Global ecosystems threatened by greenhouse gas concentrations, deforestation rates current unsustainable consumption and production patterns -UN

Sha Zukang

Whether measured by greenhouse gas concentrations, deforestation rates or declining fish stocks, current unsustainable consumption and production patterns threatened to exceed the capacity of global ecosystems, a top United Nations official told the Commission on Sustainable Development this week, as it opened its nineteenth session. Under Secretary-General for Economic and Social Affairs Sha Zukang said the world community must accelerate efforts to pursue environmentally sound economic growth and “meet our commitments to future generations”.

Sha Zukang: It is important that this session delivers concrete, actionable decisions on all five themes. First, transport is vitally important to development. We must: – ensure access to affordable transport, especially for the rural poor; – expand public and non-motorized transport in cities;… Second, sound management of chemicals and waste is essential to safeguarding human health and the environment; technical, informational and institutional capacities need to be strengthened where they are weak. Third, creating an enabling environment for sustainable mining is of utmost importance. Mining should contribute to economic development, respect concerns of local and indigenous populations, protect the environment, and provide a source of public revenue to be used effectively for poverty eradication and sustainable development. And fourth, we need to change our consumption and production patterns so that our economies proceed on sustainable paths, and so that we are able to address key global challenges like climate change, water and other resource scarcities, and environmental degradation.

NAR: Under Secretary- General Sha said areas have been identified where more progress is needed.

Sha Zukang: We know what the challenges and obstacles are. Now we need to find solutions by combining global support, normative guidance, institutional strengthening, and national actions. We need policy options and practical measures to address the issues identified during last year’s review. A positive outcome at this session would demonstrate Member States’ willingness to work together on solutions. Your collaboration is needed to bridge critical implementation gaps and address important emerging challenges. All eyes are on us to launch an ambitious framework this year to support countries and other actors move towards sustainable consumption and production. Such an initiative would send the right message and generate positive momentum towards a successful conference in Rio next June.

NAR: According to Under secretary-General Sha Zukang, a 10-year Framework of Programs on Sustainable Consumption and Production would promote development that is within the carrying capacity of ecosystems and contribute to progress on the 3 pillars of sustainable development.

Sha Zukang: It would advance: the social pillar by encouraging sustainable production of goods and services that respond to basic needs and bring a better quality of life for the poor; the environmental pillar by minimizing the use of toxic materials and the emission of waste and pollutants; and the economic pillar by promoting economic development through a more efficient use of natural resources. Such a framework is key to ensuring a wealthier and more sustainable world for present and future generations.
Nine years have elapsed since governments at the Johannesburg Summit called for the development of a 10-year framework. We must respond to calls for an ambitious, feasible and actionable 10YFP on SCP.

NAR: 10YFP on SCP is 10-year Framework of Programs on Sustainable Consumption and Production.
The 10-year framework must support member States and all stakeholders in scaling up successful initiatives, addressing new and emerging challenges, sharing knowledge widely, accessing technical expertise, forging partnerships and mobilizing financial resources.  Running through 13 May, the Commission’s nineteenth session aims to discuss and ultimately adopt a series of policy recommendations on global action to promote sustainable consumption and production patterns, improve the safety of chemical usage, and enhance waste management, transport and mining practices.  Mr. Zukang, who is also Secretary-General of the 2012 United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development, which will be held next June in Rio de Janiero, Brazil, said agreement on an ambitious and actionable 10-Year Framework of Programmes for sustainable consumption and production would, in particular, send the right message and generate positive momentum toward next year’s Conference.

This is Donn Bobb reporting.

Duration: 5’31″

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