Gray Panthers Statement on Rio+20 2012
Green Economy, Sustainable Development and Poverty Eradication
June 4-6, 2012, nations will come together in Rio de Janeiro for the Earth Summit to discuss sustainable development and search for agreeable outcomes. In order to achieve a win-win agreement, we must understand the problems and the needs and work together to achieve mutually acceptable goals.
Problems and needs
The following regions have identified the described problems in achieving a green economy and sustainable development:
Asia & Pacific Region: Depletion of fresh water resources; industrial pollution; poor waste management; rising sea level; marine and ocean resources management problem; and inefficient institutions and governance.
Latin America & Caribbean Region: Lack of science / technology knowledge and financial resources; high poverty rates without basic services and adequate medical care; small island states need knowledge of disaster prevention and preparedness through education and media communication. Call for the creation of more efficient parameters for assessing a country's wealth and appeal for a global institutional mechanism to foster sustainable development.
African Countries: Need to meet the growing demand for water, food and health and to create employment to reduce poverty. Major employment opportunities are in natural resource-based sectors such as agriculture, the mineral sector, forestry, fisheries and tourism. However, African countries face threats of environmental degradation, including deforestation, soil erosion, desertification, loss of biodiversity, depletion of fish stocks and effects of climate change; Lack of information, expertise and technology.
Arab Region: The food crisis, water scarcity, large population growth and the absence of waste management are the main problems. Need to improve education and promote vocational training. Call for national country analyses on country-specific strategies for greening economies.
The UNECE Region: focuses on helping countries of Eastern Europe, Caucasus and Central Asia and of South-Eastern Europe to improve their environmental standards. Propose ?Green Bridge? Partnership Program to enhance cooperation among Asia, Europe, and the Pacific and to encourage transfer of clean technology, joint investments, exchange of experiences, and the preservation of common ecosystems.
Gray Panthers recommendation for sustainable solution:
Gray Panthers believes there is no ?one-size-fits-all? approach for greening the economy and poverty eradication. Only through collective action and partnership from governments, private sector, local authorities, and civil society can countries achieve sustainable outcomes with the help of international experts and UN agencies. Countries can improve efficiency and delivery of water systems, desalinization processes and waste management system. They can promote near carbon free activities, renewable energy, sustainable transportation and agriculture.
Gray Panthers offers the following recommendations:
1. Agree on an international green economy roadmap with CO2 emission commitments and financial support commitments.
2. Make nation country-specific strategies be inclusive, partnering with the private sector, civil society, academia and local authorities. Partner with regional economic communities as well as international institution and UN agencies. The strategies must be people-centered and be included in national laws.
3. Set up targets and indicators for a green economy for environmental and resource assessment, environmental qualities of life, job creation and market signal.
4. Create an expert council and establish periodical environmental performance review mechanism to monitor and evaluate at all stages of programming.
5. Share the best practice experiences. Example are Kawaa village solar energy electricity service; India?s rainwater harvesting technique; Australia?s Astana Water Action (AWA) that centralized networks for urban waste water collection and treatment as well as drinking water supply. Another example is Singapore's water and sanitation utility for rain water catchment, reclaimed water, and desalination systems.
6. Use shared environmental information system (SEIS) to register all the above activities. SEIS serves as a constant reminder of commitment and progress of achievement. SEIS improves transparency, avoid overlapping activities and serves as networking and educational tool for carbon footprint, sustainable consumption and production, and sustainable life style.
We are one world. We are black, white, yellow, brown, indigenous, men and women, young and old, rich and poor. We are citizens of developed countries, developing countries, in public or private sectors, businessmen or consumers, NGOs or expert institutions. We all have human rights. Gray Panthers believes human rights for all are the basis for sustainable development and poverty eradication. We call upon member states to fully utilize the existing accomplishments, best practices, and recommendations to negotiate in good faith to achieve a win-win agreement for all.