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FOREWORDSHA ZUKANG, UNDER-SECRETARY-GENERAL FOR ECONOMIC AND SOCIAL AFFAIRS, THE UNITED NATIONS (UN) 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"014 FOReWORD

he UN Conference on Environment andDevelopment, held in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, in 1992, was transformational for sustainable development. Government leaders recognised the need to break away from resource-intensive growth models, transform consumption and production patterns, and work collectively toward the well-being of people and the planet. At that time, the spirit of the Rio Conference was captured by the expression "Harmony with Nature", brought to the fore in the first principle of the Rio Declaration: "Human beings are at the centre of concerns for sustainable development. They are entitled to a healthy and productive life in harmony with nature". 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.uld, in principle, bear the cost of pollution, with due regard to the public interest and without distorting international trade and investment. Twenty years later, pressure on scarce natural resources and ecosystems has increased, population has grown, and the world is still struggling with poverty and a widening gap between rich and poor. Growing social inequities cannot be left unaddressed; they tear apart the fabric of society, risk economic and social stability, and undermine prospects for sustainable development. Population growth, though slowing appreciably, continues to exert pressure on natural resources and the environment. An even more critical stressor is resource-intensive consumption in rich countries and among well-to-do consumers worldwide. Taken together, these are challenges of such a magnitude that international cooperation and action is now urgent. If we do not change course in the near future, we jeopardise the social and economic progress of recent decades. At this critical juncture, the Rio+20 Conference is needed more than ever. It provides the opportunity to mobilise political will in the face of a dual challenge: making sure that all human beings attain high levels of human development, and at the same time, ensuring that our demands on the earth's resources and ecosystems do not exceed its carrying capacity. Indeed, 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 Pictured above: Sha Zhukang Pictured below: Rio de Janeiroon 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: 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: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. ?T FOReWORD 015