The discovery of a hole in the ozone layer over Antarctica in the mid-1980s confirmed a tale of impending environmental disaster resulting directly from economic development. Thirty years later, with concerted global effort, the ozone layer is healing itself, and the strategy driving its recovery exemplifies how international partnerships can work together successfully towards a common goal.

The Third International Conference on Financing for Development, to be held in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, in July this year, will discuss how we finance the implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals. According to the UNEP Inquiry, the monies required annually until 2030 are around US$1 trillion of additional direct investment in infrastructure-related industries (e.g. energy, transport, buildings). In addition, there is a need to mobilize a further US$5 trillion a year for other underlying investment that does not even include the “softer” investments in health and education.

Even before the 1987 Brundtlandt Report, Our Common Future, there was a growing recognition that sustainable solutions can be achieved through integrating their social, economic and environmental dimensions. It is very encouraging, therefore, to see that nations renewed their commitments to sustainable development in 2012 at Rio+20, and affirmed that a new integrated agenda beyond 2015 would ensure the promotion of an economically, socially and environmentally viable future for our planet and for present and future generations.

The United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development (Rio+20) outcome document entitled “The Future We Want” emphasized the importance of Green Economy as a sustainable development tool, and acknowledged the existing different approaches, visions, models and tools to achieve sustainable development in accordance with each country’s context and priority.