The United Nations Environmental Programme (UNEP) has recently released a practical strategic analysis that provides a “greenprint” to shift us from our collective environmental crises toward a sustainable future.
Entitled “Towards a Green Economy: Pathways to Sustainable Development and Poverty Eradication - A Synthesis for Policy Makers,” it highlights the economic opportunities, which emerge if we shift away from our exploitative patterns of business as usual.
This analysis was written as a policy guideline in the run-up to the Rio+20 meeting on sustainable development. This is the 2012 anniversary conference of the groundbreaking first Earth Summit, which was held in Rio de Janiero in 1992. There, global leaders agreed to take collective action to stem our destruction of the natural resources upon which we depend for our lives and which provide the foundation of economic activity.
The Rio Earth Summit was followed by the Johannesburg Summit on Sustainable Development held in 2002, which was fundamentally compromised by the rampant power of the corporate-political alliance. Rio+20 provides a fresh opportunity to agree on a way forward. The trick is for both businesses and the governments they sponsor to firstly agree to sufficiently robust targets, and then to implement and meet them.