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UNITED  NATIONS  ENVIRONMENT  PROGRAMME     ‘AMBITION  PAPER’ Ideas  for  possible  outcomes  of  the  Rio  +  20  Conference       INTRODUCTION   The   following   overarching   ideas   are   suggested   as   proposed   outcomes   which   the   Conference   might   consider.     While   these   ideas   transcend   the   specific   items   on   the   formal   agenda   of   the   Conference,   they   might   be   seen   as   flowing   from   anticipated   outcomes   of   an   objective   and   realistic   process   to   assess   progress   made   since   the   United   Nations  Conference  on  Environment  and  Development  of  1992.    These  ideas  seek  to  be   transformative   in   nature   and   to   address   some   of   the   obstacles   to   progress   towards   Sustainable   Development.     They   flow   from   the   perspective   we   take   that   the   Conference   presents   an   historic   opportunity   for   governments   to   demonstrate   political   will   and   commitment   to   Sustainable   Development,   and   to   set   in   motion   some   fundamental   processes  that  could  set  a  new  and  higher  course  of  approach  to  that  goal.     Within   these   ideas   there   is   much   scope   for   more   effectiveness   through   enhancement   of   how  the  United  Nations  System  entities  consolidate  and  coordinate  their  work  relating   to   specific   outcomes   in   the   context   of   sustainable   development,   but   also   to   be   transformative   of   the   way   in   which   the   world   approaches   the   goal   of   sustainable   development.         1.   PERSPECTIVE   ON   THE   UNITED   NATIONS   CONFERENCE   ON   SUSTAINABLE   DEVELOPMENT     The  UN  General  Assembly  adopted  in  December  2009  resolution  64/236,  which  provides   for  the  2012  UN  Conference  on  Sustainable  Development  or  Rio  +20.  Its  objective  “will   be   to   secure   renewed   political   commitment   for   sustainable   development,   assessing   the  progress  to  date  and  the  remaining  gaps  in  the  implementation  of  the  outcomes  of   the   major   summits   on   sustainable   development   and   addressing   new   and   emerging   challenges.”     1.1 The  Conference  has  the  opportunity  to  be  an  historic  event:  

 

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The  world  now  has  considerably  greater  understanding  of  the  issues  of  Sustainable                 Development  and  the  ways  in  which  economy,  environment  and  human  well-­‐being   are  inter-­‐related  and  mutually  supportive      

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At   the   same   time,   the   evidence   is   abundant   that   this   inter-­‐relationship   is   not   sufficiently   developed   or   put   into   practice   for   moving   towards   Sustainable   Development,   and   that   environment   imperatives   and   human   well-­‐being   are   1  


invariably   traded   off   as   optional   and   secondary   to   economic   growth.     The   Conference   needs   to   move   away   from   equating   Sustainable   Development   with   ‘Environmental’   issues   –   this   has   been   a   major   limitation   of   past   and   present   processes   and   participation   relating   to   ‘Sustainable   Development’   matters   -­‐   and   to   focus  on  a  new  and  different  approach  to  economic  growth  which  the  1992  United   Nations   Conference   on   Environment   and   Development   (UNCED)   was   to   engender.   This   raises   a   challenge   of   how   to   get   others   such   as   Finance   and   Planning   and   Development   ministries   and   constituencies   involved   in   the   Conference,   alongside   environmental  ministries  and  constituencies     -

The  Conference  could  set  a  perspective  about  the  way  in  which  these  three  aspects   of   Sustainable   Development   need   to   be   brought   in   harmony,   in   order   to   set   the   stage   for   transforming   the   paradigm   of   Development   as   we   practice   it   now,   to   move   to   one   that   is   more   in   keeping   with   the   concept   of   Sustainable   Development,   one   that  is  more  people-­‐centred  and  planet-­‐centred.    

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The  Conference  could  signal  the  political  will  to  move  to  such  a  transformation  and   with   urgency,   which   could   trigger   and   accelerate   much   of   the   technical   work   that   would  be  required  to  facilitate  that  new  approach      

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The  Conference  could  also  take  some  affirmative  decisions  to  facilitate  and  enable  its   political   direction   to   be   applied   and   be   made   effective   in   relation   to   particular   objectives  

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The   Conference   could   move   from   a   programmatic   to   a   political   framework:     not   reissuing  all  the  diagnosis  and  policy  recommendations  on  a  sectoral  basis  that  is  so   well   documented   and   understood,   but   seeking   to   overcome   obstacles   to   a   transformative   process,   to   scale   up   good   practice   and   approaches   and   results,   to   forge   a   systemic   approach   to   solutions,   to   achieve   coherence   among   the   many   parts   that   make   up   a   national   or   the   global   response   system,   and   to   address   through   specific  affirmative  decision  some  of  the  more  pressing  global  issues.      

1.2  The  Conference  will  take  place  in  a  radically  changed  geo-­‐political  world  compared   to   1992.   This   makes   it   possible   for   the   ‘developing’   countries   to   exercise   new   and   different   leadership   towards   the   outcome   of   the   Conference,   in   relation   to   the   world   and  to  themselves.  All  countries  must  choose  a  different  economic  pathway  to  seek  to   move  to  Sustainable  Development.      There  is  a  sense  in  which  ‘Our  Common  Future’  is   now   more   starkly   revealed   than   it   was   in   1987   (the   year   of   the   report   of   the   Brundtland   Commission)   or   in   UNCED   in   1992,   bringing   new   urgency   to   the   need   to     focus   and   elevate   the   Sustainable   Development   agenda   in   all   societies.     The   economic   rise   of     BRICS   has   led   to   disappearance   of   some   former   distinguishing   features   of   ‘North’   and    

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‘South’,  ‘developed  and  developing’  countries.    All  share  in  common  but  differentiated   responsibilities  towards  global  sustainable  development.     1.3   The   participation   of   several   countries   of   ‘the   South’   in   the   G20   grouping   offers   opportunities   for   setting   a   new   and   higher   threshold   for   moving   towards   Sustainable   Development   and   for   achieving   an   enhanced   quality   of   international   cooperation.   There   is   therefore   an   opportunity   to   make   the   Rio   +   20   Conference   a   watershed   in   international   development   cooperation:     to   be   transformative,   to   set   a   new   threshold   for  enhanced  global  development  cooperation  towards  Sustainable  Development.    This   will   require   bridging   country   groupings   and   regions   and   transcending   narrow   national   interests  in  order  to  champion  the  needs  of  under-­‐served  countries  and  neglected  but   urgent  global  issues.             2.    THE  CORE  OF  THE  PROBLEM               2.1  At  the  core  of  the  ideas  that  follow  is  the  perception  that:    

 

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the  world’s  approach  to  dealing  with  the  ‘three  pillars  of  Sustainable  Development’  –   economic,   environmental,   social   -­‐   has   led   us   to   juxtapose   these   rather   than   to   integrate  them  

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that  environmental  and  social  imperatives  are  usually  traded  off  in  favour  of  simple   economic  growth,  regarded  as  optional  add-­‐ons,  and  invariably  factored  out  because   they  incur  incremental  costs    

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environmental   and   social   issues   need   to   be   addressed   in   economic   institutions   (International  Monetary  Fund,  World  Bank,  World  Trade  Organisation  at  the  global   level;   but   also   in   Finance   and   Planning   and   Development   ministries   at   the   national   level)      

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economic  growth  at  all  costs  based  on  the  existing  economic  model  is  not  routinely   delivering  environmental  and  social  objectives  (a  failure  of  the  Development  process,   hence  the  need  for  special  initiatives  like  Millennium  Development  Goals  to  bridge   the   gaps   in   achievement,   in   sustainability   and   equity;   but   these   special   initiatives   remain  peripheral  to  the  main  motor  of  the  economy)    

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and   in   particular,     economic   growth   is   accompanied   by   widening   equity   gaps   at   global  and  national  levels.    

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2.2   Given   that   analysis,   we   are   of   the   view   that   there   is   need   for   harmonizing,   rather   than   juxtaposing,   the   three   dimensions   of   Sustainable   Development,   which   requires   recognition:     -­‐   that   they   are   the   composite   of   Sustainable   Development,   in   which   they   are   mutually   dependent  and  mutually  supportive  and  exist  in  a  dynamic  relationship     -­‐  that  they  should  therefore  be  indivisible  in  the  concept  and  practice  of  Development   -­‐   that   economic   growth   should   not   continue   to   be   seen   as   an   independent   variable,   without   regard   for   environmental   boundaries,   imperatives   and   objectives,   and   indifferent  to  social  and  human  well-­‐being  outcomes   -­‐  that  each  unit  of  economic  growth  should  simultaneously  deliver  environmental  and   social  objectives  (the  approach  of  the  proposals  for  moving  towards  Green  Economies)     -­‐  that  it  is  not    the  arithmetic  among  these  variables  (added  or  subtracted  as  convenient)   but  rather  the  algebra  among  them  (how  the  variables  relate  and  affect  one  another  in   context,   how   they   might   reinforce   one   another,   how   they   combine   towards   the   equation  of  Sustainable  Development)  that  matters.       2.3   Consequently,   we   propose   an   approach   to   managing   these   variables   as   a   package,   recognizing:   -

their  indivisibility  in  the  concept  and  practice  of  Sustainable  Development,  and  the   need  to  make  them  systemic  and  whole    (“all  for  one  and  one  for  all”)  

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that   Earth’s   system   boundaries   and   environmental   impacts   cannot   indefinitely   sustain  the  consequences  of  the  present  approach  to  economic  growth  

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that  the  world  cannot  be  indifferent  to  the  need  for  more  urgent  and  more  equitable   progress  towards  improvement  in  human  well-­‐being  for  all    

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that   the   nature,   pathway   and   characteristics   of   economic   growth   should   be   predicated  on  the  desired  environmental  and  social  outcomes    

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that  the  social  and  ecological  dimensions  simply  cannot  continue  absorbing  the  ‘cost’   of   the   repercussions   of   economic   growth   without   more,   and   that   retrofitted   solutions  to  diminish/recover/compensate  for  that  cost  will  not  be  effective      

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the  need  to  bring  these  dimensions  into  harmony  in  the  policy  and  decision-­‐making   processes.    

2.4     We   describe   this   conceptual   approach   to   understanding   and   practice   as   a   triple   helix   approach     (in   contradistinction   to   a   three   pillar   approach)   to   the   dimensions   of    

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Sustainable   Development.   This   is   not   just   a   recognition   of   the   need   to   break   down   silos,   it   signals   a   new   dynamic   relationship   among   the   economic,   ecological   and   social   dimensions   of   Sustainable   Development   that   is   more   integrated,   that   reflects   a   composite   that   is   mutually   reinforcing,   mutually   dependent,   and   in   which   all   three   variables  are  equally  important.    This  was  the  model  of  development  which  UNCED  1992   was  meant  to  usher  in;  twenty  years  later  the  world  is  still  largely  on  the  same  course  as   it   was   then,   and   the   fundamental   issues   remain   the   same,   while   the   evidence   of   continuing  deterioration  in  environmental  and  human  well-­‐being  concerns  accumulates.           3.  SOME  GENERIC  AND  CROSS  CUTTING  IDEAS  FOR  OUTCOMES  OF  THE  RIO  +  20   CONFERENCE     The  ideas  for  Conference  outcomes  made  under  this  heading  transcend  the  individual   agenda  items  for  the  Conference.    They  also  go  beyond  a  sectoral  approach.    We  are  of   the  view  that  on  a  sectoral  or  issue-­‐specific  basis  much  of  what  needs  to  be  done  to   move  towards  Sustainable  Development  is  known  and  well  outlined  from  several   dedicated  processes;  and  that  what  is  required  now  is  to  identify  and  unblock  some  of   the  obstacles  to  effective  implementation.    Therefore  we  see  the  following  needs:       3.1 Need  to  bring  the  three  dimensions  of  Sustainable  Development  into  a  better   balance:  In  its  outcome  document,  the  Conference  might  support  a  triple  helix   approach  to  Sustainable  Development,  as  reasoned  above.  We  consequently   advocate  that  the  Rio  +  20  Conference  could  signal  that  the  world  needs  to  move  to   such  an  approach  if  it  is  to  find  more  direct  and  assured  pathways  to  poverty   eradication  and  Sustainable  Development,  and  if  it  is  to  recover  from  some  of  the   limitations  of  the  approach  taken  over  the  last  twenty  years.  We  are  of  the  view  that   the  concept  of  a  triple  helix  approach  lies  at  the  heart  of  what  the  Conference  needs   to  address.        This  does  not  require  any  change  to  the  definition  of  Sustainable   Development  as  accepted  from  the  work  of  the  Brundtland  Commission  and   reflected  in  Agenda  21.  Nor  does  it  seek  to  substitute  the  three  dimensions.    It  will   however  require  attention  to  the  way  in  which  the  world  conceptualises  their  inter-­‐ relationship,  and  to  the  ways  in  which  decisions  about  policy,  investment  and   development  activities  are  made,  so  that  environmental  and  human  well-­‐being   outcomes  are  not  sacrificed  in  the  preoccupation  with  and  pursuit  of  economic   growth.    Economic  growth  is  essential,  but  so  are  environmental  objectives  and   human  well-­‐being.    The  Green  Economy  Report  tabled  by  the  United  Nations   Environment  Programme  (UNEP)  for  the  Conference  preparatory  process  already   reflects  an  attempt  to  cater  for  achievement  of  economic  growth,  while  contributing  

 

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simultaneously  to  environmental  and  social  outcomes  (though  the  clarity  of  this   concept  and  communication  of  it  may  need  some  improvement).           3.2 Need  for  urgent  and  explicit  attention  to  Equity:  In  its  outcome  document,  the   Conference  might  draw  attention  to  the  way  in  which  the  present  economic  model   generates  persistent  poverty  and  increasing  inequity.    It  might  recognize  that  the   peripheral  means  by  which  the  world  tries  to  alleviate  that  poverty  and  inequity  do   not  allow  it  to  catch  up.  The  Conference  might  propose  that  closing  the   contemporaneous  equity  gap  should  be  urgently  and  consciously  sought  as  an   outcome  at  global  and  national  levels.    This  is  in  addition  to  the  notion  of  inter-­‐ generational  equity  as  included  in  the  Brundtland  definition  of  Sustainable   Development.    The  Conference  might  recognize  that  without  achieving  more  equity   within  the  present  generation,  it  may  not  be  possible  to  satisfy  that  requirement  in   inter-­‐generational  terms.    To  contribute  to  realizing  this  objective  through  an   operational  mechanism,  the  Conference  might  propose  establishment  of  an   independent  entity  at  the  global  level  that  would  function  as  a  ‘watchdog’  for  Equity.   This  might  be  replicated  nationally.    Both  would  contribute  to  the  Institutional   Framework  for  Sustainable  Development  at  global  and  national  levels.         3.3 Need  for  New  Metrics  for  Sustainable  Development:  The  Conference  might   recognize  that  continuing  reliance  on  Gross  Domestic  Product  as  the  measure  of   Development  is  misleading,  given  the  goal  of  Sustainable  Development.  The   Conference  might  acknowledge  the  limitations  of  this  measure,  especially  given  a   triple  helix  approach.    The  Conference  might  call  for  urgent  and  accelerated  work,  in   a  specified  time  frame,  towards  a  new  set  of  metrics  that  reflect  the  three   dimensions  of  Sustainable  Development  as  being  equally  important.    Such  a  call   would  be  the  signal  to  bring  together  all  the  related  pieces  of  technical  work  that  are   in  process  (such  as  the  foundation  laid  by  the  study  on  The  Economics  of  Ecosystems   and  Biodiversity  -­‐  TEEB,  the  partnership  being  led  by  the  World  Bank  building  on   TEEB,  work  by  United  Nations  Department  of  Economic  and  Social  Affairs,  work  by   the  Stiglitz  Commission,  many  other  pieces  of  work,  etc.).      In  order  to  make   alternative  or  supplementary  measures  to  GDP  possible,  it  will  be  necessary  for   National  Income  Accounting  Systems  to  reflect  the  same  characteristics.  Pilot  work   on  this  in  a  small  number  of  countries  is  in  process  (being  led  by  the  World  Bank)  but   the  urgency  for  new  metrics  and  within  a  specified  time  frame  could  be  given   momentum  by  such  a  Conference  outcome.       3.4 Need  to  Develop  a  Global  Partnership  for  Development:    This  is  Millennium   Development  Goal  8.    The  Conference  might  recognize  that  international  trade,   overseas  development  assistance,  foreign  direct  investment,  technology   cooperation,  capacity  building  should  all  be  configured  to  leave  targeted  countries    

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on  a  higher  threshold  for  designing  and  sustaining  their  own  development,   compatible  with  a  model  that  integrates  the  economic/environmental/social   dimensions  of  Sustainable  Development.    In  order  to  make  this  operational,  the   Conference  might  direct  that  such  international  relationships  be  reviewed  and   revised  as  appropriate  towards  this  objective,  within  the  related  oversight  processes   that  now  exist,  including  attention  in  the  Doha  Round.    This  would  contribute  to   attention  to  Millennium  Development  Goal  8  for  progress  in  the  global  partnership   for  development,  which  has  shown  no  signs  of  transformation  since  year  2000  when   the  Millennium  Development  Goals  were  adopted.     3.5 Need  for  Enhanced  Investment  and  Arrangements  for  Public  Involvement:    The   Conference  might  recognize  that  moving  towards  Sustainable  Development  cannot   be  done  by  governments  alone,  but  that  they  must  guide  and  enable  societies  along   the  pathway.  Sustainable  Development  requires  that  societies  understand  the   nature  of  the  changes  required  and  are  prepared  to  support  political  will  in  that   direction,  with  mechanisms  established  to  systematically  permit  increase  in  citizen   understanding  and  involvement.  Country  ownership  of  the  approaches  and   measures  to  be  taken  needs  to  be  cultivated  and  secured,  and  this  needs  to  be   distinguished  from  government  ownership.    Three  aspects  of  this  warrant  more   emphasis,  investment  and  systematic  attention:     3.5.1 Education  programmes  that  build  understanding  and  that  could  lead  to  the   changes  in  values  and  behaviour  (as  consumers  and  as  polity)  that  are   conducive  to  moving  towards  sustainability   3.5.2 Access  to  information  that  enables  and  empowers  citizens  to  make  choices   and  to  make  inputs  that  are  consistent  with  the  overall  direction  of   sustainable  development  and  the  specific  measures  to  be  taken   3.5.3 Mechanisms  for  public  involvement  and  consultation  that  are  not  ad  hoc   but  are  part  of  national  governance  arrangements  and  that  are  part  of  the   Institutional  Framework  for  Sustainable  Development  at  the  national  level.       3.6 Need  for  affirmative  interventions  for  relating  to  the  economic  interests  of  Youth   throughout  the  world:  The  Conference  might  recognize  the  scale  of  youth   unemployment  and  the  societal  tensions  to  which  that  leads,  that  the  phenomenon   exists  in  societies  in  industrialized  as  well  as  developing  economies,  that  in  general   youth  appear  not  to  be  benefitting  proportionately  from  economic  growth.    The   Conference  might  accordingly  decide  to  establish  a  global  programme  for  training   and  employment  of  young  people  to  respond  in  a  targeted  way  to  their  needs  to  be   equipped  with  the  skills  and  opportunities  to  enable  them  to  share  more  equitably  in    

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the  development  process.    Such  an  approach  could  be  especially  useful  if  it  is  linked   to  the  nature  and  range  of  skills  and  investment  decisions  required  by  a  ‘Green   Economy’  approach  to  sustainable  development.       3.7 Need  for  corporate  reporting  on  integrated  sustainability  parameters  to  be   mandatory:    The  Conference  might  decide  that  the  ways  in  which  corporate   economic  activities  affect  the  economic,  environmental  and  social  dimensions  of   sustainable  development  and  contribute  to  their  related  outcomes  is  urgent  to   understand  and  assess  in  a  country  context.    The  Conference  might  accordingly   conclude  that  such  reporting  in  an  integrated  manner  will  be  made  mandatory  for   firms  at  the  national  level,  in  order  to  permit  oversight  of  corporate  practice  and  to   enable  related  policies  to  be  established  and  implemented.  There  is  much  available   technical  guidance  on  how  such  sustainability  reporting  can  be  done,  and  some   countries  have  already  moved  to  legislatively  require  this.  This  is  an  important  aspect   of  the  accountability  framework  for  managing  the  movement  towards  sustainable   development.     The  above  ideas  transcend  a  sectoral  or  issue  specific  programmatic  approach  to  the   deliberations  and  possible  outcomes  of  the  Conference.    They  are  proposed  as   overarching  ideas  and  thus  supplementary  to  the  agreed  formal  agenda  items.  These   ideas  however  flow  from  ‘taking ��stock’  in  broad  global  terms  of  current   economic/environmental/social  trends  and  seek  to  respond  by  identifying  decisions  that   could  trigger  appropriate  responses.    We  are  of  the  view  that  what  needs  to  be  done  in  a   programmatic  way  on  a  sectoral  or  issue-­‐specific  basis  is  well  known  and  well  outlined   from  various  dedicated  and  related  global  processes.  And  therefore  the  Conference   need  not  pursue  its  work  on  a  sectoral  or  thematic  basis.    Therefore,  we  have  chosen  to   focus  on  a  set  of  ideas  that  have  the  potential  to  be  transformative  and  to  be  systemic  in   their  impacts.    A  whole  hierarchy  of  secondary  strategic  and  programmatic  objectives   and  targets  and  action  can  flow  from  these.     However,  there  are  some  complex  and  composite  issues  that  are  not  of  the  same  order  as   those  ideas  above,  but  which  also  require  far  more  multivariate  approaches  than  sectoral  or   specific  issues,  and  which  require  far  more  consolidated  and  collaborate  approaches  among   the  various  UN  entities  whose  work  is  relevant.    We  propose  the  following  ones  as  urgent   for  specific  attention  of  the  Conference:       3.8 Need   to   Recover   the   Marine   Commons   of   the   World:   The   Science   relating   to   the   degradation  of  the  various  assets  of  the  marine  commons  is  unambiguous;  the  policy   actions   required   are   clear;   but   the   political   decision-­‐making   lags   behind.   Globally,   there  is  a  laissez-­‐faire  approach  to  the  issues  which  present  here.    Should  countries   continue  to  maximize  their  harvests  from  these  common  resources  at  the  expense  of    

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the  common  resource  base?    With  present  practice  and  approaches  the  assets  of  the   marine  commons  will  continue  to  degrade,  perhaps  irretrievably.    The  world  keeps   coming  up  with  ‘soft’  solutions  such  as  the  decision  of  the  recent  global  conference   on   marine   debris   to   share   technical,   legal   and   market-­‐based   solutions   to   reduce   marine  debris.    While  such  international  cooperation  might  help  in  this  dimension  of   the  problem,  it  does  not  go  to  the  core  of  the  problem.    The  Conference  might  seek   to  elevate  the  situation  of  the  marine  commons  for  urgent  and  systematic  attention,   including   attention   to   ocean   areas   not   covered   by   present   governance   arrangements,   with   the   objective   of   unifying   the   many   pieces   of   policy   and   programme  and  instruments  that  are  in  place  at  global  and  sub-­‐regional  and  national   levels,  and  of  filling  the  gaps  as  required,  in  order  to  recover  the  marine  commons.     The   Conference   might   mandate   systemic   action   that   would   bring   all   these   parts   together   to   work   in   a   concerted   way   and   to   work   to   the   purpose   of   recovery,   within   a  specified  time  frame.  The  Conference  could  set  this  as  a  goal  for  the  first  half  of  the   twenty-­‐first   century.     Such   an   outcome   would   galvanise   identification   and   filling   of   governance,  policy  and  programme  gaps,  and  lead  to  the  range  of  further  technical,   policy  and  political  actions  and  decisions  that  are  required  to  secure  this  objective.   The  Conference  could  signal  its  sense  of  urgency  about  this  problem.   3.9 Need  to  Rationalize  and  Manage  Use  of  Scarce  ‘Rare  Earth’  Materials:    Of  concern   here   are   those   materials   that   are   vital   to   sustaining   the   Communications   industry   that  is  itself  so  vital  to  supporting  a  globalised  world.    This  concern  is  based  on  the   authoritative   reports   of   the   International   Resource   Panel   managed   by   UNEP   on   Priority  Products  and  Materials,  and  Metal  Stocks  in  Society:  Scientific  Synthesis.      In   the   first   instance   it   is   imperative   that   such   materials   be   conserved/salvaged/and   recycled.     Ultimately   their   use   and   allocations   may   have   to   be   rationed   and   rationalized  in  ways  that  maximize  global  benefits.    The  Conference  might  mandate   attention  to  these.         3.10 Need  to  transform  land  management  and  food  production  and   consumption  systems  to  ensure  food  security:  This  is  essential  for  avoiding  a  new   wave  of  land  conversion  from  forests  and  wetlands  in  response  to  the  pressures  for   world  food  security,  for  ensuring  that  existing  land  in  agriculture  is  used  sustainably,   for  addressing  the  multiple  pressures  (patterns  of  use,  erosion  of  biodiversity,   climate  change)  that  lead  to  processes  of  land  degradation  and  desertification,  and   for  addressing  the  needs  of  the  estimated  two  billion  people  who  subsist  in  such   threatened  ecological  systems  and  who  are  at  the  bottom  of  the  human  well-­‐being   ladder.    The  entry  point  here  should  be  national  and  global  food  security.    The   Conference  might  call  for  increased  attention  to  and  investment  in  alleviating  such   processes  with  a  view  to  contributing  to  global  and  national  food  security,  enhanced   human  well-­‐being,  conservation  of  biodiversity,  and  adaptation  to  climate  change.      

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3.11 Need   to   Enable   Least   Developed   Countries   onto   a   ‘Fast   Runway’     for   Sustainable   Development:   The   Conference   might   recognize   the   need   for   global   affirmative   action   in   respect   of   these   48   countries,   especially   in   the   wake   of   the   outcome   of   the   recent   Fourth   Global   Summit   on   Least   Developed   Countries.     Such   action  should  be  oriented  to  helping  them  overcome  the  dysfunctionalities  that  they   currently  experience  in  relation  to  domestic  investible  resources,  access  to  modern   technologies   on   affordable   terms,   technical   capacity   for   designing   accelerated   economic   transformation   and   for   designing   the   institutional   framework   of   policies,   legislation,   regulation,   fiscal   measures   that   will   be   required   in   such   a   process   of   transformation.     Such   action   would   include   establishing   and   harmonizing   a   public/private   investment   and   financing   platform.     The   Conference   has   the   opportunity   to   exercise   global   leadership   responsibilities   on   behalf   of   the   most   disadvantaged   countries   in   the   world,   and   set   the   stage   for   a   transformative   moment   in   the   Global   Partnership   for   Development.   The   objectives   of   such   affirmative  action  would  be:     -

to   enable   these   countries   to   tunnel   under   the   normal   Development   curve   and   to   emerge   at   a   higher   status   in   terms   of   Human   Well   Being   in   an   accelerated   time   frame,  in  contrast  to  the  progress  that  they  will  be  able  to  make  if  their  development   pathways  proceed  in  an  evolutionary  way  rather  than  in  a  propelled  way  

-

to  assist  them  in  avoiding  the  impediments  of  past  approaches  to  Development  by   other  countries    

-

to   harvest   the   potential   of   LDCs   for   nature   based   economies   that   are   sustainable,   and  to  pilot    the  realization  of  ‘green’  economies  in  immediately  conducive  contexts  

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to   create   space   for   the   private   sector   to   contribute   to   creating   economies   of   the   future,   by   providing   and   focusing   financial,   technological,   technical,   management   and  entrepreneurial  assets;    this  is  made  more  feasible  by  virtue  of  these  countries   being  currently  low  on  the  Development  curve  

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to   attract   back   their   citizen   diaspora   with   capacities   to   contribute   to   such   transformation    

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to  redress  the  equity  gap  which  these  countries  experience  in  the  ways  in  which  they   intersect  with  the  global  order.          

United  Nations  Environment  Programme     30  May  2011      

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