The 2012 UN Sustainable Development Conference is an opportunity to harness the potential of inclusive green growth, to move beyond GDP and incorporate natural capital accounting, to scale up integrated approaches to cityscapes, landscapes, and oceans, and to set international sustainable development goals (SDGs) for energy, food, and water that can shift the world to a more sustainable path to the future.
Inclusive green growth is the pathway to sustainable development. It is the way to reconcile the rapid growth required to bring developing countries to the level of prosperity to which they aspire, meet the needs of the more than 1 billion people still living in poverty, and fulfill the global imperative of a better environment.
GDP looks at only one part of economic performance—output—but says nothing about the wealth and assets that underlie it. Natural capital accounting, used alongside GDP to inform decision-making, helps leaders more accurately value their natural wealth and understand the resources at stake.
Over-exploitation resulting from poor governance is undermining the socio-economic performance of ocean and coastal resources. A new coalition of leaders in ocean advocacy, science, industry is forming to take a more holistic view of the oceans and find ways to end overfishing, pollution, and habitat loss.
Meeting international goals for food security and inclusive green growth requires better integrating the management of land, forests, and water resources. Doing so will help to maximize productivity, improve livelihoods, and reduce negative impacts on the environment.
Urbanization has enabled economic growth and innovation, but it also has contributed to environmental and socioeconomic challenges, including climate change, pollution, traffic, and the growth of slums. We have an historic opportunity to imagine, design, build, and operate smart cities for all with decisions based on good data.
The World Bank Group is mobilizing its knowledge, financing, and innovative market-based solutions behind the UN's Sustainable Energy for All push for universal access to electricity and clean cooking fuels, doubling the share of the renewable energy, and doubling the rate of improvement in energy efficiency by 2030.