The UN is currently planning a new set of Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) which will include action to tackle poverty, disease, environmental degradation and promote sustainable economic growth between now and 2030.

Calling for a long-term “master plan”, May East, the chief executive of Edinburgh based UN sustainability agency CIFAL Scotland, told members of the UN Trusteeship Council in New York that a radical new approach was needed to manage the effects of urbanisation.

East said: “Urbanisation has been accompanied by growing numbers of urban poor converging into slums, in inequitable and often life threatening conditions that put increased pressure on the local environment.”

She said the new SDGs should include targets that measure the use of energy, stimulate sustainable entrepreneurship, promote low carbon urban transport and tackle waste.

“We need a long-term master plan that delivers a clear vision of an integrated urban future where no one is left behind,” she said.

Speaking in August 2013, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said that the world’s “quest for dignity, peace, prosperity, justice, sustainability and an end to poverty has reached an unprecedented moment of urgency”.

However, he said that “remarkable progress” had been made, adding that “ours is the first generation with the resources and know-how to end extreme poverty and put our planet on a sustainable course before it is too late”.

Leigh Stringer

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