RIO + 20, the United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development, is starting in a few days, the 20th of June.
In advance of this conference, Ireland has published Our Sustainable Future, a Framework for Sustainable Development for Ireland. This report details Ireland’s commitments regarding Sustainable Development and particularly the promotion of the green economy.
The key challenges for sustainable development are explained, and the report details their proposed implementation methods.
The main challenges for Sustainable Development are the following:
- Sustainability of public finances and economic resilience
- Sustainable consumption and production
- Conservation and management of natural resources
- Climate change and clean energy
- Sustainable agriculture
- Sustainable transport
- Social inclusion, sustainable communities and spatial planning
- Public health
- Education, communication and behavioural change
- Innovation, research and development
- Skills and training
- Global poverty and sustainable development
At the same time, UNEP (UN Environment Program) explains that it is very important to make significant progress during RIO + 20. While many studies, reports, directives and regulations have been adopted and promoted over the years, the implementation of such has been sorely lacking. According to the Irish Times, “[UNEP’s] fifth Global Environmental Outlook starkly spells out the uncomfortable truth that the world ‘remains on an unsustainable track despite hundreds of internationally agreed goals and objectives’. Of the 500-plus such deals, UNEP assessed 90 in detail and found ‘significant progress’ had been made in just four of them, such as agreements to phase out lead in petrol and chemicals blamed for depleting the ozone layer.”
The UNEP report goes on to say that if humanity does not urgently change its ways, “several critical thresholds may be exceeded, beyond which abrupt and generally irreversible changes to the life-support functions of the planet could occur”.
We are all expecting much from RIO + 20, however, talk is cheap. Countries, including Ireland, must adhere to their sustainable development promises through effective and well-monitored implementation.
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