‘Greening’ World’s Economies Debated as Viable Pathway to Development Destination, as General Assembly Considers Shortcomings of Prevailing Growth Models

2 June 2011

‘Greening’ World’s Economies Debated as Viable Pathway to Development Destination, as General Assembly Considers Shortcomings of Prevailing Growth Models

2 June 2011
General Assembly
Department of Public Information • News and Media Division • New York

Sixty-fifth General Assembly

Informal Thematic Debate

AM & PM Meetings

 ‘Greening’ World’s Economies Debated as Viable Pathway to Development Destination,

as General Assembly Considers Shortcomings of Prevailing Growth Models


Deputy Secretary-General Says Adjustments Will Not Be Easy, but Will Pay Off

In Long Term; Assembly President Says ‘We Can No Longer Afford to Wait to Act’

United Nations Deputy Secretary-General Asha-Rose Migiro this morning made a strong call for creating a global green economy characterized by abundant jobs, sustainable livelihoods, dynamic economic growth and clean energy.

Kicking off a day-long informal General Assembly thematic debate on “Green economy: a pathway to sustainable development”, Ms. Migiro said the green economy also must address the menaces caused by climate change, notably food and energy insecurity and deforestation.

The debate, which aimed to guide next year’s United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development, known as “Rio+20”, featured a morning panel discussion on the characteristics of the green economy and its potential for achieving sustainable development, and an afternoon discussion on approaches to create such an economy.

“We know that making adjustments will not always be easy — and that there will be trade-offs,” said Ms. Migiro.  But burdensome upfront costs — such as replacing heavily polluting nineteenth-century technologies with twenty-first-century clean energy systems, and creating a green climate fund and a technology mechanism — would pay off in the long-term.

There was no “one-size-fits-all” approach to achieving those aims, she said.  Rather, within an agreed global framework, each Government must determine how the green economy could work for its people and for the planet.  For poor countries, job opportunities and sustainable livelihoods were crucial; for nations heavily dependent on raw material exports, new robust economic sectors must emerge.

“We must make progress step by step, both through the international negotiations and through actions on the ground to curb emissions and strengthen resilience,” Ms. Migiro said.

Measures to promote developing countries’ technological capabilities, including transferring technology to them from the North, must be part of a green economy agreement hammered out at the June 2012 Rio+20 Conference, she said.  Moreover, green-economy strategies should open new markets for export, rather than imposing “green conditionalities” that limited developing countries’ outbound trade.

General Assembly President Joseph Deiss warned that there was no room for complacency, as environmental degradation and climate change could not be reversed overnight.  “We can no longer afford to wait to act,” he said, pointing to the time it would take to replenish fish stocks and decrease global sea temperatures.

Firm commitment and resolute action by Governments locally, nationally, regionally and globally were needed to foster sustainable, equitable development, he said.  The international community must make wise technology choices today to sustain a carbon-intensive energy path for years to come.

The recent spike in oil prices and the risks created by nuclear power, illustrated by the recent earthquake and tsunami in Japan, were stark reminders of the urgent need to reduce fossil-fuel dependency and improve energy efficiency through clean technologies and green goods and services, he said.

Subsidies, environmental taxes and pollution rights were good tools to encourage energy producers and consumers to adopt environmentally friendly behaviour, he said.  But subsidies for polluting fossil fuels must be avoided, as should “green protectionism” and other distortion-creating mechanisms.

Moreover, it was important to address fears in developing countries over job losses resulting from greener economic models, to ensure that people in those nations benefited from the new opportunities such models would create, he said.

Those sentiments were echoed in both panel discussions, as participants voiced concern over “green trade protectionism” in such areas as subsidies for research and development of green technology, new market mechanisms and environmental taxes.  During the morning panel, one delegate stressed the need to evaluate any conditions or parameters that might be “unjustly or unilaterally” created in trade, financing and aid for development, all the while ensuring that green economy policies worked towards the ultimate goal of eradicating poverty.

Another speaker spotlighted the need to take into account the differing needs and development levels of States, stressing in particular a key principle of sustainable development, that of “common but differentiated responsibility”.  He felt there was an “undue focus” on green economy in the preparations for Rio+20, and that given the complexity surrounding that theme, it was too early to arrive at any concrete agreement at the global level.

But many delegates held that there could be no lasting progress towards sustainable development without green-economy policies — albeit with critical safeguards in place to prevent any extra burden on poor countries.

During the afternoon panel, a senior Chinese Government official shed light on China’s successes in the past 15 years to achieve rapid sustainable development and its medium-term goals to further conserve energy, slash emissions and bolster non-fossil-fuel energy consumption.  Meanwhile, the Director-General of the United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO) implored delegates to include in the outcome document of Rio+20 an agreement to achieve by 2030 universal access to sustainable energy and a 40 per cent reduction in energy intensity.

In closing remarks, Sha Zukang, United Nations Under-Secretary-General for Economic and Social Affairs and the Secretary-General of the Rio+20 Conference, called the day’s debate “timely and rich”.  It had raised critical questions about the challenges to create a green economy, notably “getting all countries on board”.  Strategies must be equitable, inclusive and should promote new markets for all countries, particularly developing countries. In that vein, technology transfer, market access and capacity-building were among the key issues to be tackled head on.

The continuing dialogue, he said, showed that building a green economy in the context of sustainable development and poverty eradication involved all sectors at all levels.  Similarly, the preparatory process for Rio+20 offered opportunities to explore new policies and the ways in which they could effectively promote sustainable consumption and production patterns.  Much remained to be done in the coming months, and he stressed the need to focus on practical solutions to concerns raised and on the core goal of renewing political commitment for sustainable development.


The General Assembly’s thematic debate taking place today on “Green economy: a pathway to sustainable development” seeks to explore ways in which “greening” the economy can correct the systemic market and institutional shortcomings of the prevailing development model and thereby make economies a more effective tool for achieving sustainable development.  See also Press Release GA/11083 of 1 June 2011.

Panel 1: Opportunities and Challenges of Green Economy

The morning panel was moderated by Tundi Agardy, Executive Director of the non-governmental organization Sound Seas.  It featured four panellist: Søren Søndergaard Kjær, Deputy Permanent Secretary for the Environment of Denmark; Suzana Kahn Ribeiro, Green Economy Sub-Secretary, State Environment Secretariat, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil; Harsha V. Singh, Deputy Director-General of the World Trade Organization; and Clay Nesler, Vice-President for Global Energy and Sustainability of the Johnson Controls company.

In brief opening remarks, Ms. AGARDY noted that the current discussion itself was evidence of a significant shift in the world’s recognition of links between human well-being and the environment.  Terms such as “eco-efficiency” and “human well-being”, which had not been in use 10 years ago, were now part of the common vernacular.  Further, as a marine conservationist, she was interested to see how the discussion could apply, not only to a green economy on land, but also to a “blue economy” in the world’s marine and coastal ecosystems.

Taking the floor, Mr. SØNDERGAARD KJÆR said that government institutions — local, national and international — could create a “green demand” for research and development, as well as for the innovation of new technologies to improve efficiency and reduce environmental impact.  Relaying the Danish experience with “green policy”, he said Denmark had a long tradition of environmental protection, starting with the first national environmental legislation in 1973.  Its transition towards a green economy had continued through the 1970s and 1980s, when energy and water consumption had been high, waste water had been largely left untreated, solid waste had been mostly deposited in landfills and emissions had been largely unregulated.

Since then, Denmark had followed a strategy of both increasing its energy efficiency and diversifying the source of its energy supply, with an increasing focus on renewable energy, he said.  Today, the country had one of the least energy-intensive economies in the world, with renewable energy accounting for about 20 per cent of total energy consumption and aimed to increase to 30 per cent by 2025.  Water consumption had fallen, and 70 per cent of water was now recycled.  Those and other strides had been made by implementing several environmental taxes, he said, stressing that both negative and positive incentives were needed in that respect.  “We do not just tax ‘bads’, we also subsidize greener alternatives,” he said, adding that Denmark supported as well the development of new technological solutions through research and development subsidies.

Although progress had been made in many areas, he said, the country was still facing environmental challenges, many of which could benefit from international cooperation.  Denmark, therefore, was committed to establishing multilateral environmental agreements focused on including green economy policies at national and regional levels.  There was a need to focus on those issues at the upcoming United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development (Rio+20).  While both developed and developing countries, as well as emerging economies, faced different challenges and opportunities, Rio+20 was a chance for everyone — regardless of economic and welfare development levels — to enhance their transition towards a green economy.  There, States should share their experiences, learn from best practices and take decisions on standards that would bring about sustainable development, as agreed at Rio in 1992.

Ms. KAHN RIBEIRO agreed that a green economy was critical to achieving sustainable development.  But there were challenges in that respect.  “There is an urgent need to conciliate the concept of economic growth with environmental protection.”  The discussion came at a good moment, given the high international visibility of Rio+20, the football World Cup planned for 2014 and the upcoming Olympic Games.  While Brazil’s national environmental challenges related largely to deforestation, in the state of Rio de Janeiro, it was focused more on economic development.  For that state, therefore, green economy was related to taxes, regulation and institutional reforms.  She hoped that Rio+20, to be held in her city next year, would engage other national economies in order to expand global actions towards a green economy.

The development of a green economy required a range of policy approaches, she said.  At the state level in Brazil, that rested on strong governance and included the creation of a tributary framework related to development strategy, as well as new market mechanisms.  In that vein, the state was considering opening a “stock market” of environmental assets, among other solutions.  “This is not an easy task,” she said, referring to the multisectoral approach that was needed to implement green-economy programmes.  Significant synergies would be required in that respect.  For example, she hoped to use the state’s building mandates to forge a national green building strategy.

“Would anyone have imagined 20 years ago that we would be using words such as ‘green GDP’?” she asked, noting that such a term was new to the environmental discussion.  It was important to keep up innovation, including in the area of financing.  There needed not be a trade-off between development and environmental protection.  Further, it was critical for a green economy to be transparent.  Common indicators were needed and should be scaled up internationally, creating a “common platform” for measuring progress.  She noted that public procurement, which still required some kind of “green economy screening”, was currently making strides.  At the same time, five major areas still required work, namely sustainable construction, finance, energy, the waste sector and agriculture.

Rio de Janeiro had instituted a low-carbon economy to fight climate change, as well as cap-and-trade markets within the state, she noted.  That promoted emission reductions without losing competitiveness.  Work was also under way to promote demand for different types of carbon offsets, including via programmes to reduce emissions from deforestation and forest degradation, in other Brazilian states.

Mr. SINGH said that the World Trade Organization’s “disciplines and the toolbox” provided means for addressing the concerns of many developing countries in the area of green economy “protectionism”.  The Organization promoted a green economy though open and stable trading systems, he stressed, adding, “trade openness can improve access to and development of green services and technology”.  Those principles — which were among the core tenets of the World Trade Organization’s rules and disciplines — were necessary for the development of a green economy; a committee was dedicated specifically to trade and the environment.  It was also engaged in keeping “arbitrary or disguised protection” in check.  Horizontal mechanisms were being implemented for decreasing barriers to green economy, while work was under way to strengthen the multilateral structure of such an economy.  National policies should supplement such work at the global level.

Regarding intellectual property, he stressed the importance of balancing innovation with the goals of green economy technology diffusion.  “Vital safeguards” were required for the dissemination and diffusion of those types of new technologies.  While the Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS) agreement ensured that new technologies were not “locked up”, they still must be safeguarded.  Some States felt that there was a need to reinforce or extend those technology safeguards, while others disagreed, believing the current safeguards were sufficient.  It was important to keep monitoring emerging intellectual property issues.  An encouraging example of positive policy dialogue in that regard would be an upcoming meeting of the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO), slated for July.  On the agenda was climate change, with a special focus on the global transfer of technology.  A major review would also take place that month on the “aid-for-trade” policy, with an emphasis on practical “on-the-ground” application.  In those and other respects, the World Trade Organization toolbox would continue to address concerns related to trade, technology and intellectual property.

Mr. NESLER said that his company, Johnson Controls, was a 125 year-old global business with three major production components — including a “building efficiency” business.  Among other green initiatives, Johnson Controls had undertaken to reduce its own greenhouse gas emissions, with the aim of slashing them by an additional 30 per cent in the next 10 years.  The company had created a number of “Platinum LEED” buildings — a certification that stood for Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design, and acted as a widely regarded benchmark for the design, construction and operation of green buildings.  In its car business, Johnson Controls had improved its supply chain, recycling as much as 97 per cent of its car batteries through a triangular supply agreement.  It was also working to increase the environmental friendliness of its projects around the world, he said.

Energy efficiency was a key strategy for the green economy, reducing both costs and risks, improving resiliency to climate change, and supporting a reliance on clean and distributed energy sources, he said.  It also had “great local impacts”, drawing on local resources.  “We see common barriers everywhere” in the private sector, he said, pointing to capital requirements, uncertainty about green savings and building the capacity needed to deliver green programmes.  Government policy was “absolutely critical” to addressing those concerns in areas of codes and standards, incentives and rebates, information labelling, capacity-building, technical assistance and market mechanisms.  He was currently working with private sector and non-governmental representatives to create a green building tool kit, based largely on the successful “greening of the Empire State Building” project.  That initiative had been highly transparent, with all aspects openly available on the Internet.  He hoped that energy efficiency had a strong focus at Rio+20.

During the ensuing discussion, several delegations voiced concerns at some of the green economy initiatives, including those relating to trade.  Some said those could lead to unfair trading practices, thereby negatively affecting developing countries.  In that vein, the representative of Argentina, speaking on behalf of the “Group of 77” developing countries and China, stressed that any discussion of a green economy should be placed into the “right context” — namely that of sustainable development and poverty eradication.  It should contribute to reducing inequality and transforming development, while emphasizing that “no one size fits all”.  Any outcome on that theme should be based on a flexible approach that recognized different levels of economic, social and environmental development of developing countries, as well as their particular conditions and priorities.  The green economy must also not imply conditionalities to development assistance nor be used as a trade restriction.

Echoing those concerns, Mexico’s representative added that it was necessary to continue to evaluate the conditions or parameters that could be “unjustly or unilaterally” created in the areas of trade, financing, assistance for development and other forms of international cooperation.  It also was essential that developed countries transfer technologies that contributed to the eradication of environmental deterioration and ensure their proper use and implementation in developing countries.  The representative of the Russian Federation worried that green economy might lead to “unjustifiably high social and employment costs” in some countries, while the representative of Cuba cited unsustainable global patterns of production and consumption, stressing the urgent need to change those before a green economy was implemented.

Moreover, asserted the representative of Pakistan, a focus on green economy could open the door to “green trade protectionism” on a global level.  “This fear is real,” he stressed, noting that sufficient safeguards would be necessary to prevent such protectionism from taking root.  Of the basic principles of sustainable development, that of “common but differentiated responsibility” — which took into account the differing needs and development levels of States — was the most important.  He felt there was an “undue focus” on green economy in the preparations for Rio+20.  Given the complexity surrounding that theme, it was too early to arrive at any concrete agreement at the global level.

Despite those concerns, other speakers attested that a green economy was critical for achieving long-term sustainable development and lasting economic growth.  The representative of the European Union, for one, emphasized that accomplishing those goals “would simply not be possible” without first greening the world’s economies.  At the same time, he said, the green economy was part of the broader concept of sustainable development, but it did not replace it.  He agreed with many speakers that, among other things, the green economy must help to foster growth, create decent jobs and eradicate poverty.

“The transition to the green economy has started already,” added the representative of Hungary, aligning his statement with that of the European Union.  While the transition was feasible, the necessary technology was not available everywhere in the world, and he agreed with previous speakers that a planned system of technology transfer to developing counties was needed.  Among its benefits, he said, the transition could provide a chance to prevent further global conflicts over raw materials and could limit the pressure on food production systems.  Addressing the concerns of some delegates about the social impacts of the green economy, he agreed that communities would not move towards sustainable development without first seeing how social tensions would be eased.  “We all have to be part of the process,” he stressed, adding that the international community was racing against time to achieve its environmental goals.

Responding to some of the points raised, Mr. SØNDERGAARD KJÆR stressed the need for a diverse approach in moving forward, taking into account differences among countries and regions.  On concerns about taxation use, he said that if improperly applied, taxes could be a development barrier and an additional burden to poor countries.  However, if properly implemented, the resulting revenue could expand technology worldwide in the long term.  He highlighted a suggestion made by the representative of Mexico concerning the voluntary labelling of green products, which could be an “uncontroversial way” of rewarding high environmental quality.

Ms. KAHN RIBEIRO said that today’s discussion showed that a better understanding was needed on green economy.  Nonetheless, doing nothing was no longer an option.  While the main goal was sustainable development, a green economy was the only way to tackle environmental problems, as other options were not evident.  Addressing the many concerns expressed about protectionist policies, Mr. SINGH added that a legal forum for such concerns was needed.  While “valid principles” existed for fair green-trade policies, they should be further developed and implemented.  In the Doha Round of trade negotiations, reference had been made to such principles and mechanisms, he noted.

Highlighting some “exciting” points that had been raised during the discussion, Mr. NESLER pointed to the statement made by the representative of the European Union that technological innovation could be a strong economic stimulator in the context of the green economy.  Regarding technology transfer, he drew attention to the concept of “leapfrogging”, raised by one delegate, in which technology transfer policies could aim to help least developed countries jump through barriers that they currently faced.

Also taking part in the discussion were representatives of Spain, Seychelles, Brazil, United States, Morocco, Japan, Benin and Egypt.  A representative of civil society also spoke.

Panel 2:  Transitioning towards Green Economy

The afternoon panel, moderated by James Leape, Director General, World Wide Fund for Nature, featured expert presentations by Paul Toungui, Minister of Foreign Affairs, Gabon; Du Ying, Vice Chairman, National Development and Reform Commission China; Kandeh K. Yumkella, Director-General, United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO); and Marianne Fay, Chief Economist, Sustainable Development Network, World Bank. 

In opening remarks, Mr. LEAPE said the international community was currently using 50 per cent more resources annually than the planet could replenish.  The global situation already was inequitable and unsustainable.  The statistics were staggering: 3 billion people would live in areas of extreme water scarcity by 2030; the world would have to produce more food in the next 20 years than it had produced in the last 3,000 in order to feed the global population.  The extreme weather events of recent years were indicative of climate change.

Mr. TOUNGUI said Gabon was a “lung of the planet”, with rich biodiversity.  Promoting a green economy was important for Gabon’s well-being, reducing inequities and tapping Gabon’s sustainable development potential.  From 13 to 17 September 2010, the Gabonese Government had hosted the Pan-African Conference on Biodiversity and Development, which had aimed to create a green economy throughout Africa.  Nationally, Gabon was implementing policies to preserve natural resources and minimize social inequities.  Gabon’s President was striving to create a “green Gabon”, notably through reforestation programmes and the formation of 13 national parks across 11 per cent of the country’s land as well as a Climate Council to address climate change. 

His Government was investing in ways to manage natural ecosystems, including through sustainable forestry development and the formation of legal and scientific institutions to combat climate change, he said.  Gabon had banned imports of non-biodegradable plastic bags, and enacted policies that focused on reducing and recycling waste, as well as reutilizing plastics.  Moreover, it was promoting lead-free gasoline and working to reduce sulphur from diesel oil.  A United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) project was helping Gabon to identify green economic opportunities.  But to address energy-related challenges, the country needed greater partnerships and financing.

Mr. YING said that, in 1994, China had taken the lead in sustainable development by creating a national “Agenda 21” strategy.  It had since bolstered its focus on scientific and technological innovation, as well as on energy conservation and environmental friendliness, leading to rapid, sound, sustainable socio-economic development.  Between 2006 and 2010, the number of people living in poverty had fallen from 64.3 million to 26.9 million, and 215 million residents had gained access to safe drinking water.  At the same time, China had reversed its trend of rising energy consumption and pollution.  Non-fossil energy consumption had risen from 5.9 per cent to 8.3 per cent, energy consumption had declined 19.1 per cent and sulphur dioxide emissions had dropped 14.3 per cent.

However, he said, 150 million Chinese still lived in poverty.  To continue growing sustainably, China had to erase that abject poverty, as well as balance urban and rural development, bolster pollution prevention schemes and mitigate climate change.  The Government’s five-year plan for national economic and social development, approved in March, would focus on conserving energy, reducing emissions from major pollutants and enhancing sustainable development capacity.  By 2015, China aimed to slash water usage in industry by 30 per cent, energy consumption by 16 per cent and emissions from major pollutants by 8‑10 per cent.  By 2020, it intended to reduce carbon intensity by 40‑45 per cent over 2005 levels and increase non-fossil energy consumption to 15 per cent. 

Mr. YUMKELLA listed three goals that delegates should strive to include in the outcome document of the Rio+20 Conference.  They included an agreement to achieve by 2030 universal access to sustainable energy, a 40 per cent reduction in energy intensity and have renewable sources supply 30 per cent of all global energy services.  He lauded China’s energy access goals and strategies, saying the rest of the world must follow suit in order to achieve equitable economic development.  It was unacceptable that 1.5 billion people still lived without access to energy.  “In Rio, you must move this agenda forward,” he urged.  By September, UNIDO would give delegates examples of ways to develop effective public private partnerships to create a green economy.

A transition to a low-carbon economy with universal access to energy could not be achieved without the private sector’s active participation, he said.  UNIDO had asked the world’s 12 most powerful electric companies to develop public-private partnerships to scale up renewable energy applications.  In Rio, the United Nations hoped to launch a multi-billion-dollar pledging initiative by the Secretary-General to “do for energy what was done for women’s and children’s health”.  He lauded the efforts of the New York-based “Friends of Energy” group in that regard.  Furthermore, he said all nations must be able to create green industry and resource efficiency, while lifting people out of poverty, as China had done.  Declaring 2012 the International Year of Sustainable Energy for All was a step in the right direction.  The goals for that year must be put into action.

Ms. FAY said the World Bank was helping countries replace unsustainable development patterns with green-growth policies that benefited the poor and created jobs.  For example, it was helping Algeria, Egypt, Jordan, Morocco and Tunisia build energy-generation capacity and transmission infrastructure.  The Bank was assisting others, like Mexico, to create more efficient urban mass transport systems, which had positive implications for public health, the environment and efficiency overall, as well as the promotion of sustainable natural resource management, which would allow for resilient, inclusive growth.  After massive World Bank support, the Loess plateau, an area in China suffering from soil erosion, had been transformed, the income of its local residents had more than doubled and natural disasters in the area had decreased. 

The World Bank’s Forest Carbon Partnership Facility was helping developing countries reduce emissions from deforestation and forest degradation, foster conservation, sustainably manage forests and enhance forest carbon stocks, she said.  To help developing nations that lacked a sufficient number of scientists and engineers to identify technology and adapt it to local circumstances, the World Bank, in cooperation with UNIDO, UNEP and the National Green Growth Institute of the Republic of Korea, recently had launched a knowledge platform on green growth.  Furthermore, the World Bank and UNEP had developed a climate finance portal.  The former was working to develop a portal on climate data.

During the ensuing discussion with delegates, the representative of Iran asked how the challenges to transferring financial and technological resources could be addressed within the framework of the green economy.  In response, Ms. FAY said green growth was not only about technology transfer, but also about process innovation and getting new technologies up to scale in order to decrease their prices.  It was important to make use of international agreements and to further develop joint research arrangements, she added.

Responding to a question from the representative of Germany about ways to abolish harmful fossil-fuel subsides and to introduce effective incentives for green growth, Mr. YUMKELLA said it was not easy to remove subsidies in poorer countries, especially when food prices were increasing.  But there was good opportunity in emerging economies to gradually phase out those subsidies and introduce green, more efficient technologies.  Carbon taxation would help level the playing field of incentives.  A carbon price must be on the table, and Government mandates were needed for sourcing renewable energies.

Mr. YING said a range of fiscal, managerial and pricing policies were needed to promote green growth.  China did not have oil subsidies.  Rather, it encouraged the use of cleaner materials and the development of cleaner sectors, including by creating subsidies for solar and wind power.  Last year, China had phased out more than 700,000 tons of coal-mining capacity as well much of its outdated steel-mill capacity.

Mr. TOUNGUI pointed to Gabon’s national reforestation and park creation programmes, and said the country aimed to reorient its economy towards green growth without international aid. 

To a question from the representative of Norway about how green taxes could be used to promote the green economy, Ms. FAY said the international community should not wait for a global carbon tax.  Green pricing and taxation was best used in conjunction with other instruments, such as public investment and regulation.

On questions from the representatives of Seychelles and Trinidad and Tobago about the role of small island developing States in the green economy and ways to ensure they were not left behind, Mr. LEAPE said ocean governance was lagging.  The role of the private sector was increasingly important in developing sustainable fisheries, as was cooperation among island States to jointly manage resources.  Leadership from the small island States themselves was needed in Rio next year.

Mr. YUMKELLA said more honest Government leadership was needed to tackle overfishing, particularly in poor East African countries.  The level of political will to eliminate overfishing would be a litmus test in Rio.

On a question from Morocco’s delegate about applying lessons learned from the outcomes of the Copenhagen and Cancún conferences to ensure that Rio+20 was successful and marked the end of global dependence on fossil fuels, Mr. YUMKELLA said that, in Copenhagen, the global community had learned not to be too ambitious.  In Cancún, it had learned to be more pragmatic and concentrated on areas where consensus could be reached.  In Rio, delegates should try to identify some aspirational goals and practical outcomes that would ensure development-related action for poorer countries.  They should also move strongly on the energy agenda, where there was little disagreement, as well as support capacity-building for clean technologies.

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For information media • not an official record
For information media. Not an official record.