May 3, 2017, 10:52 AM
More than 100 heads of state and government are currently meeting in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, for the much anticipated United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development (Rio+20).
The conference seeks to shape new policies to promote global prosperity, reduce poverty and advance social equity and environmental protection.
While we are very much optimistic about the outcome of the conference, we must remind the global leaders and civil society organizations gathering in Brazil of the need for action now.
There have been many similar international conferences, most of which has not much benefitted the world’s poor and vulnerable.
We therefore hope that after reported intensive and protracted informal negotiations on how to accelerate the implementation of sustainable development, the agreements reached by 191 countries on the conference’s outcome document will be adopted by heads of state at the conclusion of Rio+20 on Friday.
The readers would recall that since the Earth Summit twenty years ago, there has been some progress, but it has been too slow, and much more needs to be done.
The conference must not lose sight of the responsibility of companies, especially multinational corporations, in our unsustainable global economy.
They must account for their negative social and environmental impacts, and human rights violations.
Just as stated by the UN chief, there is an absolute need to take steps to go beyond Gross Domestic Product to assess the well-being of a country; developing a strategy for sustainable development financing; and, adopting a framework for tackling sustainable consumption and production.
We hope that the delegates at the conference will not lose sight of improving gender equity; recognizing the importance of voluntary commitments on sustainable development; and stressing the need to engage civil society and incorporate science into policy.
We hope commitments on sustainable development activities by civil society groups, businesses, governments and universities will be further strengthened after the conference. Thus the struggle must be continued.