Fifth Islamic Conference of Environment Ministers adopts Draft Islamic Declaration on Sustainable Development within framework of Islamic world’s participation in Rio+20 Summit
The Environment Ministers of the 57 OIC Member States participating in the fifth Islamic Conference of Environment Ministers, held in Astana, capital-city of the Republic of Kazakhstan, adopted the Draft Islamic Declaration on Sustainable Development within the framework of the Islamic world’s participation in the Rio+20 Summit.
The Declaration welcomed the holding of the United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development (UNCSD), also known as 'Rio+20', in June 2012 in Rio de Janeiro, 20 years after the first Earth Summit was held, and its outcomes, in particular, the relevant three conventions. It also lauded its objective to secure renewed political commitment for sustainable development, assess the progress to date and the remaining gaps in the implementation of the outcomes of the major summits on sustainable development, and address new and emerging challenges; its focus on the theme of green economy in the context of sustainable development and poverty eradication; and also the institutional framework for sustainable development to advance the global sustainable development agenda. Besides, it confirmed the commitment of environment ministers in the Islamic world to cooperating on achieving the goals of this Conference.
The Islamic Declaration emphasized the need for a renewed political commitment by the international community, including the Islamic world, to the international development agenda for sustainable development, in accordance with the internationally agreed principles and instruments, channeling all national and international efforts into achieving sustainable development.
Besides, the Declaration called upon OIC Member States to consider developing strategies for enhancing the understanding of and capacities related to the concept of green economy, not as an alternative, but as a mechanism, for sustainable development, while assessing the opportunities and challenges related to this concept.
In addition, the Declaration stressed the imperative to adopt a holistic and integrated approach to sustainable development and strengthen the existing international framework in such a way as to ensure a balanced response to the existing gaps, and maintain and invest in the cultural, civilizational and religious heritage that is unique to Islamic countries. It also requested UN agencies and programmes as well as international and regional organizations to reform the relevant international institutions and mechanisms in order to enable countries, particularly poor ones and those under occupation, to rise to the pressing socioeconomic and ecological challenges of sustainable development.
The Declaration called for eradicating poverty to achieve the agenda of sustainable development, human capacities building and rehabilitation through education, training and strengthening of capacities, generalization of small income-generating environmental projects, particularly in rural areas, as well as civil society participation.
Moreover, the Declaration reaffirmed that food security is a real issue in most of the OIC Member States, particularly in those having faced famine and food-related problems in the past, while underscoring that the food and agriculture sector offers key solutions for development, and is central for hunger and poverty eradication, through localization of scientific research outputs and transfer of appropriate technology. It also recommended added attention to ensure a rational and safe use of chemicals and insecticides in order to secure access for local communities to affordably priced GMO-free and safe food containing the fibres necessary for an active and healthy life.
Furthermore, the Declaration expressed support for measures to reduce the risks resulting from anthropogenic activities and natural disasters (earthquakes, floods, storms..), by promoting a culture of preparedness and early warning, incorporating disaster reduction strategies into international and national sustainable development policies, encouraging technological innovation, increasing the investments allocated to disaster risk reduction and reaching an international binding agreement to reduce climate change effects.
In the same vein, the Declaration requested the UN and other international organizations, particularly the Global Facility for Disaster Reduction and Recovery (GFDRR), development banks, donors and global funds, to support the executive work plan to implement the Islamic Strategy for Disaster Risk Reduction and Management.
The Declaration pointed out the crucial importance of water to human life and ecosystem protection, as well its central role in sustainable development processes, including environment integrity, food security, eradication of poverty, transition to green economy, and its indispensable character for human health and well-being. It also underlined that there is increased stress on fresh water resources which may create crises situation in vulnerable Member States, which calls for concluding fair and equitable agreements on distributing water resources among riparian countries and preserving their quality.
The Declaration stressed the need for international support to facilitate the implementation of the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification in Countries Experiencing Serious Drought and/or Desertification, particularly in Africa and Sub-Saharan countries, with a view to curbing fertile land degradation rates.
The Declaration underscored the importance of achieving energy sustainability for its vital role in economic and human development as well as improved living conditions and basic services. It also called for promoting research on energy efficiency and energy rationalization, while encouraging communication and interaction between the experts of the Islamic world, their international counterparts, industrialists, business people, technology developers and users, policy makers, education and training specialists, and professionals specializing in the environment to enhance understanding of sustainable development in the context of the Islamic world and assess the best possibilities to fulfill international commitments in this regard.
Finally, the Declaration recommended promoting appropriate energy technology localization in OIC Member States in such a way as to improve livelihoods and services, develop the global industrial fabric in the different areas of energy use and energy resources management, and facilitate option for the most economically and technologically efficient applications and projects of renewable energy generation to achieve sustainable development, while at the same time broadening the scope of cooperation between all stakeholders in implementing such projects and ensuring adequate funding thereof.