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Secretary General Insulza Closed Event at the OAS on Environmental Sustainability in the post-2015 Agenda

Wednesday, December 04, 2013

December 3, 2013

The Secretary General of the Organization of American States (OAS), José Miguel Insulza, today closed the seminar ” Breaking Down the Silos: Integrating Environmental Sustainability in the post-2015 Agenda,” held in the General Secretariat building of the Organization in Washington, DC and in which the Final Report of the Thematic Consultation on Environmental Sustainability was presented.

The report presented by the Deputy Minister of Water and Oceans of Costa Rica, José Lino Chaves, along with Ambassador Jean-Claude Nolla, Permanent Observer of France to the OAS, captures the essence and key messages of an eight month consultation process involving academia, think tanks, representatives of civil society, youth, women and men of the North and South, who decided to focus the dialogue on the links between environmental sustainability and human development. A key issue in the discussions was the need for the post-2015 calendar to be based on principles related to integrated approaches to development, equality, human rights and resilience in order to fully integrate environmental sustainability. There was also an urgent call for collective action related to economic transformation, governance and accountability, local action and empowerment, and education.

“We understand that the words development and sustainability are inseparable,” said Secretary General Insulza, and “we work on them together, because in our region they are completely and absolutely linked,” he added. He recalled that the discussion on the topic is focused on “whether to extend the Millennium Development Goals or to give them a greater environmental content than they have had so far.”

In addition, the OAS leader emphasized that integral solutions to environmental challenges “require major alliances, governance and responsibility,” and “a greater understanding of the fundamental rights of individuals, including the right to a healthy environment, the right to water and access to the information necessary to allow for citizen control.” “This is an issue that can not be dealt with only at the level of state or government,” but “requires shared responsibility and citizen participation.”

Secretary General Insulza said that “the process of the definition and subsequent implementation of a development agenda beyond 2015 is definitely a big challenge,” while noting that it “represents a great opportunity for the international community, and particularly for the member states of this Organization.” “The partnerships we have forged between countries, civil society and other stakeholders such as academia, youth and the private sector to provide access to the mechanisms of decision-making are key to addressing this great challenge,” he said.

“We still have a long way to go in this transformative agenda and want to move forward on all elements of development simultaneously,” said the Secretary General, who concluded by emphasizing that “breaking down the silos is to break the compartmentalization between the issues and work on them all in an integral way.”

The event was inaugurated by the Minister of External Relations of the OAS, Alfonso Quiñonez, and included an open dialogue session, moderated by Claudia de Windt, Senior Legal Specialist in the OAS Department of Sustainable Development. The event included the participation of NGOs related to the environment, experts in the field and representatives to the OAS, among others.

This is an official original OAS Press Release
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