Lasting impact of sustainable development


“There had never been a more urgent time to implement sustainable development policies,” said Laszlo Borbely, Minister for Environment and Forests of Romania and Chair of the 19th Session of the Commission on Sustainable Development (CSD-19) at his opening remarks to the Intergovernmental Preparatory Meeting, which began on 28 February at the United Nations Headquarters in New York.

CSD-19 will focus on policy implementation and ways to expedite action plans on transportation, chemicals, waste management, mining and the 10-year framework of programs on sustainable consumption and production patterns.

The event will conclude on Friday, 4 March with multistakeholder dialogues on “Advancing the implementation of sustainable development” and “Expectations from the nineteenth session of the Commission within the context of the forthcoming United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development.”

Sha Zukang, Under-Secretary-General for Economic and Social Affairs, noted the threat of progress made on sustainable development stating that “we continue to struggle with the effects of the global energy crisis; the ongoing food crisis and freshwater scarcity; and the overwhelming impact of climate change.”

Society must also learn how to use its resources more efficiently as the stress on resources and ecosystem services is increasing. “There can be no doubt about the urgency to find a sustainable equilibrium between meeting the needs and improving the quality of life of our people, promoting growth and development, while protecting and preserving the environment,” Mr. Sha said.

This can be achieved through the implementation of a more balanced energy mix of policies, including renewable energy, energy-efficient buildings, efficient transportation infrastructure, and designing policies that would stimulate the development of cleaner technologies and manufacturing processes or introducing market initiatives in those areas. 

Access to financial and technological resources and knowledge are essential for advancing sustainable waste management in developing countries.  The Commission hopes to achieve sustainable development and eradicate poverty in a broader context through a “green economy,” which is one of the themes of the 2012 United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development (Rio 2012).

Sustainable Development is a global issue and it is important for cooperation and involvement of all stakeholders.  The way in which resources are used and viewed needs to be changed. There is no “one size fits all” program that can be used to solve all of the problems. 

Sustainable development is contingent on understanding that primary responsibility for sustainable development is dependent on national Governments.  For development to be sustainable, it must also be transparent and inclusive.

John Matuszak, representative on the United States, noted the long term lasting impacts of sustainable development stating, “The measure of our success will be to improve human well-being, utilizing the environment in a way that does not diminish it for future generations.”

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