Inner City Press: On the Rio Plus 20 conference, I heard what you said, as I’m sure you know that NGOs like Oxfam said it was a hoax, Greenpeace called it an epic failure and said that the corporations ran wild in Rio and that the US and others blocked efforts to stop mining of the sea and to impose human rights obligations on corporations. I just wonder – you were there and obviously put a lot of effort into it. What’s your response to that critique? What human rights obligations do you think the corporations have?
S-G Ban Ki-moon: I am aware of those concerns and criticisms about the outcome document. I had, on two occasions, very extensive meetings with members of civil society and, at one point, I met with nine major group representatives. These discussions were very extensive and very constructive. I listened very carefully to their views and their concerns and I explained the position of the United Nations, as well as Member States. And I have fully explained the contents of the outcome document. I explained to them that when I was a young student, I was taught by my teachers to ‘put your head above the cloud, but have your two feet firmly grounded on the soil, on the ground.’ If you don’t do that, however ambitious the ideas you may have, you will fall and you will tumble. We have to be very practical, very realistic. These are the outcomes, result of 193 Member States’ many, many months’ long process of negotiations, taking into account all the limitations, all the constraints and all the resources, and how much we can do. I think it is very fair that this outcome document is very balanced, concrete and result-oriented.
As I said many times in the past, this is not the end, this is just the beginning. We have many important processes to follow. First of all, we have to agree on Sustainable Development Goals. Members States have made a very clear timeline and also they asked me, as Secretary-General, to provide full support, including inputs and technical and logistical support to this process. I am going to establish a High-Level Panel of Eminent Persons to present the visions and recommendations for the post-MDG 2015 visions. And there are many nations, they have established their high-level political fora to follow up on all of these sustainable development recommendations, replacing the Commission on Sustainable Development. And they have agreed to strengthen the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) with universal membership, with steady and strengthened resources provided. And there are many, many other good recommendations with clear timelines and very concise issues. However, I made it quite clear that I will continue to listen to their views. We will work together with civil society. And, in the course of the coming negotiations and processes, we will fully reflect their concerns and views. Thank you very much.