The Global Goals are not just rhetoric and Kazakhstan can in many ways lead their translation into national action, the Director of UN Environment’s Europe Office has said in a speech to Kazakh parliamentarians yesterday.
In May 2013, Kazakhstan adopted a new policy for transitioning to a Green Economy, with the aims of creating 500,000 jobs and increasing GDP by 3%, while at the same time cutting emissions 40% by 2050.
The policy’s dual aims capture the spirit of the Global Goals, which do not treat the environment as a stand-alone issue, and show how economic and social progress and greening our economies go hand-in-hand, Mr Dusik told deputies in the country’s lower House of Parliament - the Mazhilis.
However, the 2030 development agenda “is not just rhetoric or about ticking the boxes of reports presented in New York,” he underlined.
“When we talk about Global Goal 13 on climate action, we mean adapting to climate change for the farmers who are struggling to have enough water to give to their crops” for example, Mr Dusik stressed.
Given the role of parliamentarians in debating, challenging government and monitoring progress towards the country’s ambition aims, you are now key to steering the transition to a Green Economy, he told the Mazhilis. Government departments must also work together and make sustainable decisions – such as on replacing harmful pesticides – and UN Environment is there to help, the organization’s Regional Director for Europe told parliamentarians.
Kazakhstan has frequently suffered from drought, hampering crop production. However, the country now aims to slash its water consumption in half by 2030, including by using drip irrigation techniques for agriculture, while at the same time raising farm productivity 50% by 2020.
It also holds high potential for renewable energy – the amount of wind energy that could be generated in the country for example is ten times greater than it’s current energy consumption
“By aiming to be a champion on Green Economy, you have said no to a drastic temperature rise. You have said no to mass desertification. And you have said no to the toxic dust storms that threaten people across this country,” Mr Dusik stressed.
“All this can go a long way in contributing to global efforts while bringing widespread benefits to society”. Yet “we face the last call for action on climate and the environment,” Mr Dusik warned, calling for specific policies to walk the talk.
To read Mr Dusik’s full speech please click here.