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A Global Agenda for Seven Billion

NEW YORK – Late next month, a child will be born – the 7th billion citizen of planet Earth. We will never know the circumstances into which he or she was born. We do know that the baby will enter a world of vast and unpredictable change – environmental, economic, geopolitical, technological, and demographic.

The world’s population has tripled since the United Nations was created in 1945. And our numbers keep growing, with corresponding pressures on land, energy, food, and water. The global economy is generating pressures as well: rising joblessness, widening social inequalities, and the emergence of new economic powers.

These trends link the fate and future of today’s seven billion people as never before. No nation alone can solve the great global challenges of the twenty-first century. International cooperation is a universal need.

The 66th session of the UN General Assembly is a renewed opportunity for the countries of the world to set aside narrow, short-term interests and commit to cooperative efforts to address humanity’s long-term imperatives. At a time when all nations are experiencing individual challenges, we need to forge a worldwide common agenda that can help to ensure that the seven billionth baby and future generations grow up in a world characterized by sustainable peace, prosperity, freedom, and justice.