H.E. President Abdullah Gül's Address at The Meeting of the UN Sustainable Development High Level Political Forum (HLPF) Entitled: “Leaders Dialogue: From Vision to Action”

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Mr. President,

Distinguished Heads of State and Government,


Ladies and Gentlemen,

It is a pleasure for me to address you here today on the occasion of the inaugural meeting of the High-Level Political Forum (HLPF).

The international community has been discussing sustainable development for the last 40 years.

In the past, discussion focused primarily on environmental aspects. But today it also covers economic and social dimensions. These are all equally important and complementary.

In devising a strategy for sustainable development, we need to put “people first”. All must benefit from the yields and enjoy equal opportunity.

Sustainable development is high on our agenda today for a different reason. The deadline for meeting the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) is approaching. We need to shape the post-2015 agenda.

Distinguished Participants,

Today, our planet is under severe strain. Depletion of natural resources, loss of biodiversity, and the impact of climate change are limiting the absorption capacity of the Earth. It is our shared responsibility to address all these challenges without impeding economic growth.

But this is an age of great uncertainty and turmoil. The impact of global economic crisis still lingers. Energy and food prices are volatile and on the rise. Good governance, peace, security, and stability have grown more crucial than ever. Such factors ultimately hinge on efficient use of resources, social welfare, and development.

We must not allow a reversal of development gains, which would no doubt exacerbate poverty and hunger.

In the face of these challenges, we shall remain resolute with a few principles in mind. First, we need to be equitable and inclusive. Second, we should be committed to providing choices to future generations. Third our actions today must not preclude opportunities tomorrow.

There are also a number of aspects we need to revisit.

Gender equality and the empowerment of women remain key priorities. Nevertheless, practices vary considerably across nations and regions.

Our consumption patterns remain a source of grave concern. Some are over-consuming while others are starving in depravation.

These imbalances must be corrected.

To this end, we need to share experience, best practice, and knowledge. Such cooperation should be accompanied by technology transfers. The goal is clear; to support those in need as much as we can.

Turkey strongly believes in alleviating the plight of the world’s Least Developed Countries. I hosted the Fourth UN Conference on LDCs in Istanbul in May 2011. I know how severe the humanitarian implications are. We need to do much more.

I would like to renew our offer to host the Mid-Term Review Conference of the Istanbul Program of Action adopted at the Conference in 2015.

Finally, I sincerely believe that our deliberations today bring us closer to attaining sustainable development. We all need to grow and prosper. But our prosperity must not come at the price of damaging our planet, depleting our resources, or clouding our common future.

Thank you.

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