Towards a better planet and a life of dignity for all

Updated: 2016-05-19 15:25

By Dr. Edgar E. Gutierrez-Espeleta(

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Efforts to protect the environment are therefore also efforts to eradicate poverty. Loss of biodiversity, water scarcity, land-use changes and deforestation are not only a threat to nature, but also to the well-being of people. We must address these challenges if we are to achieve sustainable human development. To do this, we must move towards sustainable patterns of employment, production and consumption.

Neither hunger nor climate change will wait for us while we find solutions. Instead, we must take energetic, forceful decisions now if we are to turn the tide. It is time for ambitious proposals and audacious solutions. Now is the time to leave our comfort zones and accept our historic responsibility. It is the hour of new global paradigms, which will effectively change the direction towards a future that we all want.

In his report A life of dignity for all, United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon wrote that, with our actions to implement the 2030 Agenda, "multilateralism is being tested." This is an extremely accurate statement: the year 2030 is poised to become a trial for humanity, at which the strength of our political will and our ability to overcome today’s challenges will be judged.

We have a mission to foster a new global partnership, which will harness humanity’s accumulated knowledge to build momentous agreements that will guarantee the well-being of future generations. To achieve this, we must integrate the economic, social and environmental sustainability dimensions of agreements that are broad enough to cover the entire international community, but flexible enough to apply to every corner of the world.

Improving public-private partnerships and citizen participation, fostering technological development and accessibility to innovation, strengthening international cooperation, mobilizing internal resources responsibly and driving better governance - these are the key ingredients of the global political debate that are essential to achieving the environmental dimension of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.

The seven cross-cutting thematic priorities of the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) perfectly reflect the most urgent global issues and together constitute a guiding light for the construction of efficient environmental governance around the world. UNEA-2 offers us an opportunity to reflect on this and to agree on the steps necessary to realize the transformation we want. As we sit down at negotiating tables in Nairobi this month, a hope for a better planet and a life of dignity for us and for future generations will be our motivation.

The author is the Minister of Environment, Energy and Sea in Costa Rica.

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