28 June 2012

Nigeria, Others Pledge $513 Billion Towards Sustainable Devt

Member countries of the United Nations, including Nigeria, have committed $513 billion in funding to achieve a sustainable future.

The commitment was made in conjunction with the private sector, civil society and other groups at the recent United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development (Rio+20), which took place in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.

Also at the global forum, President Goodluck Jonathan had promised to actualise his sustainable development agenda for Nigeria. He had also disclosed that under the country's medium to long-term sustainable development plans, several sectoral initiatives have been developed.

These include initiatives in agriculture, petroleum, solid minerals, power supply, renewable energy, trade and investment, water and sanitation, which accord priority to environmental and wider development issues, the president had added.

Speaking at the forum, Rio+20's Secretary-General, Sha Zukang said, "From the very beginning we have said that Rio+20 is about implementation and concrete action. The commitments that we share with you demonstrate that governments, the UN systems, and the nine major groups are committed and serious about implementation."

A wide range of actions were also pledged during Rio+20. These include planting 100 million trees, empowering 5,000 women entrepreneurs in green economy businesses in Africa, and recycling 800,000 tons of polyvinyl chloride (commonly known as PVC) - one of the most widely used plastics - per year.

Some 40,000 people - including Heads of State and government, representatives from non-governmental organisations and the private sector - were in Rio de Janeiro for three days to attend Rio+20, where they sought to help shape new policies to promote global prosperity, reduce poverty and advance social equity and environmental protection.

A key element on the Conference has been its outcome document, entitled 'The Future We Want' and agreed on by Member States.

The outcome document called for a wide range of actions, such as beginning the process to establish sustainable development goals; detailing how the green economy can be used as a tool to achieve sustainable development; strengthening the UN Environment Programme (UNEP).

Other proposed actions include promoting corporate sustainability reporting measures; taking 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.

The document also focuses on improving gender equity; recognising the importance of voluntary commitments on sustainable development; and stressing the need to engage civil society and incorporate science into policy; among other points.

Over 50 million people from all over the world took part in Rio+20 through social media platforms, voicing their comments, opinions and ideas, making the platforms a key component in establishing a global conversation on sustainability issues both in the lead-up to and during the conference.

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