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 ‘Old habits die hard,’ UN deputy chief tells Environment Assembly, urging action towards sustainability

‘Old habits die hard,’ UN deputy chief tells Environment Assembly, urging action towards sustainability

India Blooms News Service | 27 May 2016, 11:04 am
New York, May 27 (Just Earth News): United Nations Deputy Secretary-General Jan Eliasson stressed on Thursday the need for Member States to redouble efforts at prevention – whether to combat climate change, build resilience or address potential conflict flashpoints before they reach a tipping point.

“The decisions you will take are critical for the well-being of this and future generations,” he said at the opening of the high-level segment of the United Nations Environment Assembly (UNEA-2).

He said that the cost of crossing critical-level environmental thresholds would far exceed the amount spent to prevent such disasters.

He also said that environmental concerns must be addressed in a much more integrated and horizontal way as they are inextricably connected to economic considerations, to social development, to human rights, to the rule of law and matters of peace and security.

Moving away from fossil fuels will be difficult even though promising alternatives exist. People still think that they must choose between economic growth and environmental protection. “Old habits die hard and old powerful interests do not cede ground willingly,” he said.

“I have mediated in many conflicts. You now have an opportunity to mediate peace with nature, an historic negotiation,” he said.

Held in Nairobi at the headquarters of the UN Environment Programme (UNEP), the UNEA is the world’s most powerful decision-making body on the environment. This year, leaders will seek to pass a raft of resolutions, including those on food waste, the fading health of oceans, the world’s natural capital, and sustainable consumption and production.

“We are proud to have seen thousands of actions, people and initiatives congregate here over the years,” said UNEP Executive Director Achim Steiner. “At Rio+20, Heads of State called for a new era in environmental governance, for a new environment assembly. You are that dream come true.”

More than one thousand delegates from across the world – including business and civil society representatives – are attending attend UNEA-2.

“Over the last two decades, we have seen, across the world, a movement emerge saying that the environment can no longer be a tertiary concern, that building a sustainable future cannot be an afterthought,” said Kenya’s President Uhuru Kenyatta.

Many of the speakers at the opening promised to back the fight against the illegal trade in wildlife and welcomed Kenya’s decision to earlier this month burn over 100 tonnes of poached ivory – the largest burn in history.

Negotiations on draft resolutions will continue until late Friday evening. The resolutions will set the path for much of UNEP’s work for the next few years and provide momentum to early actions on achieving the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and implementing the Paris Agreement on climate change.

Photo: UNEP

Source: www.justearthnews.com
 

‘Old habits die hard,’ UN deputy chief tells Environment Assembly, urging action towards sustainability

India Blooms News Service
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