Over 300 people participated on June 7 in Maputo, a round table debate on United Nations Sustainable Development conference. It was a heated debate where participants urged the government to take a firm position, pressing the most polluting countries to reduce the emission levels of toxic gases.
Will this be one more conference on the Environment and Sustainable Development or will the countries go from discussion to action? This is the fundamental question raised by the participants of the Conference on Sustainable Development, a Government and United Nations (UN) initiative, part of the Mozambique preparation towards Rio +20 Conference, to be held from 20 to 22 June this year, in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.
The event participants urged the government to take a firm position in the negotiations so that developed countries change their consumerism lifestyles and reduce the level of polluting gas emissions to the environment. Mozambique will adopt this stand point alongside Southern Africa and the African continent in general.
"Developed countries are the largest polluters, but the poorest countries are the ones that pay the bill", said academic Luis Arthur, one of the speakers at the conference held yesterday in Maputo.
The Government, represented by the Minister of Planning and Development, Aiuba Cuereneia, and the deputy minister of Foreign Affairs, Henrique Banze and deputy Minister for Coordination of Environment Action, Ana Chichava, promised to bring to the great conference the Mozambican message. Mozambique takes to Brazil the Strategy on Sustainable Development and should provide a roadmap that shows how the country will implement the program.
It was expected that this event would reflect the position that Mozambique will take at the Rio +20 conference, where several c ountries have to make a case on how the countries can progress without compromising the social welfare and the environment. This means adopting a development model thinking of future generations.
It is all about access to energy for everyone, a clean and efficient energy. Mozambique will identify its priorities by carrying out shortly a national diagnosis of its energy accessibility situation. With regard to global institutional issues on this initiative, each country has to choose intelligently its own strategies, projects that it wishes to pursue in order to capture the interest of large private corporations involved in this initiative on Sustainable Energy for All.
THREE AND HALF BILLION PEOPLE STILL DO NOT HAVE ACCESS TO ENERGY
According to data 3.5 billion of the world's population still rely on coal, firewood and animal dung for cooking and heating. In the current economy context, this is not sustainable and it constitutes a barrier to development. Worldwide, the inefficient energy usage and carbon dioxide emissions are a serious threat to the survival of our planet, according to several environmental experts.
One other issue to be tabled at the Rio +20 conference will be factors that contribute to difficult access to financing for sustainable development and climate initiates.
There is a variety of funds, programmes and agencies with very different requirements and procedures, coupled to a weak institutional capacity of many countries in the formulation and projects management and non-alignment of goals and objectives of available funding with the country sustainable development priorities.
To overcome these barriers and facilitate the implementation of sustainable development programmes, it is intended that the International Financial Institutions (IFIs) such as World Bank, African Bank, the International Monetary Fund review their programmatic strategies in order to ensure a better support to developing countries.
The Maputo Rio +20 preparatory round table was also for platform for reflexion, alignment and reinforcement of strategies 20 years after the first conference in Rio de Janeiro. This is an event to mobilize global action for the major development challenges of the future in order that developing countries do not jeopardize the social and environmental issues.
Although the initiative to promote access to sustainable energy for all was proposed by the United Nations General Secretary, it is a combined effort among multilateral organizations such as the UN, World Bank, the European Union, the African Development Bank, civil society and large private corporations at international level.
What is different now is that the world is living a different moment compared to 20 years ago. There is a change of geopolitical power and influence and the West is no longer the single dominant power. China, India, Brazil and Africa have an active voice that must be heard. Therefore, this is an event that is more representative and inclusive of the global population.
I also think that the changing of behaviour is the only way comparing with 20 years ago. It is expected that this conference on sustainable development, better known as Rio + 20, get together and reach consensus among governments, companies and civil society organizations, in such a way that intelligently concrete actions are defined to improve on-going actions from the last 20 years.
It is wished that these actions would lead all countries to better opportunities for economic, social and environmental development. It is also hoped that the conference sets the agenda for a more sustainable future for the coming decades.