President Goodluck Jonathan on Thursday said his major goal in office was to create more job opportunities for Nigerians in order to see them rise out of poverty.
He said his administration had resolved to create wealth to ensure sustainable development.
Jonathan made the commitment in a statement he read at the plenary of the United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.
He said, “In our sustainable development agenda, under our medium to long term national plans, we have developed several sectoral initiatives, particularly in agriculture, petroleum, solid minerals, power supply, renewable energy, trade and investment, water and sanitation, which accord priority to environmental and wider development issues.
“Our goal is simple: To create more jobs and opportunities for our people to rise out of poverty, create wealth to ensure sustainable development.”
Jonathan said heads of state and government across the world had an obligation to eradicate poverty and promote green economies for sustainable development.
He expressed the belief that the promotion of a green economy must be underlined by clear national objectives, social and economic development imperatives and the attainment of the Millennium Development Goals.
The President identified challenges such as the global financial crisis, migration, rapid urbanisation, energy and food crisis, low resistance to natural disasters, desertification and loss of the eco-system as some of the factors militating against sustainable development in Africa.
He called for more assistance from the rich and developed nations of the world to help African countries to cope with these challenges.
He said, “While we recognise that developing countries have the primary responsibility for implementing their own sustainable development agenda, there is no doubt that they need the support of the international community to achieve these objectives.
“In effect, Rio+20 can only be seen to be successful if the thorny issue of the means of implementation is adequately addressed.
“We must bridge the yawning gaps undermining the fulfilment of international commitments on sustainable development, especially in areas of finance, external debt, trade and investment, capacity building and technology development.
“Today, we have a unique opportunity to reshape the future and redefine the relationship between human advancement and environmental sustainability, by ensuring that we join, in a collective effort, to reduce the conflict between human development and environmental conservation.
“Twenty years ago at the ‘Earth Summit,’ we made a number of pledges. Today, 20 years later, it is evident that there is still a lot more that we need to do. Working together to develop ‘green economies’ offers us a greater chance of a sustainable future. And that work must be intensified now.”
Jonathan said that as the nations’ challenges were collective, both in nature and consequence, their responses must also be collective for them to have the desired impact.
He said Nigeria believed that the United Nations Environment Programme in Nairobi, Kenya should be strengthened as a more robust United Nations Agency dedicated to advancing environmental and sustainable development issues.
Meanwhile, Jonathan has arrived in Nigeria from Brazil after taking part in all the summit’s plenary sessions.
He arrived at the Nnamdi Azikwe International Airport, Abuja, alongside his entourage at 10 am local time on Friday.