UAE to play major role at Rio+20

UAE to play major role at Rio+20

The UAE will have a strong presence at the United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development (Rio+20), said Assistant to the Minister of Foreign Affairs and Special Envoy for Energy and Climate Change, Dr. Sultan Al Jaber on Thursday at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

By Staff Reporter

Published: Fri 8 Jun 2012, 9:09 AM

Last updated: Tue 7 Apr 2015, 12:08 PM

He discussed the nation’s participation ahead of the international conference, taking place in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, from June 20 to 22, to which the UAE will send a delegation of high-ranking officials.

Rio+20 will focus on the two themes of building a green economy to promote sustainable development and lift people out of poverty, and improving international coordination on sustainable development initiatives. Addressing the issue of sustainability, Dr Al Jaber said: “The UAE is advancing this vision through innovative ideas and advanced technologies to build sustainable cities, promote the use of renewable energy and become more responsible stewards of the environment.”

Along with its active involvement in the creation of ‘sustainable development goals,’ which Rio+20 hopes to put forth in support of the United Nation’s (UN) Millennium Development Goals, the UAE delegation will co-host an official UN event entitled “Black gold and the green economy: A hydrocarbon exporters’ perspectives on sustainability”, he added. As a 2012 recipient of the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) ‘Champions of the Earth” award for his leadership of Masdar, Abu Dhabi’s renewable energy project, Dr. Al Jaber will deliver a keynote address at UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon’s “Sustainable Energy for All” reception, which is also co-sponsored by the UAE.

In the buildup to Rio+20, UNEP, on Thursday, released the Global Environment Outlook (GEO-5), a global assessment of the environment conducted over three years by more than 600 experts across the world. The report found that in spite of the existence of over 500 internationally agreed upon goals and objectives, the world is still rapidly approaching a number of ‘critical thresholds’ beyond which the planet will face sudden and irreversible damage.

“If the current trends continue, if current patterns of production and consumption of natural resources prevail and cannot be reversed and ‘decoupled’, then governments will preside over unprecedented levels of damage and degradation,” said UN Under-Secretary General and UNEP Executive Director Achim Steiner.

GEO-5 states, however, said that the trend may still be reversed by changing and strengthening existing sustainability policies. The report highlights the success of international treaties and agreements that set up measurable targets, calling for wider use of the approach. It also recommends that greater attention be given to policies that address the ‘drivers’ of environmental change, such as population growth, unsustainable consumption patterns and fossil fuel-based energy consumption.

“The moment has come to put away the paralysis of indecision, acknowledge the facts and face up to the common humanity that unites all people,” said Steiner. “Rio+20 is a moment to turn sustainable development from aspiration and patchy implementation into a genuine path of progress and prosperity for this and the generations to come.”

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