial ecosystems, sustainably manage forests, combat desertification, and halt and reverse land degradation and halt biodiversity loss
Goal 16 Promote peaceful and inclusive societies for sustainable development, provide access to justice for all and build effective, accountable and inclusive institutions at all levels
Goal 17 Strengthen the means of implementation and revitalize the global partnership for sustainable development
*Acknowledging that the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change is the primary international, intergovernmental forum for negotiating the global response to climate change.

(**Source: UN)

2014 Human Wrongs Watch

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