Friday, April 25, 2014

World News: UN urges more efforts on sustainable development (23 April 2014)

UN urges more efforts on sustainable development

The United Nations observed the International Mother Earth Day on Tuesday with senior officials appealing for greater efforts to promote sustainable development and use of renewable energy sources.
Desertification in Namibia. [Photo/UNEP]
In his message for the day, marked annually on April 22, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon urged worldwide changes in attitude and practice to curb the negative impact of human activity on the planet.
"From tropical deforestation to depleted ocean fisheries, from growing freshwater shortages to the rapid decline of biodiversity and increasingly polluted skies and seas in many parts of the world, we see the heavy hand of humankind," he said.
Reflecting on humankind's relationship with the planet, Ban said, the air we breathe, the water we drink and the soil that grows our food are part of a delicate global ecosystem that is increasingly under pressure from human activities.
As such, and with a growing population, everyone must recognize that consumption of the planet's resources is unsustainable. "We need a global transformation of attitude and practice. It is especially urgent to address how we generate the energy that drives our progress," he said.
The UN chief also emphasized that burning fossil fuels is the principal cause of climate change, which increasingly threatens prosperity and stability in all regions.
He said that action on climate change presents multiple opportunities to "reset our relationship" with Mother Earth and improve human well-being, especially for the poorest and most vulnerable.
"Sustainable energy for all can increase health, wealth and opportunity for billions of people, as can climate-smart agriculture, more efficient cities and better managed and protected forests," Ban said.
As a part of the world organization's efforts to drive home the importance of respecting and protecting the planet towards ensuring 'the future we want', the General Assembly is convening an interactive dialogue on "Harmony with Nature" to commemorate the international day.
Following a high-level segment Tuesday morning, member states, UN agencies and independent stakeholders will discuss in a series of roundtables ways to promote a balanced integration of the economic, social and environmental dimensions of sustainable development.
Meanwhile, General Assembly President John Ashe called on the UN family to promote sustainable development and the use of renewable energy sources throughout cities and communities.
"As we confront the unique sustainable development challenges of our time; our understanding of the economic, social and environmental needs of present and future generations must be rooted in the most up to date scientific information," Ashe said in his message.
Our global strategy must promote sound environmental ethics, and continually emphasize humanity's interconnectedness with nature, he noted.
In 2009, the UN General Assembly proclaimed April 22 as International Mother Earth Day, in a bid to achieve a just balance among the economic, social and environmental needs of present and future generations.
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