UNGA president urges world to act on environmental challenges

08:33, June 03, 2011      

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UN General Assembly (UNGA) President Joseph Deiss said on Thursday that the world "can no longer afford to wait to act" in the face of environmental challenges today, which have become exacerbated by increases in the global population, urbanization and industrialization.

"Environmental degradation and climate change cannot be reversed overnight," Deiss said here at an informal thematic debate of the General Assembly on "Green Economy -- a pathway to sustainable development."

He warned that the "longer we wait, the harder and more costly" it will be to tackle environmental challenges.

Recent spike in oil prices and the re-evaluation of risks of nuclear power following the earthquake and tsunami in Japan show the vulnerability of energy supplies and the urgent need to develop clean energies and improve energy efficiency, he said.

"Our development must be equitable and sustainable," he said. " It must meet the needs of every generation today without jeopardizing that opportunity for the generations to come. The fundamental question is whether all of us on this planet will be capable of acting wisely and adopting behavior that will avert a catastrophe."

Current activities must be made greener, Deiss said, adding that it is critical to develop clean technologies, green goods and services.

"To promote the green economy, firm commitment and resolute action by the international community are needed at all levels of government -- local, national, regional and global," he stressed.

Thursday's thematic debate will underscore the linkages between green economy, economic development, poverty eradication and environmental protection, and is a run-up for preparations to the Fourth United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development, or " Rio+20," which is to be held in Brazil in June 2012.

Source: Xinhua
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