ROME, Nov. 4 (Xinhua) -- In spite of the pandemic, the world must keep moving towards a decarbonized future based on a circular economy and sustainable development before it's too late, experts and government officials have said at a green economy conference.
"The ship may be on fire, but it's about to crash into an iceberg," President of Sustainable Development Foundation Edo Ronchi said at the 9th edition of the States General of the Green Economy, a yearly conference which usually takes place in the northern Italian city of Rimini but was held online this year due to the pandemic.
The two-day conference, which closed on Wednesday, focused on the European Union (EU) Green Deal for a sustainable economy and carbon neutrality by 2050.
"Global warming is a crisis worse than the pandemic," Ronchi warned, adding that the European Green Deal promotes "a large-scale transition" to climate neutrality, affecting all industrial sectors.
Italian Deputy Economy and Finance Minister Antonio Misiani agreed.
"If the new model of sustainable development was urgent before the pandemic, it is even more so today," Misiani said, adding that transitioning to a green, sustainable and circular economy is the main road to Italy's economic recovery in the wake of the pandemic.
"It is an opportunity to create hundreds of thousands of good jobs in our country," he said.
Dutch Minister for Foreign Trade and Development Cooperation Sigrid Kaag warned that "collectively, we're at the helm of a ship that is still sailing in the wrong direction."
"Where we are still failing... is on the circular economy... which is a key building block to a fully green economy," she said. "We need to lift and change our entire economic system."
"An increasing number of companies want to be SDG-relevant and climate-focused, and it is governments' responsibility to enable them to make that transition," Kaag said in reference to the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (UN SDGs).
The minister called for new, innovative partnerships on the "pathway to... a green, inclusive agenda which will yield the economic dividends and produce the types of jobs we need for the future, allowing us to accelerate out of this old way of producing."
Also taking part in the conference was Science and Technology Counselor Sun Chengyong from the Chinese embassy in Rome, who stressed "China's determination to actively respond to climate change and to engage on the path of green, low-carbon development."
"China is firmly on the path to green development and continues to increase its investments" to foster a green, circular and sustainable economy, Sun added.
Sun went on to say that there are "wide prospects for Sino-European and Sino-Italian cooperation in many sectors, such as global climate governance, post-pandemic green recovery, and sustainable development."
The States General of the Green Economy conference was organized by Italy's Sustainable Development Foundation and the Italian National Council of the Green Economy, with support from the Italian Ministry of Environment, Ministry of Economic Development and the European Commission.
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