Sunday, 4 July 2010

CED co-organises 1st UN Rio+20 PLATFORM Consultations in Sri Lanka

10th June 2010

“Climate Sustainability in a Green Economy”
1st UN Rio+20 PLATFORM Stakeholder Consultation in Sri Lanka and Workshop on ”Corporate Climate Sustainability: Towards a Responsible Business Framework in a Green Economy”
(09th June 2010 at Galleface Hotel, Colombo from 7-9pm)

‘Climate Sustainability PLATFORM’ together with the Centre for Enviroinment and Deelopmenyt and Global Sustainability Solutions held its first UN Rio+20 Summit Stakeholder Consultation in Colombo on 9th June 2010 at the Galle Face Hotel. This was a follow up to the 1st Preparatory Committee Meeting of the United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development, referred to as RIO+20, held in New York last May.

The Rio+20 Summit is to be convened in 2012 with the aim of agreeing on a framework for a green economy on the 20th anniversary of the 1992 Earth Summit held in Rio de Janeiro, the event that led heightened environmental awareness across the world. Following the 1st Preparatory Committee Meeting for Rio+20, the Climate Sustainability PLATFORM has launched an initiative to engage all stakeholders in the process.

In his opening speech, Climate Sustainability PLATFORM convener, Mr. Uchita de Zoysa traced the evolution of the global sustainable development process since the 1st Earth Summit in Rio de Janeiro in 1992. Emphasizing that the Rio+20 Earth Summit needs to focus its attention to coming up with binding international agreement on poverty eradication, sustainable consumption and production, and climate sustainability. De Zoysa said, even though climate change is talked about as the greatest challenge to humankind, half the world’s population continues to live under poverty, struggling for survival at this very moment. Hence, the real task for Rio+20 is to review its original commitments to ensure well-being of all citizen of the earth and to adopt practical measures towards creating a sustainable development within the member nations.

Prof. Mohan Munasinghe, vice-chair of the Nobel Prize-winning fourth assessment report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, delivering the keynote address pointing out that the world can be saved from the dangers posed by climate change by sustainable consumers and producers. ”We need to look at finding integrated solutions for multiple global problems rather than trying to solve these problems seperately”, he said, warning that climate change is a threat amplifier for the growing risk of financial-economic crises, persistent poverty and growing inequity, shortages of energy, water and food, and other extreme events.

The Honourable Faizer Mustafa, Deputy Environment Minister was the evening’s Chief Guest. Speaking on Sri Lanka’s sustainable development policy guided by his excellency the President’s vision of ”Mahinda Chinthanaya”, the honourable minister inv ited business and civil society to join in its realization. He confirmed the Ministry of Environement’s resolve to further strengthen their role through an empowerd climate change advisory committee.

Opening the panel discussion, Dr. Faiz Shah head of Development Management at the Asian Institute for Technology, Bangkok, summarized the outcomes of the workshop preceding the Dialogue, reporting that the cross-section of business and civil society attending the workshop reaffirmed the approach indicated by Mr. De Zoysa, Prof. Munasinghe and the Honourable Minister, and reinforced the Climate Sustainability PLATFORM’s mission of greater engagement and practical solutions to issues of climate change. ”Sustainable businesses are in fact responsible businesses, and with their enormous potential, fit firmly into the clean and green economy paradigm”.

The dialogue provided insight into how businesses are gearing up to survive in changing climate and proposer in a green economy, why sustainable consumption and production must become essential business tools, and why social responsibility is so integral to the future market place. The dialogue panel comprising Dr. Lewis Akenji, Fellow at IGES-Japan, Mrs. Ambreen Waheed, Executive Director RBI-Pakistan, Dr. Ananda Mallawathantri UNDP Assistant Resident Representative in Sri Lanka, and Mr. Rizvi Zaheed, CEO of Hayleys presented their perspectives
on the emerging trends, and how to proceed from here. Participants of this well-attended dialogue event represented government, business, civil society, academia, proffessional and media.