UN Chief applauds Chinese participation in “ The Future We Want” campaign

18 Jul 2012

United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon congratulated the Chinese people for joining hundreds of millions of people around the world in sharing their visions and hopes for the future at the UN Conference on Sustainable Development in June, known as Rio+20. His remarks came at a UN hosted event held today in Beijing recognizing the millions of people in China who participated through social media in a global campaign called “The Future We Want”, which he personally launched in 2011.

Approximately 3 million Chinese people have joined the online conversation to share their visions and to demand action for a better world since the campaign was launched on Sina Weibo in March. A further 232 Chinese people participated in the production of a short public-service film and a commemorative photo album that were presented at today’s event. Entitled “2032: The Future We Want”, both the film and the album contain touching messages from people across China about what they hope the world will be like in twenty years. They also represent one of the first opportunities for Chinese people to share their vision for the future with world leaders when they gathered at Rio+20 in Brazil last month.

The Secretary-General praised the spirit of optimism expressed by the film participants. “There were no car chases, no special effects, no kung fu fights but it had me on the edge of my seat,” said the Secretary-General after seeing the film. “It is exciting to hear what the Chinese people dream for the future. It is a reminder that we are all part of the great human project of building a better world for all. Good ideas come from anywhere, anyone, of any age.”

Echoing the film’s theme of exploring what the world will look like in 2032, he added, “we already know a great deal about 2032. We know that we will need 50 per cent more food, 45 per cent more energy and 30 per cent more water — just to continue to live as we do today.“ “The world needs a new course that truly balances economic growth, social development and environmental stewardship,” he said. “Rio+20 was not an end but a new beginning – a milestone on an essential journey toward 2032 and beyond.”

Speaking about his own personal aspirations for the future, he said, “I want a world where my children and their children -- and all of you here today and your children -- can prosper and be happy.

“We can no longer defer the difficult decisions to future generations. We cannot afford to wait for Rio+40. Time is not on our side, and we must act before it is too late.”

He also thanked the many organisations and individuals that have worked side-by-side with the UN through more than 30 years of progress and development in China, as well as some of the champions who have provided vital support to the “Future We Want” campaign in China.

Among those recognised by the UN Chief included leading Chinese actress and UNDP National Goodwill Ambassador, Zhou Xun, who participated in the film, as well as provided funding for its production, award-winning film director Du Jiayi whose inspiration and talent made the film possible and renowned Chinese photographer Xiao Quan who created the compelling images of the 232 film participants as they expressed their hopes about the future. Special thanks were also given to Thomas Shao Zhong, President and Chairman of the Modern Media Group, for providing financial and promotional support for the campaign.

A time capsule containing a copy of the short film and a commemorative photo album featuring 100 portrait images of the film participants and their wishes and hopes for 2032 were presented to the Secretary-General by Renata Dessallien, UN Resident Coordinator and UNDP Resident Representative in China, and will be kept at the UN Headquarters in New York to be re-opened in 20 years.

Sustainable development has been one of the top priorities for the Secretary-General throughout his mandates and was at the centre of his engagements with senior state and government leaders during a three-day visit to China from 17 to 19 July. This will be the Secretary-General’s fifth visit to China since he took the office in 2007.