President of the Republic of Lithuania Dalia Grybauskaitė
Chair of the Council of Women World Leaders

Speech by H.E. Dalia Grybauskaitė, President of the Republic of Lithuania, at the United Nations World Conference on Sustainable Development in Brazil

20 June 2012, Rio de Janeiro

Mr. Chairman/Madam Chairwoman,

Ladies and Gentlemen,

We are all here to make a strong step forward towards making sustainable development an attainable reality. And not only for the future generations, but to the people who inhabit the Earth at this very moment. We must start right now since we don't have the luxury of time that addressing development challenges requires.

We can only compensate this lack of time with global efforts towards sustainable development.

It means exceptional solidarity, where all countries, all people, all businesses commit to the cause. Either we are all in, or our goals get out.

To achieve our goals in sustainable development, we have to be smart, sensitive and responsible.

Smart means innovative and effective. Innovations and smart incentives create new forms of production and allow more effective use of energy and natural resources. For example, the Lithuanian carbon intensity has decreased faster than its per capita GDP growth.

This is the result of our strong belief that there must be the right balance of economic growth, energy security and efficiency, and the environment. On the one hand, being reliant on a single outside energy supplier, we are using a lot of local biomass as a recourse we need to outweigh this dependence, but on the other hand, we managed to increase the area of our forests by 11 per cent in twenty years. And meantime our economic growth is one of the fastest in the European Union.

Sensitive means understanding each other's needs and possibilities. Sensitivity goes hand in hand with global solidarity. We strongly believe that we have to complement the ways we measure well-being and development today. More sensitivity in measuring wealth, its tempo and quality would help us to concentrate on the most important development goals and contribute to poverty eradication.

Responsible means that our words and resolve should lead to actions and real change. For that we should not be afraid to make the greener economy and a responsible use of environment resources compulsory.

Benchmarks, clear targets and a proper institutional framework would only facilitate all our efforts towards achieving sustainable development goals.

The European Union has already adopted the Strategy Europe 2020. This growth strategy for the coming decade will help the EU to become a smart, sustainable and inclusive economy in a changing world.

When work is done together, overstepping national boundaries, then even small countries like Lithuania can make an input in greening our economy while at the same time fostering its growth.

By being smart, responsible and sensitive we can make a huge step forward to a more sustainable future of our planet. And most importantly, we should not forget that even small actions matter. Even more, they sometimes turn into a big change.

Let me give an example of the initiative "Let's do it" bringing together local people to clean up their living surroundings every spring. Started in small Baltic States, now it has turned into a huge international campaign across the world. And yesterday it took place next door, inviting us all to join cleaning up the Park of Rio. 

It proves both, that we share the same concerns and that we have to face them together. This is the only way to ensure that the future we want becomes the future we get.

Let's do it!

Dalia Grybauskaitė, President of the Republic of Lithuania


Official photo by Džoja Gunda Barysaitė