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A multi-stakeholder magazine on climate change and sustainable development.

A multi-stakeholder magazine on climate change and sustainable development.

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    Outreach Magazine: April/May UN meetings day 2 Outreach Magazine: April/May UN meetings day 2 Document Transcript

    • inside: Wanted: Green Jobs in Canada Functional Ecosystems as the Engine of the Green Economy a multi-stakeholder magazine on climate change and sustainable development out reach. 24 April 2012www.stakeholderforum.org/sf/outreach/ pic: Reid Gilman
    • contents. 1 Collaboration: The key to a fair transition 2 Without finance, Rio+20 will to fail to deliver 2 3 Wanted: Green Jobs in Canada 4 Functional Ecosystems as the Engine of the Green Economy 6 Revisiting our limits 7 United Nations Volunteers (UNV) Programme: Volunteer Action Counts Private Sector and Governments Discuss Green and Inclusive Economy 3 8 Ahead of Rio+20 9 UNITAR and UNEP Launch E-learning Course on Green Economy Rio+20 Side Event Calendar 10 News from the Negotiations 4 pic: Nicolás Lope de Barrios OUTREACH IS PUBLISHED BY: Outreach is a multi-stakeholder publication on OUTREACH EDITORIAL TEAM climate change and sustainable development. It is the longest continually produced Editorial Advisors Felix Dodds Stakeholder Forum stakeholder magazine in the sustainable development arena, published at various Farooq Ullah Stakeholder Forum international meetings on the environment; Editor Georgie Macdonald Stakeholder Forum including the UNCSD meetings (since 1997), UNEP Governing Council, UNFCCC Conference Co-editor Amy Cutter Stakeholder Forum of the Parties (COP) and World Water Week. Published as a daily edition, in both print Editorial Assistant Jack Cornforth Stakeholder Forum and web form, Outreach provides a vehicle Print Designer Jessica Wolf Jessica Wolf Design for critical analysis on key thematic topics in the sustainability arena, as well as a voice Web Designer Thomas Harrisson Stakeholder Forum of regional and local governments, women, Web Designer Matthew Reading-Smith Stakeholder ForumAbout Stakeholder Forum indigenous peoples, trade unions, industry, youth and NGOs. To fully ensure a multi-Stakeholder Forum is an international stakeholder perspective, we aim to engageorganisation working to advance sustainable a wide range of stakeholders for article CONTRIBUTING WRITERSdevelopment and promote democracy at a contributions and project funding.global level. Our work aims to enhance open, If you are interested in contributingaccountable and participatory international Patrick Schroeder CANGO John D. Liu EEMPdecision-making on sustainable development to Outreach, please contact the teamthrough enhancing the involvement (gmacdonald@stakeholderforum.org or Victor Anderson IGreen Economy, WWF Kirsty Schneeberger Stakeholder Forumof stakeholders in intergovernmental acutter@stakeholderforum.org) Keith Brooks Blue Green Canada Emma Puka-Beals Mount Holyoke Collegeprocesses. For more information, visit: You can also follow us on Twitter:www.stakeholderforum.org @OutreachLive
    • Collaboration: The key to a fair transition Kirsty Schneeberger Stakeholder Forum The co-chairs’ suggested text has done a variety of ways, for example: ‘each country will choose an appropriate path towards a green economy’ (CST 25 a lot to consolidate the thinking and ter); ‘all countries to pursue their own paths towards amendments on the green economy in the achieving goals’ (CST 31); and ‘pursue national policy and regulatory frameworks to promote a dynamic, inclusive, context of poverty eradication and well-functioning and socially responsible private sector’ sustainable development. Since the (CST 34, c sept) – [emphasis added]. negotiating tracks have now been divided Knowledge and experience sharing into two – with sections I, II and IVbeing discussed in one track; and sections Potentially one of the most exciting and interesting ideas that was first presented in the Zero Draft, which III and V in another, we expect there to remains in the suggested text, is that of developing the be a lot more in depth formulations of mechanisms and systems for knowledge and experience sharing – particularly in the form of peer to peer learning the ideas and detailed discussions around and providing a variety of platforms for multi-stakeholder the potential outcomes. collaboration as a central part of the transition. With the plethora of information and knowledge that is alreadyMany of the big ideas that relate to the green economy in existence and online, there is a very strong argumentin the context of sustainable development and poverty for drawing this information together and connectingeradication that were submitted by Member States and the dots to expedite the successful transition – becausestakeholders alike remain in the suggested text, albeit with the quicker we learn together, the quicker we can growcertain changes made based on the previous sessions’ together. If the transition is going to be equitable anddiscussions, responses, and consultations. inclusive, and have capacity building as a central tenet of it, then this facilitated knowledge and experience sharingFor those of us actively following the green economy will be a vital component.issues, we have been mapping the development ofthe concepts from the ‘knowledge sharing platform’ The suggested text states ‘we support the creation ofand ‘toolkits for policy makers’ to the ‘green economy a capacity development scheme and strengtheningindicators’ and various means of implementation. The of international knowledge and technology sharingnotion of ‘transitioning’ to the green economy is prevalent platforms and partnerships that enable countries, civilin many of the paragraphs, emphasising the importance society, and the private sector to share policy options andof understanding the essential and underpinning elements best practices, provide country-specific advice, and assistof a fair, equitable, and just transition; and Stakeholder developing countries in accessing available funds andForum welcomes the continued dialogue around how such technologies’ (CST 33) – [emphasis added]. Further downa transition will engender these core principles. in the text there is specific mention of ‘toolboxes’; ‘model/ good examples’; ‘shared databases’; and ‘methodologiesNational policies for policy evaluation’ (CST 33, a – d).The suggested text does well to capture the feeling Moving forwardamongst delegates that any agreement or outcome onthe green economy must not be a rigid set of top down It is hoped that these suggestions for supporting therules imposed on national governments; but rather it global transition to the new economy – one that is bothemphasises the important role of governments in the sustainable and eradicates poverty – will be stronglydevelopment of nationally appropriate and relevant supported by all Member States in the coming weekspolicies, to meet the overall objectives of achieving leading up to Rio+20. If we are to ensure that equity,sustainable development and eradicating poverty through fairness, and inclusivity are at the heart of the transition,the vehicle of green economic policies. This is absolutely then the mechanisms and frameworks for state and non-critical to ensuring that all Member States are on board state actors alike to work together and collaborate onwith first establishing such a vehicle and subsequentlydriving the vehicle towards achieving the overall goals.Multiple references to this approach have been made in component of the outcome itself. . implementation on the ground, will need to be a central 1 RIO+20
    • Without finance, Rio+20 will to fail to deliver Victor Anderson Senior Policy Officer, Green Economy, WWF As Rio+20 is not expected to lead to legally binding treaties along the lines of The Earth Summit in 1992, the ability to deliver on aspirations and policy agreement from the conference is going to depend principally on the mobilisation pic: Curtis Perry of finance. Rio+20 should agree that governments will move forward This is a time of government budget austerity in many to restructure incentive patterns. Immediate priorities in parts of the world. However, government expenditure is this area are: not the only potential source of money: it is increasingly necessary to look to flows of finance from the private • An end to fossil fuel subsidies, which currently sector and private investors. Yet if private finance could be skew price incentives in exactly the wrong direction; relied upon to deliver a green economy, it would already be happening. Governments have a key role to play in • A level playing field for sustainably sourced and encouraging finance to change direction, by setting an certified commodities, such as timber, so that appropriate framework of incentives and other measures. they are not undercut by rival products which are cheaper because they are produced unsustainably; and Information is crucial in this. Investors and the general public need higher standards of reporting on what • An agreement by governments to increase the companies are doing, in order to make better-informed proportion of total tax revenue accounted for by decisions. Governments need better information from green taxation. companies in order to feed into their decisions on policy Government expenditure remains important: expenditure and regulation. Insurers need better information in options should be assessed partly on the basis of climate order to set realistic premiums that take into account and biodiversity impacts, so expenditure in some areas of environmental risk. A key outcome from Rio+20 government is not undermining what the same government therefore needs to be an agreement to raise standards is spending money on through its environmental policy. of corporate reporting about environmental and social Governments should pledge to increase the funding made risks and impacts. This cannot be on a purely voluntary available to assist the transition to green economy. In basis – if it is, we can expect nothing much to change. particular: Governments should agree to establish a process for negotiating a binding convention on reporting. Stock • A Financial Transactions Tax should be exchanges should reinforce this by setting their own introduced to raise money for green economy; requirements for the listing of companies. • International shipping and aviation fuel should be taxed; Reforms to corporate governance are also needed, requiring • Money currently spent on fossil fuel subsidies directors to pay much greater attention to environmental and environmentally harmful agricultural and social risks and impacts, taking their responsibilities subsidies should be redirected; and beyond simply the short-term financial ‘bottom line’. • There should be a thorough review of the investment policies and infrastructure schemes The prices of different products create a structure of of the World Bank and regional development incentives for investors and consumers - but currently, banks. prices in general do not reflect the environmental impacts of the products on sale. Trading in carbon emissions permits Without finance, Rio+20 will to fail to deliver. The represents one attempt to move in this direction, although main measure of its success will be its achievement in there have been many problems with current schemes. transition to green economy. . influencing financial flows, towards investment in the2 RIO+20
    • Wanted: Green Jobs in Canada Keith Brooks Program Manager, Blue Green Canada It might come as a surprise The emergence of the green economy and green jobs offers a much needed alternative to the current trajectory to hear that Canadians are Canada is on. And it is tremendously attractive for those keen on green jobs. Certainly of us who are concerned about climate change and other environmental impacts, concerned about Canada’s the Canadian government’s reputation on the international stage, and concerned recent performance at these about the hollowing out of our economy and the risks associated with such a heavy reliance on oil as the sole international fora would not driver of jobs and growth. have given this impression. UNEP’s contention, as articulated in their report, Towards Indeed, if all you knew about a Green Economy, that the greening of economies is not the Canadians’ environmental a drag on growth and employment, but a ‘new engine leanings was gleaned from of growth [and]... a net generator of decent jobs,’ is crucial to winning support for sustainable development, Canada’s position and posturing and especially here in Canada. For if we are to curtail at the recent UNFCCC COPs, for the growth of the tar sands or otherwise better align our economy with environmental realities, there will have to example, you would likely think be jobs available to replace those that are lost. Workers that we don’t pay much heed to and their families cannot be the casualties of the shift toward environmental sustainability. Thus, any green climate change and are not very economic transition must be a just transition if we hope interested in environmental for it to find support. sustainability. It may also come as a surprise to learn that Canada has already begun to transition toward a greener economy and we have some experience in the creation of green jobs. The province of Ontario is home to North America’s best renewable energy policy and most powerful green jobs engine. The Green Energy and Economy Act employs a feed-in tariff to stoke demand for renewable energy and it contains domestic content requirements to ensurepic: Pete Williamson that that demand is met domestically. Thanks to this legislation, some thirty new green energy manufacturing But this isn’t the case at all. Polls consistently show that facilities have opened in Ontario. Nova Scotia also has Canadians care deeply about climate change and the a renewable energy policy that has spawned jobs in environment. But Canada is in a tricky situation. We have that province, as do both Quebec and B.C. And we know the second largest oil reserves in the world, second only there are many other opportunities out there, waiting to to Saudi Arabia, and thanks to an international appetite be tapped: Retrofitting the existing building stock, for for oil and some technological advances, that oil is now example, or greater investment in public transit. We also recoverable. In short, our brown economy is booming. understand that by greening our existing industries, we increase their competitiveness, improve their bottom For many, this boom isn’t a good news story. There are the lines, and help retain jobs that could otherwise be lost. environmental impacts to consider, of course. And there are economic impacts as well. For one, thanks to oil’s Here in Canada, there is a tug of war between our green centrality to our economy, Canada now has an advanced economy and our brown economy. Unfortunately, right case of ‘Dutch Disease,’ a term coined in the 1970s after now, the brown economy is winning. Those of us who the Netherlands discovered a large natural gas field which understand the environmental crisis, those who follow put upward pressure on its currency which, in turn, hurt international developments, know that the green economy its manufacturing sector. Canada’s petro-dollar, which will ultimately triumph. But the attention given to green job rises in lock step with the price of oil, is responsible for creation and the efforts made to appreciate the situation the loss of some 200,000 manufacturing jobs in recent years. And it’s not just manufacturing. The pursuit of our brown economy also threatens other jobs. An oil spill off this all comes about. . of workers will have a tremendous impact on how quickly the B.C. coast, for example, would decimate both the local fisheries and tourism industry. 3 RIO+20
    • Functional Ecosystems as the Engine of John D. Liu the Green Economy Senior Research Fellow, IUCN, Director, Environmental Education Media Project (EEMP) “If the world is a table with Davos World Economic Forum, Professor Klaus Schwab, recently declared: “Capitalism, in its current form, no four legs (US, Eurozone, China/ longer fits the world around us”. India, and the Arab world), From the study of natural ecosystems comes an economic right now, all four legs are answer that goes to the fundamental question of ‘what shaky”, said Thomas Freidman, is wealth?’. Although everything that is produced and consumed comes from the bounty of the Earth, according New York Times columnist after to current economic thinking, the value of ecological listening to discussions at the function is zero. We now calculate the economy and money as the sum total of production and consumption of goods Davos World Economic Forum in and services. By valuing products and services without January. Old capitalism, many recognising the ecological function from which they are exclaimed, is dead. What has led derived, we have created a perverse incentive to degrade the Earth’s ecosystems. Carbon trading schemes barely us to this crisis point? scratch the surface of appropriately valuing nature. They continue to suggest that money is derived from production The Studying the Earth’s ecosystems is fascinating and and consumption but offer a small proportion of that money can show us the way to sustainability if we are willing to to provide incentives for slightly less polluting behaviour. act on the evidence before our eyes. When we consciously The Economics of Ecosystems and Biodiversity (TEEB) is observe nature – the tides, atmosphere, movement of more comprehensive and tries to put prices on the various clouds, river systems, microbial communities, living soils, services provided by nature, but it too falls short of the ideal plants and animals – evolutionary logic is revealed. Nature by incorporating the assumption that money in its present is always adapting to changing conditions and seeking form is the starting point. We have collectively become equilibrium. Everything has a purpose, nothing is lost, Oscar Wilde’s cynic and ‘know the price of everything and nothing is wasted, and nothing is extraneous. We know the value of nothing’. We need to go much further. that the Earth’s naturally functioning ecosystems are the basis of life on Earth, providing air, water, soil fertility, In order to survive and become sustainable we need raw materials and energy. It is also clear that the global to devise a system where instead of personal gain, the economy does not recognise that the production and intention of all human effort is aligned with nature. Where consumption of all goods and services depends entirely is it set in stone that human work must be self-serving? on the ongoing functionality of these ecosystems, and, as Aren’t the great achievements that humans have made a result, fails to value it correctly. This is not surprising based on our ability to work together? In fact there have for a system that was founded on feudal privilege, military already been two Nobel Prizes (John Nash and Elinor force, colonisation and slavery. While our stock market Ostrom) awarded for recognising that if an individual screens and bank accounts claim we have generated pursues their own interest to the point where it damages wealth, in reality, we have enriched a small minority of the collective interest, it is no long in their own interest. people while impoverishing a much larger majority of This means that the interest of individuals and the interests people on Earth, and destroyed ecological function over of humanity can be seen to be the same. Shouldn’t we huge portions of the planet. be basing our society, economy and civilisation on the highest possible understanding and principles? Now nature is warning us to stop and think. We currently face numerous challenges, including human-induced climate change, biodiversity loss, large-scale deforestation, desertification, hunger, economic crisis, social instability, migration, armed conflict, political revolution and war. Commenting on this “litany of sins”, Lester R. Brown, founder of the Earth Policy Institute and author of Plan B 4.0, recently said, “We must go beyond lifestyle changes and change the system, or civilisation will end”. In the face of such urgency, many of the assumptions that our civilisation has grown up with are thrown into question. Even the founder of that bastion of capitalist thought, the4 RIO+20
    • Now many people, especially those with vested interests in maintaining the current economic structure will ask; “do we really need to have fundamental and transformational change?” If you analyse the current economy objectively you find at least three reasons why it must change. First, as already noted, it is illogical to value the derivative goods and services without ascribing an appropriate value to the source of these goods and services (functional ecosystems). It creates a perverse incentive to degrade, and we can see the results in shrinking forests, expanding deserts, drained wetlands, disrupted dry-lands and coastal regions and oceans. This basic mistake must be corrected, and soon. Secondly, it is impossible to grow the economy infinitely from finite resources, yet in the current economic model creating and maintaining jobs for new members of the labor force requires infinite growth. Simple mathematics proves that this is impossible. Thirdly, the huge crimes that have been committed to establish this system make it fundamentally immoral. This can be seen every day and everywhere in the enormous disparity between the wealthy and the poor. With seven billion people on the Earth and a billion being added approximately every 12 years, we must find a waypic: Satish Nikam to address the economic disparity and create a path for sustainability, based on our understanding of the need to correctly value ecosystem function. Functional ecosystems can be shown to be more valuable than production and consumption. A pathway to Humanity is exhibiting the behaviour of what in a sustainability appears if, instead of the economy being natural system would be described as a parasite – we based on production and consumption of goods and are consuming our host. When a host dies the parasite services, it were based on ecosystem function. This would dies as well. This characterisation, while accurate given mean a fundamental transformation of human society. our current behaviour, seems dark. An alternative would This development trajectory can be seen to address all be to seek what is humanity’s unique evolutionary niche of our most pressing problems. In an economy based on and contribution to maintaining ecosystem function. This ecological function it would be economically disastrous to seems to be consciousness. We have developed the ability pollute. A functional economy would mean that conservation to think abstractly, to envision our own death, to consider is not considered an expensive luxury, but the way to time relatively and to communicate complex thoughts from preserve wealth. It would also mean that restoration of generation to generation. So, if we are to be conscious degraded lands would be recognised as a means to increase beings rather than parasites, we need to consciously design wealth. Sequestering carbon would be a matter of course a fair, sustainable economy and society. Acknowledging rather than an afterthought. A functional ecosystem-based that functional ecosystems are the basis of all life and economy would be much more fairly distributed, because therefore basis of all wealth is the first step down a long those responsible for maintaining that function – currently path. Leaving the path of violence and inequality that we those who suffer worst from the degradation inflicted by are on is fraught with difficulty, but is there really any consumer capitalism – would be compensated for restoring other choice? Making functional ecosystems the engine of and maintaining ecosystem functions. a new economics, positions all people’s efforts to benefit themselves, their families, human society and the Earth. Seen from this perspective, it is easy to recognise that The path that values ecosystem function as the basis of the developed economies have imposed their will on the lesser-developed economies and just assumed that they had the right to do this. A study of the thoughts of many conflict, and ultimately, survival for the human race. . life and wealth is the one that leads to sustainability, less indigenous peoples shows that their perspectives are more highly civilised in being much more respecting of the value of functional ecosystems. Since all people are equal, the views of indigenous peoples are an integral part of human culture and a crucial guide for us in mapping a new path towards sustainability. 5 RIO+20
    • Revisiting our limits Patrick Schroeder International advisor to the China Association for NGO Cooperation (CANGO) This article was first published by China Dialogue.... (http://www.chinadialogue.net/) This year marks the 40th anniversary of the Club of Rome’s Unsustainable economic growth is generally defined as famous report The Limits to Growth, which developed a when the environmental and social costs of economic number of possible trajectories of human development growth start to outweigh its benefits. There are several from 1972 until 2100. Most of these scenarios projected alternatives. De-growth, reducing our economic activity ‘overshoot and collapse’: rapid industrial production, to reduce the overall amount of natural resources resource consumption and increasing pollution emissions consumed, is the most radical. “Steady-state” or zero- overshoot biophysical planetary boundaries by around growth approaches limit the scale of our economies to a 2050, leading to a collapse in food production and certain, steady level. population by end of the century. A third approach is to “de-materialise” economic growth: The frightening truth is that in 2012 many of its findings continuing growth but with the absolute decoupling of are still valid and we remain on the same potentially GDP from resource consumption and environmental catastrophic pathway. impacts. And while there is a global trend towards decoupling through increasing efficiency, overall demand The report also developed stabilisation scenarios, and these and consumption continues to increase and an absolute remain potential future pathways. To avoid overshoot and reduction of environmental impacts has not yet occurred. collapse, according to the report, it is necessary to stabilise our economies, currently based on increasing material This third solution seems to be the most attractive, but it through-put; to slow and stabilise population growth; and is unlikely that the global economy will reach such levels to reduce pollution levels, all before mid-21st century. The of efficiency. Take the reduction of carbon emissions: if two latter goals are relatively uncontroversial in most parts both the global population and per capita income levels of the world, but even questioning the need for on-going continue to increase as projected, along with modest economic growth is still highly politically sensitive. incremental increases in GDP growth, we would need to decrease to six grams of carbon dioxide per US$1 Still, the debate about the limits of economic growth of GDP to stay within the 450 parts-per-million target. has arisen once more, especially in Europe. In France, Highlighting the magnitude of the challenge, Japan, the the movement debating these issues goes by the name world’s most efficient economy, currently has an intensity “La Decroissance” -- literally, “De-growth”, referring to of 250 grams of carbon dioxide per US$1 of GDP . the controlled downscaling of production. This political and counter-cultural movement, which stands for the So what do these ideas mean for China, where I live and egalitarian use of global resources, is barely known work? First, there is no doubt China still needs to grow its outside the Francophone world, but has nonetheless economy. Even after 30 years of rapid economic growth, produced valuable texts such as La Décroissance: 10 China still faces the challenge of poverty eradication with questions pour comprendre et en débattre (“De-growth: 150 million people still living under US$1 per day. But 10 questions to understand the debate”). what type of growth is needed to achieve the double goal of poverty eradication and environmental protection? In the UK, Prosperity without Growth by Tim Jackson has been one of the most important books to rekindle Interestingly China’s government is already trying to the discussion on the ecological limits to conventional limit the speed of economic growth, lowering its official GDP growth - and its alternatives. In Germany, the debate annual target from 7.5% to 7% in 2011, although actual recently shifted when Wolfgang Schaeuble, the minister of GDP growth was 9.2% that year. Relative decoupling finance stated that “as much as we strive on the one hand trends can be observed in China too: GDP has increased for the elimination of hunger throughout the world, on much faster than water consumption, for example, which the other hand, in our own western developed countries, only increases about 1% per year. However, figures we have to strive for a limitation of economic growth.” A on decoupling trends can be misleading if viewed public enquiry has also been commissioned on the topic in isolation. For example, per capita water resource “Growth, Prosperity and Quality of Life”. availability has decreased from 2,802 cubic metres per capita per year in 1982 to 1,816 cubic metres in 2009.6 RIO+20
    • Moving beyond GDP will also require new social indicators for evaluating human development. As economist Hu Angang has written, the country could start measuring happiness and life satisfaction through the introduction of a new index. This would counteract the strong focus on GDP as a benchmark and could help to close the widening gap between rich and poor in China. Developing suchpic: Andrew Hux indices could also provide a fruitful avenue for cooperation and dialogue with Europe. Alternative indicators for measuring environmental performance of the economy beyond GDP are also being Forty years have passed since the publication of The introduced. Although a large scale green GDP index was Limits to Growth. If the models are correct – and so far unexpectedly shelved in 2007, the government continues they look that way – business-as-usual is not an option: we . to publish annual environmental calculations, with the do not have another 40 years to waste before taking action cost of pollution for 2009 estimated to be 1.4 trillion Yuan and changing course. (US$222 billion), about 3.8% of GDP and an increase of 9.2% on the previous year. United Nations Volunteers (UNV) Programme: Volunteer Action Counts With this week´s next round of ‘informal informals’ starting Felix Dodds, Chair of the DPI/NGO Conference and Executive in New York in preparation for Rio+20, the United Nations Director of Stakeholder Forum during the Conference Volunteers (UNV) programme has launched the Volunteer stated: “People are consumers, activists, volunteers, and Action Counts campaign - www.volunteeractioncounts.org (responsive) citizens. People who are actively engaged in their communities and societies will ensure action to This campaign provides an opportunity for volunteers to effectively tackle pressing sustainable development issues.” show that they are key for building a sustainable future. Felix now adds, that “this pledge campaign is about all of The campaign will count people’s actions for sustainable us getting involved and making our contribution to a more development from around the world, and provide them sustainable planet. The old saying rings true ‘When the with a space to tell their volunteering story. people lead, the leaders will follow’. “The campaign will show that many people are volunteering We are therefore asking all volunteers around the world to every day for a sustainable future. Their work might share their experiences on the campaign website, www. sometimes go unnoticed to the world, but their actions volunteeractioncounts.org, so that their stories can be count in the communities that are benefitting from their showcased through a multi-media presentation to world hard work,” said Flavia Pansieri, Executive Coordinator of leaders and participants at Rio+20. Their actions can also UNV. The engagement of people in discussing what is at be measured on the website through the calculators from stake in the Rio+20 agenda is important, as is the active Zero Footprint, a cleantech software and services company participation of people in realising the results. After all, it is that makes environmental impact measurable, visible ordinary people who have the most to lose if we fail to find and manageable, that has volunteered their expertise to sustainable solutions, and the most to gain if we succeed. the campaign. People can use the Social Media tool they This is why UNV created a campaign for all volunteers prefer - ideally Twitter, but Facebook and others also count around the world, not only UN Volunteers or NGO volunteers, - and tag their actions under the #Actioncounts hashtag, but for all people who care about sustainable development so that UNV can ensure that their contribution to improve – and to count their actions and take them to Rio. the world is taken to Rio+20. The campaign was conceived by UNV and Stakeholder Now is the perfect time to be heard, and where better to Forum during the 64th Annual UN DPI/NGO Conference that took place in Bonn, Germany from 3-5 September. “Looking ahead to Rio+20, the Conference - ‘Sustainable we will live on this planet over the next decades.. do it than at the meeting aiming to set goals for the way Societies - Responsive Citizens’, already highlighted the need to connect the dots between sustainable development and civic engagement,” explains Marco van der Ree, Chief Partnerships of UNV. 7 RIO+20
    • Private Sector and Governments Discuss Green and Inclusive Economy Ahead of Rio+20 Business Action for Sustainable Development 2012 (BASD 2012) In the run-up to Rio+20, business representatives, of the BASD Steering Group, at the meeting. “Business government officials, and other stakeholders engaged in a strongly believes that the potential of open trade and two-day consultation in The Hague, the Netherlands. More investment must be harnessed to achieve the environmental than 300 participants discussed the theme ‘Realizing and social goals of sustainable development.” Inclusive and Green Growth’ and how business’ strengths in innovation, adaptation and implementation can best be Transparency and Alignment leveraged to facilitate the transition to a green economy. The outcomes of the discussions have been captured and A special session dedicated to Transparency and will be fed into the Rio+20 negotiations. Alignment brought together representatives of business, investors, stock exchanges and NGOs, to discuss and Organised by the government of the Netherlands, refine policy recommendations for Rio+20 on improving UNDESA and the Business Action for Sustainable the quantity and quality of sustainability information Development (BASD2012), The Hague Consultation provided by companies. These discussions underscore provided an opportunity to discuss, and deliver to the the current momentum behind increased integration of Rio+20 Conference, constructive global private sector sustainability in regular economic activity, and the broad key messages around the role of business and its call for measurement and disclosure of sustainability expectations of governments. The general consensus performance at all levels of economic decision-making, was that business, government, and other stakeholders including at the company, product and national levels. will need to work together and move, as Sha Zukang, UN Under-Secretary-General for Economic and Social Affairs, Clause 24 of the Rio+20 Zero Draft Document calls for “a and Secretary General of the UNCSD, called it “from global policy framework requiring all listed and large private paper to implementation”. companies to consider sustainability issues and to integrate sustainability information within the reporting cycle.” Leading companies around the world have placed sustainability at the top of their agendas, realising Broad support was expressed for this policy the growing significance and urgency of global recommendation, including from a global coalition of environmental, social and economic challenges. Using investors and other key actors from the private sector science and technology to stimulate innovation and and civil society. Participants reflected that such a investment for green growth, the private sector is a policy framework should support efforts to integrate catalyst for sustainable development. sustainability, financial, governance and management reporting and demonstrate the link between an “Whatever progress we have made since Rio 1992, organisation’s strategy, governance and financial we could not have done it without the contributions performance and its social, environmental and economic of business and industry," said Mr. Sha, who set the context. It should also build upon the work of the stage in his opening keynote address. Sha Zukang International Integrated Reporting Council (IIRC), which also promoted the BASD 2012 Business Day (19 June brings together the financial accounting standard setters 2012, Rio): "This event will allow for a continued frank and existing initiatives such as the Global Compact and discussion between governments, business leaders and the Global Reporting Initiative (GRI). other civil society participants." Participants also discussed the need for business to "Governments can play an important role by fighting engage business in public-private partnerships to align barriers to sustainable investment, while businesses need sustainable development themes, methodologies and to accept sustainability as a prerequisite for profitability", indicators at the corporate and product levels and at the underlined Ben Knapen, Minister for European Affairs and national and global levels and to be actively involved in the International Cooperation of the Netherlands. "Without formulation of upcoming Sustainable Development Goals. the private sector it is almost impossible to reach a sufficient scale and have a major impact. That is why The topics of integrated reporting and public-private the Netherlands attaches so much importance to this partnerships will be featured in-depth at the Rio+20 consultation in the lead-up to the Rio+20 Conference." Corporate Sustainability Forum hosted by the UN Global Compact in cooperation with the Rio+20 Secretariat, “Trade and investment are critical pillars for green growth,” said Jean-Guy Carrier, Secretary-General of the International Chamber of Commerce (ICC) and member Brazil (15-18 June, Rio). . the UN System and the Global Compact Local Network8 RIO+20
    • UNITAR and UNEP Launch E-learning Course on Green Economy Green economy in the context of sustainable development The specific learning objectives of this course include: and poverty eradication will be one of the main themes • Define the concept of a green economy and for the upcoming 2012 UN Conference on Sustainable explain its value Development (Rio+20) taking place from 20-22 June • Describe social, environmental and economic 2012 in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. As countries are being benefits of advancing a green economy increasingly attentive to new patterns of development, the UN Institute for Training and Research (UNITAR) and • Identify enabling conditions for greening the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) national economies have recently announced a new e-learning course • Provide examples of successful green economy entitled “Introduction to a Green Economy: Concepts, investments, initiatives and projects Principles and Applications”, that will take place from • Identify principal challenges and opportunities 14 May to 22 June 2012. for greening key economic sectors • Describe national planning processes in support This partnership e-course has been designed for a wide of a green transformation audience of civil servants, diplomats, environmental managers, academics, and interested citizens. It aims • Recognize the range of international and regional green initiatives and support services at enhancing participants’ knowledge of different to foster green development concepts and facets of the green economy, as well as global, national and sector-specific challenges and • Apply the green economy concept to a real opportunities to advance low-carbon, resource efficient world economic, policy and/or personal context and socially inclusive development. Additionally, the Registration is open until 7 May 2012. Comprehensive future e-students will begin to develop basic skills for information and registration details are available on the applying the green economy concept in a real world UNITAR Online Catalogue. economic, policy and/or personal context. Please contact the UNITAR Environmental Governance Programme (EGP) at envgov@unitar.org for more information.Rio+20 Side Event CalendarDate Time Room Title Organisers 1:15-2:45 A Environmental Health Initiatives: Innovative Approaches for Building Sustainable Cities Parliamentarians for Global Action 1:15-2:45 7 Responding to the Global Soil Crisis Permanent Mission of Australia to the UN 24 April 2012 Gorakhpur Environmental Action Group (GEAG); Public Advocacy Initiatives 1:15-2:45 4 Reclaiming the ’92 Earth Summit and Revisiting the Rio+20 Agenda for Rights and Values in India (PAIRVI); Centre for Community Economics and Development Consultants Society (CECOEDECON); and Beyond Copenhagen 6:15-7:45 A Promoting Rights and Equity through Sustainable Development Goals IBON International and Both Ends 1:15-2:45 A SDGs: Evolution or More of the Same? WWF-UK Rio+20: Towards sustainable agriculture and a world free of hunger - An interactive 25 April 2012 1:15-2:45 7 Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) dialogue with the Rome-based Agencies and the Committee on World Food Security (CFS) 1:15-2:45 4 Sustainable Mobility on the Road to Rio+20: Priorities and Actions across Major Groups Institute for Transportation and Development Policy (ITDP) United Nations Environment Programme- Division of Technology, Industry and 6:15-7:45 7 Resource Efficient Cities as drivers of change Economics (UNEP-DTIE) 1:15-2:45 4 The Future We Want for Rio+20 on Oceans and Seas UN DPI 26 April 2012 Governments of Slovenia, Costa Rica, Cape Verde, Iceland, Singapore, UAE (the 1:15-2:45 A Global outlook and local action: water and energy for sustainable development Green Group) Blue Carbon as a Tool to Mitigate Climate Change and Preserve Key Marine and Coastal 6:15-7:45 7 UNESCO, Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission (IOC) Ecosystems The State of the World Environment told by UNEP’s GEO-5 report and Global Solutions for 1:15-2:45 7 United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) 27 April 2012 Sustainability 1:15-2:45 A Rights at Risk: Decoding the Green Economy France Libertes Foundation Danielle Mitterrand 1:15-2:45 4 Planet Under pressure ICSU-UNESCO-IGBP 9 RIO+20
    • News from the Negotiations - Synthesis of Plenary SessionsEmma Puka-BealsMount Holyoke College Monday, 23rd AprilMonday afternoon’s plenary negotiations on sections III and V the G77+China moved to delete the paragraph and insistedof the Rio+20 Outcome Document covered paragraphs 26-37, on comments to its proposed text, stating that the Co-chairs’with a focus on the new Co-Chairs’ Suggested Text (CST). Several streamlining had fundamentally changed the section.Member State delegates intervened to incorporate text thathad not been included in CST paragraphs, and the G77+China In CST paragraph 31 on Green Economy policies, Norwaystated its refusal to negotiate using CST paragraphs altogether. moved to delete text quoting the Rio Principles and moved toThroughout the negotiations, the G77+China called on other make inequalities more pronounced, and asked to delete text ondelegates to comment on G77 text that had been proposed in complying with international trade law. The EU supported theMarch, as the G77 felt that this text, which had received very latter proposal, while the US and Canada moved to retain thislittle feedback, had been removed unfairly from CST paragraphs. text. New Zealand stated that only “unwarranted” trade barriers should be removed. The G77 rejected this text in favor of itsThe G77 moved to delete paragraph 25 and all pre and sub – proposed additions to the original paragraph.which provide an overview of the Green Economy – in favor of itspreviously submitted text. It also moved to delete paragraph 26 on In the section on toolkits and experience sharing, Norway movedthe role of the Green Economy, stating that it could not commit to include old introductory text. The US and Canada moved toto something that was not yet defined. The EU stated that it had delete text on “capacity building schemes”, and Korea and thenot commented on G77 text because of its length. The Co-Chair EU moved to incorporate some old text into the paragraph (CSTemphasised that despite the large membership of the G77, the 33). The EU moved to separate this one paragraph into two, whileprocess was not governed by majority-rule, and that other Member the G77 moved to delete it in favor of its own less prescriptiveStates and Groups could comment on old text by choice. text. In CST 34 on labor, the US and New Zealand continued to support text on businesses and industries of all sizes, andIn paragraph 28 - the transition to the Green Economy- Switzerland and the EU moved to include “decent” work. In CSTSwitzerland, the EU, Norway, the US, Canada and Korea 35, the EU and Switzerland moved to enhance the role of Majormoved to specifically include women as a group participating Groups, while the Holy See moved to delete this.in the Green Economy. The EU, New Zealand, Canada and theUS moved not to single out ‘global’ firms in order to include In the section on a Framework for Action, the G77 insisted onbusinesses and industries of all sizes. The EU and Norway moving all text to section V. New Zealand, the US and the EUmoved not to single out benefits to developing countries. New asked not to move all text, and Co-chairs proceeded as plannedZealand, the US and Canada had further questions on the textcovering ‘incentives’, and Norway emphasised the integrationof social and environmental costs in decision-making. However, could not comment on this section. . as outlined in the CST paragraphs 37-43. The G77 stated that it pic: Massachusettes Office of Energy & Environmental AffairsOutreach is made possible by the support of