Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Paraguay advocates for 'green development'

Adapted from the preliminary proposal of Paraguay for the United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development Rio +20

Paraguay advocates the innovative concept of green development, which is much broader than the concept of a green economy. Green development incorporates economic aspects (green economy), social aspects and ecological/land use aspects in a fully synergistic manner respectful of the interplay between the different aspects. Participation is essential to green development, with workers, women, peasants, indigenous people, young persons, scientists and all sectors of society making their contributions to a new form of social coexistence, with diversity and in harmony with nature, in order to achieve the goal of "buen vivir" ("collective well-being"), respectful of nature of which we are all part and which is vital for our existence.

Green development is in harmony with the fundamental principles of sustainable development. It is mistake to assert that the only things that matter are those which have a price, are owned and generate profit. Market mechanisms have proven to be incapable of promoting an equitable distribution of wealth among human beings. A market approach cannot be used to address social and environmental imbalances.

The two central challenges for sustainable development in this century are to overcome poverty and inequality, and to restore the equilibrium of the planet. The two objectives are intimately intertwined and neither one can be attained separately.

It must be recognized that uncontrolled development is neither possible nor sustainable, since the regenerative capacity of ecosystems imposes limits. However, the developing countries, especially the least developed among them, need to attain higher levels of development in order to meet the basic needs of their peoples and guarantee their human rights.

Paraguay proposes that the implementation of the 1992 Rio conventions be coordinated with other conventions and protocols on the environment (Ramsar, Montreal, Stockholm, Basel, CITES, etc.) and that a fresh impetus be given to the ideals formulated 20 years ago as part of a concerted effort by the international community, with the full participation of civil society in decision-making, to address the structural causes of climate change, desertification, soil degradation, drought and the loss of biodiversity.

Common but differentiated responsibilities

In connection with the common but differentiated responsibilities established in the 1992 Rio Declaration, the countries referred to as developed must pay the historical debt they owe as a result of the greater role they have played in causing the deterioration of the environment. Payment of this ecological debt towards the countries referred to as developing and the hardest hit segments of their populations must take the form of financial resources from public sources and the effective transfer of appropriate technology which the developing countries may in their sovereign judgement consider necessary. The so-called developed countries must reduce their consumption in order to restore harmony between human beings and nature, thereby making sustainable development possible in all developing countries.

The developing countries must adopt patterns and models different from those followed in the developed countries in order to meet the fundamental needs of their populations and restore harmony with nature; that is why Paraguay advocates implementation of the "Green Development" model, which contrasts with an economy based on unsustainable practices and the use of capital exclusively for profit-making activities. Capital should instead be channelled to sustainable practices based on the ideals of solidarity and redistributive justice, which make poverty eradication, along with the right of future generations to the equal enjoyment of natural resources, a priority.

The environmental pillar of sustainable development can be achieved only through a global approach, with strong support from triangular cooperation, which operates as a means of linking South-South and North-South cooperation.


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