Sustainable development was highlighted by panelists and delegates alike, who were in attendance at the roundtable discussion. The panelists who presided over the discussion were Sri Lanka’s Minister of Science and Technology Mr. Patali Champika Ranawaka, the Global coordinator of U.N. Major Group on Children and Youth Mr. David Collste, Member of the United Nations Environment Program Mr. Nhathan Nguyen and Ms. Helene Opsal of the U.N. Habitat.
Making the initial remarks, Mr. Collste reiterated that when it comes to environmental protection, emergency preparedness and youth centered urbanization, the attention should be raised towards sustainable development. “It should be included in the education system,” he said.
Addressing the roundtable discussion, Mr. Nguyen said the importance of sustainable development should be taken into account when crafting the post-2015 development plan.
Urbanization has been driven into the youth agenda as a large portion of the youth live in cities. Raising her concerns Ms. Opsal said that in many parts of the world, youth are often treated as a problem than a resource. This trend has to change, she opined.
Replying to a question raised by a delegate, Sri Lanka’s Minister Ranawaka said Sri Lanka does not follow the same development strategy as most of the countries in the region.
“We are concerned about the bio-diversity,” he said. “We have a heritage of sustainable development. If we go on at this pace, the resources will run out before the end of the 21st Century. Oil will run out by 2040 and gas by 2044.
Concluding his remarks, Minister Ranawaka said he gave the message that the world needs to create “a synergy between smart cities and green cities.” Thereafter, the delegates and panelists divided into three working groups.