The green economy offers a bridge towards sustainable development. For many developing countries, however, combating poverty and the lack of basic human needs remain a priority. Still, “the longer we wait, the harder and more costly it will be to address the environmental challenges that we face”, said Mr. Joseph Deiss, President of the General Assembly, as he opened the Thematic Debate on the Green Economy: a Pathway to Sustainable Development today.
The path towards green economy is especially challenging for developing countries. “Fears are voiced that green economy is just a new conditionality and will hinder these countries’ development”, noted Mr. Deiss. It is important to ensure that these countries can also benefit from the opportunities presented.
Mrs. Asha-Rose Migiro, UN Deputy Secretary-General, also stressed many challenges, “especially in mobilizing political will to make sustainable development a reality”, emphasizing the need for true international cooperation.
Examples of green economy exist throughout the world, demonstrating positive contributions to sustainable development. Soren Sondergaard Kjaer, Deputy Permanent Secretary for Environment of Denmark, one of the least energy intensive countries in the world, shared some of his country’s experiences.
He emphasized that the key concept is a political will, “When public institutions and governments demand resource efficiency and improved environmental protection – backed by policy initiatives – research institutions and private sector will respond by innovation – and new marketable solutions are created in the green economy and contribute to sustainable development”.
Sha Zukang, Secretary-General of Rio+20, also stressed the importance of world-wide involvement as he closed the debate: “Building a global green economy in the context of sustainable development and poverty eradication is a collective endeavor. It involves all of us: the international community, the public and private sectors, civil society, local governments, and all other actors,”
The goal of the Debates is to contribute to a better understanding of what the green economy is and to provide the input for the upcoming UN Conference on Sustainable Development in June 2012.