Side Event: Statement by Ambassador Thoms on "Transformative Human Development - How Can a New Sustainable Development Framework Support People of All Ages?"
Colleagues and guests!
Our event today is an excellent opportunity to reflect on the specific needs of different generations when it comes to sustainable development. In our debates and discussions we always keep an eye on the three dimensions of sustainability: the economic, social and environmental dimensions. And we must also bear in mind that sustainable development by its very definition is a concept that takes into consideration the needs of all generations, present and future. Solidarity between generations at all levels, in families, communities and nations is fundamental for sustainable development.
Now that we are entering the final stages of the open working group for sustainable development goals, we must ensure that this perspective is taken into account. Especially with a view to the upcoming negotiations of the Post-2015 Agenda.
Children and young people deserve and need our special attention. Every child should be able to grow up in a peaceful and stable society, free from violence, exploitation and fear. Access to education, health, nutrition and water and sanitation – just to name a few – are essential for a healthy, productive and fulfilled life. We also owe it to our children to protect our natural resources and biodiversity. This is only possible if we change the way we live today and achieve low carbon economies, sustainable consumption and production patterns on a global level.
But young people also need access to vocational training and higher education. And they need, of course, decent jobs so that they can live independent lives and are not confined to poverty. The basis for this is sustainable, inclusive economic growth.
All this is required for today’s children and young people but also for future generations. We can achieve these objectives with an ambitious Post-2015 Agenda.
Yet, we must not forget the positive fact that for various reasons people in most parts of the world live longer. Therefore, elderly people will make up a higher proportion of the world’s population in the future.
Obviously, this is a challenge for health and care systems in many countries worldwide. Solidarity between generations is a major prerequisite for social cohesion and a foundation of formal public welfare and informal care systems. Demographic, social and economic changes require the adjustment of pensions, social security, health and long term care systems. All this needs to be factored into the Post-2015 Agenda.
On the other hand, the changing fabric of our societies is also an opportunity. Older generations offer wisdom, experience and valuable insights that we should harness. A society for all therefore has to provide older people with the opportunity to continue to contribute to society. In other words, older people need full access to and participation in the development process and also share its benefits.
I am convinced that this event today will give us valuable input how to achieve this goal. For my country it is very important that people of all ages equally benefit from the sustainable development goals.
Thank you very much"