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RIO+20 & UNEP: GLOBAL ENVIRONMENTAL OUTLOOK REPORT

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Published on Jun 9, 2012

MaximsNewsNetwork: (http://www.MaximsNews.com ) 06 June 2012: United Nations Environmental Programme: UNEP: Nairobi, Kenya - A new and wide-ranging assessment coordinated by the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) says that the world continues to speed down an unsustainable path, often failing to meet internationally agreed goals on managing the environment and improving human wellbeing; in the fifth edition of the Global Environmental Outlook (GEO-5), launched today (6 June) ahead of the Rio+20 Summit, assessed 90 of the most important environmental goals and objectives and found that significant progress had only been made in four -- a sobering balance, according to the head of UNEP, Achim Steiner.

SOUNDBITE (English) Achim Steiner, Executive Director, UN Environment Programme (UNEP):
"The GEO5 report provides a sobering balance sheet of the last years, and it provides a number of clear indicators that on most of the internationally environmentally agreed goals that already exist, we have either not been able to make a great deal of progress, very often have failed to meet those goals, or in many instances are also still confronted by the fact that we are not able to measure and track progress."

"Significant progress" was made in eliminating the production and use of substances that deplete the ozone layer, removal of lead from fuel, increasing access to improved water supplies and boosting research to reduce pollution of the marine environment.

Little or no progress was detected for 24 goals -- including climate change, fish stocks, and desertification and drought. Further deterioration was posted for eight goals including the state of the world's coral reefs.

The UNEP report comes two weeks before world leaders will gather in Rio de Janeiro to agree new ways to reduce poverty, to advance social equity and to ensure environmental protection.

More than a hundred heads of state are expected to attend the Conference on Sustainable Development (Rio+20) from 20 to 22 June. One of the summit's themes is a green economy in the context of sustainable development and poverty eradication.

From Nairobi, UNEP's Deputy Executive Director Amina Mohamed today urged the Rio participants to see the GEO5 report as a call to action.

SOUNDBITE (English) Amina Mohamed, UNEP Deputy Executive Director:
"The time has come to finally put aside indecision and emerge with a renewed commitment to achieving a low carbon, resource efficient green economy that will ensure sustainable development."

UNEP's chief scientist, Joseph Alcamo pointed to the innovative way the GEO5 report links solutions to environmental problems with their potential in the green economy.

SOUNDBITE (English) Joseph Alcamo, UNEP Chief Scientist:
"The green economy has the potential to be the key idea to finally break down this artificial barrier between the economy and the environment that's existed. It's provided some very key ideas that are embodied in the GEO5 report. One idea is that this thing we talk about -- environment -- actually we should call it natural capital."

For example, Alcamo said the value of inland fishery in the tropics alone was worth $6 billion. The global fishing sector also accounted for up to 180 million jobs.

SOUNDBITE (English) Joseph Alcamo, UNEP Chief Scientist:
"The second important insight that green economy brings us is that the protection of the environment, the protection of our natural capital, can be a job engine."

About two million people are currently working in the renewable energy industry, according to Alcamo, and this might rise to around 20 million within a decade or so.

( UNITED NATIONS ENVIRONMENTAL PROGRAMME: UNEP, Nairobi, Kenya )

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