Rede von Staatssekretär Wolfgang Waldner anlässlich des Rio+20-Gipfels (Englisch)
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Ladies and Gentlemen,
At the outset, let me thank the government of Brazil and the city of Rio de Janeiro for hosting this important conference. We have gathered here in Rio to take stock of the achievements on sustainable development over the last 20 years and to decide on our way forward.
Rio 1992 was a milestone for environment and development and its outcome is still valid. Despite the progress achieved on the national, regional as well as the international levels, we are still facing considerable environmental and developmental challenges. Climate change, loss of biodiversity, hunger and extreme poverty demand urgent action and our utmost attention. The international community therefore has to strengthen its efforts for sustainable development.
All three dimensions of sustainable development – namely its ecological, economical and social dimensions - are interrelated. This conference clearly demonstrates that green economy, the protection of our planet also as provider of food and water are essential preconditions to nourish our rapidly growing world population. Green economy and poverty reduction are therefore directly interlinked. Furthermore, I wish to stress the need to especially protect and promote the socially most disadvantaged – women, children and disabled persons. Without enhancing the living conditions and rights of these groups, sustainable development might remain a mere concept.
Tomorrow, we will formally adopt the outcome document of this conference “The Future We Want”. Austria welcomes the outcome document as a step in the right direction and a basis for further action. Rio+20 marks the beginning of a new form of multilateralism - of a dialogue not only involving state actors, but all levels of society and stakeholder groups. The life of future generations is not only a responsibility for governments, but also the civil society, the private sector, the scientific community and non-governmental organisations.
However, we would have hoped to achieve even more concrete and more ambitious results at the occasion of this conference. Austria as a member of the European Union has come to Rio committed to take action on green economy, on the institutional framework and on sustainable development at large.
We accept that we need more time and in depth discussions on some of these issues. And we look forward to continue our discussions in good faith. I am pleased that we agreed on a common, global understanding of green economy. And it is clear: green economy does not replace the concept of sustainable development. It is a means to achieve it!
Green economy has many advantages, resulting in win-win situations. For example in Austria the environmental sector is booming and environmental technologies “Made in Austria” are well known all over the world. This is good for the environment but also good for the economy. Green economy on the other hand should not lead to new trade barriers for developing countries. And we have made this clear here in Rio.
Another important sector for Austria is sustainable energy. In particular renewable energy and energy efficiency are the cornerstones of our national energy policy. Currently, almost one third of the total energy consumption as well as some two thirds of our electricity consumption are provided by renewable energies. In 2010, renewable energies saved 30 million tons of CO2 emissions.
We share our know-how in this sector also with other countries. Therefore, energy has been a thematic focus of the Austrian Development Cooperation since many years. In line with this long-standing policy and commitment, Austria fully supports the “Sustainable Energy for All” initiative of the Secretary General of the United Nations.
Ladies and Gentlemen,
Austria welcomes the agreement on Sustainable Development Goals and will actively engage in their elaboration. In our view, priorities such as energy, water and food security must be covered by those new targets.
In this context, I wish to underline that we have to remain committed to the achievement of the Millennium Development Goals by 2015. We will have to work together on the post 2015 agenda, formulating the new Sustainable Development Goals while keeping our special attention to the development agenda.
In closing, l would like to reiterate: Rio+20 is another step in the right direction towards sustainable development, including green economy and the fight against poverty.
But many more decisive steps from all of us have to follow to achieve “the future we want”.
Let us use the momentum generated at this occasion to continue the work towards this future, especially for the benefit and in the interest of our children and coming generations.
I thank you.