From Stockholm+40 to Rio+20: We’ve waited long enough! ETUC calls for strong political engagement to achieve real results on sustainable development
Forty years on from the United Nation’s first environmental conference, held in Stockholm in 1972, the anniversary is set to be celebrated in Sweden on 23-25 April with a pre-conference two months prior to the "earth summit" in Rio. The European Trade Union Confederation (ETUC) and its affiliates are actively preparing for Rio+20.
Trade unions are calling for the UN conference to be more than a talking shop, resulting in clear commitments and concrete action plans and goals ensuring a Just Transition, social protection floors, and adequate financing (e.g. through a financial transaction tax). The creation of new UN environmental organisation, including unions as key stakeholders in the transition, must underpin these strategies.
“We are calling on political leaders to engage in sustainable development in real terms as well as rhetoric”, stated Judith Kirton-Darling ETUC Confederal Secretary in advance of the Rio+20 summit. To mark the 40th anniversary of Stockhom and to contribute to greater understanding of the progress needed and currently being made internationally towards sustainable working lives, the ETUC’s affiliate TCO (The Swedish Confederation of Professional Employees) is launching the "TCO Rio Ranking" in which data for 134 countries has been gathered together to monitor and compare how "greenly" different economies have evolved during the forty years that have elapsed since 1972.
“The tools developed by TCO offer workers and unions the means to transparently and directly compare their governments performances, and to identify better ways of achieving sustainability”, stated Judith Kirton-Darling.
Progress on sustainable development will require major improvements in energy efficiency as well as in emission reductions, both in order to secure the competitiveness of jobs but also to ensure a healthy environment.
Politicians, business leaders, trade unionists and journalists globally will be able to use the database and its rankings to analyze how their countries’ progress in different sustainability-relevant indicators. Understanding why some countries have performed well in certain periods is key to policy changes, improved environment and increased competitiveness.
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