Posted 09 September 2011, by Mark Dunphy, Irish Weather Online, irishweatheronline.com
The United Nations (UN) on Thursday called on countries around the world to ensure sustainable development for all, saying it is the agenda for the 21st century.
UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, who finished a four-nation visit to the South Pacific, said countries need to “connect the dots” between issues such as climate change, food insecurity and water scarcity, emphasizing that sustainable development agenda “is the agenda for the 21st century.”
Ban spoke at the University of Sydney in Australia, the last stop on a week-long trip, after visiting the Solomon Islands, Kiribati and New Zealand.
“We must keep working to fight poverty, create decent jobs, and provide a dignified life while preserving the planet that sustains us,” Ban stated. “Above all, that means connecting the dots between challenges such as climate change and water scarcity, energy shortages, global health issues, food insecurity and the empowerment of the world’s women.”
Ban noted that all of these issues are linked, underlining the importance of finding those linkages. Climate change, he noted, is one of the greatest threats to the security, well-being and livelihoods of the peoples of the region.
“Extreme weather events such as increased floods, rains and droughts continue to grow more frequent and intense as climate change accelerates,” he said. “They not only devastate lives, but wipe out infrastructure, institutions, and budgets.”
The Secretary-General also stated that sustainable development such as measures that reduce carbon emissions are vital on their own, noting that they can also inspire progress in global negotiations, creating a virtuous cycle.
“This is a global race to save the planet. But it is also a race to see which countries and economies will forge the path to creating green sustainable jobs,” he said.
At a tree-planting event at the National Arboretum in Canberra, Australia, Ban highlighted the UN Environment Program campaign that aims to have at least one billion trees planted worldwide each year.