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BUILDING GREEN ECONOMIES FOR A SUSTAINABLE FUTURESha Zukang, UN Under-Secretary General for Economic and Social Affairs Secretary-General, The 2012 UN Conference on Sustainable Development (Rio+20) The preparatory process for Rio+20 has stimulated a great deal of reflection and debate on our current economic model and its ability to deliver on sustainable development. It is clear that countries need economic dynamism to be able to provide decent jobs and a decent standard of living to their people. However, the rules governing economies will need to change if we are to adequately address global challenges like climate change. Our actions and decisions - how we generate and use energy, what we consume, how we produce - all have consequences for the environment and for human well-being.Until this point, the rules of our economies have not often required that we factor the social costs of our decisions into prices and markets. For example, the air pollution and health damage of vehicle, industrial and power plant emissions are not taken into account as they should be. Nor do we consider how the decision to burn fossil fuels impacts global climate change. Rio Principle 16 states: n National authorities should endeavour to promote the internalisation of environmental costs and the use of economic instruments, taking into account the approach that the polluter should, in principle, bear the cost of pollution, with due regard to the public interest and without distorting international trade and investment. Furthermore, with respect to global problems like climate change, Rio Principle 7 states clearly the need to recognise the common but differentiated responsibilities and respective capabilities of different countries. It states:n States shall cooperate in a spirit of global partnership to conserve, protect and restore the health and integrity of the Earth's ecosystem. In view of the different contributions to "Global environmental degradation" global environmental degradation, States have common but differentiated responsibilities. The developed countries acknowledge the responsibility that they bear in the international pursuit of sustainable development in view of the pressures their societies place on the global environment and of the technologies and financial resources they command.Here, as with Principle 16, the application in practice leaves much to be desired. This brings me to the objective of the upcoming United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development (Rio+20): to renew political commitment for sustainable development. Member States recognise that renewing political commitment must begin with re-energising the global partnership for sustainable development. Governments must reaffirm the Rio Principles and reinforce their application in practice - all of them.We must also be prepared to address new and emerging challenges going forward. We face a number of these challenges: poverty; food, water and energy insecurity; climate change; financial instability; and unemployment. Not all of these are new, but they are all pressing and interacting in complex ways. That is why an integrated and holistic approach to sustainable development is required. Pictured: Sha Zukang036 SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT - RIO+20

" Governments must show leadership, but so must leaders and all actors in the business sector and civil society "So, what can be achieved at Rio+20 to address these challenges? The following sections will address this question; first through the two themes of the Conference: (i) green economy in the context of sustainable development and poverty eradication, and (ii) the institutional framework for sustainable development; and secondly, by looking at the framework for action and means of implementation. Green economy in the context of sustainable development and poverty eradicationMember states agree that a green economy is a means to the end of sustainable development, which is about intra- and inter-generational equity. Green economy focuses attention on our current economic model and asks how we can sustain economic dynamism while shifting onto a new path that is both socially and environmentally sustainable. New strategies and policies are necessary, and governments will need to share knowledge and experience. There are many examples of a green economy in practice, but they exist only on a smaller scale. How can good practices be brought to scale?Rio+20 could agree to launch a process, or platform, that would facilitate knowledge sharing. This agreement could provide for enhanced technology collaboration and transfer, as well as for mobilising finance to invest in green sectors and activities. As the concept of green economy is still new for many, countries will want assurances that its implementation is fully consistent with the Rio principles and supportive of sustainable development in all three dimensions. Institutional framework for sustainable developmentTo move towards inclusive green economies, national policies and institutions will need to be supported by strengthened international institutions for sustainable development. First, there is a broadly recognised need to strengthen the environmental pillar of sustainable development. For that, Member States agree that the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), created in 1972 as a result of the Stockholm Conference on the Human Environment, will need more predictable resources. How this strengthening is to be accomplished remains to be seen. Second, many Member States feel that a high-level body is needed to champion sustainable development and the integration of its three pillars. Many feel that the Commission on Sustainable Development, which has been serving that function since 1992, has proved inadequate to fulfil the champion role. Framework for actionRio+20 is not defining new principles. Rio+20 is meant to accelerate action and progress on implementing those principles. For that reason, Member States have agreed on the need for a Framework for Action.A number of sectoral and cross-sectoral priorities have been identified and included in the framework. Seven of these areas that have consistently been recognised as urgent: food security and sustainable agriculture, energy, water, sustainable cities, decent work and social inclusion, oceans, and natural disaster risk reduction and resilience. Important proposals have been made on other cross cutting issues, including: education, gender equality and sustainable consumption and production. Monitoring and measuring progress are vital ingredients of successful international action post-Rio+20. One important outcome of Rio+20 could be agreement to define a set of sustainable development goals (SDGs) that would be aspirational and universal in applicability. They would complement the Millennium Development Goals and build on their success. Continuing to focus on the social pillar, these goals would also encompass the other two pillars of sustainable development. We do not yet know whether Member States will define the goals, or a subset, but more likely the actual targets and indicators would be defined in a follow-up process coordinated with the post-2015 development agenda.Means of implementation Developing countries are concerned that, whatever elements are contained in an agreed framework, adequate provisions must be made to mobilise the means of implementing commitments - including in technology, finance and capacity building. ConclusionIn conclusion, Rio+20 is a once in a generation opportunity for Heads of State and Government to renew their commitment for sustainable development and to agree on decisive actions to address the huge common challenges facing humanity. It must not be missed. Governments must show leadership, but so must leaders and all actors in the business sector and civil society. It is only through broad participation at the Conference, and especially beyond, that we can hope to make sustainable development a reality. nSUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT - RIO+20 037