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  • The reporT of The UNiTed NaTioNs secreTary-GeNerals hiGh-level paNel oN Global sUsTaiNabiliTy

    Resilient people Resilient planetA Future Worth Choosing

  • electronic copies of this report, including versions in other official languages of the United Nations, are available at

    ebook and hard copies are available through United Nations publications at

    Disclaimer: The members of the panel endorse the report and generally agree with its findings. The members think that the message of this report is very important. The recommendations and the vision represent the consensus the panel members reached, but not every view expressed in this report reflects the views of all individual panel members. panel members naturally have different perspectives on some issues. if each panel member had individually attempted to write this report, she or he might have used different terms to express similar points. The panel members look forward to the report stimulating wide public dialogue and strengthening the common endeavour to promote global sustainable development.

    reproduction is authorized provided the source is acknowledged.

    Suggested citation: United Nations secretary-Generals high-level panel on Global sustainability (2012). Resilient People, Resilient Planet: A future worth choosing. New york: United Nations.

    Design and layout: bibi singh and WhatWorks inc.

    This report is printed on low-density paper that is chlorine free and meets the sustainable forest initiative guidelines. both cover and text papers are printed with vegetable-based inks and produced by means of environmentally-compatible technology.

    New york, N.y. 10017

    isbN: 978-92-1-101256-9

    eisbN: 978-92-1-055304-9

    United Nations sales No. e.12.i.2

    Copyright 2012 United Nations

  • resilieNT people, resilieNT plaNeT: a fUTUre WorTh choosiNG 1

    Letter dated 30 January 2012 from the co-chairs of the high-level panel on Global sustainability addressed to the secretary-General

    We have the privilege to submit to you the report of the high-level panel on Global sustainability, entitled Resilient People, Resil-ient Planet: A Future Worth Choosing.

    We undertook this report during a period of global volatility and uncertainty. economies are teetering. inequality is growing. and global temperatures continue to rise. We are testing the capacity of the planet to sustain us. efforts to reach the Millennium devel-opment Goals and other social and economic targets are hampered by both the inability to agree on decisive and coordinated action in national and multilateral forums, and by unmet commitments for financial support.

    The signposts are clear: we need to change dramatically, beginning with how we think about our relationship to each other, to future generations and to the ecosystems that support us. our mission as a panel was to reflect on and formulate a new vision for sustainable growth and prosperity, along with mechanisms for achieving it.

    With 7 billion of us now inhabiting our planet, it is time to reflect on our current path. Today we stand at a crossroads. continuing on the same path will put people and our planet at greatly heightened risk. The other path, we believe, provides extraordinary opportunity, but we must be committed and courageous in following it. changing course will not be easy. but over time, we believe that following a more sustainable path will enhance human well-being, further global justice, strengthen gender equity and preserve the earths life-support systems for future generations.

    Nearly 20 years after the rio earth summit, the challenge and opportunities of sustainable development are more relevant than ever. Today we see with increasing clarity that economic growth, environmental protection and social equity are one and the same agenda: the sustainable development agenda. We cannot make lasting progress in one without progress on all.

    people are at the centre of our vision of sustainable development. our report puts forth a series of core recommendations that, if implemented over time, will help lift large swathes of humanity out of dehumanizing poverty; bolster resilience; strengthen global equity, including gender equity; transform how we value goods and services and measure growth; preserve valuable ecosystems; enhance collaboration, coherence and accountability across sectors and institutions; and create a common framework for global sustainability.

    in the year 2030, a child born this year will come of age. our recommendations seek to establish for her, and for all children, a world in which a sustainable, inclusive growth provides more for less, for all.

    our report is addressed to you, but our recommendations will require commitment and action from citizens across all sectors of society: from heads of state and Government and local mayors to business executives, scientists, religious leaders, civil society activists and not least, the leaders of the next generation, todays youth. each of us must be a part of the solution.

  • resilieNT people, resilieNT plaNeT: a fUTUre WorTh choosiNG2

    Letter dated 30 January 2012 from the co-chairs of the high-level panel on Global sustainability addressed to the secretary-General

    We recognize the universal aspiration to sustainable development and our recommendations allow for addressing it in the context of diverse national circumstances. implementation has to build on and go beyond agreements and mutual commitments reached up to now.

    our recommendations emanate from our collective personal experience in the public and private arena in government service, in policy-making roles, in the private sector and civil society. Together, our engagement with the issues we have addressed in the report spans several decades

    on behalf of the panel, we wish to express our deep appreciation to you, Mr.secretary-General, for your dedicated support and commitment not only to the panel, but more fundamentally, to the sustainable development agenda. We are also grateful for the support and suggestions received from officials within the United Nations system, Member state delegations and civil society organizations with whom we consulted widely. We wish to express our gratitude to the panel members who gave generously of their time, experience, and insights in fulfilling this panels mission. The secretariat also deserves our deep thanks for its tremendous efforts in supporting the work of this panel.

    Tarja Halonen co-chair

    Jacob Zuma co-chair

  • resilieNT people, resilieNT plaNeT: a fUTUre WorTh choosiNG 3

    Earth provides enough to satisfy every mans need,

    but not every mans greed.

    Mahatma Gandhi

  • resilieNT people, resilieNT plaNeT: a fUTUre WorTh choosiNG4


    The members of the secretary-Generals high-level panel on Global sustainability wish to extend their deepest appreciation to the Governments, organizations, institutions, United Nations entities and individuals who provided valuable perspectives, ideas and support throughout the course of the panels work.

    The panel extends its sincere gratitude for financial contributions received from the Governments of denmark, finland, Germany, Japan, Norway, sweden, switzerland and the United arab emirates and from the european commission.

    in-kind contributions were gratefully received from the Global Green Growth institute and the Governments of china, finland, spain, south africa, switzerland and Turkey. The panel appreciates the support of the centre for international Governance innovation and open Text in providing the platform used to facilitate the panels internal communications.

    The panel also extends its appreciation to the following entities of the United Nations system for lending their experts and provid-ing substantive support for its work:

    a. from the United Nations system: the food and agriculture organization of the United Nations, the international fund for agricul-tural development, the international labour organization, the international Monetary fund, the international Telecommunication Union, the Global compact, the high-level Task force on the Global food security crisis, the department of economic and social affairs of the secretariat, the United Nations development programme, the economic commission for africa, the economic commission for europe, the economic commission for latin america and the caribbean, the United Nations environment programme, the United Nations educational, scientific and cultural organization, the United Nations population fund, the United Nations industrial development organization, the inter-agency secretariat of the international strategy for disaster reduction, the United Nations Non-Governmental liaison service, the advisory board on Water and sanitation, the United Nations entity for Gender equality and the empowerment of Women, the World food programme and the World bank;

    b. other organizations and research institutes: the centre for international forestry research, the centre for international Govern-ance innovation, the agricultural research centre for international development, columbia University, the commission on sustainable agriculture and climate change, the danish institute for international studies, the Gates foundation, the Global Green Growth institute, the Global carbon project, the international council for science, the international energy agency, the international institute for sustainable development, the international renewable energy agency, the international Trad

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