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UNSG Reports on UN’s 2013 Work, Highlights Future Challenges

United Nations3 September 2013: UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has released his annual report on the work of the United Nations. It highlights new global realities to which the UN must adapt, such as environmental degradation, increasing inequality within and among States, growing interconnectedness and rising unemployment. The report describes the UN's efforts to address these challenges through, inter alia, facilitating consultations on the post-2015 development agenda, addressing climate change, promoting human rights, tackling democratic transitions and maintaining peace and security.

The report calls for accelerating progress on the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), and recognizes the relationships between and within goals, noting that “failure to meet some targets undermines efforts to meet others.” For example, failure to protect the natural resource base undermines economic, environmental and social MDGs, contributes to biodiversity loss, deforestation and desertification, and intensifies poverty.

On the post-2015 development agenda, the Secretary-General highlights the consultations that have facilitated the inclusion of voices from around the world to shape an inclusive agenda. He writes that the new development agenda should: persist in achieving the MDGs; build on the successes of the MDGs; attend to gaps; and address new challenges. Ban recommends 'a bold, ambitious and universal post-2015 development agenda with sustainable development at its core.' He describes the upcoming UN General Assembly (UNGA) Special Event on the MDGs as 'an opportunity for a paradigm shift in international development,' and stresses accountability, understanding of different capabilities and mutual responsibilities as essential to implementation.

On climate change, Ban urges action and underscores the risks climate change poses to development, as well as the connections between climate change and natural disasters. He expresses support for a legally binding global climate agreement by 2015. Finally, he points to progress made on the Sustainable Energy for All Initiative (SE4ALL) and the Greening the Blue Initiative.

The report includes sections on the eight areas of work identified by the UNGA in the strategic framework for the biennium. These areas are: promotion of sustained economic growth and sustainable development; maintenance of international peace and security; development of Africa; promotion of human rights; coordination of humanitarian assistance; promotion of justice and international law; disarmament; drug control, crime prevention and combating international terrorism; and strengthening the organization. [UN Press Release] [A/68/1]