Remarks at Event with " Future We Want Champions" By United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon

19 Jul 2012

THE SECRETARY-GENERAL

REMARKS AT EVENT WITH “FUTURE WE WANT CHAMPIONS”

Beijing, 18 July 2012

 

Ms. Zhou Xun, [UNDP National Goodwill Ambassador]
Mr. Thomas Shao, [President and Chairman, Modern Media Group] 
Mr. Li Ning WFP’s Ambassador Against Hunger
Distinguished guests and filmmakers,
Ladies and Gentlemen,

What a wonderful film.  I thank all those who made it possible.

There were no car chases, no special effects, no kung fu fights.  But it still had me on the edge of my seat.

It is exciting to hear people’s dreams for the future.  We are all part of the great human project of building a better world for all.  Good ideas can come from anywhere, anyone, of any age.

As Secretary-General of the United Nations, I spend a lot of time thinking about the future.

And we already know a great deal about the year 2032.

UN forecasts tell us that world population will continue to grow.

Sixty per cent of us will be living in cities, as the global trend towards urbanization continues to accelerate.

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.

Here’s something else we know: if we continue on our present path for the next 20 years, we risk global catastrophe. 

The human footprint has already overstepped the planet’s boundaries -- and not just in terms of carbon emissions.

We need a new course that truly balances economic growth, social development and environmental stewardship.

That is a recipe for long-term stability and well-being.

That is the future we want.

That was also the vision set out a generation ago, at the first Earth Summit.

We made a conceptual breakthrough that first time in Rio, putting the idea of sustainable development on the map. 

Despite notable achievements since then, our efforts have not lived up to the measure of the challenge.

Last month’s Rio+20 conference was an attempt to rejuvenate the cause.

And we did.

Rio+20 was a success.

With more than 100 Heads of State or Government, we renewed high-level commitment to sustainable development.

The conference also agreed to launch a process to establish a set of sustainable development goals -- building on the Millennium Development Goals.

Beyond the official outcome document, Rio also generated hundreds of specific commitments.

A zero hunger effort to end childhood malnutrition.

Projects to help small farmers improve resilience and productivity.

Renewable energy.

Education.

Rio mobilized billions of dollars for these and other initiatives.  Rio also mobilized hundreds of millions of people through social media.

Just like the men, women, girls and boys in the film we just saw, hundreds of millions of people from around the world joined the online conversation to share their visions and demand action.

Rio+20 was not an end, but a new beginning – a milestone on an essential journey toward 2032 and beyond.

The United Nations is strongly committed to being China’s partner on this path.

Our engagement already spans the full spectrum of sustainable development.

We have worked together on fuel efficiency strategies for China’s automotive industry.

Our China Green Economy Report is helping Chinese policy-makers in their shift towards a low-carbon economy.

From forest management to worker protection, from women’s empowerment to disaster preparedness and the fight against HIV/AIDS, our Country Team continues to work hand in hand with Chinese counterparts.

China has taken up this challenge as energetically as any other country in the world.

It is already a leader in wind power.  It is the world’s largest solar [pv] manufacturer.

China is doing this through far-sighted use of incentives, subsidies, and regulations -- through smart policy-making.

And China keeps raising its sights -- elevating its ambitions -- recognizing the potential of renewable energy to create jobs, protect the environment, improve health and generate profits -- a win, win, win, win proposition.

Friends,

When I think about the world in 2032, I also worry about the spread of deadly weapons... about terrorism... about armed conflict... about intolerance.

These, too, must be among the issues we address in building the future we want.  Peace, development and human rights are interlinked and mutually reinforcing.  We need to move ahead on all fronts.

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.

As Secretary-General, I am striving to raise awareness, build bridges among peoples, and get our global machinery operating effectively.

But I am not just Secretary-General.  I am also a father and a grandfather.

So I also think about 2032 in those terms.

I want a world where my children, and their children -- and all of you here today and your children -- can prosper and be happy.  That is the future we want.

Thank you again to all of you for your creativity and engagement in this essential undertaking.