The world is mustering its forces to take on the challenges of sustainable development and coping with environmental upheavals. There is increasing regional co-operation as evidenced by recent meetings held for the Nordic countries, Central & West Africa and the G-15 nations. It is wonderful to see more nations recognizing the opportunities for synergy and benefits from co-operation and continues the dynamic already shown in the Mediterranean, Latin America and United Arab Emirates.
There is also greater private sector commitment to both funding and finding technological solutions. The European Commission met last week. Their conference "Development Cooperation and Biodiversity: Recognising the links and building the partnerships" was exciting because they were not only looking at European interests, but also giving consideration to the needs of the global community. One comment was that there needs to be a better understanding on why stopping the loss of biodiversity is both in the interest of poor and donor countries. (I would refer them to Mark Wallace's Book: Finding God in the Singing River, which helps to deal with the theological paradigms that underpin why humanity should be caring about Creation).
One suggestion was that they should be an exploration of the economic links between the envrionment, sustainability and business practices. Thus it was a delight to see this call for tender from the European Commission in only the last few days. The tenders are a call for "for an analysis of the interactions between the EU's industrial, environment, energy, transport and sustainable development policies, and the impact of these on European enterprises." The results of these tenders research should not only be of benefit to the European nations, but it is likely that there will be insights that could be easily applied elsewhere.
In the meantime, poorer nations are trying to find practical solutions as well as avail themselves of support or assistance by the United Nations (e.g. their recent call to funds to boost life in urban Africa). This will increase the buffer zone and also help alleviate some of the burdens of poverty. Similarly, there is a recognition that they can not afford to wait for the more affluent nations to have the solutions. For example both South Africa and Jamaica are realizing that they can not solve poverty if their agricultural systems rely on rainfall alone.
While some people remind us of the obstacles to renewable energies, we should not allow such naysayers to dominate our thinking. We will find solutions because we must find solutions, failure is not an option. That is why efforts such as Richard Bransom's $3 billion commitment to the environment over the next 10 years, or Bill Clinton's $1 billion towards renewable fuels research are so important.
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