1 June 2011
General Assembly
GA/11083
ENV/DEV/1219

Department of Public Information • News and Media Division • New York

United Nations General Assembly to Debate Green Economy, Key Theme for Rio+20

 


To help promote a better understanding on the concept of the green economy — one of the biggest emerging issues as countries seek to promote economic development, poverty eradication and the protection of the environment — the United Nations General Assembly is convening a one-day thematic debate on Thursday, 2 June.


“A green economy in the context of sustainable development and poverty eradication”, is one of the central themes of next year’s Rio+20 Conference.  Although many countries have already made a commitment to green their economies, many countries remain unsure of what green economy actually entails and there are still many questions that need to be addressed.


“Where sustainable development is the destination, green economy offers a pathway,” says General Assembly President Joseph Deiss.  “This debate aims to strengthen the understanding of green economy and of what the international community, each Member State and local communities can do to transition to green economy.”


Mr. Deiss said that while everyone aspires to reach better living conditions, this would not be possible if the world continues to follow the current growth model.  “We urgently need a new development model,” he said.  “Our current consumption and production patterns impact too heavily on natural resources.  Biodiversity is being lost rapidly.  Climate change is a significant concern in particular for developing countries which are disproportionately affected.  We are reaching the limits of our planet’s carrying capacity.”


“I am convinced,” Mr. Deiss added, “that green economy offers many opportunities for economic activities, job creation and improved living conditions for all people in all countries, including the least developed countries.”


Rio+20 — the United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development — which will take place from 4 to 6 June 2012 in Rio de Janeiro, is aimed at overcoming the obstacles that have stood in the way of the full implementation of Agenda 21, the blueprint for sustainable development that was agreed upon by all United Nations Member States at the 1992 Earth Summit in Rio de Janeiro.


Countries still have not agreed on a definition of green economy and many questions remain, including fleshing out the characteristics of green economy, highlighting the barriers to achieving green economy and how, based on lessons learned, a country can transition to a green economy.


The debate will consist of two moderated panel discussions and interactive dialogues where delegates and other participants will be able to discuss the opportunities, challenges and strategies for advancing a green economy.  The results of these discussions will be captured in the Summary of the President that will help promote a better understanding of green economy and positively contribute to relevant international processes, including the preparation for Rio+20.


Additional information can be found at http://www.un.org/en/ga/president/65/initiatives/ge.shtml.


For more information, please contact Dan Shepard, United Nations Department of Public Information, tel: +1 212 963 9495, e-mail: shepard@un.org; or Hyun Sung, Office of the President of the General Assembly, e-mail: sungh@un.org.


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For information media • not an official record