srijeda, 16. studenoga 2011.

Rio+20 UN Conference on Sustainable Development



Rio+20 UN Conference on Sustainable Development

From China to Barbados, Brazil to South Africa, countries are developing Green Economy strategies and activities to spur greater economic growth and jobs, environmental protection and equality.
In a statement issued on the release of UNEP's flagship report, Towards a Green Economy: Pathways to Sustainable Development and Poverty Eradication, UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon said: "With the world looking ahead to the Rio+20 UN Conference on Sustainable Development in June 2012, the UNEP Green Economy report challenges the myth that there is a trade-off between the economy and the environment. With smart public policies, governments can grow their economies, generate decent employment and accelerate social progress in a way that keeps humanity's ecological footprint within the planet's carrying capacity."

Key Messages

The report, a result of a three-year global research effort involving hundreds of experts, underwent a three-month public review before being unveiled today. It confirms that an investment of two percent of global GDP across 10 key sectors is what is required to kick-start a shift from the current brown, polluting and inefficient economy to a green one.

  • The report estimates that such a transition would grow the global economy at around the same rate, if not higher, than those forecast, under current economic models.


  • But without rising risks, shocks, scarcities and crises increasingly inherent in the existing, resource-depleting, high carbon 'brown' economy, says the study.

  • In addition to higher growth, an overall transition to a Green Economy would realize per capita incomes higher than under current economic models, while reducing the ecological footprint by nearly 50 per cent in 2050, as compared to business-as-usual.

  • The Green Economy Report acknowledges that in the short-term, job losses in some sectors - fisheries for example - are inevitable if they are to transition towards sustainability.
  • However, it adds that over time the number of "new and decent jobs created" in sectors - ranging from renewable energies to more sustainable agriculture - will, however, offset those lost from the former "brown economy".

    As a result, a growing number of countries are undertaking activities to accelerate this transition.

    At the China Council meeting this week, for example, the government's international advisory group is expected to put forward its own study for moving towards a Green Economy.

    China is the world's lead investor in renewable energy, overtaking Spain in 2009 and spending US$49 billion in 2010. Overall, China is committed to spending US$468 billion over the next five years, more than double the previous five years, on key industries, including renewable energy, clean technologies and waste management.

    "China considers the Green Economy to be a strategic choice in an increasingly resource constrained world, and we have made that choice in our development plans," said Mr. He Bingguang, Director General of the Department of Resource Conservation and Environmental Protection in China's National Development and Reform Commission.

    "We appreciate UNEP's contribution in promoting a global Green Economy transformation, which holds the potential for all countries to benefit," he added.

    Some countries, such as Barbados, Cambodia, Indonesia, the Republic of Korea and South Africa, already have national Green Economy plans that reflect the report's recommendations.

    Others such as Armenia, Azerbaijan, Egypt, Kenya, Jordan, Malaysia, Mexico, Nepal, Senegal and Ukraine are focusing on greening priority sectors, such as agriculture, renewable energy, tourism and clean technologies.

    Today in Rwanda, East African countries are meeting to explore how laws and regulatory frameworks can help drive a Green Economy at the national and regional level. Participants from Burundi, Kenya, Tanzania and Uganda, as well as Rwanda, will examine case studies and continent-wide initiatives, the latter being led by the African Union.

    On the business side, UNEP has teamed up with 285 of the world's leading investors, representing US$20 trillion in assets, who called on governments to mobilize action on climate change, including investments in emerging industries - like renewables and green buildings. Similar calls have been echoed by the International Chamber of Commerce, which represents hundreds of thousands of businesses in more than 130 countries.

    "The elements of a transition to a Green Economy are clearly emerging across developing and developed countries alike. There are now some nations going further and faster than others which is in many ways generating a 'pull factor' that, if maintained, may bring others along over the coming months and years," said Achim Steiner, UN Under Secretary General and Executive Director of the UN Environment Programme (UNEP).

    The recent drive in clean investment is not only benefitting emerging economies, but also other developing countries. According to the latest Bloomberg figures, global investments in renewable energy jumped 32 per cent in 2010, to a record US$211 billion. After the emerging economies of Brazil, China and India, countries in Africa posted the highest percentage increase of all developing regions.

    In Egypt, renewable energy investment rose by US$800 million to US$1.3 billion as a result of the solar thermal project in Kom Ombo and a 220 megawatt onshore wind farm in the Gulf of Zayt. In Kenya, investment climbed from virtually zero in 2009 to US$1.3 billion in 2010 across technologies such as wind, geothermal, small-scale hydro and biofuels.

    In the California Mojave Desert, one of the world's largest solar-thermal power plants is under construction and others are also being built in Spain and other parts of the United States.

    "The Durban climate convention meeting in a few week's time and Rio+20 next year are key opportunities to accelerate and scale-up the Green Economy. Central cooperative actions range from advancing Reduced Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation (REDD+), moving on green procurement to switch national efforts into the sustainability space up to a new indicator of wealth that goes beyond GDP and internalizes the costs of pollution and degradation while bringing the true value of the planet's nature-based assets into calculations of a successful and sustainable economic path," said Mr. Steiner.

    A series of UN-backed regional consultations on the Green Economy have underscored the growing interest in the report. While issues of financing and trade need to be addressed further, there is an acknowledgement that the current economic model, based solely on GDP growth, has resulted in the gross misallocation of capital and inequitable distribution of wealth.

    The Report shows that investing the equivalent of two per cent of global GDP into agriculture, energy, buildings, water, forestry, fisheries, manufacturing, waste, tourism and transport would not only shift the global economy onto a more sustainable growth trajectory, but it would actually maintain or increase growth over time compared to the current business-as-usual scenario.

    Policy recommendations on each of the 10 key sectors, as well as on finance and enabling conditions, are outlined in the report.

    On transport, for example, the report suggests that prices need to take account of the societal costs accumulated as a result of congestion, accidents and pollution, which in some cases amount to over 10 per cent of the national or regional GDP. In Beijing, a 2009 study estimated that the social costs induced by motorized transportation are equivalent to between 7.5 and 15 per cent of the city's GDP.

    Globally, the transport sector's impact on natural resources is wide-ranging, from the manufacturing of vehicles, which uses metals and plastics, to its use of fossil fuels, which involves engine oil, rubber and other consumable materials. Between 2007 and 2030, the transport sector is expected to account for 97 per cent of the increase in the world's primary oil use.

    With the number of vehicles in China expected to more than triple during this period, the government is promoting low-carbon, energy efficient cars and related infrastructure. In the city of Shenzhen, home of China's first electric car, plans are underway to build large recharging stations and replace traditional buses with more than 7,000 electric ones in five years time.

    Generating Jobs

    The Green Economy Report suggests that over time "new and decent jobs" will be catalyzed in these key sectors. A recent study by ILO and the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences (CASS), entitled, Low Carbon Development and Green Employment in China, confirms that this is the case.

    It provides a list of likely winners and losers and the scale of direct and indirect impact involved to identify net gains. It concludes that while 800,000 workers in small coal power plants in China are likely to lose their jobs due to climate mitigation actions, some 2.5 million jobs could be created by 2020 in the wind energy sector alone.

    Currently, Denmark is home to the world's top wind turbine manufacturer in terms of market volume, and China is in second place, followed by the United States and then another Chinese company. Germany ranks fifth. However, Germany has recently committed to scale up its renewable energy, following a decision to phase out nuclear power by 2022, and has thus set a target to source 35 per cent of its electricity from renewable energies by 2022, instead of the earlier target of 19 per cent.

    In Africa, despite recent economic gains, there is increasing interest in creating green and decent employment. Representatives from 11 African countries met in June this year with ILO, UNDP and UNEP to look at case studies in the areas of recycling, sustainable construction and natural resource management. As a result, participants adopted action plans for creating green jobs in fisheries, agriculture and forestry, sectors which represent over 70 per cent of the employment in the region.

    In Brazil, the ILO recently helped support the construction of 500,000 new homes with solar heating systems, resulting in 30,000 new jobs. In South Africa, a similar project on water ecosystem restoration created 25,000 green jobs for previously unemployed people, and at the same time, restored vital freshwater sources.

    Generating Social Equity

    Approximately two billion people live on smallholder farms, and despite making a significant contribution to food security, the majority of these farmers are malnourished and live in poverty. Low prices, unfair trade practice and a lack of transport contribute to their dilemma. The Green Economy Report argues that by moving to more sustainable agriculture practices, these farmers could increase their yields and profits.

    Globally, an investment of US$100-300 billion per year in green agriculture, between now and 2050, could lead to better soil quality and better yields for major crops, representing a 10 per cent increase over the current business-as-usual strategies. As many of these farmers are also women, any benefits would most likely be shared with their families and communities.

    The waste sector is another area that is expected to enhance social equity. Efforts to green the sector are often driven by cost savings, environmental awareness and resource scarcity.

    However, the report notes that greening the sector not only requires improving the often sub-standard waste treatment and disposal facilities, it also entails training the workers, providing more equitable compensation and ensuring proper health care protection for them. Decentralizing large scale, capital-intensive waste management operations could also provide more employment opportunities in the community.

    Electronic waste (or e-waste) is also a concern, particularly for developing countries. Current estimates suggest 20 to 50 million tonnes of e-waste are generated each year, while trade in waste becomes more prevalent, heightening threats to human health and the environment.

    As sales in mobile phones and computers continue to grow in China, India, and across Africa and Latin America, the report finds that resource recovery and recycling offer the greatest potential in terms of contributing to a Green Economy.

    Notes to the Editors:

    Rio Earth Summit: In 1992 the UN Conference on Sustainable Development, popularly known as the Rio Earth Summit, was convened in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, to address the state of the environment and sustainable development. In June 2012, there will be the follow up meeting or Rio+20 in Brazil, where one of the main themes governments are expected to address is Green Economy "in the context of sustainable development and poverty eradication".

    Towards a Green Economy: Pathways to Sustainable Development and Poverty Eradication can be found on the UNEP website:

    For more information, please


    Broj komentara: 12:

    1. European Economic and Social Committee

      Sustainable Development Observatory


      Date: 7 February 9.30 a.m. to 8 February 1.00 p.m.

      Venue: European Economic and Social Committee, Jacques Delors building, Rue Belliard 99, B-1040 Brussels

      The United Nations is convening a Summit level Conference on sustainable development in Rio in the summer of 2012, 20 years after the first 1992 Earth Summit and ten years after the World Summit on Sustainable Development in Johannesburg in 2002. The European Economic and Social Committee (EESC) believes that the Rio+20 Conference must send out a clear signal to the world community for a change towards global sustainable development that helps to eliminate poverty and social injustice whilst preserving natural resources for future generations.

      The EESC conference 'Go sustainable, be responsible! European civil society on the road to Rio+20' on 7-8 February 2012 in Brussels is intended to voice European civil society's positions on Rio+20 and help make the UN Summit a success.

      The conference is aimed at participants from European civil society associations, decision-makers, EU officials and public officials. After an introduction into the current state of the Rio+20 process the EESC conference will focus on the green economy as a means to enhance sustainable development within the limits of natural resources. The first general debate should tackle the European contribution to sustainability, while the second general debate will address sustainable development in non-EU countries. Subsequently four workshops will give the opportunity to deepen the discussion and elaborate conference conclusions:

      · Food, water and energy for everyone;

      · Sustainable consumption and production;

      · A fair transition to a green economy – the social dimension;

      · Involving civil society in the transition to a green economy.

      Invited speakers are high-level representatives from the UN, the European Commission, internationally recognised speakers from the development and environment sector as well as from businesses and trade unions.

      More information can be found here:

      For any questions please contact the EESC staff at

    2. The United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development (UNCSD) is being organized in pursuance of General Assembly Resolution 64/236. The Conference will take place in Brazil on 20-22 June 2012 to mark the 20th anniversary of the 1992 United Nations Conference on Environment and Development (UNCED), in Rio de Janeiro, and the 10th anniversary of the 2002 World Summit on Sustainable Development (WSSD) in Johannesburg. It is envisaged as a Conference at the highest possible level, including Heads of State and Government or other representatives. The Conference will result in a focused political document.

      The objective of the Conference is to secure renewed political commitment for sustainable development, assess the progress to date and the remaining gaps in the implementation of the outcomes of the major summits on sustainable development, and address new and emerging challenges.

    3. Mr. Sha Zukang, Secretary-General of Rio+20

      A career diplomat, Mr. Sha Zukang became the United Nations Under-Secretary-General for Economic and Social Affairs on 1 July 2007. As such, he heads the Department of Economic and Social Affairs, which is responsible for the follow-up to the major United Nations Summits and Conferences, and services the Second and Third Committees of the General Assembly, the Economic and Social Council as well as the vast majority of its functional commissions and expert bodies. He also convenes the Executive Committee on Economic and Social Affairs, the UN Secretariat’s network for joint planning and initiatives on development.

      Mr. Sha Zukang has varied experience with multilateral organizations and international conferences. He was Chairman of the Preparatory Committee and Chairman of the Committee of the Whole, United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) 11th session from 2003 to 2004, President of the Trade and Development Board, 50th Session of UNCTAD, Chairperson of the Government group of the Governing Body of the International Labour Organization from 2002 to 2003, and member of the UN Secretary-General’s Advisory Board on Disarmament matters from 1994 to 1999. In addition, he has served as president, vice-president, chairperson, coordinator and expert in many international conferences in the field of arms control, trade, intellectual property, social affairs, and telecommunications, among others.

      Mr. Sha Zukang established the Department of Arms Control of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of China and became its first Director-General. He participated, as chief negotiator or representative of the Chinese government, in the negotiation and review of many important international treaties on arms control and disarmament such as Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons, Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty, Chemical Weapons Convention, Biological and Toxin Weapons Convention, Convention on Certain Conventional Weapons. He made great contributions to mine clearance in China and many parts of the world. He encouraged the development of Chinese non-governmental organizations, and facilitated the opening of offices in China by international organizations.

      His postings in diplomatic missions abroad included London, Colombo, New Delhi, New York and Geneva. Prior to assuming his present position in the United Nations, he was Ambassador and Permanent Representative of the Chinese Mission to the United Nations Office at Geneva.

      Mr. Sha was born in September 1947. He is a native of Jiangsu Province and is married, with one son. He is a graduate of Nanjing University, China. He is fluent in English and has some proficiency in French.

    4. Ms. H. Elizabeth Thompson, a former Minister for Energy and Environment of Barbados, was appointed by the Secretary-General of the United Nations as Executive Coordinator for the UNCSD Rio + 20 Conference and assumed her duties in 7 December 2010 . Ms Thompson also served as Minister for Physical Development and Minister for Health. Ms. Thompson was appointed to the Barbados Senate and was a practising attorney as well as a journalist. In addition, she was a lecturer in ecology, economy, energy and politics. Ms. Thompson graduated from the University of the West Indies and obtained an MBA, with distinction, from the University of Liverpool and a Master of Laws from Robert Gordon University, Scotland.

    5. Mr. Brice Lalonde - Executive Coordinator of Rio+20
      Mr. Brice Lalonde is a former French Ambassador for climate change negotiations of France. He was appointed by the Secretary-General of the United Nations as Executive Coordinator for Rio+ 20 in 1 January 2011. Prior to this, he served as French Minister for the Environment, Chairman of the Round Table for Sustainable Development at the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), and Senior Adviser for the Environment to the French Government. In addition, he held the position of Director of the Paris office of the Institute for a European Environment Policy. Mr. Lalonde graduated from the Sorbonne University with a degree in classics and law.

    6. It is necessary to understand that for ten days Rio de Janeiro will be the UN," says the Diplomat Laudemar Aguiar, 50, born in Niteroi and responsible for all the logistics in what the Brazilian Government wants to be "the largest conference in the history of the United Nations”. He works with large numbers: 150 Heads of State and Government and 50,000 diplomats, journalists, businessmen, politicians and more people accredited to circulate at Riocentro, where the UN summit will be held the in June. And tens of thousands of people - an even more difficult number to estimate – who will attend to events scheduled by the civil society at the Flamengo Park, city centre and Barra da Tijuca. "Rio will be the centre of the world", he celebrates.

      But to the superlative of this mega operation be confirmed, it does not depend on the willingness of the Government. The contents of the UN Conference on Sustainable Development (the formal name of the Rio+20) determine its political role and importance of leaders who will come. In the famous climate conference in Copenhagen, in December 2009, 47,000 were enrolled and 120 leaders - 40 of them confirmed their presence just two days before the event, when President Barack Obama finally said he would go. But Copenhagen did not have much effect, and the next event in Cancun, Mexico, resented – 20,000 were accredited and only 22 world leaders.

    7. Rio+20 is part of another family of UN conferences, which discusses how the planet wants to develop, which started 20 years ago with the Rio 92 and that had another issue of weight in Johannesburg, South Africa, ten years ago. It will be an important debate on sustainable development with its economic, environmental and social slope, with the backdrop of poverty reduction and "green economy", a concept that presupposes the use of clean technologies. But it will not produce any convention, as the parent conference, when two major contemporary environmental agreements were signed, the climate convention and the biodiversity one.

      To Rio 92 came 109 leaders and over 30,000 people visited the official event, that was also at Riocentro. The contents of the Rio+20 are much more modest begin to be discussed this month in New York. The level of ambition of what will be obtained in June in Rio depends on the negotiations until there, the direction of the U.S. election campaign and the global economic crisis.

    8. The work of Laudemar Aguiar cannot wait. "On June 5th we have to hand over the keys of Riocentro to the United Nations. They flew the flag and it turns territory of the UN. Rio becomes New York", he says, referring to the United Nations headquarters.

      The challenge of this diplomat, who was Counselor Minister of the Brazilian Embassy in Paris until receiving the invitation to be responsible for the logistics of the Rio+20, is organizing the party without knowing how many guests will come - and even if they will come. "We work with historical estimates, but always with room for growth", he says. "What cannot happen is to prepare to receive ten and arrive 20."

      The budget approved by the Congress for the conference on December 15th is of BRL $ 430 million. Of this, BRL $ 230 million will go to security and BRL $ 190 million, to logistics. The lease of spaces add BRL $ 30 million. "Everything will be transparent, all expenses proven", said Aguiar, Secretary-General of the National Organization of Rio+20. "There is a tremendous interaction”, he guarantees, pointing out the work in conjunction with the City Hall and the State of Rio.

    9. One of the marks cashed by Rio +20 is to be a conference with "maximum feasible participation of civil society", Aguiar says, repeating the mantra that has been told by senior government. "We are discussing what will be the planet. The document elaborated at the Rio+20 will be agreed between governments, but we want to have the maximum of inputs from all sectors of society."

      The logistic challenge is to make the displacements in Rio the best possible –various plans of traffic flow have been analyzed - reducing the distance from Riocentro, in Barra da Tijuca, with the rest of the city. For this reason, initially, the conference would be in the harbor area. Everything - official event and all the parallels - would be concentrated there. The initiative would require a great work of revitalizing the area, a legacy for the city. The docks were, therefore, the option of the City Hall. But it did not work. "For many reasons, logistics, security, infrastructure and also costs" Aguiar explains. "By moving to Riocentro I say that we exchanged ten problems for one: the big problem of Barra is the access. Let's do a very large work related to transport”, he promises.

    10. A big difference between Rio+20 and Rio 92 is the priority that the so-called "major groups" have now. The concept, in vogue at the United Nations, brings together nine segments of civil society - business, children and youth, farmers, indigenous communities, local governments, NGOs, scientists, women, workers and trade unions - and it is the government's intention to bring them most to the decisions of the conference. In the 1992 edition, the governments meet at the Riocentro, and the civil society at the Flamengo Park. They were two separate worlds. The proposed architecture is different now.

      According to him, at the Rio+20, "for the first time in a United Nations conference, the civil society will have several different places to meet". The suggestion is to offer, at Barra da Tijuca, the Athletes' Park (formerly Rock City), to national and local governments build pavilions and stands. The Jacarepaguá Speedway is a large area that is available to civil society - indigenous groups are studying to build a large hollow there and also companies evaluate whether it is the case to use part of the 550,000 m2 site. It is being rented to the Barra Arena (HSBC Arena), a modern gymnasium with capacity of 18,000 people.

    11. Areas in the center of Rio are another option for civil society events. Aguiar cites the region around the Museum of Modern Art (MAM) and the Monument to the Dead of World War II. Vivo Rio, with capacity for 2,000 people, would be another area for seminars and meetings. "In 92, all the Flamengo Park was used, what cannot to be done now", he says, remembering that the grass was destroyed. The region, without taking up the grassy areas, is the favorite area for NGOs and social movements. Aguiar says that if spaces lacks, Quinta da Boa Vista Park will function as a kind of "back-up area”.

      To expedite the contracts, the organization of the Rio+20 organized a task force with the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP). UNDP can be faster in hiring, streamline contracts and choose suppliers not only by the lowest price criterion, but consider other variables such as quality, for example. The bidding on the company that takes care of lodging and travel of official delegations was decided this week. "But people will also have to stay in nearby towns," Aguiar estimates. The Rio hotel chain has a maximum of 33,000 rooms, including flats. Only accredited is forecast to reach 50,000. "They will have also to stay in people's homes," he predicts.

    12. Rio+20 will have new connectivity, accessibility and sustainability, promises Aguiar. "We will have the least possible use of paper and increased use of new technologies", he explains. The subway will be the first subway with more than ten years fully accessible. Biodiesel generators, paper cups, selective garbage collection are some of the sustainability criteria adopted.

      Journalists interested in receiving press releases on Rio+20, please send an email to

      Željko Serdar