Republica Daily, 2 Dec 2017
A group of UN human rights specialists has issued an urgent call for action to ensure a future based on equality, justice and solidarity.
In a statement marking the 31st anniversary of the Declaration on the Right to Development which falls on December 4, the experts have stressed the critical need for acting now on sustainable development. “We have to work for equality and justice today so that it can also benefit the people of tomorrow. This principle has to be at the very core of the development process. Let us never lose sight of the fact that this world will be the one we leave for generations to come. Our responsibilities as global citizens extend beyond the current generation,” they said in the statement.
The UN experts, who have issued this urgent call for action include Saad Alfarargi (Special Rapporteur on the right to development), Ikponwosa Ero (Independent Expert on the enjoyment of human rights by persons with albinism), Victoria Tauli Corpuz (Special Rapporteur on the rights of indigenous peoples), Alfred de Zayas (Independent Expert on the promotion of a democratic and equitable international order), Fernand de Varennes (Special Rapporteur on minority issues), E Tendayi Achiume (Special Rapporteur on contemporary forms of racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and related intolerance) and Obiora C Okafor (Independent expert on human rights and international solidarity).
They maintained that damage to the environment, improper use of arable land, climate change, increasing concentration of land in the hands of a few, rapid demographic shifts, conflicts, unfair trade and uncontrolled extractive industries are placing unprecedented pressure on the planet's ecosystems, and threatening the livelihoods and wellbeing of billions of people across the globe. “Progress in expanding the use of sustainable energy has already fallen short of what is needed to meet the globally agreed 2030 targets for renewable energy and energy efficiency,” they further said in the statement provided by the UN Information Center in Kathmandu.
Global figures suggest that the attempts to uncouple economic growth from the increased use of natural resources are also failing. This trend flies in the face of humanity's stated - and internationally agreed - aim of achieving more sustainable production.
Rapid urbanization and gentrification have brought enormous challenges, including growing numbers of slums, inadequate basic services and infrastructure, increased air pollution and environmental degradation. As cities across the globe become more vulnerable to disasters, reducing risks of these disasters is crucial if development is to be sustainable for the future. “There has never been a more urgent need to empower people and build community resilience,” they said.