Outreach Issues A daily publication of Sustainable Development Issues Network (SDIN) and Stakeholder Forum (SF)
The Cost of Wasting CSD THURSDAY May 14, 2009
Inside this Issue: The Cost of Inaction
DAVID KORTEN: Reframing the Question: From Growth to Reallocation
Environment and Labour
Rio+20 – Heralding the Age of Sustainability
CSD-17: An African Youth Perspective
Live from the CSD
Food for Thought...
Outreach Issues is the civil society newsletter produced by the SDIN Group (ANPED, TWN and ELCI) and Stakeholder Forum. Outreach Issues aims to report with attitude, from the global scene of sustainability. The organizations publishing Outreach Issues are not responsible for the content of signed articles. Opinions expressed in articles are those of the authors.
By: Neth Dano and Juan Hoffmaister, Third World Network
As the current CSD cycle is closing in on the finishing line being no closer to an agreed text than they were before the weekend, we cannot help but ask, “is this worth all the cost of coming to New York three times in two years?”. In tough economic and financial times like now, the question of cost becomes unavoidable. With more than 100 million people joining the ranks of the world’s hungry and malnourished in 2008, cost is a legimate ethical issue. Continues on page 2
Indefensible costs If we judge the worth of this cycle by the pages upon pages of brackets and bold lines in the draft Negotiating Text as of Wednesday, we should all be hiding in shame. The cost of holding two sessions and an intersessional meeting over the past two years are quite high. Without a decent outcome in the form of concrete, time-bound and sustainable developmentoriented policy priorities and actions, the costs of holding this cycle is indefensible. Move beyond the expectations from Rio Today, as you pick up a copy of the negotiating text, look carefully at it, read it line by line, and ask:. Will the outcomes embedded in this document deliver anything new? Will it help secure the right to food? Will the text help feed a hungry mouth? Will it help to improve the life of millions in the rural world? Will it help us fight desertification and drought? If you can not answer these questions in a positive way, perhaps something has gone wrong with the process this time. Perhaps we have lost the spirit that brought the world together in Rio? Perhaps it is time for honest conversations to help bring the CSD up to the expectations set in 1992 and even move beyond? Nothing less than immoral! It is nothing less than immoral to be spending public money, emitting tons of CO2, spending hundreds of hours debating, and ending up with nothing but a document full of brackets. An agreed outcome that is nothing but a basket of wish lists without concrete means of implementation and time-bound targets could not justify the cost of this session. Will delegates be able to face farmers in their respective countries if the outcome lies buried in incomprehensible language and impenetrable brackets? Committing to such an outcome would be an unforgiveable sin.
one, consider this:, CSD 17 could have helped more people by simply not meeting. The more than US$900.000 (at least) in airfares could have been used to feed 600.000 children for a week: the estimated US$1.800.000 (at least) from per diems could have been used to guarantee access to learning materials for 400,000 children in Zimbabwe through UNICEF, or the $900,000 in airfares could have been used to to bring 180,000 goats to support rural development in semi-arid areas or the same $900,000 could have bought 30,000 drum seeders for rice farmers to reduce the burden in sowing seeds. Delegates of inconclusive outcomes, is it pertinent to ask you: What are we all doing here? No more inconclusive outcomes!
A weak outcome – unforgiveable! With an inconclusive outcome or a weak
As the UN Secretary-General Ban-Ki Moon said at yesterday’s Opening Session of the High Level Ministerial Segment,
Photo by Kelly McCann
‘CSD-17 must succeed and inspire the world. This CSD cannot afford another failure at this time when the world is looking for answers on how to get out of the deep mud that humanity has fallen in’ With an impending double whammy, (CSD 15 on climate and energy was also inconclusive! Shame on those delegates!!), it is perhaps high time to rethink the positition you, delegates, have played in putting CSD in a role where it fails to lead the world on a sustainable path. Leadership – not waste! With almost one billion hungry people no one, not even the UN, can justify such a WASTE as this might be... Get a grip delegates, get a sustainable grip on yourself and produce an outcome that gives us a sustainable hope for a sustainable future! Give us leadership not waste! This article has been edited for print by the editor.
REFRAMING THE QUESTION: From Growth to Reallocation What’s an Economy For?
By: David Korten
Change starts with another basic question. Is the purpose of the economy to expand the power and privilege of a ruling elite? Or is it to secure and enhance the well-being of all the people who depend on it for their livelihood? Our institutional design choices follow logically from the answer to this question.
We have spent too long searching without success for an answer to the question, “How do we make development sustainable?” I have come to suspect it is the wrong question. It too easily translates to “How do we make economic growth sustainable?”—a question for which there is no answer, because sustained economic growth is impossible on a finite planet. Let us ask instead, “How can we create sustainable human societies free from want and violence?” a question to which this simple assessment of the problem provides ready answers: 1. Excess Consumption: Current collective levels of human consumption exceed what critical environmental systems can sustain. 2. Inequality: Extreme and growing inequality divides the world between the profligate and the desperate. This intensifies resource competition, undermines physical and mental health, erodes the social fabric, and fuels random violence. 3. Dysfunctional Institutions: The institutions of the global economy are dedicated to growing aggregate consumption and increasing financial returns to money, thus accelerating environmental collapse and increasing the gap between rich and poor. We humans are on a path to mutual self-destruction that technological innovation and marginal policy adjustments cannot resolve. To become sustainable, we must reduce aggregate
material consumption, redistribute resources from rich to poor and from destructive or non-essential to essential uses, stabilize population, and invest in rebuilding community and regenerating Earth’s living capital. Reallocation, not aggregate growth, is the key to sustainable prosperity for all. For example, we can and must end war and convert to peace economies. Reconfigure built infrastructure and transportation systems to eliminate automobile-dependence. Redirect creative and media resources from advertising to education. End financial speculation and redirect investment resources to productive sustainable enterprises devoted to meeting community needs.
Empire Economy: If the goal is to expand elite power and privilege, then concentrate economic power in a few globe spanning transnational corporations that value only money and acknowledge allegiance only to the financial interests of their managers and richest owners. Free the corporations from rules, borders, taxes, and public oversight that constrain their ability to monopolize control of money, natural resources, markets, and technology for purely private ends. Call this the Empire Economy. The rules of the competitive Empire Economy give the rich and powerful free reign to expropriate the resources of the less powerful. The winners enjoy lavish lifestyles. The losers experience increasing desperation. It is, however, a pact with Satan, because this choice ultimately brings environmental and social collapse. Earth Community Economy: If the goal is to secure and enhance the well-being of all, distribute economic power equitably and root it in place-based communities of people who care for the future of their children, communities, and the natural systems that sustain them.
Encourage local self-reliance in meeting needs for food, energy, and other basic needs and give local communities the tools they need to control and manage their own resources in ways that bring their consumption into balance with their environmental resources. Share information and technology freely, but limit the movement of material goods and resources to what is necessary to compensate for imbalances in resource endowments. Call this the Earth Community economy. The rules of the Earth Community Economy limit the concentration of wealth and power and favor those who cooperate to moderate consumption and sustain and improve the health of Earthâ€™s natural systems. Everyone enjoys a full, creative, and meaningful life without lavish material luxuries and future generations will enjoy the same. Equality and Cooperation as Defining Goals According to the report of the recent WHO Commission on Social Determinants of Health, economic equality is not only just. It is also essential to our mental and physical health. Greater equality facilitates greater cooperation and sharing of resources with little need to divert precious resources to maintain armies, prisons, material status symbols, propaganda machinery, and other requirements of a system of elite privilege. Instead of forcing people everywhere to compete against one another for too few jobs in a world of massive unmet need, it facilitates cooperation in common cause to assure every person a secure and meaningful source of livelihood. The global financial collapse has exposed the depth of the corruption of an imperial global financial system devoted to creating unearned financial claims to the real wealth of society through speculation, the inflation of financial 4
â€œTo find useful answers, we must first find the right questions. I urge the Commission on Sustainable Development to rethink the questions that frame its work.â€? bubbles, usury, asset stripping, loan pyramids, accounting fraud, bogus securities ratings, and extortion. This exposure creates the needed opening for conversations at all levels of society from the local to the global about the purpose we expect our economies to serve and the implications for the design of our economic institutions. Will we choose financial indicators or health indicators as the basis for evaluating economic performance? Will market rules favor global corporations or
human scale community centered local businesses? Will money creation be a public or a private function? Will tax and wage policies favor economic concentration or equitable distribution? These are all key questions. To find useful answers, we must first find the right questions. I urge the Commission on Sustainable Development to rethink the questions that frame its work. Let us hope we still have time to navigate a transition from the Empire Economy we have to the Earth Community Economy we must now create. David Korten is co-founder and board chair of YES! magazine and author of Agenda for a New Economy, When Corporations Rule the World, and The Great Turning: From Empire to Earth Community.
Environment and Labour “Strengthening the Trade Union participation in the environmental processes” is a three year program that has managed to bring environmental information, training and policy tools to unions around the world, particularly in the developing world. It was initiated in April 2007, and continues till June 2010. At the end of this 2009, Unions from around 100 countries will already have participated in the program. Almost 300 different experiences of concrete Union actions have been compiled. Training and policy sessions have been organized in Asia Pacific and Latin America and the Caribbean regions. Eastern Europe and Central Asia and Africa will follow shortly. Practical projects on climate change and sustainable management of chemicals are being implemented with local and national organizations in these regions. By: Laura Martin, Sustainlabour
Unions face the challenge of sustainability Today the term “green jobs” is everywhere, President Obama has a Special Advisor on Green Jobs, Van Jones. Across the world voices are raised calling for recovery investments, that will fight the profound crisis we are all experiencing and also address fundamental environmental challenges, namely people are calling for investments in sectors that help us to turn towards a low carbon economy and to overcome the economic and the extreme job crisis we are suffering. Trade unions organizations worldwide, represented by their International Trade Union Confederation demand urgent and drastic actions, a shift in paradigm towards social equity, redistribution of wealth, multilateralism, but also with decided and strong insistence on environmental sustainability.
“Trade Unions … demand urgent and drastic actions, a shift in paradigm towards social equity, redistribution of wealth, multilateralism, but also with decided and strong insistence on environmental sustainability. ”
Today it is finally clear that Unions have something to say, and much to offer, in the transition to a sustainable model. Unions also show, that the world of organized work must integrate environmental limits in its proposals towards a change of model.
The First Trade Union Assembly on Labour and Environment
Bringing the world of labour and the environment closer has been the objective of Sustainlabour Foundation. It is also an objective of a program that has been implemented together with the United Nations Environmental Program (UNEP) to strengthen the participation of workers and their organizations in environmental processes, the Environment and Labour programme.
The Environment and Labour programme was the result of a follow up of an original joint proposal, which started in January of 2006, when both organisations organized in Nairobi, the First Trade Union Assembly on Labour and Environment. UNEP through hosting the event in its headquarters showed surprising courage, allowing numerous groups of unionists to debate freely: 104 representatives of union organizations from all the corners of
the planet took part. Trade Unions demonstrated courage by commiting to an environmentally ambitious agenda for the future, neither then nor now is this an easy position, and is not free of contradictions and difficulties. Its final declaration continues to be a relevant document. After the surprises and success of this meeting. We decided to follow up and built a program that deepened and reflected some of the results, joining forces with the International Trade Union Confederation (ITUC) and the International Labour Organisation (ILO), through funding of the government of Spain. From global to local, a wide variety of activities: first results At the First Assembly Trade Unions had demanded training on climate change and 5 7
the sustainable management of chemicals, the program has evolved since to offer these key skills. Training manuals that have been widely spread and are used by numerous Unions. Unionists also demanded spaces to debate policies for sustainability, which has lead to organised regional conferences where they can get information on regional tendencies and make their policy proposals, for example last November in Yakarta, this coming May in Buenos Aires, September in Baku, November in LomĂŠ will all have regional conferences. 75 differing countries and regions across the world partcipate, it is truly a global program. The current Environment and Labour program also provides support to developing country Unionist to attend environmental negotiations and provide training session in their regions. In Pozan, a two day training was run around the themes of climate change accountability, implications for development and the labour markets and the state of negotiations. During the upcoming COP 15, in Copenhagen the Trade Union delegation could rise to 150 people. But in addition to all these worthwhile activities, the Environment and Labour program seeks to advance solutions at a local level. When, in the first assembly, Unions presented their environmental activities and programs, it was decided to choose the best, the most adaptable ones, and start to implement them in other places of the world. Almost 300 different experiences have been compiled and the figures increase everyday. Thanks to the inspiration relating to these experiences, cotton agricultural workers are being trained in Mali, Senegal, Burkina Faso and Benin on the risks of pesticides, construction workers of Cajamarca, Peru, can receive occupational training to work in the installation and maintenance of solar panels and hotel workers in Malaysia are going to be able to understand the concept environmental management of these facilities and to participate in it, where the employers allow.
These are concrete examples of the Trade Unions ability to create new green jobs or to transform the existing ones into more sustainable practices Aiming for coherence in a complex reality Working on labour and environment means also addressing intelinkages, whether it be food security for an Africa that is already facing climate change, or gender and green jobs. We are and we will find difficulties and contradictions, problems with great gravity and urgency, but we are also finding solutions and proposals, are are activley engaged in discussions and exchanges of information with organizations of very different traditions, sectors and cultures. Sustainability is not an easy area of work, the interrelation of the problems and of the solutions are all difficult concepts added to this is the complexity of our system, socially, economically and environmentally. We will not find univocal solutions, easy answers, short cuts the move to sustainability will require difficult
decisions. But these decisions need to be made! Democracy is not easy either, but no change is possible without the participation of the people affected. The enormous democratic deficits of our present society cause shameful inequalities and environmental disasters. Workers of the world must participate in the building of a sustainable future. This current program tries to advance exactly from there, from the recognition of the difficulty, of the complexity. Of the need to unite for present and future generations. Strengthening trade union participation in environmental processes. A joint UNEP â€“ Sustainlabour program funded by the Government of Spain. For more information www.sustainlabour.org www.unep.org/labour_environment
FARO Demands 108,601 signatures demanding the priority of the access to safe water and sanitation for all people, as a right.
By: Marisa Fernandez, Ecología y Desarrollo
A number of Civil Society Organisations participated in the International Exposition 2008 celebrated in Zaragoza (Spain) around the themes of water and sustainable development. The FARO turned out to be one of the most emblematic pavilions of Expo 2008, supported by the participation of 347 NGOs.
Water and Sanitation Right Water ecosystems Degradation Water and climate change Big dams and infrastructures Water uses and abuses Public management of Water
Finally, the visitors were able to commit to a common message and become involved in guaranteeing water sustainability by adding their signatures to the following statement:
Water Emergency risks management Water and conflicts
The FARO´s exhibition and programme were organized along eight thematic areas. These themes were the messages presented to the one million Faro Pavilion visitors:
issues. In this way they were able to know the daily situation of millions of people.
The objectives of the Faro pavilion were to show alternative forms of building techniques used all over the world. In addition to this, visitors were able to experience the differing situations experienced by people around water
“Because having access to safe water and sanitation for all people is a right and the protection of aquatic ecosystems, a priority. Act now!” Today on the 14th of May, a delegation of Faro’s organising partners present to United Nations, the 108.601 signatures 7
and the twelve petitions which summarize the proposals of change to sustainability in water issues. Expressly recognise and guarantee the human right to safe drinking water and sanitation for all human beings as a fundamental human right and as such a politically, economically and socially inalienable right. Rethink the social dynamics in the North, where pockets of poverty still endure and where access to safe drinking water and sanitation is not a reality for all people. Guarantee the necessary investments in education as well as infrastructure that ensure the delivery of basic drinking water and sanitation services to all people as these are issues of health and human dignity with a special emphasis on the needs of women. Consider educational activities as a strategy to achieve social transformation: reform educational philosophies and policies so that they incorporate compulsory continuing education for teachers in the culture of sustainability and specifically in terms of water reforming the contents of educational curriculum. Launch conservation (ecosystem sustainability) and demand management (savings and efficiency) strategies in lieu of traditional supply side policies that focus exclusively on the construction of large dams and other water infrastructures, and ensure the compliance with the basic rights of native peoples to their land and culture through an active participation in the decision-making process. Institutionally recognise the creation of social platforms that foster dialogue and social participation as valid mechanisms for the prevention and resolution of conflicts. Recognise water as a public good that cannot be treated as a commodity. Water management must be realised through the public sphere and be governed by a new
culture of water that includes social participation and oversight. Therefore, we ask for a change in the direction of water policies and that they be excluded from any and all WTC agreements. Condition the existence of new urban, agricultural and industrial developments to the availability of water and the new scenarios brought about due to global climate change and ensure that these aspects are considered in the environmental impact assessments. Recognise that disasters are not always â€œnaturalâ€?. They are often the direct consequence of specific unsustainable development models that increase our vulnerability to and the risks of disasters. In the framework of the management of these risks, prevention must be prioritised through a solid institutional foundation that allows for implementation at the local and national level guaranteeing the participation of civil society groups.
Introduce savings and efficiency mechanisms in all aspects, beginning with the installation within a span of ten years of water metres for all end users. Establish by the year 2012 a worldwide network of representative natural water areas, that include indigenous and traditional communities, by environmentally restoring these areas and their fishing, natural resources and biodiversity and ensuring that these areas, where appropriate, utilise organic and sustainable agricultural methods. Promote a personal, cultural and social change which brings about a decrease in consumption, including the unsustainable consumption of water and energy. We must revise the implicit assumptions in out current model of consumption through a process of listening and fair dialogue with those who hold other world views.
Rio+20 – Heralding the Age of Sustainability Imagine, if you will, the verdict of historians judging the leadership and understanding of humanity in the early 21st century. Faced with multiple and cumulative challenges – peak oil, financial crisis, food riots, climate change, species loss – it seems odd to even contemplate that we don’t need to hold Rio+ 20. By: Tony Manwaring, Chief Executive, Tomorrow’s Company
But such doubts would surely be evident of a species in denial and crisis, when we come to terms with the fact that we are entering a new economic era, one in which the policy tools of the post-war period can offer only partial guidance and will provide limited traction – it is as if we are relying on the levers of a steam engine whilst seeking to reprogram a super-computer. Other studies have concluded that civilisations – which their members presume will be enduring, and will last for generations – collapse, sometimes quickly, if they lack the critical self awareness to understand their own basis for survival and renewal: not to hold Rio+20 would be a ‘canary in the coalmine’ for humanity’s future. Sure, there is a recession, it would be too expensive, lets just get few the next few months, and then see if we can survive the next year – the last thing we need is an expensive, high profile, carbon guzzling junket of world leaders, all talk and no action. The critique is as obvious, as it is just plain wrong. Why? Because, whatever their faults and frustration, Rio and the events that have followed, have drawn a line in the sand in creating a common conviction that sustainability matters, and is a bedrock of policy action to tackle the most pressing issues facing our planet and in particular the poorest and most vulnerable. But more than that, there is a fundamental duty to recognise that the conditions facing millions are rapidly degrading. We talk a lot about runaway climate change these days, but we are witnessing the conditions for run away poverty and loss of life. In our recent Ubuntu Declaration, drafted by Right & Humanity together with the South African Human Rights Commission, we draw attention to chilling facts: with every 1%
“We need a radically new and generative relationship between civil society, government and business, to create the enabling conditions for the new economic and social order to come into being.” decline in the growth rates of developing countries, 20 million more people will be pushed into poverty; it is estimated that 46 million more people will have to live on less than $1.25 per day, and that by the end of 2010 there could be 90 million more people living in extreme poverty. All of these reasons should be compelling enough, but there is arguably a more fundamental reason still. We argue that a new economic era has begun – the Age of Sustainability – disguised by recession, and false hopes built on a confusion of cyclical and structural change. The hope is that business as usual will lead to things getting better, and they may for a while, but this should not disguise the more profound underlying conditions for crisis that we face in years to come, evidence of which we can already see in for example species loss, the loss of summer ice in the arctic, food riots, water shortages. What is changing is so simple and stark that we can barely contemplate its reality. That the basic conditions of life, on which we all depend, are being fundamentally compromised. It is the human equivalent of the proverbial meteor shower hitting when dinosaurs walked the earth – only this problem is ‘man made’.
sun and the winds and the soil to fuel our cars and run our factories. And we will transform our schools and colleges and universities to meet the demands of a new age. All this we can do. All this we will do." (Inaugural Address, 20th January 2009) All around us we see the green shoots of ‘tomorrow’s green economy’ – new ways of living and working; new forms of energy, transport, infrastructure, and city designs. For us to rise to this challenge, we need not only to harness our capacity for innovation as never before, but also return and renew humanity’s capacity for wisdom. And we need a radically new and generative relationship between civil society, government and business, to create the enabling conditions for the new economic and social order to come into being – which comes to terms with the realisation that business has an essential role to play as a force for good. The twenty first century, as CS Kiang argues in Tomorrow’s Global Talent, our recent report, must be an era of eco and ego, or yin and yang, of development and equity. Business as usual won’t do, and neither will old models of distribution, development and sustainability. We need a Rio +20 fit for purpose for the Age of Sustainability. Tony Manwaring is Chief Executive of Tomorrow’s Company, the think and do tank, working with leading businesses and business leaders, to understand what business success means, how it is changing and how it needs to be achieved in the triple context of economic, social and environmental opportunity and impact in which we now live. For more information: www.forceforgood.com.
So there is urgency and there is danger but this is also an era of unparalleled opportunity, captured powerfully by President Obama - "The state of our economy calls for action: bold and swift ... We will harness the
CSD-17: An African Youth Perspective By: Esther Agbarakwe and Anna-Maria Abaagu, Youth Caucus
It is very instructive that Africa is one of the themes of the 17th session of the Commission on Sustainable Development. Africa is faced with the worst global challenges in achieving sustainable development. She has a lot of resources, but the question is: how are the youths from Africa involved in the process of tackling the problems of the continent? It is very important that we contribute at the UN CSD. Our marginalization in decision-making poses a threat to good governance and sustainable development, especially as most of Africa’s development challenges impact on both the youth of today and tomorrow. Photo by Lisa Develtere
Young people, who constitute the majority of Africa's population, are an important force and partner in the field of global interdependence. It follows, therefore, that youths are social actors who should be recognized as having a role to play in development and who are capable of carrying out projects and programmes in the field of sustainable development. It is a fact that no African Government has a youth on their official delegation or even a youth representative at the youth Caucus except those funded by the German and Swedish governments or NGOs. Why do we not involve the young people from Africa? An environment where elders believed that they have the monopoly of knowledge cannot lead into a sustainable future! “Provide all, especially children and youth, with educational opportunities that empower them to contribute actively to Sustainable development.” (Earth Charter 2000)
“Young people, who constitute the majority of Africa's population, are an important force and partner in the field of global interdependence. ”
At the opening session of this meeting, the Youth Statement was delivered by Esther Agbarakwe, a youth representative from Nigeria whose participation is funded by the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development.
African Youths have a lot to contribute in the decision-making processes but they are not supported by the adults except when making statements at conferences such as the CSD.
The Majority of Africa Women delegates have shown support to the entire youth representative from Africa, an indication of the strong bond between African mothers and their children. So these should be stepping stones the government and other stake holders should follow.
Barriers relating to demography – age restrictions, gender barriers, cultural factors and sometimes “extreme politics” exclude youth from decision-making. African Youths have limited time to develop skills and knowledge for decision-making compared to their peers from other regions. Therefore African youths should be given greater opportunities to participate in these decision-making because our opinion matters a great deal to our country and the world at large.
Sustainable development cannot be achieved in Africa without the establishment of an effective intergeneration partnership for sustainability among the young people and the other generations. If Africa has challenges today, these are mere preludes to the looming threats of tomorrow. The youth have deep stakes in the future and we are eager to contribute our quota. The future belongs to us. The youths are full of ideas and we are waiting to share them. Give us the space, give us the knowledge, give us a sustainable future!
Live from the CSD
and winners of the 2009 SEED award. Will there be an earth summit in 2012? Merim asks Jan-Gustav Strandenaes, an attendee of CSD Stockholm 1972, and Youth delegate Bernice Ang, a first-year CSD attendee, what they hope the future holds.
By: Sharon Shattuck, Hannah Stoddart and Brett Israel, Stakeholder Forum
In our Earth Talk in Spainish, Armando Canchanya chats with André Odenbreit of Brazil, who talks about his goals and concerns at CSD-17 On Pioneers of the Planet, Madhyama Subramanian sits down in the studios with Dr. Ahmed Djorglof, the Executive Secretary of the Convention of Biological Diversity, to talk about his work to save biodiversity. Dr. Djorglof is a former director and coordinator of the UNEP's Division of the Global Environmental Facility with projects in over 155 countries. He has held a variety of positions on the Algerian Ministry of Foreign Affairs and has worked tirelessly in the name
“Here in New York, there is so much paper, there are so many reports. But we have to take into account that poor people cannot eat, cannot live, on paper.” (Gerda Verburg) of biodiversity. On today at the CSD host Merim Tenev asks CSD chair Gerda Verburg why a prominent report on agriculture isn't impacting the content of negotiations here at the commission. Armando Canchanya explores the history and inner workings of the CSD, and Merim talks to two green entrepreneurs
Water, consumption, international law and human rights were the subjects of today’s Greentable, where Hannah Stoddart was joined by environmental lawyer Randy Christensen from Canadian NGO Ecojustice; Danish Sustainable Development Ambassador Aagaard Andersen, and Olcay Ünver, Coordinator of the United Nations World Water Assessment Programme. Discussions focussed on the importance of water for sustainable development, how we can best respond to increasing pressures on water resources, and the role of the human right to water and how this interacts with the right of the environment and ecosystems to water, as well as being balanced with water as an economic good.
Food for Thought…
Felix Dodds, Stakeholder Forum
“Targets, Targets, Targets” …or that is what seems to be the most important outcome from the Climate Change negotiations. The first preparatory meeting for the Copenhagen Climate Conference of the Parties took place a few weeks ago in Bonn. All countries, except the United States, laid out their stalls. As we understand, the US will come to the second preparatory meeting in June ready to negotiate. The present global emissions of the key countries are China at 24%, the US at 22%, the European Union at 12%, India at 8% and Russia at 6%. The US deputy chief climate change negotiator Jonathan Pershing did say: “As a wealthy and large country, we have to defiantly help those less fortunate.” In a private briefing for NGOs he did accept the need to deal with “historical responsibility for the present state of affairs”, that the concept of equity is an important value to underpin any agreement, and a respect for future generations. Where that will place the US position on negotiations in June will be interesting. Clearly, a differentiated approach to countries’ needs will be part of the US position. With nearly a third of emissions coming from China and India now, it will be difficult for the US to get congressional approval without some movement on climate change by these two countries, in particular.
One could imagine the US and Europe taking a view that least developed countries, particularly those impacted by climate change, should be supported in their adaptation strategies. They are not great at admitting that countries such as China, India and other more developed countries will get some technology transfer, but will need to start setting their own targets; and that a rather large third group would be looked at on a country-by-country basis. So it was with interest that I read in the Guardian that the Chinese government is considering setting targets for carbon dioxide emissions. Sui Wei, a leading figure within the Chinese climate change negotiating team, is reported as saying that this will be done within its next five-year plan, starting in 2011. Again according to the Guardian, a second government adviser, Hu Angang, has said that China should start cutting overall emissions from 2020. He said: "If we can't succeed in reducing energy consumption, then no one can. I tell the government that a 1% failure in China is a 100% failure for the world."
Previous and today’s issues are easily available online, go to: www.sdin-ngo.net media.stakeholderforum.org
Neth Dano and Juan Hoffmaister, Third World Network David Korten Laura Martin, Sustainlabour
Esther Agbarakwe and Anna-Maria Abaagu, Youth Caucus Sharon Shattuck, Hannah Stoddart and Brett Israel, Stakeholder Forum
(Edited by Aleksandra Radyuk)
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Marisa Fernandez, Ecología y Desarrollo Tony Manwaring, Chief Executive, Tomorrow’s Company
What has always been a mystery to me is why there isn’t more work being done to support sub-national governments, e.g. California, Scotland and Gauteng, to set targets. They are closer to the people and could be mobilised through the Network for Regional Governments for Sustainable Development and their climate group to play a really important role in the coming years. Perhaps an outcome from Copenhagen might be an informal COP of sub-national or regional government to support keeping us under a rise of 2 degrees.
Will China formally announce a target for the UNFCCC and break with the G77 and China position? Probably not. If they don’t, but have set an internal target, could the US and
E DITORIAL T EAM Senior Editor: Jan-Gustav Strandenaes, ANPED Co-Editor: Felix Dodds, Stakeholder Forum Daily Editor: Stephen Mooney, Stakeholder Forum Design and Layout: Erol Hofmans, ANPED
Europe accept this?