RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL - A delegation from the Asian Development Bank (ADB) has joined discussions at the United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development, otherwise known as Rio+20, to help shape the path toward green, inclusive growth.
"Asia has transformed into an economic powerhouse, but rapid growth has come with a huge pressure on natural resources," said Bindu Lohani, ADB Vice President for Knowledge Management and Sustainable Development. "We now need to shift to a more sustainable and inclusive development path where green economy can become a powerful engine of growth, a source of new jobs, and a driver of technology innovation."
The Rio+20 Summit is expected to produce a political declaration reaffirming a commitment to sustainable development, including a roadmap to creating a green economy and establishing an institutional framework for sustainable development. This outcome document - The Future We Want - may also include a plan for action and follow-up, covering priority issues, measuring progress, and identifying the main means of implementation.
Agreement may also be reached on key principles and a process for establishing a set of universal Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), drawing on the experience and success of the Millennium Development Goals, which are set to expire in 2015. The new SDGs would reflect a balance between economic, social and environmental dimensions: the three pillars of sustainable development.
ADB plays a role in supporting developing member countries' transitions to a green and inclusive economy by promoting investments in sustainable infrastructure, supporting regional cooperation to conserve major ecosystems in the region, and strengthening governments' capacities for environmental management and social development.
In 2011, ADB approved around $7 billion in loans with environmental sustainability components - more than 50% of its total lending. These include investments of nearly $2 billion annually for renewable energy and energy efficiency under ADB's Clean Energy Program and support for the Coral Triangle Initiative - a regional cooperation program to protect coral reefs, manage fisheries more sustainably, and strengthen climate resilience of local communities.
ADB has already supported the Rio+20 process by co-organizing several regional and sub-regional preparatory meetings and providing a number of substantive inputs in the outcome document. In May, ADB convened an international experts meeting to discuss Asia-Pacific perspectives on how the SDGs can contribute to the post-2015 development agenda and how global goals can be translated into implementation at regional and national levels.