Interview: Reinvention of global economic paradigm key to 21st century success, says UN expert

08:50, February 12, 2011      

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The future world is not about military power but about companies and countries that are able to succeed with fewer resources, a UN expert has told Xinhua in a recent interview.

"The key to success in the later part of the 21st century will be for those who are able to manage with less," said Janos Pasztor, who is the director of the UN secretary-general's Climate Change Support team.

"The current economic framework needs to be fixed," Pasztor noted.


UN Secretary-general Ban Ki-moon called for "revolutionary action" to achieve sustainable development, warning that "the past century's heedless consumption of resources is a global suicide pact with time running out to ensure an economic model for survival," when he addressed the World Economic Forum held from Jan. 26 to 30 in Davos, Switzerland.

The European Union (EU) last month called on member states to double investment in renewable energy to reach the target of having 20 percent of the region's energy come from renewable sources by 2020. Currently only three states -- Germany, Hungary and Sweden -- have met their 2010 interim goals for renewable energy for both electricity and transport, according to the regional bloc.

In his 2011 State of the Union address, U.S. President Barack Obama laid out an agenda for investment, innovation, jobs and American competitiveness, planning an ambitious proposal to transform the nation's energy infrastructure away from the technologies used for more than 100 years -- inefficient and polluting coal-fired power plants -- toward new, clean energy sources.

The Republic of Korea recently initiated a Green Growth Plan, worth 852 million U.S. dollars, building a network of bicycle paths stretching over 3,100 kilometers throughout the country, giving the technologically thriving area a "competitive advantage, " Pasztor noted.

But "it's not enough," Pasztor said.

The only way climate change can be addressed is by bringing together the pillars of sustainable development -- economic growth, environmental issues and social concerns -- in one common framework, according to Pasztor.

"Not only should emissions be reduced by 50 percent, it should also be done in an equitable fashion, and allowing prosperity at the same time," he said.

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