Immediate Action is Needed
Guest post by Marta Szigeti Bonifert, Executive Director at Regional Environmental Center (REC)
The Rio+20 opens today where decision makers and stakeholders from all over the world gather to discuss their vision for a sustainable future. The need to take action is more pressing than ever: failure to act in the present will inevitably lead to more intensive resource utilization in the future, with ever more serious consequences. Unless we change the current patterns of interaction between nature and human beings, the increasingly negative impacts will be inherited by future generations.
The name of the game is therefore change management. Whether we call it “good governance” or “economic and social transition”, the ultimate task remains the preservation of peace and cooperation as we adjust to the harsh new limits that nature is setting for human communities. This adjustment must take place on a broad international, cross-sectoral front, and at different scales. It requires new ways of working together and the establishment of consensus for immediate, smart action.
This should serve as inspiration for politicians who tend to avoid uncomfortable decisions that may adversely affect their chances of re-election. Unless we tackle these questions today, the cost that will have to be paid by future generations will be enormous.
As we know, the current global governance structures were established 60 years ago for a smaller, less connected world and are defined by the priorities set at that time. The updating of the global list of priorities has resulted in a continuing increase in the number of global (e.g. UN) and regional (e.g. EU) institutions. International organizations active today therefore have different competencies, like the different tools in a toolbox.
Indeed, the more complex the system to be repaired, the greater the variety of tools needed. This is why we need viable partnerships from global to regional and local – involving all stakeholders including the business community – with the goal of blending varied skills and experiences and mobilizing them for the sake of a peaceful transition. We need to build up resilient, action-oriented communities across the world.
In Central and Easter Europe we are facing all these challenges together with the fact that our common goals have to be reached in a diverse cultural, political and economical situation, following a total system change. This is the reason why we need to unite all partners for the sake of sustainable development.
We must find a way to work with all stakeholders, helping them to realize that citizens have not only rights but also obligations when it comes to the present and future wellbeing of society. We need to adjust our present attitudes and actions before it is too late.
In 1854, Chief Seattle of the Suquamish Indians spoke the following words: “All things are connected. Whatever befalls the earth, befalls the sons of the earth. Man did not weave the web of life. He is merely a strand in it. Whatever he does to the web, he does to himself.”
What do you expect from the Rio summit?