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Brussels, 30 March 2012

Statement by Environment Commissioner Janez Potočnik following the Environment Policy Committee Ministerial Meeting on 29-30 March

Speaking about the outcome of the OECD Environment Policy Committee Ministerial meeting that finished today, Janez Potocnik, European Commissioner for Environment said: "The OECD's excellent research is a sobering confirmation of the immense challenge posed to our livelihoods by climate change, resource scarcity and health impacts of pollution. Fortunately we already have the tools we need to meet this challenge – we just need to use them. This is the key message I want to send to the world – an inclusive green economy will deliver on the promise of sustainable development. The time has come to make it a reality."

Since 1970, the world population has increased by over 3 billion, and the world economy has more than tripled in size. But growth has been unevenly distributed, and has come at a significant cost to the environment. The OECD's Environmental Outlook to 2050 report provides important evidence and new data that reinforce the need for action. The report recommends a green growth strategy to tackle the crisis by transforming our economies, a position strongly backed by the EU, which is advancing a similar agenda through the EU 2020 strategy and its Resource Efficiency Action Plan.

The Ministers' meeting – at which the Environmental Outlook report was presented – has shown that every OECD country is taking advantage of the opportunities of green growth. The best case examples illustrated in the report clearly show green growth can work, and the challenge now is to scale up. The challenges are global and must be addressed by both national and international action.

"This is also the message we need to take to the Rio+20 conference," added Commissioner Potočnik. "We will need concrete decisions, with targets, actions and timeframes that give business the predictability it needs. The report also provides more evidence of the importance of a multilateral approach. The meetings in Nagoya for biodiversity and Durban for climate proved that progress can be made if we trust each other and work in good faith towards a common goal. It is vital that we approach the Rio conference in the same spirit."

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