Path towards sustainable consumption


“Sustainable consumption and production need to be mainstreamed into the thinking of all stakeholders and into the decision making of governments and other organizations, including the UN system”, said Sha Zukang, Under-Secretary-General of DESA and the Secretary-General of Rio+20, at the opening of the 19th Session of the Commission on Sustainable Development (CSD).

For almost 20 years, CSD has been considered the highest level body for sustainable development within the UN system. This session, which continues until 13 May, has a special significance since it is the last before the 2012 UN Conference on Sustainable Development (Rio+20).

Main themes include transport, chemicals, waste management, mining and a 10 year framework of programmes on sustainable consumption and production patterns.

Unsustainable consumption and production threatens to exceed the carrying capacity of the planet. It is also important to note, that the poorest 20 per cent of the population accounts for just six per cent of total income or consumption. It is the main responsibility of consumers in developed countries and wealthy consumers everywhere to move towards sustainable patterns of consumption.

The representative of Hungary on behalf of the EU recommended “producing more with less” and to use financial support in an efficient way. He also urged that a more sustainable approach, as well as good governance that share benefits between governments and local communities, be introduced. In the area of mining, the eradication of child labor is crucial.

Developing countries also face particular problems in achieving sustainable development due to their small sizes, vulnerability to external shocks and natural disasters, dependence on commodities and heavy reliance on imports. The representative of Chile on behalf of the Rio group stressed the importance to achieve the “outcome that would reflect the need of developing countries”.

For more information, see DESA News feature article “With a mission to reduce harms of pollution and waste”

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