UN Secretary-General Stresses Sustainable Development as Top Priority

19 July 2011: UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has stressed that sustainable development is the UN's “top priority.” The Secretary-General was speaking at the World Trade Organization's (WTO) Third Global Review of Aid for Trade, in Geneva, Switzerland, on 19 July 2011.

Reflecting on the value of the Aid for Trade initiative – which Ban said aims to help developing countries participate in the world economy and to ensure that they can benefit from global economic growth –  and its review, Ban noted that no country can solve development problems on its own, and no global challenge can truly be addressed without looking at the other interlinked issues. In this regard, he highlighted the UN Conference on Sustainable Development (UNCSD, or Rio+20), and reiterated his January 2011 comments to the UN General Assembly that the UN's “top priority for this year and beyond, for many coming years, will have to be on sustainable development.” He said the seemingly separate issues of climate change, the food crisis, water scarcities, energy shortages, global health, gender empowerment are, in fact, all closely interconnected, and that a more comprehensive resolution of these issues is the aim of the UNCSD. [Statement of UN Secretary-General] [Comments to UN General Assembly, January 2011]