|Climate Story: Rio+20 will be no honeymoon|
|Monday, 18 June 2012 12:04|
THE controversial concept of a green economy within the context of sustainable development will be at the centre of negotiations at the United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development or Rio+20, which starts in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, on Wednesday .
Among many things, developing nations will be gingerly interested in the debates surrounding the green economy and sustainable development, whether, as a starting point, a universally accepted definition of the green economy concept will be crafted and agreed.
During the meetings, it emerged that while Africa bought into the concept of a green economy, it required more definitions, which must also incorporate sustainable land management.
For Arab countries, the green economy was workable only if used as a tool in the broader sustainable development spectrum, and not replacing it.
Most importantly, however, is the unenviable dilemma that the developing world finds itself in: the need for rapid industrialisation versus that of environmental protection.
That, of course, as we all appreciate is a monumental challenge, especially for Africa eager to play catch-up with the rest of the developed world.
The industrial revolution in Europe and America was driven by an explosive use of carbon-emitting fossil fuels. These are now the key architects behind unsustainable global temperature increases otherwise known as climate change, a destructive force of nature with devastating socio-economic and environmental impacts.
However, many countries in the developing world like Zimbabwe, South Africa and India are banking on the massive exploitation of dangerous fuels such as coal, even nuclear as a major supply source for their future energy needs.
Global emissions have increased by a dreadful 49 percent since 1990 and by 6 percent in 2010, setting the world for a warming of over 5 degrees Celsius by 2100.
Panel on Climate Change.
Thus, in many respects, any expected outcome from the Rio+20 must be able to measure up with the volume of expectations from the developing world, mainly, that of the functionality of the green economy inside the context of sustainable development.
The world is still divided on a lot of issues, sometimes on unnecessary bourgeois geopolitics, and yet the earth is burning.
Yet, the UNCSD presents the world with an opportunity to engage, set an agenda and develop necessary and fundamental strategies for driving sustainable development, saving the world and the environment from its present descent into despondency.
In earlier regional preparatory meetings, Europe and America discussed and agreed to focus on the transformation of the UN Environment Programme into a specialised agency as well as the development of stronger regional and national sustainable development programmes.
These pillars foster responsible development in the spheres of human and social advancement, preservation of the environment as well as economic profitability.
Transforming world economies into green economies through sustainable development is regarded paramount and indispensable in tackling climate change and global warming.
Brief background on UNCSD
Several other side events discussing varying sustainable development and green economy topics have also been running ahead of the main conference which runs for three days until Friday.
The UNCED marked the first inclusive global response to climate change, resulting in the signing of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, and various globally binding agreements for curbing emissions growth and improve environmental governance.
The Earth Summit traces its roots from the 1972 Stockholm Conference, which gave birth to the Unep and mandated, as the central point for co-ordinating international environmental cooperation and making treaties for protecting the environment.
The World Commission on Environment and Development or the Brundtland Commission subsequently issued its report in 1987, “Our Common Future”, which stressed the need for development strategies in all countries that recognised the limits of the ecosystem’s ability to regenerate itself and absorb waste products.
Pursuant to this, the UNCED was signed in 1992 with over 100 heads of state present.
This resulted in the Johannesburg Plan of Implementation, which sought to encourage action in implementing agreed positions.