Istanbul, Turkey — Eastern Europe and Central Asia need to remove fossil fuel subsidies, invest in ‘green’ jobs, and establish social protection floors to ensure a sustainable future, according to the findings of a UN report launched today in Istanbul, Turkey.
The report, From Transition to Transformation: Sustainable and Inclusive Development in Europe and Central Asia, was launched at the first Global Human Development Forum which brought together high-level experts from governments, corporations, civil society and international organizations to examine the global policy changes required to ensure a sustainable future for people today and for generations to come.
The report finds that a sustainable economy can increase competiveness, and lower the incidence of cardiovascular and respiratory disease. It also demonstrates that removing harmful subsidies can create savings that can be used to increase equity.
“The more we postpone this transformation, the more it will cost,” writes Jan Kubis, Executive Director of the U.N. Economic Commission for Europe, and Kori Udovički, UNDP Bureau Director for Europe and the Commonwealth of Independent States, in the foreword to the report.
“In the medium- and long-run, new lifestyles and production and consumption patterns will emerge. It is therefore wise to accelerate the transformation by taking incremental policy measures or, for low income countries, by bypassing outdated brown development altogether,” they write.
Eastern Europe and Central Asia is the only region of the world to see a large decline in carbon emissions over the past 20 years, while also experiencing the greatest increase in income inequality.
The report, supported by 13 U.N. agencies, calls for a transformation to integrated policy making, where social equity, economic growth and environmental protection are approached together.
The report finds that such a transformation is not only necessary but also possible —even in such a diverse region. It calls for:
The report is a contribution of governments, experts, researchers and development practitioners ahead of the ‘Rio+20’ U.N. Conference on Sustainable Development in June in Brazil where more than 110 heads of state, along with thousands of parliamentarians, mayors, UN officials, CEOs, and civil society leaders will come together to discuss and shape new policies and measures to promote prosperity, reduce poverty and advance social equity and environmental protection.
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This report was launched at the first Global Human Development Forum which brought together high-level experts to examine the global policy changes required to ensure a sustainable future.
The 2011 Human Development Report argues that the urgent global challenges of sustainability and equity must be addressed together.