Challenges Ahead of Rio+20 and Opportunities for Brazil and the Developing World in Advancing the Sustainable Development Agenda
Rio+20, Brazil and the BRICSAn Assessment of Performance towards Sustainability Saulo Rodrigues-Filho, PhD IPC-UNDP Meeting, Brasília, 9th of March 2012 Center for Sustainable Development – CDS University of Brasília – UnB
Rio+20, Brazil and the BRICSThe proposal to hold a new Conference of the United Nations forSustainable Development was introduced by the former President ofBrazil, Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva in 2007, in the opening speech at the 62ndGeneral Assembly of the United Nations.Considering the global crisis on its multiple dimensions, the dominantbackground during the Conference should be seen as an opportunity toshare commitments for the adoption of new solutions, more creative andconsistent with modern times. Center for Sustainable Development – CDS University of Brasília – UnB
Rio+20, Brazil and the BRICS Because of their position as emerging countries, BRICS are assuming amajor role in international agreements. Some crucial factors for this role aretheir economic growth with a better income distribution and their efforts to establish and compliance with environmental goals. According to the official Positioning Statement sent by the Brazilian Government to the UN Secretary on 1st of November 2011, some of the goals of sustainable development should be associated with: Center for Sustainable Development – CDS University of Brasília – UnB
Rio+20, Brazil and the BRICS · Eradication of extreme poverty · Food Security and nutrition · Access to suitable jobs (socially fair and environmentally sound) · Access to appropriate sources of energy · Equity – intra and inter-generations, among and within countries · Gender and Women Empowerment · Micro-entrepreneurship and microfinance · Innovation for sustainability · Access to adequate sources of water· Balance the ecological footprint of society to the planet’s carrying capacity Center for Sustainable Development – CDS University of Brasília – UnB
Rio+20, Brazil and the BRICS Institutional Dimension of International Governance The creation of a permanent coordination at a high UN level aggregatingall international institutions that deal with development initiatives wouldhave a considerable political impact and effectiveness.Brazil’s position supports that Rio +20 seeks launching the reform ofECOSOC for turning this Council a central forum for sustainabledevelopment issues, dealing with equal weight their environmental,economic and social dimensions. Center for Sustainable Development – CDS University of Brasília – UnB
Rio+20, Brazil and the BRICS Analysis of strategic aspects for development in emerging countriesXXI Century has began with an important inflection on the historicallydecreasing values of natural resources, as mirrored in the prices ofcommodities through the XX century. Since 2003, we are likely entering anew age of valuation of raw material and energy, which is arguably causedby both high growth rates in populous emerging countries and theincreasing notion of a finite world, as reflected in evidence of a human-driven climate change, an overshooting ecological footprint and the everincreasing loss of biodiversity and other natural assets. Center for Sustainable Development – CDS University of Brasília – UnB
Rio+20, Brazil and the BRICSIf this assumption is valid, it is very likely to be followed by the revision ofan important mainstream economic thought, according to which losses ofnatural capital can ever be compensated by technological innovation. Thisassumption seems no longer to be valid.Market alone has never showed itself to be able to incorporate anappropriate valuation for some important aspects associated with humanwellbeing, such as social inequality, environmental services, human rights,less useful living species and ethical principles. Center for Sustainable Development – CDS University of Brasília – UnB
Rio+20, Brazil and the BRICSDue to its inherent inability to deal with those important aspects ofdevelopment, as far as life and future is concerned, markets require aproper regulation from states and international organizations. The roots ofthis inability might also help explaining the recent and long-lasting financialcrisis.Following the principle of an infinite world, market-oriented forces havenow managed to include green economy as the main directive for Rio+20.Green economy is all and only about efficiency, in the use and managementof material and energy, which strongly depends on the intensity of capitaland technological development. Center for Sustainable Development – CDS University of Brasília – UnB
CompasSus – Compass of SustainabilityCompasSus is not an assessment toll in itself, but rather a conceptualframework, an attempt to highlight different operational concepts ofsustainability behind assessment systems.It is based on the assumption that sustainability assessment modelsshould go beyond the assessment of land use changes. Center for Sustainable Development – CDS University of Brasília – UnB
CompasSus – Compass of SustainabilityMost of the sustainability assessment models disregard material flowaccounts together with its associated natural capital consumption,leading to a limited notion of sustainability.It is argued that consideration of import/export of materials, energyand wastes is needed to achieve an integrated and fair sustainabilityassessment.Intragenerational equity - Sustainability can not be decoupled fromthe global perspective, as well as it is not achievable at the expensesof externalities abroad (social and environmental justice). Center for Sustainable Development – CDS University of Brasília – UnB
CompasSus – Compass of SustainabilitySince the 1990´s, sustainability has been one of the most addressedgoals for the design of policies, programs, plans and projects indifferent sectors of governments, business and non-governmentalorganizations (conceptual ambiguousness leading to vulgarization)Aiming at the current need for assessing sustainability performanceof territorial development processes, the objective of this article is toexplore strengths of different assessment models, such as:- Ecological Footprint (Wackernagel and Rees, 1996);-Barometer of Sustainability, or Wellbeing Index (Prescott-Allen,2001). Center for Sustainable Development – CDS University of Brasília – UnB
CompasSus – Compass of SustainabilitySome Important International Initiatives on Aggregation of SDI- Millennium Development Goals (UNSD, 2005)- Ecological Footprint (Wackernagel and Rees, 1996)- Well-being Assessment or Barometer of Sustainability (Prescott-Allen, 1999)- ESI - Environmental Sustainability Index (Yale/Columbia, 2005)- ISEW – Index of Sustainable Economic Welfare (Daly and Cobb, 1989)- The Dashboard of Sustainability (IISD, 2002). Center for Sustainable Development – CDS University of Brasília – UnB
CompasSus – Compass of SustainabilityThe ecological economic literature on weak and strong sustainabilityhas explored some important values and interpretations affecting adesired operational concept of sustainability (Daly, 1997; Bartelmus,1999; Bartelmus, 2004).The concept of critical natural capital, for example, has a pivotal rolefor defining strong sustainability. The remaining question is:How to define the sub-set of natural capital, or thresholds, beyondwhich man-made substitutes are not achievable? Center for Sustainable Development – CDS University of Brasília – UnB
CompasSus – Compass of SustainabilityUntil this question is not properly answered, for addressing trade-offsbetween global and local/regional approaches, the CompasSusconceptual framework proposes a hemispheric representation forassessing sustainability, whereas:- the left hemisphere reflects a weak sustainability approach, withfocus on local/regional impacts, here represented by the Barometer ofSustainability (composed of 70 indicators);- the right hemisphere mirrors a strong sustainability focused onglobal impacts and its implications, by considering earth´s carryingcapacity an important component of sustainability, represented by theEcological Footprint (compose of one headline indicator). Center for Sustainable Development – CDS University of Brasília – UnB
CompasSus – Compass of SustainabilityWellbeing, Footprint and Climate ChangeIt is argued that both models have their own limitations, while acombination of both, together with a proxy of climate changeenhancement (one headline indicator), provides a morecomprehensive assessment.It is argued that both tolls represent complementary perspectivesof different operational concepts of sustainable development, namelystrong and weak sustainability.Therefore, the proposed CompasSus Assessment consists of aconceptual framework based on complementary perspectives ofsustainability, namely global and local/regional. Center for Sustainable Development – CDS University of Brasília – UnB
CompasSus – Compass of Sustainability N S(sust.) Human Ecosystem N(non-sust.)
Barometer of SustainabilityThe Barometer of Sustainability is a performance assessment designed tomeasure human and ecosystem wellbeing, following two axes, one for eachdimension (Prescott-Allen, 2001).Ecosystem Wellbeing Index (EWI)Land. How well a country conserves the diversity of its natural landecosystems [4 indicators] and maintains the quality of the ecosystems that itdevelops [1 indicator].Water. River conversion by dams [2 indicators]. The water quality ofdrainage basins [17 indicators]. Water withdrawal as a percentage of thenational supply from precipitation [1 indicator]. Inadequate data preventedcoverage of the sea.
Barometer of SustainabilityEcosystem Wellbeing Index (EWI) – cont.Air. Emissions of greenhouse gases and ozone depleting substances to theglobal atmosphere [2 indicators]. The quality of city air [9 indicators].Species and genes. How well a country conserves its wild species ofmammals, birds, amphibians, reptiles, and higher plants [2 indicators], andthe variety of its domesticated livestock breeds [2 indicators].Resource use. How much energy a country consumes [2 indicators]. Thedemands its agriculture, fishing, and timber sectors place on resources [9indicators].Source: IUCN, 2005
Barometer of SustainabilityHuman Wellbeing Index (HWI)Health and population. How long people may expect to live in good health[1 indicator]. The stability of family size [1 indicator].Wealth. How well needs are met for income, food, safe water, and sanitation[6 indicators]. The size and condition of the national economy, includinginflation, unemployment, and the debt burden [8 indicators].Knowledge and culture. Education (primary, secondary, and tertiary schoolenrollment rates) and communication (accessibility and reliability of thetelephone system and use of the Internet) [6 indicators]. Lack of a suitableindicator prevented coverage of culture.Source: IUCN, 2005
Barometer of SustainabilityHuman Wellbeing Index (HWI) – cont.Community. Freedom and governance (political rights, civil liberties, pressfreedom, and corruption) [4 indicators]. Peacefulness (military expenditureand deaths from armed conflicts and terrorism) [2 indicators]. Violent crimerates [4 indicators].Equity. Household equity: the difference in income share between the richestand poorest fifths of the population [1 indicator]. Gender equity: disparitiesbetween males and females in income, education, and parliamentary decision-making [3 indicators].Source: IUCN, 2005
Ecological FootprintThe Ecological Footprint is an assessment tool of the carryingcapacity of natural systems in relation to the consumption of agiven population or country.The assessment is based on land units and assumes that eachhuman activity uses resources and produces waste flows thatcan be converted to a biologically productive area necessary toprovide these functions (Wackernagel and Rees, 1996;Wackernagel et al, 1997).The main advantage of this toll is the clear statement of naturallimits in relation to the type of economic growth, which areeither absent or left to stakeholders definition in other tolls.
Ecological Footprint by countryIt shows the implications of, for instance, 85% of the globalenergy suply being consumed by just 25% of the worldpopulationSource: WWF (2006)
CompasSus – Compass of Sustainability ConclusionsCompasSus proposes an approach that can in principle beapplied to any sustainability assessment tool of land usechanges, since its operational development is still running andrequires further research efforts.A modelling toll is as good as the decisions it gives rise, if any.Sustainability means provision of food to my children(Brasilian small-farmer). Thank you! Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
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