Our Perspective

      • Road to Rio: Green is not enough | Olav Kjørven

        27 Mar 2012


        Clean water is increasingly scarce. About a third of the world’s fisheries have collapsed and desertification now threatens the livelihoods of a third of the world’s people. Parts of our planet are in peril. For a comprehensive solution, green is not enough. To protect our home, we must empower people. The Arab Spring and the Occupy movement are clear calls for equality. We must heed them.  Only by working to ensure the next generation has jobs, basic services and opportunity, as well as a protected environment, can we ensure a truly sustainable future. Rio+20 is an opportunity to address these issues holistically. By cutting its fossil fuel subsidies Nigeria took a positive step for the environment and the economy, but people still rioted in the streets. Social protection was a missing link. The lesson was clear: only a robust and holistic approach that intertwines the three strands of development - environmental, economic and social - will bring about sustainable development. So how do we do it? For a start, we need more engagement to expand access to energy for poor communities, support clean and renewable energy development and improve energy efficiency. This will bring many benefits: it helps to keep childrenRead More

      • Road to Rio: Greening Human Development | Olav Kjørven

        22 Mar 2012

        In Istanbul this morning I had the pleasure of moderating a panel at our Global Human Development Forum on Sustainability and Equity, co-hosted with the Government of Turkey. This conversation happened in the right place at the right time. Istanbul is the place where East meets West – Europe meets Asia - across the Bosphorus Strait. Istanbul as a city illustrates how two unique and distinct cultures can come together, live together and thrive, creating a new, vibrant community. That is what needs to happen now with the three strands of sustainable development. As the UN SG said in his message to the Istanbul conference this morning, leaders will find themselves at a crossroads in Rio. It is an appropriate metaphor. Many of us in the sustainable development business come from the environmental movement. We have deep passion and belief in the obligation of today’s generation to preserve species, protect ecosystems and tackle climate change. We will never apologize for that. But we know that green is not enough. Sustainable development requires something more. In 2011 and so far in 2012, we have heard clear warnings from Nature that humanity is arrogantly pushing her boundaries, just as we have heard societiesRead More

      • Road to Rio: Building a sustainable future we all want | Rebeca Grynspan

        22 Mar 2012

        Sustainability needs to bring to the environmental dimension the economic and social objectives for green, inclusive and resilient growth. Development must be people-centered, promoting rights, opportunities, choices, and dignity. Photo: UNDP

        We have advanced in our understanding that development is not only about economic growth. Sustainability needs to bring to the environmental dimension the economic and social objectives for green, inclusive and resilient growth. Development must be people-centered, promoting rights, opportunities, choices, and dignity.  We need to empower women, youth and communities. Both the Report of the Global Sustainability Panel and the 2011 Human Development Report , and the United Nations Secretary-General  make a strong case for better integrating the economic, social, and environmental dimensions for sustainable development. 20 years ago in Rio these same three pillars where clearly stated as well. So the question is: What should be the priorities in Rio+20 to advance progress in sustainable development?  1 The dialogue needs to be inclusive - the environmental community, the social community, the private sector and other partners should be involved actively. 2 The integration of the environmental, social and economic pillars while engaging diverse actors - from energy companies to community groups - should be visibly included in the action plan. The Secretary General's initiative on Sustainable Energy for All is a good and important example for this. 3 To tackle complex and interrelated global challenges, countries need fair, effectiveRead More

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