San Jose (Costa Rica) -- Current efforts to develop what is known as the 'post-2015 development agenda' include almost 100 national consultations in UN member states, as well as 11 thematic consultations on issues such as food security, access to water, and poverty reduction.
As the target date for achieving the Millennium Development Goals approaches, discussions are underway on how best to advance the global development agenda beyond 2015
Costa Ricais the latest country to host the ongoing global conversation on priorities for the world's future development path.
Over 100 participants are gathering in the capitalSan Joseto discuss how the environment can be best integrated into global framework that is set to succeed the UN's Millennium Development Goals in 2015.
Those addressing the opening of the meeting included Minister of Foreign Affairs of Costa Rica, Carlos Roverssi, Special Envoy of the French President for the Protection of the Planet, Nicolas Hulot, Administrator of the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), Helen Clark, and Executive Director of the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), Achim Steiner.
Current efforts to develop what is known as the 'post-2015 development agenda' include almost 100 national consultations in UN member states, as well as 11 thematic consultations on issues such as food security, access to water, and poverty reduction.
'It is obvious that a single way to global sustainable development does not exist. Therefore, global guidelines and frameworks must show certain flexibility to allow each country, region or community to plan and execute their development activities according to their own local-specific characteristics, needs and expectations,' said Minister of Foreign Affairs of Costa Rica, Carlos Roverssi, in his opening speech.
'However, it is also necessary to provide a set of global guiding principles, based upon international agreements that will help those communities engage in a sustainable development deeply rooted on continuous improvement and conservation of their stock of natural capital,' he added.
'The imperative now is to move from a discourse focused on trade-offs between growth, poverty, and environment, to one which looks at how to advance the three strands of sustainable development together,' said UNDP Administrator Helen Clark.
'The world will not be able to sustain economic and social progress if the environment is wrecked,' she added.
Members of the public are also encouraged to contribute ideas to the global development agenda. At the World We Want 2015 web site, visitors can vote for six out of 16 development priorities through the 'MY World' survey.
Findings from the global conversation will be delivered to the UN Secretary-General and world leaders, including the High-level Panel on the Post-2015 Development Agenda, Heads of State and Government attending the opening of the 2013 UN General Assembly, the Open Working Group on Sustainable Development Goals, and other UN processes.
'We need to look at the ecological crisis we are faced with not only as a constraint, but also as an opportunity to leap forward,' said Special Envoy of the French President for the Protection of the Planet Nicolas Hulot.
'The crisis should not drive people apart, nor make them more unequal. A new and shared vision of mankind shall help us meet this challenge. Let us not doubt that this constraint is a unique opportunity to make progress more meaningful. The French President, my government and my country are fully committed to helping you succeed,' he added.
'The Rio+20 outcome underlined that environmental challenges are at the root cause of poverty and that environmental opportunities are intertwined with economic and social pathways for achieving a sustainable future,' said UNEP Executive Director Achim Steiner.
'UNEP's Global Environment Outlook 5 report showed that out of 90 internationally agreed environmental goals, only four are showing real progress. It is time to move from outcome to implementation to meet the aspirations of seven billion people today and over nine billion in a very soon-to-arrive 'tomorrow'. The post-2015 sustainable development agenda affords an inordinate opportunity to build upon and evolve the Millennium Development Goals to achieve a transformation that is not only catalytic, inclusive and equitable, but sustainable across the years and decades to come.'
The meeting inSan Josewas co-sponsored by the Governments of Costa Rica and France, and organized by UNDP and UNEP.