UN Secretary-General, UNIDO Emphasize Changing Production and Consumption Patterns to Support Sustainable Economic Growth

17 May 2011: UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon and UN Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO) Director-General Kandeh Yumkella emphasized the need to change production and consumption patterns in their statements at the Fourth Nevsky International Ecological Congress. 

The Congress, which convened from 16-17 May 2011, in St. Petersburg, Russian Federation, was co-organized by the Interparliamentary Assembly of Member Nations of the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS), the Federation Council of the Federal Assembly of the Russian Federation and UNIDO. It was held around the theme “Innovative Schemes to Develop Social and Ecological Spheres.” It included plenary sessions and roundtables on issues such as: the prospects and role of government and business in strengthening the green industry; green technologies for environmental protection; and enhancing efficiency and ecological security of using natural resources through improvements in legislation.

In his message, delivered by UN Environment Programme (UNEP) Regional Office for Europe Director Jean Christophe Bouvier, Ban highlighted the need for major changes to lifestyles, economic models, social organization and political life to lay the foundation for future growth, eradicate poverty and protect the environment and ecosystems that support economic growth. He stressed the need to “connect the dots” between climate change and issues such as water, energy and food in order to achieve this growth. Ban further underlined that “The sustainable development agenda is the growth agenda for the twenty-first century.”

In his speech, Yumkella also called for countries to green their economies, underscoring the need for "a fundamental change in how we produce, consume and exchange goods. This is how we can green our economies, our growth strategies, and our industries, creating new green jobs, stimulating green investments, and encouraging green innovations.” He further urged doing “more of what we are already starting to do,” including switching to resource efficient and cleaner production, and increasing the use of renewable energy to power economies and industries.

The Congress resulted in, inter alia, the adoption of a Declaration on Green Industry. The results and declarations of the Congress are intended to support the CIS and the UN system and its specialized agencies in their preparations for the UN Conference on Sustainable Development (UNCSD or Rio+20). [UNIDO Press Release] [UN Press Release] [Conference Website]