A FEW years ago, the idea of a Green Economy with its links to sustainable development and poverty eradication, was a novel concept confined to development practitioners and academics. This year, it is among the top two issues that will be deliberated by policymakers at the UN Conference on Sustainable Development (Rio+20).
The 2012 WED theme, ‘Green Economy: Does It Include You?’ reflects widespread recognition of the Green Economy as the new pathway to a low-carbon, resource-efficient, and sustainable twenty-first century.
More importantly, as countries across the globe emerge from deep economic recession, it emphasizes the need for a Green Economy that is not just inclusive but also addresses social equity and dramatically improved environmental management as integral outcomes of economic growth.
Coincidentally, twenty years ago, in 1992, this year’s global host country Brazil — the fifth most populous nation in the world — hosted WED on the eve of the first ‘Earth Summit’. World leaders, govt officials and international organizations met then to refocus, recalibrate and deliver a route towards sustainable development.
Today, Brazil is at the forefront of building an economy that includes recycling and renewable energy and the generation of green jobs. Its recycling industry generates returns of US$2 billion a year while cutting greenhouse gas emissions by 10 million tonnes.
The Latin American country is also the world leader in sustainable ethanol production for fueling vehicles and is expanding into other renewable areas such as wind power and solar heating systems. In addition, Brazil’s recent construction of 500,000 new homes with solar heating systems generated 30,000 new jobs.
WED 2012 comes just a few weeks ahead of Rio+20 — you and your organizations and associations must be part of these global celebrations.
Why? because your influence and connectivity to your communities could play a decisive role in rallying leaders to the kind of transformative outcome we need to make Rio+20 an historic conference.
Together, let us catalyze and capitalize on this important opportunity to transform the Green Economy — in the context of sustainable development and poverty eradication — from theory and patchy implementation to full realization.