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New High Level Panel on Sustainabilty set up

UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon today unveiled a new panel on global sustainability that is tasked with finding ways to lift people out of poverty while tackling climate change and ensuring that economic development is environmentally friendly.
“I have asked the Panel to think big,” the Secretary-General told reporters in New York today. “The time for narrow agendas and narrow thinking is over.”

To be co-chaired by Finland’s President Tarja Halonen and South African President Jacob Zuma, the 21-member High-Level Panel on Global Sustainability brings together representatives from government, the private sector and civil society in countries rich and poor.

It is essential, Mr. Ban said, to promote low-carbon growth and enhance resilience to climate change’s impacts, as well as to tackle the intertwined challenges posed by poverty, hunger, water and energy security.

“In short, we need a new blueprint for a more livable, prosperous and sustainable future for all,” he stressed.

The Secretary-General said that he expects the new Panel to come up with practical solutions to address the institutional and financial arrangements necessary to put a new scheme into practice.

The new body is expected to deliver its final report by the end of next year, ahead of the UN Conference on Sustainable Development scheduled for 2012, as well as annual conferences of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC).

The Panel also comprises Gro Harlem Brundtland, Han Seung-soo, Yukio Hatoyama, Luisa Dias Diogo and Kevin Rudd, former prime ministers of Norway, the Republic of Korea, Japan, Mozambique and Australia, respectively, as well as Barbadian Prime Minister David Thompson, United Arab Emirates Foreign Minister Sheikh Abdallah Bin Zayid Al Nahayan, Turkish Deputy Prime Minister Ali Babacan, and Switzerland’s Foreign Minister Micheline Calmy-Rey.

They will be joined by Alexander Bedritsky, Aide to the Russian President on climate change; Hajiya Amina Az-Zubair, Adviser for the Nigerian President on the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs); Zheng Guogang, Director of the China Meteorological Administration; Jim Balsillie, Chair of the board of the Centre for International Governance Innovation (CIGI); and Susan E. Rice, the United States’ Permanent Representative to the UN.

The Panel will be rounded out by current and former environment ministers – Jairam Ramesh of India, Julia Carabias of Mexico and Cristina Narbona Ruiz of Spain – as well as Connie Hedegaard, the European Union’s Commissioner for Climate Change.

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