|Department of Public Information • News and Media Division • New York|
To Lift People Out of Poverty, Must ‘Connect the Dots’ between Climate Change,
Issues of Water, Energy, Food, Says Secretary-General in Message
Following is UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon’s message, as delivered by Jean Christophe Bouvier, Director of United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) Regional Office for Europe, to the Fourth Nevsky International Ecological Congress, in Saint Petersburg, Russian Federation, 16 May:
I am pleased to send greetings to all those gathered for the Fourth Nevsky International Ecological Congress. I thank the Government of the Russian Federation for hosting this important event.
For most of the last century, economic growth was fuelled by what seemed a certain truth: the abundance of natural resources. The world mined its way to growth and burned its way to prosperity. Those days are gone. In the twenty-first century, supplies are running short and the global thermostat is running high. Climate change is showing us that the old model is more than obsolete. It is in fact extremely dangerous.
How do we lay a foundation for future growth? How do we lift people out of poverty while protecting the planet and ecosystems that support economic growth? How do we regain the balance? All of this requires rethinking. We have to be prepared to make major changes — in our lifestyles, our economic models, our social organization, and our political life. We have to connect the dots between climate change and issues such as water, energy and food. The challenge is great – but, so too, is the opportunity. The sustainable development agenda is the growth agenda for the twenty-first century.
This Congress is marking the twentieth anniversary of the Commonwealth of Independent States. This vast region has rich natural resources and energy reserves and understands the priority of tackling the climate change challenge. Your actions and decisions can also have an impact beyond your borders. Indeed, the Nevsky Ecological Congress is a vital platform for policymakers, the private sector, academia and civil society to discuss issues of green growth and sustainable industrial development not only for the region, but for the world.
The United Nations is proud to be your partner. For the first time, the co-organizer of the Congress is a United Nations specialized agency – the United Nations Industrial Development Organization. The outcome of this Congress will contribute to preparations for next year’s crucial United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development – Rio+20. Once again, thank you for your commitment. Please accept my best wishes for a successful conference.
* *** *