The first of a series of seven sustainability dialogues took place at the IUCN World Conservation Congress today with a high-level discussion on ways to green development to address climate change.
Moderated by Achim Steiner, Executive Director of UNEP, the dialogue brought together heads of development agencies. Together, they reflected on how they can ensure that environmental issues are incorporated into their development cooperation programmes.
Monique Barbut, Chief Executive Officer of Global Environment Fund (GEF), suggested that natural capital could create solutions. “The problem is that nobody has ever put a price on natural resources; it has always come for free,” she said.
Poul Engberg-Pedersen, Director General of Norad, Norway, said: “Two huge problems in the world are poverty and climate change. We need to deal with them at the same time at the global and local level. Integration of government and markets is what we need. We need to change the behavior of those cutting down the forests, create alternative livelihoods and deal with the political economy.”
Innovations in renewable energy and managing ecosystems to help eradicate poverty were also two solutions put forward.
Participants included Irene Freudenschuss-Reichl, Director General for Development Cooperation, Federal Ministry for European and International Affairs, Austria, and Anne Gazeau Secret, Director General for International Cooperation and Development, Ministry of Foreign and European Affairs, France.
The sustainability dialogues are an innovative process IUCN developed to support new ways of thinking across government, business and civil society sectors to help them find new ways of connecting to nature for a sustainable future. They explore the big picture issues and innovations for a sustainable economy.
They have no pre-defined agenda and instead allow participants to guide the focus. Issues discussed included the role of donor organizations, ways to tackle climate change and whether we should work within our current economical system. They also explore what will drive change in food security and climate change.
Sustainability dialogues topics yet to be explored at the Congress include Spirituality and Conservation, Philanthropy for a Sustainable Future and Green Construction for Sustainable Living.