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Remarks by Achim Steiner, UNEP Executive Director at Equator Initiative 2010

New York, 20 September 2010 - Distinguished guests, Let me first congratulate the 25 - and the five special - winners we applaud tonight.

Your remarkable contributions are part of an eight year-old pipeline of extraordinary projects showcased and supported by the Equator Initiative since 2002.

Some people ask me what does a Green Economy looks like at a national or local level?

Well they need look no further than this evening's winners-projects that deal with multiple challenges, but which are cost-effectively delivering multiple opportunities in the real, 21st century, world.

Projects that also underline that a transition to a low carbon, resource efficient, employment-generating economy is not a prescription.

But a broad concept that needs tailoring to national circumstances- because every country and community is different.

Indeed, diversity of ideas and diversity of implementation is precisely what is needed in a world of complexity.

You cannot and should not boil down sustainable development to a tick list of do's and don'ts, or a straight jacket available in only one size.

Sustainable development will never be amenable to simple solutions or quick fixes.

So in celebrating our winners, we celebrate that diversity - diverse solutions to common, but also unique problems that are rooted within cultural and social parameters as much as economic and environmental ones.

And that is precisely what are winners exemplify -diverse and dynamic answers to drivers of environmental change manifested locally but with global resonance.

Ladies and gentlemen,

Science tells us that biological diversity confers strength to an ecosystem.

These diverse projects can, if embraced and scaled-up by policymakers and through partnerships with the private sector and NGOs, assist in delivering greater resilience in a vulnerable world.

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Further Resources

UNEP: Green Economy Initiative

Equator Initiative

UNEP: International Year of Biodiversity

UN Reduced Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation (REDD)


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