From the halls of the White House to the pages of The Economist, global development issues like ending poverty and protecting the environment have become major topics of conversation following the release of a report last week by the United Nations Secretary-General’s High-Level Panel on the Post-2015 Development Agenda.

Yesterday, I joined Obama Administration officials, federal agency employees, and civil society leaders at the White House for a discussion on the report and the broader process of creating a common development framework to follow the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), which have a 2015 target date for achievement.

The report, put together by 27 world leaders, is a significant, informative, and inspiring contribution to the process of developing a post-2015 agenda.  It provides a bold vision of eradicating extreme poverty by 2030 while safeguarding the environment.  It also addresses issues that are critical to building a better future, including promoting sexual and reproductive health and rights, advancing the sustainable use of energy, empowering women and girls, and focusing on the needs of young people.

Now we must build on this momentum as the process of creating a new framework continues.   As John Podesta, a member of the High-Level Panel wrote, “Our report is just the first chapter, not the final word, in setting priorities for post-2015 development.”  The United Nations has launched a comprehensive effort to hear from voices across sectors and around the world.  Anyone can tell leaders what issues are most important to them at or add their voice to the conversation at  Additionally, the United Nations Association of the USA will hold a series of discussions across the United States so Americans can provide input to the UN on what issues matter to them.

Creating the post-2015 development agenda is a chance to bring people and countries together around a shared vision of a more equitable, prosperous, and sustainable world.  At the same time, we also need to continue to do everything we can to achieve the MDGs, which have improved millions of lives and shown us that meaningful progress is possible when the world mobilizes and unites.

Let’s seize this opportunity to create a brighter future for all of us.  Make your voice heard, and make sure leaders know that you care about the post-2015 development agenda.