DAVOS, Switzerland, Jan. 29 — A "revolution" is urgently needed in thinking and policy to bring about sustainable economic growth that can both protect the environment and raise living standards, the UN chief said on Friday.
"We need a revolution. We need revolutionary change, revolutionary action. We need a free market revolution for global sustainability," UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said in an address to the 41st annual meeting of the World Economic Forum (WEF).
For this to happen, change must come across the board, including to the way people live, the way they organize socially and the way politics are conducted. But most of all, it needs fast and decisive action on climate change to slow global warming, he said.
"The days of consumption without thought are over," Ban warned. "Climate change is rendering the old model obsolete."
Developing a sustainable growth agenda has become "the agenda for the 21st century," he said.
Finland's President Tarja Halonen, a co-chair of the UN High-Level Panel on Global Sustainability, called for an approach that combined growth with social justice and environmental sustainability.
"We need a modern trinity," she said, referring to the three policy goals.
Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono declared that his government is committed to policies that balance growth and environmental protection.
Echoing the words of Ban, he said: "We should not make a contradiction between growth and the need to protect the environment."
For Mexican President Felipe Calderon, the situation also presents huge opportunities.
"If you are able to produce more, using less (energy), that will be good for the planet," he said. (PNA/Xinhua)