22 Apr 2015 Press release Environmental rights and governance

Remarks by UNEP Executive Director Achim Steiner on Green Economy at Lomonosov State University, Moscow

Moscow, 22 April 2015 - UN Under-Secretary General and Executive Director of UNEP Achim Steiner addressed students of the Lomonosov Moscow State University today on the topic of Inclusive Green Economy. According to Mr. Steiner, the traditional approaches of resource use are no longer feasible with a global population of 7 billion and growing. Further, global resources are not consumed equally in the world.

The current trend could lead to an untenable situation. The collective impact of our activities today is changing the atmosphere of this planet, as well as the biosphere. We have developed our capacity to exploit the world's oceans to a point where the fisheries we have relied on over millennia are now threatened in terms of the sustainability of fish stocks and even our future dependency on them.

Since the 1992 Rio Earth Summit, the United Nations has led the debate to change this trajectory. The UN Environment Programme has aligned the focus of its work accordingly: from documenting the scale of global environmental deterioration, to developing tailored multilateral legal instruments which have significantly evolved to assisting countries in applying holistic government-wide responses to environmental challenges.

As a result of concerted global action under the Montreal Protocol to phase out ozone-depleting substances (ODSs), the ozone layer is healing itself and is expected to recover by the middle of this century. The Protocol has led to the phase-out of over 98 per cent of the historic levels of production and consumption of ODSs globally.

However, halting the degradation of the environment will not happen through the displacement of individuals and communities, but rather through engaging them in living sustainable lifestyles.

The solution to matching people's development to the protection of the planet lies in an Inclusive Green Economy. The Green Economy is already creating more jobs than traditional industries and has started to tap into fiscal policy instruments. The renewable energy sector is experiencing a robust increase in global investment - with a 17% increase between 2013 and 2014 alone in both developing countries and emerging economies. While Russia can still claim abundance of natural and energy resources, it makes much more sense to use them sustainably and not exploit at a rapid pace.

Mr. Steiner expressed optimism that the BRICS Environment Ministers meeting - a preparatory forum for the upcoming BRICS summit in July 2015 - will focus on Green Economy opportunities and UNEP is offering findings of its global work on the topic. He concluded with an appeal to act as a global community towards a sustainable future.