Remarks by President Jacob Zuma to the High Level Roundtables of Rio+20 the United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development, Rio De Janeiro, Brazil
21 Jun 2012
Ladies and gentlemen,
I am privileged to address you this afternoon on this very important topic that seeks to address the implementation of the Rio plus 20 outcomes.
This year marks exactly a decade since the World Summit on Sustainable Development agreed on the Johannesburg Plan of Implementation (JPOI).
Johannesburg contained a landmark set of action-oriented and timebound decisions aimed at enhancing the implementation of Agenda 21 agreed to here in Rio de Janeiro twenty years ago.
The international community must look at how and to what extent this principle has been implemented in the last twenty years.
We must check if those countries with greater capacity have carried a fair share of the burden in building a sustainable future.
Have the financial, technical and capacity constraints of developing countries been enhanced to such an extent that they can achieve poverty eradication and sustainable development?
I must reiterate that for us to effectively implement decisions taken here in Rio, it is crucial to have the enabling financial systems.
These would be aimed at ensuring sustained finance for sustainable development and poverty reduction, environmental sustainability and social cohesion.
New and additional financial resources and the full implementation of Overseas Development Aid commitments will go a long way to ensure that developing countries implement sustainable development actions arising from Rio+20.
By the same token we recognize the need for countries to explore more innovative finance mechanisms to upscale implementation in this regard.
South Africa has shown its commitment to this imperative through the establishment of a national Green Fund to finance green economy projects linked to the green economy and climate change response strategies.
We were able to launch many green economy projects during the landmark UN climate change conference COP 17/CMP 7 held in Durban last December.
We are assisted in this regard by the fact that our country benefits significantly from its rich biodiversity, which serves as an attraction for tourism and other related industries.
The private sector also has an important role in the implementation of sustainable development decisions.
Since the Rio Summit in 1992, we have seen a significant growth and evolution in the global sustainable development and environment architecture.
A lot has been achieved and yet so much more still needs to be done.
As we make decisions on the two themes of this conference, the green economy and poverty eradication and the institutional framework for sustainable development, we must develop a firm implementation plan.
We should be mindful of the difficulties facing us as world leaders, most of which extend beyond our national borders.
Our key objective is to ensure that sustainable development imperatives remain central in our planning and execution at local, national and global levels.
The Rio Principles from 1992 are as useful today as they were then.
While there have been many changes in the last twenty years, we still live in a world characterised by great inequalities.
These realities led us to adopt key principles such as that of "common but differentiated responsibilities."
The principle recognises the overriding importance of poverty eradication in order to achieve a better life for all. It also recognises the need to find an equitable solution.
The establishment of public private partnerships will assist the development of small and medium enterprises to boost green economy policies, create decent jobs and reduce youth unemployment and poverty levels.
We must take this opportunity to reaffirm – in concrete terms – our commitment to implement agreements reached in the last twenty years.
I know the political will is there, as evidenced by the responses at COP17 last year.
We witnessed the international community coming together, overcoming their differences and take a great leap forward in the effort to create a sustainable future.
Let us join hands to ensure that the planet we live in today continues to be a home for future generations.
I thank you.
Issued by: The Presidency
21 Jun 2012
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