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To Continue Legacy Of Rio+20 Conference, International Community Must Rally Around Post-2015 Development Agenda

“The [Millennium Development Goals (MDGs)] have been a powerful galvanizing force for efforts — from the global to the local level — to reduce poverty, provide basic health and education, and promote gender equality,” U.N. Under-Secretary-General for Economic and Social Affairs Wu Hongbo writes in the Huffington Post’s “World” blog. “Yet there is enormous potential to do more in the remaining time before we reach the deadline of 2015. And even if we were to reach all the MDGs, we know there is still far more to do in order to eradicate extreme poverty and address climate change and other growing environmental threats,” he continues. At the Rio+20 conference last year, “governments recognized that future goals in the post-2015 era must be equal to the complex challenges facing the world today, and in coming decades,” he states, adding, “Without action now, climate change and other environmental threats have the real potential to set back social and economic progress for future generations.”

U.N. Member States “are now deliberating on the goals that can propel a new sustainable development agenda, and will present a proposal to the General Assembly in 2014,” Wu notes. “It is expected that sustainable development goals will be set that are transformative, universal and equitable, with sustainable development at their core,” he writes, adding, “The new goals will guide all economies — developed and developing alike — on more sustainable development paths. That is why Rio+20 agreed that the goals should be universal and applicable to all countries.” He continues, “This is a collective undertaking that requires all countries to cooperate to secure our common future. It also requires the engagement of all actors, particularly business and industry and other major groups of society, in developing and deploying many of the technologies that will be needed.” Wu adds, “If the positive legacy of Rio+20 is to be realized, the international community will need to rally around an ambitious set of sustainable development goals in 2015, and agree concretely on how we will work together to achieve them” (6/25).