In the past four years, multiple crises – financial, economic, food, energy – have caused governments and other bodies to look more critically at systemic and structural issues related to national and global economies. Responses include a revived debate on the meaning of economic growth and the necessary measures to more effectively and broadly improve the quality of life of citizens. Civil society and the private sector alike are eager to be involved in this debate and in public decision-making.

The agencies, funds and programmes of the United Nations System, including the Bretton Woods Institutions, are ready and qualified to support governments and others in identifying and pursuing long-term answers. Operating from the global to local level, we are well-positioned to facilitate the exchange of knowledge on current trends, the drivers behind them and the innovative solutions that are emerging from different regions.

United Nations entities are keenly aware of the resource challenges that countries face in meeting the needs of a growing and urbanizing world population. The human and economic toll of natural disasters and the volatility of commodity prices reflect worrying trends in global climate change, the growing scarcity of some natural resources and the decline of many ecosystems.

This report highlights how these challenges can and must be addressed as part of integrated development models that focus on poverty and human well-being. Only such an integrated approach will lay lasting foundations for peace and sustainable development. I welcome the contributions from throughout the United Nations System, and the commitment to work with governments and others to improve integrated delivery in support of sustainable development.

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