Policy makers must rethink economic growth, promote social equity and ensure environmental protection, says IUCN (International Union for Conservation of Nature) at the United NationsConference on Sustainable Development (UNCSD).
Among the key issues are thegreen economy and an institutional framework in the context of sustainabledevelopment and poverty eradication.
"Nature is still the missing link in Rio+20 discussions, yet sustainable developmentcannot be achieved without it,'" says Julia Marton-Lefèvre, IUCN Director General. "Nature can and does provide solutions to development challenges such as climatechange, and food, water and energy security. It is time governments included nature indevelopment strategies."
IUCN supports socio and economic development that places nature at its center andadopts measures that ensure justice. This includes critical issues such as decent jobs,energy, sustainable development as the answer to economic and financial crises, foodsecurity, water, oceans, and disaster readiness. Social equity and inclusiveness areoverarching principles of sustainable development strategies, according to IUCN.
Rio+20 is an important opportunity to promote investments in enhancing the naturalassets on which poor communities depend. For example, the value of forests and thedirect benefits they currently provide to approximately 1.6 billion of the rural poor isestimated at IUCN at US $130 billion per year. This is almost the same amount ofmoney that goes into Official Development Assistance (ODA).
"Landscape restoration will help countries meet international commitments to slow, haltand reverse forest and carbon loss and to restore degraded ecosystems. By focusingon both forest and agricultural lands it will generate income worth billions of dollarseach year to national and local economies and provide food security to millions offorest-dependent people," says Stewart Maginnis, Global Director, Nature BasedSolutions Group. "This should include concerted efforts to invest in the Bonn Challengeto restore 150 million hectares of lost forests and degraded lands by 2020."
IUCN urges governments to do more in terms of policy and institutional coherence.Understanding the interaction between nature and climate change will generatestronger policies and commitments.
"Rio+20 is the place to give a new impetus to international cooperation," saysConstanza Martinez, Senior Policy Officer, Global Policy Unit. "States, civil societyorganizations and the private sector are well aware of what needs to be done-theremust be a commitment to working together towards the same goal: protecting natureso it can protect us. We must move towards a more resilient planet."
Article originally appeared in People's Daily Online.