Geneva, 21 July 2015 - In June 2012, at the United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development (Rio+20), world leaders recognized the existence of a number of “different approaches, visions, models and tools available to each country, in accordance with its national circumstances and priorities, to achievesustainable development”, and highlighted the importance of South-South Cooperation as a means by which such approaches can be shared.
This sentiment was echoed by the United Nations Environment Programme Governing Council, who, in February 2013, called upon UNEP to collect such approaches, and to “disseminate them, and facilitate information sharing among countries, so as to support them to promote sustainable development and poverty eradication.”
In response to this call, UNEP has for the past two years been working with four countries, within the framework of the project “Enhancing South-South Cooperation - Building the Capacity of Developing Countries to Promote Green Economies”, to document and share their national sustainable development approaches.
A panel discussion presenting UNEP’s new report, "Multiple Pathways to Sustainable Development: Initial Findings from the Global South", which highlights national sustainable development initiatives being implemented by China, Bolivia, South Africa, and Thailand, took place at the International Environment House on Tuesday 21 July. The panel discussion focused on the approaches of Ecological Civilization in China, Sufficiency Economy in Thailand,Green Economy in South Africa, and Living Well in Bolivia, and how they may be able to contribute to the achievement of the proposed Sustainable Development Goals.
"[Ecological Civilization] is a people-oriented concept, which aimed at pursuing a comprehensive, balanced and sustainable development so as to promote the overall development of economy, society and human beings", said Li Haisheng, Director General, Department of International Cooperation, Ministry of Environmental Protection, China.
"The SDGs and their targets are integrated and indivisible, global in nature and universally applicable. But, they take into account different national realities, capacity, and levels of development and respect different national policies and priorities. It is very clear, then, that there needs to be flexibility", said Monika Linn, Monika LINN, Princiapl Advisor to the Executive Secretary, United Nations Economic Commission for Europe. "It is precisely for this reason that it is important to highlight the multiplicity of sustainable development pathways that countries have undertaken".
The panel discussion featured:
SHENG Fulai, Head, Research and Partnership Unit, UNEP Economics and Trade Branch
LINN Monika, Principal Advisor to the Executive Secretary, UNECE
HAISHENG Li, Director General, Department of International Cooperation, Ministry of Environmental Protection, China
H.E. Mr. THONGPHAKDI Thani, Permanent Representative of Thailand to the United Nations Office and other international organizations in Geneva
NOTUTELA Ncumisa, Deputy Permanent Representative of South Africa to the United Nations Office and other international organizations in Geneva
PACHECO RODRIGUEZ María Natalia, Permanent Mission of the Plurinational State of Bolivia to the United Nations and other international organizations in Geneva