Press Releases June 2010 - Ban Urges Focus on Green Growth and the Millennium Development Goals Ahead of G20 Summit - United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP)
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Ban Urges Focus on Green Growth and the Millennium Development Goals Ahead of G20 Summit

22 June 2010 - The United Nations is calling on leaders of the biggest industrialized and developing nations to focus on green growth, sustainable development and the needs of the most vulnerable, in devising economic recovery strategies.

In a letter addressed to leaders of the Group of 20 (G20) nations, Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, pushed for support for the Millennium Development Goals. "I encourage support for initiatives that will sustain recovery efforts while enhancing global economic stability, environmental sustainability and achievement of the MDGs," he stressed.

Leaders of the G20 nations will be meeting in Toronto, Canada, on 26-27 June, with a second summit planned in Seoul, Republic of Korea, in November.

The Toronto gathering will immediately follow the annual summit of the Group of Eight (G8) leading economic powers - Canada, France, United States, United Kingdom, Russia, Germany, Japan, and Italy - hosted by Canada in Huntsville, Ontario, on 25 June.

In his letter, the Secretary-General noted that high unemployment, rising food and commodity prices, and persistent inequalities have contributed to a substantial rise in hunger, poverty and associated social tensions.

"Now, more than ever, investments for the world's poorest are necessary to recover lost ground in pursuit of development objectives, including the Millennium Development Goals," he added.

The Secretary-General pointed out that economic recovery is proceeding at varied speeds across the world, and is still fragile in most countries. As such, a one-size-fits-all approach will not work. He did, however, note certain factors which should underpin global efforts.

"Based on our collective experience, the best way to enhance the framework for strong, sustainable and balanced economic growth is to put development front and centre, and to invest in a green economic recovery for all.

"I therefore welcome the G20 intention to broaden its focus to include development in the coming months and at the Seoul Summit in November 2010. Such an approach can help address food security and climate change, while ensuring job creation," he said.

Mr. Ban also called on governments to be accountable to those hardest hit by the crisis, especially women who are the "social cement" holding families and communities together, and be accountable for promises already made, such as doubling development aid to Africa.

Robert Orr, Assistant Secretary-General for Policy Planning, told a news conference in New York that the message the Secretary-General will be carrying to Toronto is that any recovery will need to be built from the ground up, and that the leaders must work to ensure growth that is inclusive, Green and based on healthy populations.

On Wednesday, Mr. Ban will launch the MDG Report 2010, which focuses on progress and gaps and which provides a snapshot of where the world stands in terms of achieving the Goals.

Based on development models that have worked in 50 countries, the report found that models that focus attention on the poor while expanding job opportunities, increased government spending on social services and aid flows from affluent nations are all successful strategies for alleviating global poverty.

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Further Resources

UN Secretary General Letter to G20

The Millennium Development Goals Report 2010

Green Jobs Report

UN Millennium Development Goals

G-20 website

UN Secretary General: Second "Voices of the Vulnerable" report


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