Austria Stresses Support for Rio+20
State Secretary Waldner: “Rio+20 brings a real opportunity for our environment and sustainable development”
“The Rio Summit in 1992 made the global community aware that our environment would not only be endangered but irretrievably destroyed if development continued without any restrictions. And yet, development for the sake of the poorest and environmental protection must be no contradiction, and therefore policy makers agreed on the three dimensions of sustainable development: environment, economic development and social development”, Austrian State Secretary Wolfgang Waldner said before leaving for the Rio+20 summit.
20 years later, he continued, these principles are more true than ever. 50,000 representatives of governments, the private sector, science and NGOs are coming together to provide new impetus to the concept of sustainable development. “We need to develop concepts that will help our planet to recover and become “whole” again despite the growing world population; concepts that ensure food and a secure livelihood for everyone on Earth”, Waldner said. Against this background, Rio is not only a global environmental conference but also a conference on development.
“Only if we succeed in creating a good balance between development and growth, will we be able to reduce poverty without continuing our ruthless exploitation of Nature. The most urgent task of this Summit will thus be to define and develop long-term development objectives that must be aligned with the millennium development goals”, the State Secretary explained
“We are also going to advocate the concept of a “green economy”, i.e. economic concepts geared at preserving instead of exploiting our planet and at achieving energy-efficient economic growth that is gentle on our resources and keeps environmentally harmful emissions to a minimum”, Waldner said.
Rio+20 should provide clarity on how the three dimensions of sustainable development can best be coordinated and managed in an integrated manner in the institutional structure of the United Nations.
“We aim to contribute Austria’s expertise in “sustainable energy for everybody” and water management to the Rio+20 Summit and want to make sure that disadvantaged groups, especially women, children and people with disabilities enjoy particular consideration in the development process”, the State Secretary confirmed.
“Personally, I am pleased that the Austrian civil society was pro-actively involved in the preparation work and that the Austrian delegation to Rio also includes youth delegates and representatives of non-governmental organisations”. Bringing the civil society onboard in such processes has been central to the Foreign Ministry for many years. “The current example illustrates that we have made great progress here. It is important that all groups of our society pull together to make our world a place worth living in not only for us, but also and in particular for future generations”, the State Secretary concluded.