ECONOMIC AND SOCIAL COUNCIL HOLDS HIGH-LEVEL DIALOGUE ON CURRENT DEVELOPMENTS IN THE WORLD ECONOMY
Also Holds Special Policy Dialogue on “Education for Sustainable Development”
5 July 2011
The United Nations Economic and Social Council this morning held a high-level policy dialogue with the international financial and trade institutions on current developments in the world economy, which was followed by a Special Policy Dialogue on Education for Sustainable Development.
Sha Zhukang, United Nations Under-Secretary General for Economic and Social Affairs, moderator of the panel, introduced and emphasized the importance of the high-level policy dialogue with the international financial and trade institutions on current developments in the world economy. He said the current situation posed serious policy challenges to all governments around the globe. Mr. Sha also introduced the report “World Economic and Social Survey 2011: The Great Green Technological”.
Participating in the policy dialogue, Pascal Lamy, Director-General of the World Trade Organization, emphasized the importance of global trade for economic recovery and avoiding protectionist measures that might cause political turbulence and have a negative impact on the economy, on the one hand, and the need for stronger global governance mechanisms. Supachai Panitchpakdi, Secretary-General of the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development, addressed the impact of rising commodity prices to support those developing countries that had achieved growth in the context of the crisis, noting the need for increasing investments in the developing world and coordination between Finance and Agricultural Ministers. Otaviano Canuto dos Santos Filho, Vice-President for poverty reduction and economic management at the World Bank, indicated that economic recovery remained fragile, thus social systems should be adapted in order to promote real development and growth.
Representatives from UNESCO, the International Trade Centre, Honduras, Ukraine, Japan, China, Pakistan, the United States, and the World Food Programme participated in the interactive dialogue.
In the Special Policy Dialogue on Education for Sustainable Development, Lazarous Kapabwe, President of the Economic and Social Council, said education and learning were crucial for the ability of present and future leaders and citizens to create solutions to create solutions and find new paths to a better future. Ashok Khosla, Founder and President of Development Alternatives, India, drew from his experience as a former teacher to emphasise the importance of education, by addressing root causes of problems and promoting long-term thinking, promoting real development and sustainability. Speaking via video-conference from New York, Professor Jeffrey Sachs, Director, Earth Institute, Columbia University, reiterated the unsatisfactory outlook of education despite the commitments underpinned by the aims of Education for All and the Millennium Development Goals and exhorted Ministers to send a strong signal about the need to strengthen and implement educational goals and make education a strong vehicle for achieving sustainable development. Irina Bokova, Director-General of the United Nations Education, Scientific and Cultural Organization, said UNESCO was leading on the implementation of sustainable development and education by working with the broadband coalition. Supachai Panitchpakdi, Secretary-General of the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development, emphasised the importance of secondary education and the higher return that relevant skills provided to individuals and societies and the need to invest in education in order to promote sustainable economies and societies.
When ECOSOC reconvenes at 3 p.m. this afternoon, it will continue with its High-Level Segment and heard presentations on the Annual Ministerial Review on implementing the internationally agreed goals and commitments in regard to education, and the current global and national trends and challenges and their impact on education, before holding a general debate.
High-Level Policy Dialogue with the International Financial and Trade Institutions on Current Developments in the World Economy
SHA ZUKANG, United Nations Under-Secretary-General for Economic and Social Affairs, said that while it was good news that the global economy was recovering from the recent economic crisis, the economy remained fragile. The global economy was expected to grow 3.3 per cent in 2011 and 3.6 per cent in 2012, compared to 10 per cent in 2010, but this was unequally divided across the world. Growth remained weak in many developing countries; fiscal austerity measures undertaken further impacted issues such as unemployment. Developed countries were still in the midst of a job crisis and it would take two to five years for employment to reach pre crisis level and unemployment continued to be high in many countries. However, in developing countries and economies in transition, especially in Asia, employment rates had recovered pre crisis levels. Oil and food prices had been rising since 2010, which might be good for farmers, but would affect the poor people, thus threatening food security. Uncertainty concerning economic development threatened the progress made by many developing countries, especially in the Least Developed Countries. Resources would be needed to reach the Millennium Development Goals but also in order to make necessary investments in Least Developed Countries. The current situation posed serious policy challenges to all governments across the globe.
Developed countries should be cautious about austerity policies and continue to focus on jobs, and policies should be geared towards protecting jobs and promoting competitiveness. These efforts would not succeed without international coordination. Sufficient resources must be made available to developing countries while fully recognizing the austerity measures taken by developed countries. As Secretary-General of the United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development to be held in Rio de Janerio, Brazil, in 2020, Mr. Sha said efforts would be made to channel the energy of the world economy towards sustainable development, which required far-reaching social, political as well as economic transformations and additional investments, particularly in developing countries. Financing would be key in achieving sustainability and achieving a greener economy. There was a limited capacity to mobilize long-term financing within developing countries and, therefore, an important share of financing would be needed from international resource transfers. More needed to be done and stronger commitments on financial and technology transfers were necessary. The global economic and financial situation was defined by ecological as much as political developments. Economic development was not sustainable unless it was also economically and socially sustainable. The world could not afford inaction on this issue and the framework for sustainable development should be institutionalized in the multilateral framework.
PASCAL LAMY, Director-General of the World Trade Organization, said his remarks would cover the global trade scene, the work of the World Trade Organization, action needed to address global economic challenges and the strengthening of the Economic and Social Council. The context of global trade was fairly clear. As part of the economic recovery, global trade had rebounded strongly since its drop in 2009. Trade continued to grow at two to three times the increase in world output. Mr. Lamy said that the overall amount of trade and the uneven recovery were most important. There was a growing difference between the growth of developing and developed countries, which was reflected in trade. Some associated risks needed to be diagnosed and addressed. High food prices and high energy prices risked inflation, particularly in developing countries where the poor were especially affected. The risk of protectionism remained, even though it was contained during the crisis and was a key reason trade had rebounded. Some worrying developments had been observed, particularly with regards to export restrictions. These trends needed to be watched and addressed because they could have dire social consequences for countries that were net food importers and dependent on world food prices.
The perception among developed countries that employment was an issue affected by the differential in growth between developed and developing countries could create political turbulence and could have consequences for the world economy. The World Trade Organization continued to reinforce monitoring and peer review of trade policy development to contain protectionist pressures. The World Trade Organization continued to work toward adjusting rules of world trade to address rising concerns. The Doha Round addressed such adjustments, but was at a serious impasse because of the differences between developing, developed and emerging countries. A package could be agreed to at the end of this year, concentrating on benefits for Least Developed Countries. The fundamental problems remained the opening of trade for developing countries and enhancing their capacity to use these opportunities. The Aid for Trade programme had achieved increased funding as well as results on the ground. This was an example of how a push for more coordination and cooperation had been effective. The starting point for discussing the role of the Economic and Social Council in global economic governance was simple. The global challenges faced today required more coherence and coordination, as well as more accountability for coherence and coordination. Mr. Lamy believed that the Economic and Social Council needed to be made a more visible and relevant forum for debating economic issues and ensuring coherence. Discussions in the Council should focus on results rather than on projects or aspirations that were shared by all.
SUPACHAI PANITCHPAKDI, Secretary-General of the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development, said that rising commodity prices, in particular food and energy, increasingly permanent high levels of unemployment, and sovereign debts for many countries, were issues on which consistent attention should be paid and should not be allowed to slip out of the global agenda in order to prevent repeating previous mistakes. Positive developments should also be noted and discussion of global trends should not be caught up in the negative aspects. On the one hand, it was very clear that in the South, in emerging economies, in Asia, Latin America and Africa, economies were persistently recovering. Many of these countries been very much negatively affected during the crisis, and efforts should be made to nurture the recovery trends. Asia was becoming the new catalyst for global growth. The growth in Europe, Germany, Brazil, Africa and other places could be understood in connection to growth in Asia. Despite the perception that growth in Asia was slowing down because of the impact of austerity measures, predictions showed growth at least during 2011. Despite the former perception that growth was dependent on external factors, recovery showed that growth trends were better distributed between domestic and external demand and a balanced dependence to both domestic and external demand. At least with regards to 2011, fears of overheating in Asia were exaggerated, however, the issue should not be misinterpreted: concerns with inflation should not lead to complacency; the disciplined monetary policy, specially concerning real state sectors, should be accurately noted.
With the termination of Quantitative Easing 2 (QE2), most stock exchanges in Asia had seen enormous gains and paring with capital glows. This year the United States would host APEC, it was good to see APEC protecting international trade, trade facilitation, trade capacity building and working closely with the private sector. The new agenda for APEC came at a time when protectionist measures might be creeping back in because of fiscal stimulus. The APEC agenda would address next generation trade and investment issues, in particular in the area of innovation and supply chain, development and global governance; secondly, issues of energy and green growth would be the second item in the agenda under a very pragmatic focus; third, focus would be more on cooperation and standardization efforts. Concerning Latin America, Mr. Supachai indicated that the region had been badly hit by the crisis. Brazil’s growth rate was the highest it had been in decades; similarly, many Latin American countries were making progress, particularly in the context of diminishing unemployment rates. API flows in Latin America had also increased and debt had been falling since before the crisis and looked likely to continue to fall. For Africa the prospects looked less positive, however, cotton prices were about the highest levels seen in the last few decades. This was a time where cotton producers in Africa should look at the trends. UNCTAD had organized an African ministerial meeting on cotton, to promote enhancing productivity and address marketing issues. Work on value addition was also important. Before the recent G20 Agriculture Ministers meeting in Paris, there were insufficient governance efforts on food prices volatility and food security. The marketing information on food production was crucial, including over production, lack of transportation and storage capabilities. Finance and Agriculture Ministers should work together to harmonize and reduce the negative impact of fluctuations. Stabilizing energy prices was important to avoid a negative impact on the global economy. Finally, Mr. Supachai noted that after the G20 meeting in Seoul, Republic of Korea, there was an increasing consensus on development and a Plan of Action, with which the G20 would support development in several areas, including coordination on agriculture and fiscal reform. The G20 could serve as a global green room but it would have to multilaterize its agenda with support for the Council.
OTAVIANO CANUTO DOS SANTOS FILHO, Vice-President, Poverty Reduction and Economic Management, World Bank, said the World Bank shared the concerns depicted by Pascal Lamy and Supachai Panitchpakdi. Global recovery was fragile, but there was a bright side to be seen in the improved economic conditions of developing and emerging countries. Most of the developing world had coped well with the crisis, although this was not true everywhere. Developing countries had become the engines of global growth. Most developed countries had emerged from the crisis in bad shape and there was additional risk of shocks or aftershocks. Growth prospects had deteriorated. Developed economies had massive debts and required significant fiscal adjustment, or would face insolvency. Job recovery remained sluggish. A slow medium term recovery was expected. In emerging countries, a switchover of the locomotives in the global economy could be observed. The economic weight of middle income countries was rising. The trajectory of differential growth rates came out in most projections. Development in Asia was in the lead, but other regions had also played a part in this dynamic. In the field of technology, there was scope for technology catch-up in developing countries. Information technology made this easier, as well as the integration of poorer countries. The rise of the middle class in developing countries presented the potential for consumption domestically and created markets beyond those present in developed economies. South-south trade was also a growing trend that could incite developing countries to pursue export-led growth. The growing demand for commodities remained despite the shift of the composition of global development and developing countries’ share of global gross development product rose.
The openness of the global economy, essential for developing countries to realize their potential, should not be taken for granted. There was a looming threat of violating and eroding trade rules. Dire job conditions in developed countries could threaten advances in the trade agenda of the Doha Round. The threat of higher commodity prices was an opportunity for some developing countries, although a threat for the poor. It was important to make the bright prospects for development real, which required making growth socially sustainable. This required the need to adopt social systems without hampering growth and development. Developing countries should not be complacent; they should seize what was offered by the global economy and adopt reforms that made for better economic governance, social stability and equality. Gender equality, in terms of opportunities and outcomes, was not only an end in itself but was also smart economics. A lack of gender equality meant a loss in economic growth.
IRINA BOKOVA, of United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), underlined the role of education in a post-crisis context in which the economy was increasingly recovering but still fragile. The debate on education, including all the different components discussed in the context of the High-Level Segment, made evident that education played an important role in economic recovery and competitiveness and that those countries which had made the greatest investment in education had benefited from improvements in development and equality. Nevertheless, despite this evidence, there was no sufficient recognition of the importance of education. Further investments in education should be made in order to help countries out of the crises. Regrettably, there had been setbacks in the financing of education, domestic and international, which posed challenges to the recovery of the global economy. Economic difficulty should not serve as an excuse in order to reduce financing or the political importance of education.
JEAN-MARIE PAUGAM, of International Trade Centre, said it was important that the Aid for Trade agenda be boosted to benefit the Least Development Countries. Technical assistance offered a relevant solution to meet the needs of Least Developed Countries. The International Trade Centre was working to empower human capacity via training to enhance access to export-led sectors, comply with standards, climb up the product value chain and access foreign markets. The Aid for Trade agenda needed to cope with an evolving development strategy. New challenges had emerged and countries sought new elements of trade, such as tourism, enhanced value chains and south-south trade linkages. Aid for Trade should also be framed with social objectives. Export promotion contributed to gross domestic product growth but not necessarily poverty alleviation. The International Trade Centre tried to focus on the most vulnerable sectors. Gender equality was important to ensure that women could participate in world trade and enter into the value chain.
ROBERTO FLORES BERMUDEZ (Honduras) said Honduras would concentrate on the comments made by Pascal Lamy regarding the strengthening of the Economic and Social Council. In this economic forum, strengthening opportunities for employment, access to foreign markets, working conditions, social security coverage, capacity building, training, and education had been discussed. Social stability derived from small businesses. There was also talk about gender equality and a green economy. Honduras inquired how could the United Nations system be made to be more coherent on all these issues. Honduras asked whether focusing on small and medium enterprises could be a unifying factor to deal with all these elements. Focusing specifically on small and medium enterprises would require addressing all the issues mentioned.
MYKOLA MAIMESKUL (Ukraine) commended the role played by the United Nations in global economic governance and in order to enhance its capacity Ukraine welcomed further work on the review of the General Assembly resolution 61/16 “Strengthening of the ECOSOC”. Development of trade liberalization policies was a cornerstone, not just a declaration but a practical strategy. The prevention of protection was important to protect recovery as well as to find new ways to preserve global competition. Protectionist measures had not been abandoned by the developed world; they could affect the interests of small and vulnerable economies. It was also important to ensure broader transparency and efficient regulation of financial markets, since developing countries depended on their stable functioning. At the same time growth in developing state and middle income countries would highly contribute to their development progress.
NOZOMU YAMASHITA (Japan), responding to the presentation of Mr. Supachai, asked, concerning the complementarily between the work of the G20 and the United Nations, what measures could be taken to facilitate the integration of the G20 into ECOSOC, given that while G20 was led by Finance Ministers, ECOSOC traditionally was handled by Foreign Ministries, with a different agenda.
BO QIAN (China) said China was of the view that uneven development in the world economy was a major issue. The lack of cooperation between different development mechanisms needed to be addressed. This meant that all parties, including development and trade institutions, needed to put more emphasis on these issues, including further emphasis on education. Mobilizing more development resources, creating a better environment for international development and establishing a more open, fair and equitable trading system were key to increased growth and development. China recognized the role of the United Nations in economic development and supported the Economic and Social Council in playing a more important role in economic global governance.
NAFISA SHAH (Pakistan) pointed out the common observations by the panellists regarding the differences between developing and developed countries. Great changes were being seen in developing countries. Following these trends, it was necessary to carve out a place for the Economic and Social Council in global economic and financial governance. Pakistan suggested that, while numerous references had been made to the G20, perhaps the Economic and Social Council could set its own agenda. Although a Least Developed Country that faced numerous challenges, Pakistan was seeking more trade opportunities. Aid for trade was something Pakistan looked forward to, particularly because Pakistan faced a reduced fiscal state because of growing international debt. Increased development aid could be used for education and training. However, other forms of economies, such as rural and urban economies, also needed to be assessed. Strategies were needed to address these economies as well. Economic sustainability depended on inputs to rural and urban areas. Disasters were an issue for Pakistan and other countries. Recovery from emergencies should also be part of the agenda of the Economic and Social Council.
RICK BARTON (United States) said that panel members had addressed the need for further cooperation and coordination. Following up on the question raised by Japan, the United States asked in which other areas there were comparative advantages for work within the United Nations, specifically, concerning the missed opportunities, both in the context of the work of the Council and their own organizations, where improvement was possible without the need for grand schemes reforms. Secondly, he asked panellists to address the situation of counties that, having achieved recovery and economic growth, had not made progress on poverty reduction and other indicators.
SHEILA SISULU, of World Food Programme (WFP), reiterated the importance of addressing the volatility of food prices. In cooperation with the International Fund for Agricultural Development and other interested parties, WFP had called upon the G20 Agriculture Ministers meeting in Paris to prioritize the issue of volatility of food prices. WFP supported the Plan of Action approved by the Ministers to address food price volatility and protect the most vulnerable and, in response to a request by the G20, had prepared proposals, including a food positioning network, and called for the implementation of a pilot programme for a regional humanitarian food reserve system by the end of 2011.
PASCAL LAMY, Director-General of the World Trade Organization, said he agreed with the point of Irina Bokova of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization regarding education. The reality was the majority of development institutions on training and education. The World Trade Organization spent roughly 20 per cent of resources on trade-related training. This confirmed that, overall, the best investment for increasing gross domestic product, trade and equality was education. There was a need to foster coherence, but improving coherence started at home. There was no way that the international system could become more coherent, without Member States enhancing their own coherence capacity. Each institution of the United Nations had its own contribution to the world system. The United Nations had legitimacy. Specialized international organizations had their own comparative advantage. It was within this system that more coherence could prevail, and require members to report on coherence. The Economic and Social Council should be a place where members of the international community should report regularly, visibly and based on a prepared agenda. This could preclude grand reforms, and only meant organizing work effectively and efficiently.
SUPACHAI PANITCHPAKDI, Director-General of the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development, said that people throughout the world recognized the need to map out policies on small and medium enterprises, which were often found in the informal sector. Finance could be enhanced for small and medium enterprises. As for gender, many small and medium enterprises were managed by women and thus needed support. Training and education also required support. Marketing could help to link small and medium enterprises with global firms. The Group of 20 should not be necessarily making the agenda adopted by the United Nations and the Economic and Social Council. It was not the right relationship. Regarding the reform of the Economic and Social Council, a holistic view was required, as many of the issues were intertwined. An integrated process was needed. A change in the way meetings were organized could enhance discussions. The joint determination of agenda was needed. Working groups were led by finance experts and financing predominated discussions on many issues. Mr. Supachai asked whether it was possible to have a discussion about G20 measures as a permanent agenda item. The Economic and Social Council should host the G20, up to once a year.
OTAVIANO CANUTO DOS SANTOS FILHO, Vice-President, Poverty Reduction and Economic Management, World Bank, said concerning education, he endorsed the view of UNESCO concerning the importance of education. The World Bank’s policy dialogue had defined the concept of poor public expenditure and minimum requirements, including education and infrastructure, in order to advocate for the importance of investment in these areas. Addressing the issue of small and medium enterprises, in response to a question from Honduras, he said the possible way was to improve the investment climate and business environment. Large enterprises had means to circumvent bad business conditions while medium and small enterprises did not. He endorsed the view of the International Trade Centre and Ukraine on the importance of aid for trade, with reference to the first ever World Bank trade strategy, on the basis of wide consultations, which addressed the inside border agenda, trade facilitation and willingness to help countries eliminate dead weight losses and improve trade conditions. Finally, responding to Pakistan, he agreed on the importance of addressing natural disasters given the increasing impact on a dense economy, and the need for budgeting and planning for emergencies. The World Bank had made a huge effort to mainstream gender and had succeeded, by engendering some of the project, but struggled with typically economic sectors such as agriculture, energy and water provision. The gender action plan had a roster of projects in which gender equality promoted it. Further mainstreaming was still possible.
SHA ZUKANG, United Nations Under-Secretary-General for Economic and Social Affairs, in closing remarks for the panel, said that the institutional framework for sustainable development was closely related to many of the issues discussed in the panel. Mr. Zukang agreed with Mr. Lamy and underlined that the sometimes, inadequate or absent, and fragmented United Nations system reflected a similar fragmentation at the national level. Further cooperation within countries and Governments would positively impact cooperation at the international level. In preparation for the upcoming meeting in Rio, further work was necessary at the international, regional and domestic level.
Mr. Sha introuduced the World Economic and Social Survey (E/2011/50) report, which analyses the options and challenges associated with the shift to more efficient and renewable energy technologies, with transforming agricultural technologies so as to guarantee food security without further degrading land and water resources, and with applying the technology required to adapt to climate change and reduce risks to human populations from natural hazards.
Special Policy Dialogue on Education for Sustainable Development
LAZAROUS KAPABWE, President of the Economic and Social Council, said it was a great privilege to welcome delegations to the special policy dialogue on “Education for Sustainable Development.” Education and learning were crucial for the ability of present and future leaders and citizens to create solutions and find new paths to a better future. It was essential to build a world where everyone inculcated the values, behaviors and lifestyles required for a sustainable future and positive societal transformation. There were two important approaches. First the generalist approach which began in the early grades and focused on shaping values and lifestyles. Second, the specialist approach that developed the specific skill-sets needed to guide and, if necessary, transform society’s relationship with the natural world in a sustainable direction. Both approaches were needed to address the social, economic and environmental challenges faced. Bold new approaches and better education were required to tackle the fundamental environmental challenges faced globally.
ASHOK KHOSLA, Founder and President of Development Alternatives, India, said that while he was currently a businessman, he had a long history teaching the subject of sustainable development. Addressing the issue of sustainably required acknowledging that social, environmental and economic issues were issues that went together. Equity, harmony of nature and meeting everyone’s basic needs were intertwined and required being addressed together. It was necessary to inculcate in the young values based on long-term thinking and incite a respect for life. Knowledge needed to be systematic, holistic and look to address root causes. Whether in the disciplines of engineering, economics, sciences or business, sustainability and long-term thinking needed to be incorporated into education. In primary and secondary courses, sustainable development was a key issue as well. The very basic issue of literacy needed to be addressed. Without literacy, it was difficult to envision how people could contribute to a sustainable world. At risk was humanity and civilization.
JEFFREY SACHS, Director, Earth Institute, Columbia University, speaking via video link, recalled that there were tens of millions of children without access to education. The commitment behind the goal of Education for All had not been followed through and remained a distant goal; and the commitments financially had been wanting and waning in recent years. For this reason, Education Ministers should send the message that this commitment could not be put aside and that the technical challenge of implementing it, including the financial aspects, should not be forgotten. Regardless of the enormous gaps in order to achieve the established goals, primary education as a goal was not enough and secondary education would be needed to achieve sustainable development. A global curriculum on sustainable development was needed as part of educational goals. At its core, sustainable development was about the intersection between economics, social justice and environmental sustainability, a triple bottom line that would be crucial at the twenty-first century and yet remained systematically taught almost nowhere. Even in the United States there was very little formal education about sustainable development. This was patent in the consequently weak national understanding and discussion on the issue, adversely affected by corporate propaganda, which had prevented the United State from playing a leading role and being a reliable international partner for sustainable development.
In low income settings the challenge of the Millennium Development Goals was to address the real life challenges for children and young people everywhere and that the curricula did not address issues such as environmental sustainability or health either. Putting education at the centre of the fulfillment of the Millennium Development Goals was also about addressing the challenges that many children and young people found in their lives. For this reason, information and communications should be used to promote the education for development because connectivity could radically transform education everywhere, particularly in the developing countries and serve to empower the poorest places, such as the work of the Broadband Commission to Work. Similarly, some of the Millennium villages in Asia and Latin America, which were previously disconnected even from their own countries, were now connected, schools with solar-power Internet access provided new curricula and education models to their children, online resources and libraries, promoting better quality education at low cost which were previously unthinkable. Technology leaders were willing to partner with countries in order to achieve this and Ministers should encourage this work; by connecting young children through videoconferencing and a shared curriculum, they were being taught that an empowering global civil society was possible through increased connectivity and a worldwide network.
IRINA BOKOVA, Director-General of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), said sustainable development was important to UNESCO because the organization was leading on sustainable development education. Addressing the agenda on sustainability, climate change and biodiversity required thinking about education. Achieving these goals was about knowledge, leadership, science and all important components of education systems. UNESCO was working to improve sustainable development education through the broadband coalition. One myth was that sustainable development education was only about developed countries, but UNSCO believed that this was important for everyone. Small Island Developing States were especially concerned about environmental issues because they existed in circumstances related to these issues. By encouraging governments to put sustainable development education policies in place, justice was being done to the sustainable development agenda.
SUPACHAI PANITCHPAKDI, Secretary-General of United Nations Conference on Trade and Development, said he was struck by Jeffrey Sach’s comment on moving sustainable development education goals up to secondary and tertiary education. The highest individual return was found in obtaining higher education. Social return for government and society was highest for secondary education. Too many people left school without the relevant skills and thus States needed to ensure the quality of education. Mr. Supachai wanted to discuss this as a core theme. While education was core to all elements of society, he would focus on the economic aspect. After many decades of investment in education, it was difficult to understand why investment had not brought about sustainable economies and societies. Some countries had succeeded more than others in seizing technology and increasing gross domestic product, regardless of investment in education. Regarding financial support, countries cited a lack of funds due to the economic and financial crisis for reducing investment in education and other fiscal expenditures. However, special attention should be paid to countries that had been overspending on defense and under-spending on education. Social protection should be linked to keeping children in school. In order for countries to become more productive and alleviate poverty, a focus on research, technology and innovation was required. Education needed to be harmonized with the pursuit of specific economic systems. The lack of education should not be an excuse for eschewing a green economy.
ASHOK KHOSLA, Founder and President of Development Alternatives, India, argued that it should be possible to use carbon offset resources to foster education, in particular that of women and children, given the positive relationship between opportunities for women and girls and reduction of demographic growth, and opportunities for carbon reduction. The continued growth of the human population degraded the human condition by causing poverty and exclusion, loss of well-being and dignity; accelerated climate change and impact, through GHG emissions and thus increasing communities’ vulnerabilities; and endangered biodiversity, through the destruction of habitats, the extinction of species and the disruption of ecological cycles. There was a statistical correlation between fertility and carbon emissions per capita suggesting an underlying causal link. Job creation and education for women could have a dramatic impact by providing them with a source of income and confidence, resulting in a reduction of population growth. Therefore, investment in opportunities for women and girls could have a momentous impact both in promoting development and in promoting environmental sustainability. Education for development and sustainability was necessary and not just a matter of content but of effective implementation.
For use of the information media; not an official record