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UN officials highlight need to ensure sustainability of resources

06-06-2012 08:25 BJT

UNITED NATIONS, June 5 (Xinhua) -- In observing the World Environment Day which fell on Tuesday, UN officials stressed the need for a change in thinking and approach to ensure the sustainability of the earth's resources as the world population grows.

"Sustainability entails providing opportunity for all by balancing the social, economic and environmental dimensions of development. We have to rebut the myth that there is conflict between economic and environmental health," said UN Secretary- General Ban Ki-moon at the UN headquarters in New York in his message for the World Environment Day.

World Environment Day, established by the UN General Assembly in 1972 to mark the opening of the Stockholm Conference on the Human Environment and commemorated on June 5 annually, is one of the principal vehicles through which the United Nations stimulates worldwide awareness of the environment and enhances political attention and action. Another resolution, adopted by the UN General Assembly in June 1972, led to the creation of the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) which is based in Nairobi, Kenya.

"With smart policies and the right investments, countries can protect their environment, grow their economies, generate decent jobs and accelerate social progress," Ban said.

The UN secretary-general emphasized that with the world's growing population, there will be more pressure on natural resources -- food, water and energy -- and countries will need to shift their development paradigms to find sustainable solutions for their citizens.

The UN Sustainable Development Conference (Rio+20), which is to be held in Brazil on June 20-22, will provide an opportunity for countries to deepen their commitments to find these solutions, said Ban.

"Rio+20 is our opportunity to deepen global commitment to sustainable development," Ban said. "We should agree that the world needs a set of sustainable development goals that will build on the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs)."

"And we should make progress on some of the building blocks of sustainability -- energy, water, food, cities, oceans, jobs and the empowerment of women," he said.

Also in her message to mark the Day, Irina Bokova, the director- general of the UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), said in Paris that at Rio+20, the international community needs to set new directions for sustainability, ranging from building new forms of agriculture to finding new sources of energy and new ways of building and transportation.

"Reaching these goals requires new approaches to freshwater and the ocean, to lands and the climate. It calls for new thinking about the meaning of progress," Bokova said. "It demands new sources of innovation and resilience that have deeper roots than material or economic assets. We must construct green economies on the foundations of green societies."

Nick Nuttall, the spokesman for the UN Environment Programme, said in a statement posted at the official UNEP website that 20 years after the Rio Earth Summit of 1992, the world is again on the road to Rio, but in a world markedly different from that of the late 20th century -- geopolitically, socially and environmentally.

"Across many sections of society there is a deep seated sense that we are living in an increasingly unequal world and that the environmental services upon which we all depend -- and especially the poor -- are fast hitting their limits as a result of decades of pollution, damage and degradation," said Nuttall.

"Two overarching themes have been chosen for Rio+20 in June, " he said. "Firstly, the Green Economy in the context of sustainable development and poverty eradication."

"Rio+20's second theme is an institutional framework for sustainable development -- essentially how can the structures and organizations charged with achieving sustainable development be reformed to meet the challenges and opportunities of a new century. "

"Rio+20 can be yet another meeting in the long calendar of international events -- or like Rio 1992, it could be something very special that will be discussed with satisfaction and the surety that the world came together and made a difference in the progress of humanity," the spokesman added.


Editor:Zheng Limin |Source: Xinhua

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