Questions to take back home

June 25, 2012

REC Executive Director Marta Szigeti Bonifert addresses high-level representatives

"Thank you very much Madame Chair, Your Excellencies, Ladies and Gentlemen.

BRINGING THE MESSAGE: Szigeti Bonifert addresses the high-level assembly on June 21. Photo: Zsolt Bauer

I would like to start by thanking the Brazilian Government for hosting us this second time, the second time in 20 years, and under very different circumstances. If you remember, during the first time we had been very happily been building sustainability into action. [There was] Madame Brundlandt's report, and also all the commitments that came out of it.

But we also had a message coming from Dennis Meadows: There are limits to growth. Did we take this into consideration? Did we think about the issues that were raised at that time? That there are limits to the way how we are living our life? No.

Where are we now? We are 20 years later. We have a financial and economic crisis, and 7 billion people who are waiting for us to make a comment, to take something forward for the progression of our life. They are waiting, and they have been expecting a lot. Did we deliver? We delivered certain steps going forward, but not everything. And I think here come the questions about what we take back home, and where are we going to be when it comes down to one year, two years, or three years time. Is this a time when regional organisations like ours can have and make an impact?

And think listening around the table, coming from all the stakeholders, the countries, and the dialogue, one of the issues that comes up is quite interesting and important. We will not be able to make any difference unless we work in partnership, unless we share our knowledge, our resources and our activities together, and develop them in a friendly way.

Our organisation, the Regional Environmental Center, works from the Baltic States to the Black Sea and the Mediterranean in 17 countries, and we have shared experiences for the past 22 years. One of the issues that we'd like to bring forward and is very much focusing on is governance, both working together locally, regionally, nationally and globally. Unless we forward these messages through interactive platforms--and I was very happy to hear quite a few of them--unless all these words are being read and met, it will not be happening. So one of the commitments we made and are taking forward under the education of sustainable development, we continue our partnership with children, with politicians, with businesses, and building capacities in our region and regions beyond.

So to conclude, the REC stands ready to work, especially with stakeholders, and to work in a partnership to change the paradigm we all face and go from transition to transformational society, building resilient communities for the present and for the future. Thank you very much."

View the high-level session in its entirety here. Szigeti Bonifert's address begins at 2:28:10.