- Date submitted: 31 Oct 2011
- Stakeholder type: Major Group
- Submission Document: Download
- Additional Document:
Dear UNCSD Secretariat,
I am writing in support of three billion young people who are worried about their ? and their planet's ? future. Joblessness brought on by over-exploitation of our Earth's resources and inadequate democratic decision-making is a clear indication that the status quo is unsustainable. I am calling on governments to respond to this emergency in full measure when world leaders meet next year in Rio de Janeiro to discuss the fate of the planet.
Exploitation of scarce ecological resources has led to corruption, global inequity and a damaging pattern of "brown" investments, and it cannot be the basis for ensuring secure employment for the next generation. Meanwhile, governments and consumers consistently fail to recognize that our planet has boundaries, exacerbating them through perverse subsidies and an unsustainable food system that cannot meet our growing needs. These trends must change.
First, we need all world leaders to recognize the urgency of the situation by attending the Earth Summit and educating their publics about the dangers of not acting. The United Nations should urge Presidents and Prime Ministers from every nation to commit resources and attention as early as possible in preparation for their participation at the Earth Summit.
Second, when world leaders come to Rio, they must deliver more than another agenda with lofty goals for a distant environmentally-responsible future. Young people from 118 countries recently called out the challenges with the hundreds of existing commitments, pledges, treaties and action plans. In their "Bandung Declaration", they highlighted "weak implementation, corruption and the lack of transparency and accountability" as key failures of the international system. The Earth Summit, these young people demanded, should generate real actions on the ground from national and local governments, corporations, communities, and civil society organizations. I agree, and the United Nations should create a global registry of sustainability actions to track our progress and ensure we are holding everyone accountable.
Third, governments need to enable young people to take the lead in creating a green economy. Youth around the world are increasingly disenchanted by high unemployment, corruption, massive subsidies to established industries, and lack of corporate responsibility. To overcome this unlevel playing field, governments need to make investments in education and training and in creating employment and entrepreneurial opportunities for young people.
We cannot wait another generation for sustainability: the time for talk is over.