Last updated 23 January 2011
U N Secretary General Ban Ki-moon on August 9, 2010 appointed a panel on global sustainability that is tasked with finding ways to lift people out of poverty while tackling climate change and ensuring that economic development is environmentally friendly.
Climate change, global warming, desertification and environmental degradation, and the attendant natural disasters such as flooding, and drought are the major challenges facing the world today.
The panel is charged with promoting low-carbon growth and enhancing resilience to climate change’s impacts, as well as to tackling the challenges posed by poverty, hunger, water and energy security.
The 21-member High-Level Panel on Global Sustainability, to be co-chaired by Finland’s President Tarja Halonen and South African President Jacob Zuma, brings together representatives from government, the private sector and civil society in countries rich and poor.
The new body is expected to deliver its final report by the end of next year, ahead of the UN Conference on Sustainable Development scheduled for 2012 in Cancun, Mexico, as well as annual conferences of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC).
The appointment of the panel was contained in a press release issued at UN Headquarters in New York.
The UN Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) is enlisting the cooperation of transnational corporations (TNCs) in efforts to achieve sustainable development and the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs).
In its 2010 world investment report – ‘investing in a low-carbon economy’ – UNCTAD noted that while TNCs are major carbon emitters, they are also a source of ‘green’ investments and can play a crucial role in propelling the world towards a low-carbon future.
Addressing the recent meeting of the leaders of the G20 industrialized and developing economies in Toronto, Canada, Ban Ki-moon noted that ‘the risks – and costs – of inaction on climate change grow each year. The more we delay, the more we will pay’. He urged the leaders to scale up investment in clean energy and green economy.
The Panel also comprises Gro Harlem Brundtland, Han Seung-soo, Yukio Hatoyama, Luisa Dias Diogo and Kevin Rudd, who are the former prime ministers of Norway, the Republic of Korea, Japan, Mozambique and Australia, respectively, as well as Barbadian Prime Minister David Thompson, United Arab Emirates Foreign Minister Sheikh Abdallah Bin Zayid Al Nahayan, Turkish Deputy Prime Minister Ali Babacan, and Switzerland’s Foreign Minister Micheline Calmy-Rey.
They will be joined by Alexander Bedritsky, Aide to the Russian President on climate change; Hajiya Amina Az-Zubair, Adviser for the Nigerian President on the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs); Zheng Guogang, Director of the China Meteorological Administration; Lawrence Balsillie, Chair of the board of the Centre for International Governance Innovation (CIGI); and Susan E. Rice, the United States’ Permanent Representative to the UN.
The Panel will be rounded out by current and former environment ministers – Jairam Ramesh of India, Julia Carabias of Mexico and Cristina Narbona Ruiz of Spain – as well as Connie Hedegaard, the European Union’s Commissioner for Climate Change.