Foreign Minister Urmas Paet: Conserving Environment Requires New Way of Thinking


No. 180–E

Speaking at the UN Rio+20 Conference in Rio de Janeiro, Foreign Minister Urmas Paet said that in order to conserve our environment we much change our way of thinking.

“It is essential that we don’t live beyond our means, particularly when it comes to using natural resources,” said Paet. “With its activities today, the world is not yet on the path to sustainable development – by the year 2030 the world will need 50% more food, 45% more energy, and 30% more water,” he added. The foreign minister said that the condition of the oceans and over-exploitation of fish supplies are also cause for concern, as are shrinking forests, the 38% growth in CO2 emissions over the past 20 years, and our large ecological footprint.

“Energy, industry, agriculture, and transport must utilise more environmentally friendly technologies,” he added.

Paet stated that Estonia, as a country that uses e-services, can attest to the fact that innovative solutions help to boost development. “Therefore we focus on introducing and implementing e-solutions in our development co-operation,” said the foreign minister. “In the next few years we plan to shift Estonia’s contribution to development co-operation to focus more on environmentally friendly economic and social development,” Paet noted. He added that Estonia successfully uses many different e-solutions such as e-government, e-health care, mobile parking, e-school, e-voting, plus there is widespread wireless internet. “We are prepared to share our experience with all of our development co-operation partners that are interested,” Paet confirmed. 

Paet asserted that Estonia has also shown how a civic initiative in a small country can become a global undertaking. “The trash cleanup campaign ‘Let’s Do It!’, which got its start in Estonia, was just introduced here in Rio de Janeiro,” said Paet. “The global cleanup campaign ‘World Cleanup 2012’ involves 100 million active people all over the world, who want to take on 100 million tons of illegally dumped trash in 100 countries,” said the foreign minister. “The result will be a cleaner, better, and more sustainable world. This shows that if we have a strong will and combine our strength, we can change the world.”

In Rio de Janeiro Paet also met with the director-general of UNESCO, the prime minister of Saint Kitts and Nevis, and the prime minister of Panama.

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