25 February 2011

Low-Carbon Express: Next stop Rio

A sustainable development conference to be held in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, next year will press for a rapid move toward a low-carbon, resource-efficient green economy.

This was stated by environmental ministers of various countries who ended their four-day forum, organised by the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), in Nairobi, Kenya, this week.

The Conference on Sustainable Development 2012, or Rio+20, is expected to be a major step in scaling up the global movement, by addressing how to better manage and govern the environment.

The UNEP released a report on the planned transition to the green economy, suggesting this can be achieved by right public policies and investing two per cent of global GDP on green economy. The report also states that the green economy is relevant to both developed and developing countries.

Representative of various governments who attended the Nairobi forum requested that the UNEP should work with other UN agencies to develop a ten-year framework of programmes, to boost sustainable consumption and production. This, they added, will be a key input for Rio+20.

Achim Steiner, UN Under-Secretary-General and UNEP Executive Director, said: "The world is again on the road to Rio, nearly 20 years after the Earth Summit that has defined humanity's response to sustainable development over the intervening years.

"In Nairobi this week, the world's ministers responsible for the environment have underlined their leadership and their determination to make Rio+20 a success by articulating a forward-looking agenda -- one that reflects the realities of a new century and the urgency of bringing together the three pillars of sustainable development: economic, social and environmental."

Some of the goals pursued by the ministers in Nairobi included a new, interactive, web-based project to keep the world’s environmental situation under review; improved cooperation between developing nations on biodiversity; a closer relationship between the UNEP and the International Maritime Organisation, in order to drive a reduction in marine pollution; and assessments of short-lived climate forcers such as black carbon, methane, fluorinated gases and tropospheric or 'low-level' ozone.

The ministers also called for the UNEP to support countries that were keen to transition to a green economy and play a key role in putting the challenges, opportunities and strategies towards a green economy firmly on the Rio+20 agenda.

About 100 ministers and over 130 countries attended this week's UNEP Governing Council/Global Ministerial Environment Forum alongside members of civil society, the private sector and scientific bodies.


Image: | flickr

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