Rio+20 seminar


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Rio+20 seminar

  1. 1. RIO+20 UN Conference on Sustainable Development Michael Ewing, Coordinator of the Environmental Pillar.1 November 2011 1
  2. 2. Contents• Introduction- The urgency of the crises facing us• What is really meant by Sustainable Development?• What Ireland should bring to the table1 November 2011 2
  3. 3. Introduction 1Our society is entirely dependent on a clean andhealthy environment. Our economic system, whichis an invention of our society, must reflect this fact.We can adapt our economic system and our societymodel, but if we push the environment muchfurther it will be unable to provide us with themany services that we need for our survival: cleanwaters; a stable atmosphere; productive soils; and ahealthy biodiversity.All of these natural services are in decline globally.1 November 2011 3
  4. 4. Introduction 2Add to this is the following:• The capacity to produce oil peaked in 2006 whilstdemand for energy continues to grow.(International Energy Agency April 2011.)• Food prices are rising rapidly, driven by the priceof oil and the impact of climate change (Tom Arnold- Concern Worldwide, June 2011)• The oceans are rapidly being depleted. (UNEP2011)• Industry is fast running out of raw materials (NeilO’Leary - Ion Equity June 2011)• Fresh-water supply world-wide is in crisis (TomArnold - Concern Worldwide, June2011)1 November 2011 4
  5. 5. 1 November 2011 5
  6. 6. WorldPopulation1 November 2011 6
  7. 7. Species on the verge of mass extinction1 November 2011 7
  8. 8. 1 November 2011 8
  9. 9. 1 November 2011 9
  10. 10. “The continuing success of human society depends fundamentally onthe preservation of the overall productivity, health and long termsustainability of the eco-systems and environmental services thatunderpin and supply many of the most basiccomponents of human welfaresuch as healthy soils,flourishing biodiversity,clean waters anda stable atmosphere1 November 2011 10
  11. 11. The Three Pillars of Sustainable Development 19921 November 2011 11
  12. 12. We are part of the environment"The economy is, in the first instance, asubsystem of human society ... which is itself, inthe second instance, a subsystem of the totalityof life on Earth (the biosphere). And nosubsystem can expand beyond the capacity ofthe total system of which it is a part". For thisreason the next diagram, known as the RussianDoll model, shows economy as a component ofsociety, both bounded by, and dependent upon,the environment.1 November 2011 12
  13. 13. The Real Picture1 November 2011 13
  14. 14. “ No subsystem can expand beyond the capacity of the total system of which it is a part” - Jonathon Porritt1 November 2011 14
  15. 15. What Ever Happened to Agenda 21?  There are 40 chapters in the Agenda 21, the visionary agreement that came from Rio 1992, divided into four main sections.  Section I: Social and Economic Dimensions  which deals with combating poverty, changing consumption patterns, promoting health, change population and sustainable settlement  Section II: Conservation and Management of Resources for Development  Includes Atmospheric protection combating deforestation, protecting fragile environments, conservation of biological diversity (biodiversity) and control of pollution  Section III: Strengthening the Role of Major Groups  Includes the roles of children and youth, women, NGOs, local authorities, business and workers.  Section IV: Means of Implementation  Implementation includes science, technology transfer, education, international institutions and financial mechanisms.1 November 2011 15
  16. 16. Making choices while we still can!1 November 2011 16
  17. 17. ‘THE BELIEF that private financial markets can solve all our problems is the witchcraft of our age.”The bill for ignoring nature’s services may not beaffordable if we don’t start paying now, says‘total capitalist’ and environmentalist PavanSukhdev, a leading figure in the formulation ofDeutsche Bank’s global markets strategy in Asiafrom the 1990s. (August 2011)1 November 2011 17
  18. 18. Environmental Pillar input into Rio+20 Full submission at• What is this Green Economy?• Essential parts of the Green Economy• International Governance• Governance in Ireland1 November 2011 18
  19. 19. Green Economy• A green economy can be seen as one which is low carbon, resource efficient and socially inclusive. Our existing economic model and our current focus on it will not deliver a green economy.• The definition of a green economy proposed by the UNEP and supported by the European Commission does not represent a significant departure from the current economic model which is driven by the over- consumption of scarce natural resources.• In a green economy market prices must adequately reflect environmental costs, and fiscal policy must shift taxation from work to resource consumption.1 November 2011 19
  20. 20. Green Economy• A truly sustainable ‘green economy’ functions within the limits of the planet, and ensures a fair distribution of resources among all countries and social groups - as well as between men and women.• We need an economy that provides incentives for zero-waste, low-carbon economies that enhance and restore the natural environment, while also providing new ‘green’ livelihoods, employment and entrepreneurial opportunities for women as well as men.1 November 2011 20
  21. 21. Essential Parts of a Green Economy• New Indicators for well-being• Internalisation of external costs• Planetary boundaries• Sufficiency Instruments (caps on resource use)• Precautionary Principle• Independent Technology Assessment• Financial Transaction Tax1 November 2011 21
  22. 22. International Governance For Sustainability• Establishment of a UN ombudsman for future generations• International Court for the Environment• International Sustainable Development Council• Reform of International Monetary Fund and World Bank, regional development banks, and other bodies such as the World Trade Organisation• Regional Conventions based on Principle 10 of the Rio Declaration 19921 November 2011 22
  23. 23. Principle 10 (P.10), of the ‘Rio Declaration on Environment and Development, 1992’, states:“Environmental issues are best handled with theparticipation of all concerned citizens, at the relevantlevel. At the national level, each individual shall haveappropriate access to information concerning theenvironment that is held by public authorities, includinginformation on hazardous materials and activities in theircommunities, and the opportunity to participate indecision-making processes. States shall facilitate andencourage public awareness and participation by makinginformation widely available. Effective access to judicialand administrative proceedings, including redress andremedy, shall be provided”.1 November 2011 23
  24. 24. Ridder, Mostert, Wolters, (2005) Harmonising Collaborative Planning (HarmoniCOP);1 November 2011 24
  25. 25. Access to Justice“The law, in its majestic equality,forbids the rich, as well as thepoor, to sleep under the bridges,to beg in the streets, and to stealbread”. Anatole France (1844-1924)1 November 2011 25
  26. 26. Governance in Ireland• Ratify and fully implement the Aarhus Convention• Climate Change Act with legally enforceable targets• Amend the Constitution to provide for the right to a clean and healthy environment• Incorporate the principles of SD into the National Reform Programme ( implementing the Europe 2020 Strategy)1 November 2011 26
  27. 27. Governance in Ireland II• Amended NESDO Act to rename the National Economic and Social Council (NESC) as the National Sustainable Development Council• An inclusive, visionary National Sustainable Development Strategy with measurable targets for all Government Departments• Support for the Development of SD Indicators• Enforcement of Environmental Law• Citizen Monitoring and Enforcement1 November 2011 27
  28. 28. Governance in Ireland III• Support for the Biodiversity Forum• Ramsar Committee - Wetlands• Local Agenda 21 – Include Environment in the TORs of CDBs – Empower Community Forums – Renew and implement Local Agenda 21 Plans – Appoint and support Local Agenda 21 Officers1 November 2011 28
  29. 29. Thank You Go Raibh Maith Agaibh www.environmentalpillar.ie1 November 2011 29