UN official calls on West to cut buying cars, TVs

UN official calls on West to cut buying cars, TVs

UNITED NATIONS - Agence France-Presse
UN official calls on West to cut buying cars, TVs

A South Korean happily walks out of a store in Seoul after buying a newly released tablet. UN Development Program Chief Helen Clark calls on people to consume less.

Rich countries will have to stop the consumer high life as part of any deal to heal the world’s social and environmental stresses, a top United Nations official said ahead of a key development summit this week.

“We don’t need more cars, more TVs, more whatever” U.N. Development Program chief Helen Clark told AFP in an interview ahead of the Rio+20 summit starting tomorrow.

The 116 heads of state and government and their populations -- rich and poor -- face “chaos” unless the three day summit can at least lay the groundwork for economic growth that eases poverty and preserves natural resources, said the former New Zealand prime minister.

“I think there is a high level of awareness that the planet is in peril, to put it bluntly,” said Clark, who will be one of the key figures at the Rio de Janeiro event.

Negotiators are struggling to get agreement on the final declaration.

Differences between rich and poor, east and west on topics such as how to define “green economy” and how to set new global development goals have bedeviled negotiations for months.

Key problem

Clark insists though that every leader agrees on the key problem: how to ensure economic growth that helps the most destitute without further damaging an environment that is being “wrecked underneath our feet.” “So the issue is how to get human development that will see it continue to rise for the world’s poorest people and people in developing countries. Because frankly human development in the West -- we don’t need more cars, more TVs, more whatever.

“Our needs are by and large satisfied, although the recession has put a lot of strains on that.” “There is, in my opinion, a very heavy responsibility on the countries of the north to look at how they sustain their living standards with a much lower environmental footprint,” Clark added.

Setting up a new index for economic progress to rival the venerable Gross Domestic Product and pressing the case for the Green Economy -- economic decision-making that takes into account the impact on the environment -- will feature highly on Clark’s summit agenda.


ISTANBUL – Hürriyet Daily News

The Turkish Network of the U.N. Global Compact has organized a panel as part of the Rio +20 Conference, titled “Sustaining Life on Earth.” The panel was chaired by Dr. Yılmaz Argüden, the National Representative of U.N. Global Compact in Turkey, and the head of ARGE Consulting.

“As Turkish firms become more global, their sensitivity and ability to provide solutions to global issues increase,” Argüden said, according to a press release by ARGE. Representatives of Turkish firms such as Anadolu Efes, Coca Cola İçecek, Ford Otosan and the Turkish Industry and Business Association were in attendance.

Meanwhile, Ford Otosan’s green factory concept came first among 25 projects representing Turkey at the conference, daily Hürriyet reported yesterday. The 1.6 million square meter land of their Kocaeli factory includes 22,000 square meters of natural wetland, preventing migratory birds from changing their route.