Esther Agbarakwe: Sustainable development – the future we want in Nigeria (30 Days, 30 Voices)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Last month I attended the recent United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development (Rio+20) held in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil where UN member nations, including Nigeria, made commitments to chart a new part way to achieving sustainable development.

Sustainable development is about the future. As one of the wealthiest African Nation, Nigeria has struggled to attend sustainable development at all levels having been part of the global efforts since the 1972 Stockholm Conference on the Human Environment to create  and support a pattern of economic growth in which resource use aims to meet human needs while preserving the environment so that these needs can be met not only in the present, but also for generations to come

Sustainable development as defined by the Brundtland Commission is “development that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs. Looking at it as  development that deeply considers the economic, social and environmental pillars that encompass the true meaning of sustainable development.

As a powerful nation, Nigeria has participated at various UN Summit on sustainable development. In 1992 The then Minister of Foreign Affairs Ike Nwachukwu lead Nigeria’s negotiations at the Earth Summit in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.in while Nigeria actively participated at the World Summit on Sustainable Development (WSSD) in Johannesburg, South Africa in 2002, the delegation was happy to report that Nigeria had participated actively in the preparatory processes leading to the Earth Summit in Rio in 1992, hosted the first African regional post-Rio Workshop on the implementation of Agenda 21 in 1993. In preparation of the Johannesburg Summit, the West African sub-regional preparatory meeting for the WSSD was held in Abuja, Nigeria from 2Sth -28th June 2001.

Last month I attended the recent United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development (Rio+20) held in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil where UN member nations, including Nigeria, made commitments to chart a new part way to achieving sustainable development.

At the Rio+20 Conference, world leaders, along with thousands of participants from governments, the private sector, NGOs and other groups, come together to shape how we can reduce poverty, advance social equity and ensure environmental protection on an ever more crowded planet to get to the future we want. Did the conference live up to it expectations?

A key element on Rio+20 was its outcome document, entitled ‘The Future We Want’ and agreed on by Member States after negotiations with majority of the NGOs strongly believing that it was a deep failure. The outcome document though calls for a wide range of actions was unambitious and lacking in tangible commitments to ensure sustainable development and protect the environment

There are hopeful signs too, of course. We are encouraged by the last-minute announcement that a ‘special representative for future generations’ is going to be appointed by the UN Secretary-General. This is something that is important, necessary, and furthermore that young people have been calling for very strongly.

So what do this means for Nigerians?

Nigerians faced with many challenges of unemployment, insecurity, current and historic oil pollution in the Niger delta, corruption, poor health care system and decay in infrastructures across the country are worried that development that meet the needs of present generation is far from being achieved making the future of future generations deeply threaten.

Op-ed pieces and contributions are the opinions of the writers only and do not represent the opinions of Y!/YNaija.

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