Since 1972, June 05 is the day when we celebrate World Environment Day, a date to raise awareness of the enormous challenges we face to create a sustainable world. This year the date precedes Rio+20, this year’s most important environmental conference that takes place in Rio de Janeiro between June 20th and 22nd. The summit marks the 20th anniversary of the first Rio Summit in 1992. The reality is that we have made very little progress on several environmental fronts, such as deforestation, sea pollution, land management, wildlife, waste management and poverty eradication, which is also a key environmental issue. Fortunately, alternative energy has not been one of them as it keeps improving and expanding, as Germany seems to attest.
At the last round of informal negotiations that took place in New York last week, the UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon has lighted some of the key areas to create a more sustainable future. These include job creation, food security and sustainable agriculture, sustainable energy, universal access to safe drinking water and sanitation; sustainable management of the oceans, institutions to support sustainable development at all levels and finally a better process of defining Sustainable Development Goals.
“We are close to a once‐in‐a‐generation opportunity to define the future of the seven, soon to be nine, billion people living on our planet,” said UN General Assembly President Nassir Abdulaziz Al‐Nasser. “There are differing opinions on how best to achieve our goals. But there is one thing we all agree on: We agree that now is the time to fulfil our dream – and our obligations – of ensuring a better future for all.”
Rio+20 Secretary‐General Sha Zukang said: “The true measure of success in Rio is how much action it inspires.” He added that Rio+20 would result in a political action document negotiated by all the Member States of the UN, as well as a myriad of commitments by governments, businesses and civil society to take action.
Another issue that Rio+20 is expected to address are the types of international institutions that are needed to promote sustainable development.
“The Rio+20 outcome needs to produce a strong institutional architecture,” continued Mr. Al‐Nasser. “This architecture must promote a better integration of the three dimensions of sustainable development: economic, social and environment protection. It must also address new and emerging issues, review the sustainability of progress achieved, and monitor the implementation of the commitment.”
The conference is expected to set the agenda for a more sustainable future for decades to come.
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