UNEP-Bright Moon Joint Event, Summit on Green Economy and Sustainable Development

Remarks by Mr. Sha Zukang, Under-Secretary-General for Economic and Social Affairs, Secretary-General of the 2012 UN Conference on Sustainable Development (Rio+20)

Your Excellency, Michel Temer, Vice President of Brazil,
My dear colleague and friend, Achim Steiner,
My Chinese colleagues and friends,
Ladies and Gentlemen,
Good Morning!

First of all, please allow me to thank His Excellency, Michel Temer, the Vice President of Brazil, for joining us today.

It is yet another symbol of the Brazilian government’s broad engagement in sustainable development.

It is inspiring to attend this event that focuses on China, where so much technological progress and development is happening and where the importance of “greening” the economy is at the top of the Government’s policy agenda. 

The United Nations applauds China’s forward-looking perspectives. The future trajectory of the Chinese economy will be of interest not only to China but also to the whole world.  

I am also very pleased that this event is being organized together with our friends from UNEP.

UNEP has been a pioneering leader in green economy. I have no doubt that in following up on the outcomes of Rio+20, UNEP will continue to play a leading role in supporting developing countries in transitioning to green economies.

Today in our event, a Chinese version of the UNEP Green Economy Report will be launched.

This is excellent news!

This Chinese version provides a portal for Chinese readers throughout the world to become familiar with the various facets of a green economy.

It shows us how intelligent management of the natural and human capital of this planet can lead to more responsible wealth creation and more balanced and inclusive economic growth.

You may be delighted to hear that delegations have referred to UNEP studies in their negotiations. This is an excellent example of how UNEP’s technical work is contributing to informed policymaking.

Ladies and gentlemen,

The whole world is watching Rio de Janeiro.

20 years after the Earth Summit, nations are once again gathered in Rio.

All around the planet, people are asking: where is the world going? Are we headed in the right direction?

As you know, the world has been afflicted by recent economic and financial crises, as well as the impacts of environmental degradation.

Global population continues to grow in the midst of already strained resources. 

These concerns pose sobering implications for a sustainable future. 

They also raise the question – how can seven billion people – expected to be nine billion by 2050 – thrive together on this planet?

In response to these inter-linked crises, many governments have responded with policy measures that are designed to boost green economy initiatives and protect vulnerable social groups.

China, is this regard, stands out. 

China has undertaken sweeping policy initiatives focused on green economy. It has allocated over a third of its stimulus package to green investments and infrastructure, such as public transport systems and renewable energy ventures.

In doing so, it has succeeded in turning a crisis into an opportunity.

Indeed, a green economy is fully in line with the policy of supporting a “scientific approach to development.”  It emphasizes harmony between people and nature, between economic growth and environmental protection.

It is worth noting that China was one of the first countries to incorporate sustainable development principles into its national development policies after the 1992 Earth Summit in Rio.

Today, China sets an example in many other ways.  It is at the forefront of developing ways to harness wind, solar and water power. It is building mass transit systems and electric cars. And it is working towards reducing emissions even as the economy here continues to expand at a breakneck pace.

China’s experience also shows that Governments alone cannot propel a green economy.

We need business as partners. Business must and can become agents of change, sources of innovation and pioneers of sustainable business practices.

We need to work together in making a green economy possible.

I am therefore very pleased to see the presence of the representatives from local governments and business sectors at today’s event.

I would like to acknowledge Mr. Fu Chengyu, the Board Chairman of SINOPEC. Thank you for your support. Your presence shows Chinese business sector’s commitment to sustainable development.

I also would like to recognize Mr. Wang Wenbiao, the Board Chairman of the Elion Group.  Over the past two decades, Mr. Wang and his team have greened over 20,000 square kilometres of desert in Kubuqi Desert of China, and at the same time developed a desert based economy, giving thousands of local people an opportunity to live out of poverty. 

In conclusion, I want to extend a warm welcome to all participants.

Your views, perspectives and ideas can be constructive inputs into the discussions on how to advance green economy and sustainable development on the ground.

Thank you.

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