Statement by Deputy Minister of Water and Environmental Affairs Rejoice Mabudafhasi, during the Commission on Sustainable Development 19 ministerial dialogues on moving towards sustainable development: “Expectation from Rio + 20” conference
13 May 2011
It gives me honour to share my country’s views and expectations of the United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development” also known as Rio+20 scheduled for 2012 in Brazil.
Chair, it is almost twenty years of experience in the implementation of sustainable development agenda since the adoption of Agenda 21.
In 2002 at the World Summit on Sustainable Development (WSSD) held in South Africa, we have made strides in establishing a clear course of action for the implementation of Agenda 21 known as the Johannesburg Plan of Implementation (JPOI).
Chair, we have made progress in the implementation of some targets contained in the JPOI inclusive of Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) over the years. However, the implementation of these internationally agreed goals was not without challenges. The multiple global challenges which include food crises, global warming and the financial downturn reversed some of the gains made towards achieving sustainable development agenda.
The intertwined impacts of these challenges necessitate extraordinary measures, innovative solutions, and most importantly a shift towards a more resource efficiency trajectory.
Chair, the upcoming Rio+20, organised under the banner of the green economy in the context of sustainable development and poverty eradication, and institutional framework for sustainable development gives us an opportunity to shape the future and put the international community on a resource efficiency trajectory supported by effective and well coordinated institutional framework.
As the green economy concept gains momentum, we need to explore the tangible impacts of achieving the objective of sustainable development which is to eradicate poverty. We further need to explore its potential to drive the convergence of the three pillars (economic, social and environment) of sustainable development.
Therefore, it is through the appropriate policy mix, that a transition towards green economy will derive benefits of a growth path that is resource efficient, low-carbon and pro-employment. The positive impacts will include among others sustained natural resource base and secured livelihoods of our communities, thereby accelerating implementation of sustainable development agenda.
The exploration of renewable energy sources are among other projects that could catalyse a move towards the resource efficiency trajectory. However, for developing countries to embark on this transition, enhanced capacities building, human resource support and financial support are key. Therefore, transition to green technologies should take into consideration international financing, trade, and investment patterns that have an impact on the development prospects of developing countries.
On institutional framework, we need enhanced coordination, alignment and collaboration among the United Nations agencies in accelerating the achievement of the goals and targets contained in the Johannesburg Plan of Implementation (JPOI). Chair, we should strive to strengthen existing structure rather than creating new ones. Proliferation of structure will defeat the cause of having a functional and efficient institutional framework that will ensure cohesion and collaboration of efforts without duplication.
We should further note that, national and regional institutions continue to play an essential role towards the attainment of sustainable development agenda. For example, at home in South Africa, the government established a National Planning Commission as the embodiment of government’s efforts to improve long term planning and rally the nation around a common set of objectives and priorities to drive development. Therefore, we should find a delicate balance on both the "top down" and "bottom up" approaches to sustainable development.
Finally, chairperson, United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) structures such as the International Resource Panel should provide expertise advice in the field of green economy. This should be done through capacity building roll-out programmes mainly in developing countries.
I thank you
Source: Department of Environmental Affairs
Issued by: Department of Environmental Affairs
13 May 2011
[ Top ]