Thank-you for the reminder: this is what we’re aiming for: the revolution

Dear friends,

Some inspiration from the UN SG, FYI

UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has called for “revolutionary action”
to achieve sustainable development, warning that the past century’s
heedless consumption of resources is “a global suicide pact” with time
running out to ensure an economic model for survival.

“Let me highlight the one resource that is scarcest of all: time,” he
told the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, in a session
devoted to redefining sustainable development. “We are running out of
time. Time to tackle climate change. Time to ensure sustainable,
climate-resilient green growth. Time to generate a clean energy

Describing sustainable development the growth agenda for the 21st
century, Mr. Ban recited a litany of development errors based on a
false belief in the infinite abundance of natural resources that
fuelled the economy in the last century.

“We mined our way to growth,” he said. “We burned our way to
prosperity. We believed in consumption without consequences. Those
days are gone. In the 21st century, supplies are running short and the
global thermostat is running high.”

All this now needs rethinking to secure the balanced development that
will lift people out of poverty while protecting the planet and
ecosystems that support economic growth, he told the assembly of heads
of State and government, international economists, business and
industry leaders and civil society at the meeting in Davos.

“Here at Davos – this meeting of the mighty and the powerful,
represented by some key countries – it may sound strange to speak of
revolution,” he said. “But that is what we need at this time. We need
a revolution. Revolutionary thinking. Revolutionary action. A free
market revolution for global sustainability.

“The ancients saw no division between themselves and the natural
world. They understood how to live in harmony with the world around
them. It is time to recover that sense of living harmoniously for our
economies and our societies,” said Mr. Ban.

“Not to go back to some imagined past, but to leap confidently into
the future with cutting-edge technologies, the best science and
entrepreneurship has to offer, to build a safer, cleaner, greener and
more prosperous world for all. There is no time to waste,” he warned.

“It is easy to mouth the words ‘sustainable development,’ but to make
it happen we have to be prepared to make major changes – in our
lifestyles, our economic models, our social organization, and our
political life,” Mr. Ban told the meeting in Davos.

And he called on governments both in Davos and around the world to
send the right signals to build the Green Economy. “Together, let us
tear down the walls,” he declared. “The walls between the development
agenda and the climate agenda. Between business, government and civil
society. Between global security and global sustainability.”

The business and industrial community will clearly have a key role in
the transition to a Green Economy. Mr. Ban called on business leaders
to join the 11-year-old United Nations Global Compact, the world’s
largest corporate responsibility initiative committing businesses to
aligning their operations and strategies with 10 universally accepted
principles in the areas of human rights, labour, environment and

At a separate event, he also launched the Global Compact Lead with a
group of 54 global companies as founding members, who have committed
to be at the cutting edge of environmental, social and governance
issues, joining forces to translate sustainable development principles
into business operations and deepening partnerships with the entire UN

“When companies like yours drive sustainability issues deeper into
your operations and strategy, year after year, you send a powerful
signal. Indeed, you change the world,” he told the business leaders.
“In this century far more than the last, we need business to achieve
our fundamental purposes at the United Nations.

Mr. Ban’s message on the Green Economy at Davos has become a pillar of
his global message on how the world must generate energy and manage
its natural assets to ensure sustainable development for future

Last month at a meeting in New York on the Green Economy, Mr. Ban
stressed that while the past two decades has seen considerable
economic growth, it has come at the cost of depleting the Planet’s
natural resources.

“Will the 9 billion people who will inhabit this planet in 2050 have
the opportunity to thrive? Or will vast numbers merely struggle to
survive … or worse, see their world descend into chaos? This is the
fundamental question of sustainable development,” he warned.

“A country can cut its forests and deplete its fisheries, and it shows
only as a positive gain in GDP, ignoring the corresponding decline in
assets,” Mr. Ban told participants, including economist Professor
Jeffrey Sachs. “We need to revise our accounting and embrace a
low-carbon, resource-efficient, pro-poor economic model,” he added.

Mr. Ban stressed that it is the Green Economy that can help to unlock
the door to a safer, more peaceful and prosperous world and will be
the core of his priorities in the runup to the preparations for the
2012 Conference on Sustainable Development in Rio de Janiero, Brazil.

Twenty years earlier in Rio, the Earth Summit provided the concept for
sustainable development. “Then we were just glimpsing the emerging
challenges of climate change, desertification, land degradation and
the loss of species,” recalls Mr. Ban. Today, however, many of those
concerns have become urgent and have yet to see comprehensive action
or results, he added.

For the link to the press release,

Mr. Ban announced that this month the UN Environment Programme will
unveil its latest Green Economy report which will show how green
economic thinking can unleash the government policies and business
opportunities that will power green growth, reduce poverty and bring
the benefits of sustainable development to all.

Kevin Ochieng
*United Nations Environment Programme*|*Youth Advisor, Africa region*

*Tunza Youth Advisory Council* | **

Tel +254 (020) 762 3018| Mob +254 723292452

skype: kevinochieng

– Youth ambassador, Billion Tree campaign
– Africa Youth Environment Network
– Africa Youth Initiative on Climate Change

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