Business, civil society and Scottish Parliament together in message for Rio UN Summit
Business leaders, leading environmental charities, educationalists and academics gathered this week in the Scottish Parliament to celebrate Scotland’s achievements on sustainable development since the UN Earth Summit in Rio in 1992. MSP’s added their voice by passing a motion on the need for Scotland to have a powerful voice on promoting greater sustainability worldwide.
At the Rio+20 Conference, which will take place on 20-22 June, world leaders, governments, NGOs and other groups, will come together to discuss the green economy and institutional frameworks for sustainable development.
On the eve of a parliamentary debate on Scotland's message for Rio+20 the Environment and Climate Change Minister Stewart Stevenson said:
"We have a moral duty, a practical duty and a clear economic benefit in pursuing the low carbon transition. We are likewise determined to not just be an international model of best practice, but to also help others identify and pursue their potential and needs. It's great to lead, but we cannot be alone. We need others to follow in a race to the top if we are to globally succeed in addressing climate change and ensuring sustainable development."
The occasion was a reception hosted by Aileen McLeod MSP for leaders from business, civil society and research in the Scottish Parliament.
The event follows the publication of the document A Flourishing Scotland after a workshop at the end of last year.
Opening the parliamentary debate Aileen McLeod MSP thanked the organisations behind A Flourishing Scotland and said:
"Last night, it was my privilege to host the flourishing Scotland reception, which brought together a wide and diverse cross-section of Scottish society, all linked by a common commitment to support actions that will lead to a more sustainable global future. It is not only appropriate policies that we need to implement if we are to succeed at the forthcoming Rio conference.
Arguably the greatest challenge that will face Rio+20 is to establish an international framework that will ensure delivery of the policies that we need—an international framework for sustainable development. The absence of a robust and meaningful international framework represents the weakest link in the prospects for achieving success at the Rio+20 conference."
In areas like education, climate legislation and community empowerment Scotland is leading the world in terms of sustainable development. In the debate MSPs gave Environment and Climate Change Minister Stewart Stevenson a strong message to take to the conference: Scotland is committed to sustainable development.
The debate focussed on how Scotland can promote greater sustainability, and for the Parliament to commit to a long term international agenda:
- A renewed focus on sustainable development in government decision making, reflecting the international commitments captured in the United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development outcome document 'The Future We Want'
- Developing government-backed, widely used and consistently reported alternative indicators to GDP which measure what really matter to people and to the emergent green economy
- A long term, independent, scrutiny and reporting mechanism for reporting on progress with sustainable development across all society in Scotland
Read the report from the debate here
Download A Flourishing Scotland here