UN panel recommends change in global approach to business

NEW YORK, United States, Monday January 30, 2012 – A just-released UN report on global sustainability has called for the world to change the way it does business.

The 22-member panel, on which Barbados’ Prime Minister Freundel Stuart served, has made 56 recommendations, including improvement in health and education and ending subsidies on fossil fuels.

It suggests that governments move towards the transparent disclosure of all subsidies, and identify and remove those subsidies which cause the greatest detriment to natural, environmental and social resources.

According to the group, fossil fuel subsidies should be phased out and other perverse or trade-distorting subsidies should be reduced by 2020.

“The reduction of subsidies must be accomplished in a manner that protects the poor and eases the transition for affected groups when the products or services concerned are essential,” the panel said.

It proposes that governments and international donors scale up their efforts to achieve the Millennium Development Goals to eradicate poverty and to reduce inequalities as top priorities.

The panel, established by the UN Secretary-General in August 2010 to formulate a new blueprint for sustainable development and low-carbon prosperity, was co-chaired by Finnish President Tarja Halonen and South African President Jacob Zuma.

“With the possibility of the world slipping further into recession, policymakers are hungry for ideas that can help them to navigate these difficult times,” President Zuma said.

“Our report makes clear that sustainable development is more important than ever given the multiple crises now enveloping the world.”

The Secretary-General, in receiving the panel’s report, stated that sustainable development is a top priority for his second term of office.

“We need to chart a new, more sustainable course for the future, one that strengthens equality and economic growth while protecting our planet,” the Secretary-General said.

The report, “Resilient People, Resilient Planet: A Future Worth Choosing” was released Monday by the High-Level Panel on Global Sustainability established in 2010 by the Secretary General.

It will be used to feed into discussions leading to the Rio+20 summit in June. Click here to receive free news bulletins via email from Caribbean360. (View sample)