UN Secretary-General Ban Ki- moon said here Thursday that the world has "little time to lose" as it faces a multitude of urgent challenges in the long road to sustainable development.
"The world today faces challenges that make this work even more urgent than it was a year ago," Ban said in an interactive dialogue between the UN General Assembly and the High-Level Panel on Global Sustainability (GSP). "Across the globe, economies are teetering. People are expressing widespread disillusion."
The GSP, established by Ban in August 2010, is focusing on how to put its sustainable development agenda into practice in order to meet the challenges of the 21st century. The GSP will issue its
final report by the end of 2011.
"I asked the Panel to look at the fundamental drivers of change in the coming decades, to examine links between issues, and to provide recommendations for the future," Ban said. "Our goal is ambitious and necessary: to advance opportunity and equity for all, while preserving the natural capital that is the cornerstone of human well-being and development."
With the world facing challenges in the economy, it makes "this work even more urgent than it was a year ago," Ban said.
"Leaders need to make tough choices," Ban said. "We need to provide for the needs of today, while investing in the people, the planet, and the promise of tomorrow."
With the world expecting to reach its 7 billionth member in October, he said it was critical that the world must learn to live in a sustainable manner so future generations can have opportunities as well.
The upcoming 2012 Rio+20 UN Conference on Sustainable Development will "provide us with an opportunity to complete the unfinished business of 1992, support the completion of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) and chart a sustainable path to the future," he said.
He called for accelerated progress toward the MDGs, which are a set of eight anti-poverty targets to be reached by 2015. " Meanwhile, we need to develop a new generation of sustainable development goals to pick up where the MDGs leave off," he said.
"We need to make sustainable development a reality -- in the marketplace, in the halls of government, and in our daily lives," Ban said.