In their messages on World Environment Day, Senior UN officials have called for actions by world leaders to “fulfill the promise of the Earth Summit”, at the Rio + 20 Conference on Sustainable Development next year.
UN Secretary-General, Ban Ki-moon welcomed many of the changes since the 1992 Earth Summit, 20 years ago, such as the hundreds of millions that have risen from poverty. “Yet, evidence is also accumulating of profound and potentially irreversible changes in the ability of the planet to sustain our progress, “says the Secretary-General.
The theme of World Environment Day this year is “Forests: Nature at Your Service”, “This”, the Secretary-General points out, “emphasizes the multi-trillion dollar value of forests and other ecosystems to society – especially the poor.”
In his message Mr Ban adds: “Despite growing global awareness of the dangers of environmental decline – including climate change, biodiversity loss and desertification – progress since the Earth Summit has been too slow. We will not build a just and equitable world unless we give equal weight to all three pillars of sustainable development – social, economic and environmental.”
“No single day can transform development onto a sustainable path. But on the road to Rio +20, this year’s World Environment Day can send a message that those with influence in government and the private sector can – and must – take the necessary steps that will fulfill the promise of the Earth Summit. The global public is watching, and expects nothing less.”
The themes of Rio + 20, the follow up to the Earth Summit are the Green Economy within the context of sustainable development and poverty eradication and an institutional framework for sustainable development.
Achim Steiner, the UNEP Executive Director welcomed in his message, the fact that this year marks the first time ever that India which is “increasingly at the forefront of the Green Economy”, will host World Environment Day:
“WED 2011 comes in advance of the UN Conference on Sustainable Development 2012 or Rio+20, “ Mr. Steiner says: “UNEP’s recent report—A Transition to a Green Economy: Pathways to Sustainable Development and Poverty Eradication underlines that such a transition not only possible but relevant to developing nations as it is to developed ones.”
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