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Remarks by Achim Steiner, UNEP Executive Director to 30th Annual Conference of the International Association for Impact Assessment (IAIA10)

"The Role of Impact Assessment in Transitioning to the Green Economy"

hosted by UNEP

International Conference Centre Geneva (CICG)

6-11th April 2010

Mrs. Michele Kunzler, State Council, Republic and State of Geneva,

Mr. Gerard Poffet, Vice-Director, Swiss Federal Office for the Environment

Mr. Lars Lundquist, Head of Packaging Science and Environment, Nestlé

Mr. Nick Taylor, President of IAIA

Mr Hussein Abaza, former head of UNEP's Economics and Trade Branch,

Sponsors, distinguished delegates, members of the United Nations family, ladies and gentlemen,

Today we make a little bit of history with UNEP being the first ever UN agency to host this important association and gathering of impact assessment professionals and experts.

There is every reason to imagine even more significant history to be made through a deeper alliance between you, UNEP and the United Nations in general.

The theme of this conference, "The Role of Impact Assessment in Transitioning to the Green Economy", echoes to the 21st century need to turn sustainability into a living, breathing reality for six billion people rising to over nine billion by 2050.

The challenges are legion, but so are the opportunities.

Indeed it is in part the starkness of the place in which the world finds itself in the second decade of this new century that has perhaps lifted the lids off the eyes of many to a fundamental reality.

The status quo, the economic models of the 20th century, are unlikely to assist in achieving the multiple goals the international community has set ranging from combating climate change to supplying freshwater, sufficient food and overcoming poverty.

Indeed it is clear that a fresh and more sophisticated lens and strategy is needed if we are collectively thrive, let alone survive over the coming years and decades.

Ladies and gentlemen,

I am sure many of you in this room are familiar with the philosophy and with the context of the Green Economy Initiative.

So please indulge me if I briefly outline its genesis, its raison d'etre and its current dynamics and direction.

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