The Green Economy – The New Magic Bullet?

March 30, 2012
Barbara Unmüßig
In June 2012, heads of state will gather at the Rio+20 conference in Brazil to explore the theme “The Future We Want.” The focus of the conference is the green economy. Exactly what a green economy is and should be, and with what measures and instruments it should be implemented, has not yet been defined and is the topic of intense political debate. Nevertheless, efforts are being made to develop a “Green Economy Roadmap.” Rio+20 should not simply be a repetition of previous international conferences. Instead it must offer a true breakthrough on the path to a social, just, low-carbon and resource-efficient world.

The UN General Assembly called with Resolution 44/228 of December 22, 1989, for the convening of the first United Nations Conference on Environment and Development (UNCED), also known as the Rio Summit, in 1992.1 The United Nations Conference on Environment and Development was assigned to promote the transition from an economic model that is nearly exclusively oriented toward the promotion of economic growth to a model based on the principles of sustainable development in which environmental protection and the sound management of natural resources play a central role. Some 20 years later, at the Rio+20 United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development (UNCSD), held from June 20 to 22, 2012 in Rio de Janeiro, the goal was to create a “green economy in the context of sustainable development and poverty eradication.”2 This represents a new attempt to reform the institutional framework for sustainable development within the UN.

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Barbara Unmüßig

From 1996 to 2001, Barbara Unmüßig chaired the supervisory board of the Heinrich Böll Foundation, and was elected president of the foundation in May 2002. Her numerous contributions to periodicals and books have covered international trade and finance, international environmental issues, and gender policy.


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