Policy makers must rethink economic growthpromote social equity and ensure environmental protectionsays IUCN (International Union for Conservation of Natureat 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 discussionsyet sustainable developmentcannot be achieved without it,'" says Julia Marton-LefèvreIUCN Director General. "Nature can and does provide solutions to development challenges such as climatechangeand foodwater and energy securityIt is time governments included nature indevelopment strategies."

IUCN supports socio and economic development that places nature at its center andadopts measures that ensure justiceThis includes critical issues such as decent jobs,energysustainable development as the answer to economic and financial crisesfoodsecuritywateroceansand disaster readinessSocial equity and inclusiveness areoverarching principles of sustainable development strategiesaccording to IUCN.

Rio+20 is an important opportunity to promote investments in enhancing the naturalassets on which poor communities dependFor examplethe 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 yearThis is almost the same amount ofmoney that goes into Official Development Assistance (ODA).

"Landscape restoration will help countries meet international commitments to slowhaltand reverse forest and carbon loss and to restore degraded ecosystemsBy 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 MaginnisGlobal DirectorNature 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 MartinezSenior Policy OfficerGlobal Policy Unit. "Statescivil societyorganizations and the private sector are well aware of what needs to be done-theremust be a commitment to working together towards the same goalprotecting natureso it can protect usWe must move towards a more resilient planet."

 

Article originally appeared in People's Daily Online.