“We need to adopt an alternative paradigm in which Investment in Natural Capital is central” That was the message IUCN Director General Julia Marton-Lefѐvre gave in her address to launch the IUCN-USP Public lecture series, held at the University of the South Pacific’s Faculty of Business and Economics lecture theatre, in Laucala on June 10th.
Focused on the theme, Getting Development Right – Investing in Natural Capital, Julia reiterated the need to increase our investments in nature, saying that “For too long, in our pursuit of economic wealth and comfort we have invested heavily in our economic and financial system, but have chosen to ignore the increasing size of our foot-print”
She emphasized that continuing in the ‘business as usual’ approach to solving the world’s problems has resulted in using natural resources at a scale and pace that is not sustainable. “We need to rethink the development paradigm we have been using”, she said.
Julia urged the public that we need to start by acknowledging that the environment is not a separate ‘sector’ to be thought about when we become rich or once everything else is ‘fixed’. “We must recognise that the state of natural capital and environmental considerations must become an integral element of design of every development, every project, and every initiative taken towards addressing our many challenges”.
Investing in Natural Capital provides the only hope we have for meeting the basic needs of current and future generations and realizing the Vision such as that articulated by Pacific Leaders at the Pacific Islands Forum leaders meeting in Auckland 2004. “A region of peace, harmony, security and economic prosperity, so that all of its people can lead free and worthwhile lives....and be known for sustainable management of its resources...”
The launch was attended by representatives from the University of the South Pacific, conservation organisations, government departments, students and others. A brief question and answer time was allowed following the launch in which Julia answered queries and comments from the audience.
This Public Lecture Series, with the theme: The Pacific of the Future – Getting Development Right, is a joint initiative between the two regional organisations and aims to raise public awareness, over the next 12 months, of on-going global and regional environmental issues of interest to the Pacific Island countries and to generate discussion and debate on emerging environmental policy issues.
To read Julia Marton-Lefѐvre’s full speech please click here