Connie Hedegaard strives for achieving better sustainability in the decades to come
Global Sustainability was the topic of two days of intense discussions in New York (18-19 September), among 20 prominent political and business leaders who are members of the UN Secretary-General's High-Level Panel. Commissioner Connie Hedegaard was there, arguing tirelessly for pricing policies that execute the polluter pays principle, and for setting new goals for achieving better sustainability in the decades to come.
Rather than describing the concept of sustainability, the Panel focused on how to make it happen. In a globalised interconnected world, it stressed the need for all nations to find common responses to global challenges, especially how to handle resource scarcity with ever growing populations.
Ways to ensure access to energy, water and food, were central in the Panel's deliberations, and so was sustainable consumption and production. The Panel also tried to tackle poverty eradication as well as over consumption.
With green growth and green economy being in the Rio +20 agenda, the Panel was invited to bring innovative ideas to the table prior to Rio on how we can have growth and sustainability at the same time. It concluded that this needs to be coupled with new institutional mechanisms for transparency and accountability. "Global sustainability is about responsible action by all actors; governments, private sector and other parts of civil society", stressed Commissioner Hedegaard.
The Sustainability Panel was chaired by President Halonen of Finland and President Zuma of South Africa.
The report will be ready in January 2012, 25 years after the Brundtland Commission explained the world about sustainable development.