EU will seek roadmap for green economy
By Anne Eckstein | Tuesday 11 October 2011
The Rio+20 global conference on sustainable development, to be held in Rio de Janeiro (4 to 6 June 2012), should adopt a roadmap for the green economy, proposing precise objectives and actions at an international level. This implies strengthened international environmental governance, noted the 27 environment ministers in conclusions adopted on 10 October. These conclusions give an idea of the position - which remains to be fine-tuned and confirmed - to be defended by the Eurpean Union in Rio in June 2012.
The conference will celebrate the 20th anniversary of the first Earth Summit and will focus primarily on the green economy in the context of sustainable development, the eradication of poverty and environmental governance. In concrete terms, it will aim to redirect global environmental policy to ensure the transition to a green economy, considered as a driver of sustainable and long-term economic growth, a source of jobs and a contribution to the eradication of poverty. This objective is perfectly in keeping with those of the European Union’s 2020 strategy. The 27 therefore had no problem agreeing on this point. During the debate, certain delegations nevertheless stressed that measures and decisions taken in the context of the green economy will have to take into account the requests of the poor countries for an effective contribution to the eradication of poverty.
environmental governanceThis strategy will only be possible with an ambitious reform of global environmental governance. For years, the European Union has been calling for the creation of a specific United Nations body tasked with streamlining UN operations in the environmental sphere. The Council comes back to this idea but leaves open the different options, among which the idea of establishing a specialised UN agency for the environment based on the UN Environment Programme (UNEP), but with a revised and strengthened mandate. Certain delegations find that it is too early to make a more precise commitment on this subject.
It is impossible to avoid the fact that the organisation of policies and actions for sustainable development will come at a cost. Predictably, the 27 recommend shared public-private financing. As with governance, however, the Council’s approach remains fairly general, mentioning the need to use existing resources more effectively, the identification and mobilisation of innovative sources of finance, the use of environmental taxes and the elimination of environmentally harmful subsidies.