Outreach Magazine: Rio+20 March meetings - Day 5


Published on

a multi-stakeholder magazine on
climate change and sustainable

Published in: News & Politics, Technology
  • Be the first to comment

  • Be the first to like this

No Downloads
Total views
On SlideShare
From Embeds
Number of Embeds
Embeds 0
No embeds

No notes for slide

Outreach Magazine: Rio+20 March meetings - Day 5

  1. 1. inside: Rio+20: The Age of All Humans? Reflections on Right to Water: What is at stake as we move towards Rio+20? a multi-stakeholder magazine on climate change and sustainable development outreach. RIO+20 23 March 2012www.outreachlive.org
  2. 2. contents. 4 Rio+20: The Age of All Humans? 1 Rio+20: The Age of All Humans? Planetary and social boundaries: Farooq Ullah 2 a starting point for designing Sustainable Development Goals? Head of Policy and Advocacy, Stakeholder Forum 3 Limits to Growth? Around 12,000 years ago the detail required to make Rio a success. It is a real chance to re-imagine our socio-economic systems and the way 4 Population, Reproductive Rights and Planetary Boundaries 6 climate began to settle down in which they work in harmony with nature, to deliver and stabilise, and we entered greater well-being for all, now and into the future. But 5 Planetary and Societal boundaries a new geological period called we must act decisively. the Holocene. This stability Much remains to be done to turn the output of Rio+20 6 Is doughnut economics too Western? A critique from Latin America on Earth, in turn, allowed us into a substantial agreement with concrete outcomes. We need to build a programme of commitments, actions and Managing our natural resources to settle down. We turned from implementation that is worthy of taking forward the work 8 through sustainable public procurement hunter-gatherers to farmers, started at the first Earth Summit in Rio, 20 years ago. as predictable weather enabled Recently, the Global Sustainability Panel launched its 9 Rio+20: The future we want for biodiversity 9 us to stay in one place and report entitled Resilient People, Resilient Planet: A Future Worth Choosing. The report is the result of a Reflections on the right to water: what is at stake cultivate the land. This was the 10 as we move towards Rio+20? 17-month global consultation led by a 22-member High start of human civilisation and Level Panel of sustainability luminaries, established by the UN Secretary-General. It details the extent of the everything that followed. The 12 Focus on Oceans and Real Change sustainability challenges we face and outlines a blueprint good times had begun. of what needs to be done nationally, and internationally, to bring about a green and fair transformation to a Today, however, we have become a force of nature on par 13 Rio+20 Side Event Calendar with major geological processes. It is commonly agreed sustainable future. that the impact humans are having on the planet, are not The Panel’s vision ‘to eradicate poverty, reduce only growing in magnitude, but also in consequence. Most 14 News from the Negotiations - Synthesis of Plenary Sessions dangerously, this is occurring faster than a geological inequality and make growth inclusive, and production and consumption more sustainable, while combating pic: UN/Kibae Park speed. We have moved beyond the Holocene into the climate change and respecting a range of other planetary Anthropocene: the age of humans. The Anthropocene has boundaries’ is both inspiring and intellectually robust. been signalled by changes in previously natural processes (e.g. carbon and nitrogen cycles, biodiversity loss and Taking the Panel’s vision further, Oxfam, along with OUTREACH IS PUBLISHED BY: Outreach is a multi-stakeholder publication on OUTREACH EDITORIAL TEAM sediment flows) which, as the Economist put it, ‘have been partners, have been working to describe a model of climate change and sustainable development. Editorial Advisors Felix Dodds Stakeholder Forum interrupted, refashioned and, most of all, accelerated’. the future which is people-centric, but which also exists It is the longest continually produced within a safe and just operating space, based on our bio- stakeholder magazine in the sustainable Farooq Ullah Stakeholder Forum Globally we are consuming resources faster than the development arena, published at various physical reality (see Kate Raworth’s article on page 3). It Editor Georgie Macdonald Stakeholder Forum Earth can regenerate them, and producing more waste is defined by an inner foundation for social protection and international meetings on the environment; and pollution than the Earth can absorb. Consequently, an upper limit of planetary boundaries. Together these including the UNCSD meetings (since 1997), Co-editor Amy Cutter Stakeholder Forum UNEP Governing Council, UNFCCC Conference our planet is coming under increasing pressure. At the parameters detail the two core elements of sustainable of the Parties (COP) and World Water Week. Editorial Assistant Leonardo Rocha ANPED same time, the inequality gap continues to grow – the development; that of planetary health and social justice. Published as a daily edition, in both print Print Designer Jessica Wolf Jessica Wolf Design 1% are leaving the 99% behind; along with their garbage. and web form, Outreach provides a vehicle It is hoped that this concept will provide a Rio+20 vision for critical analysis on key thematic topics in Web Designer Thomas Harrisson Stakeholder Forum Sadly, it seems, the bad times have begun. And if left for sustainable development which defines new eco- the sustainability arena, as well as a voice Web Designer Matthew Reading-Smith Stakeholder Forum unchecked, things will get a lot worse. But hope remains. friendly and rights-based pathways for just, inclusive of regional and local governments, women, There have been some worldwide improvements in recent growth and prosperity.About Stakeholder Forum indigenous peoples, trade unions, industry, CONTRIBUTING WRITERS decades – such as a reduction in poverty levels – and now youth and NGOs. To fully ensure a multi- there is clear recognition by many of the need for a major stakeholder perspective, we aim to engage Farooq Ullah Stakeholder Forum John Hontelez FSC It’s apparent that the changes inspired by these ideasStakeholder Forum is an international transformation of the way in which our economies operate.organisation working to advance sustainable a wide range of stakeholders for article Population and World Aquarium and must start with true leadership. The call to action from Sarah Fisher Leonarddevelopment and promote democracy at a contributions and project funding. Sustainability Network Sonnenschein Conservation for the all quarters is clear, articulate and persuasive. A bottom- Oceans Foundation The Rio+20 preparatory negotiations in New York have up approach must now be met by inspiring action fromglobal level. Our work aims to enhance open, . If you are interested in contributing Kate Raworth Oxfam GB been encouraging. Consensus is emerging betweenaccountable and participatory international Pam Ptuntenney UN CSD our political leaders, to create the sustainable future fordecision-making on sustainable development to Outreach, please contact the team Victor Anderson WWF UK developed and developing countries alike, as well as all that we so desperately need.through enhancing the involvement (gmacdonald@stakeholderforum.org or Emma Puka-Beals Mount Holyoke College civil society, on the greater urgency, ambition, and Eduardo Gudynas CLAESof stakeholders in intergovernmental acutter@stakeholderforum.org) Veronika Kiss CEEweb for Biodiversity 1processes. For more information, visit: You can also follow us on Twitter: Leida Rijnhout ANPEDwww.stakeholderforum.org @OutreachLive Shiney Varghese Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy RIO+20
  3. 3. Planetary and social boundaries: A starting point for designing Kate Raworth Senior Researcher, Oxfam GB Sustainable Development Goals? In 2009, the Stockholm Resilience Centre brought together Between the social foundation and the environmental These four shifts would be a strong start towards defining These questions and many more will be discussed in a a group of leading Earth-system scientists to come up with ceiling lies a space – shaped like a doughnut – which is the economic development needed to bring humanity side-event hosted by Vitae Civilis, SustainLabour and the concept of planetary boundaries. They identified a set the safe and just space for humanity. within social and planetary boundaries. This approach Oxfam on Friday 23rd March, 1.15-2.45pm in Conference of nine Earth-system processes – like the freshwater cycle, also opens up interesting questions for the design of a Room B in the North Lawn Building of the UN in New York, climate regulation, and the nitrogen cycle - which are critical The Earth-system scientists stuck their necks out and potential set of SDGs such as: so please come and join the debate. for keeping the planet in the stable state that has been so estimated that we have already crossed at least three of • What would SDGs that were derived from the beneficial to humanity over the past 10,000 years. the nine planetary boundaries – climate change, nitrogen concept of planetary boundaries and social use, and biodiversity loss. So I stuck my neck out too, boundaries look like? MORE INFO Under too much pressure from human activity, any one and estimated that humanity is falling far below the For a short video introducing the idea, and the full . • What should be the agreed dimensions of the social of these processes could be pushed into abrupt, and social foundation on all eight dimensions for which data discussion paper: http://www.oxfam.org/en/grow/video/2012/ foundation – and who should define them? even irreversible, change. To avoid this, the scientists is available. As shown in Fig 2, for example, 13% of the introducing-doughnut-safe-and-just-space-humanity drew up a set of boundaries below their danger zones – world’s population is undernourished –represented by the • If international equity in the distribution of resources, and efficiency in the use of resources, and they called the area in the middle of the circle ‘a safe blue gap beneath the line of the social boundary for food. are both essential for enabling humanity to move operating space for humanity’. within the safe and just space, does that imply a Fig 2: Falling far below the social foundation. need for intermediate SDGs, which focus on Environmentally safe, yes, but that space could also be deeply improving outcomes in both of these? socially unjust, leaving millions of people living in poverty. So how about adding the idea of social boundaries to the Limits to Growth? picture? This is an idea I set out in a recent Oxfam Discussion Paper. Just as there is an environmental ceiling, above which lies unacceptable environmental degradation, so too there is a social foundation, below which lies unacceptable human Victor Anderson deprivations. What kind of deprivations, exactly? Well, One Planet Economy Leader, WWF UK human rights provide the cornerstone for defining that, but an early indication of 21st century priorities to be tackled comes from governments’ submissions to Rio+20 – and The ‘planetary boundaries’ analysis promoted by Johan major truth, which more cautious approaches fail to they highlighted 11 social deprivations which constitute the Rockstrom and his colleagues, presents a powerful communicate. Or, the option I would prefer, we focus overall picture of the state of the planet and the place our attention on the real boundaries, such as climate social foundation in Figure 1. of humans within it. and biodiversity loss, and accept economic growth when, and if, it can stay within those boundaries. Figure 1: A safe and just space for humanity. There is plenty of room for discussion of the detail of specific boundaries, and the competing concepts of The latter is closer to representing the real situation, ‘thresholds’, ‘limits’, and ‘tipping points’; each of which is easier to argue for intellectually, and is undoubtedly have significantly different implications. It is also possible far more popular with business, politicians, and the there are additional boundaries, and furthermore, it has general public. However, it risks the most important been proposed that a whole set of ‘social boundaries’, message – that we need to keep within the planet’s based on human needs, should be added to the picture. boundaries – getting lost in a mass of information and However, what is particularly striking for an economist conceptualisation, much of which is fairly technical and about the developing science in this area, is that no-one evasive (decoupling, ratios, GDP methodology, monetary has suggested that one of the boundaries should be a ‘valuation’ of ‘natural capital’, etc.). So humanity is currently falling below social boundaries, maximum figure for total world GDP Even firm opponents . while already exceeding planetary boundaries: it’s a sign of economic growth haven’t dared to come up with such There seems to me that there is an enormous ‘gap in of just how deeply unequal, and unsustainable, the current a figure, or to propose that there is one. the market’ where speaking the truth ought to be. On path of global development is. Will the on-going pursuit of the one side, we have the language of ‘green growth’ – indefinite GDP growth help reverse these trends? Current The reason for this is clear. There is no inherent problem too often used as a form of ‘greenwash’ in the service evidence from high-income countries, suggests it’s not likely. about high levels of consumption or production, when of avoiding difficult issues. On the other, a simplistic measured in terms of money (as Gross Domestic anti-growth position that tends to crumble away once it Product is) – provided that we keep within the world’s is probed in any detail. For this reason, it is critical that any new global environmental boundaries. That means that for every development framework agreed for the post-2015 period incremental rise in GDP there has to be a corresponding , The reality of our situation is somewhere in between the – including SDGs – is designed to reverse these trends. improvement in the efficiency of resource use, and the two, and that is one of the reasons why the ‘planetary Standing back from a focus on GDP alone, we need a ratio of GDP to environmental impact. boundaries’ analysis is so powerful. It holds to the bigger idea of what constitutes economic development – message that there are limits, but at the same time, with four big shifts in the way that economic activity is However, we are nowhere near that situation. Even seriously addresses the need to carefully define what defined and measured. We need to define and measure: where ‘decoupling’ is claimed to have taken place, and where those limits are. it almost always turns out to be ‘relative’ and not • not only what is sold, but also what is provided for free; ‘absolute’ decoupling – meaning efficiency has A new organisation, the Planetary Boundaries Initiative, • stocks as well as flows; improved, but not fast enough to outweigh the impact has been formed to promote the discussion on the • distribution as well as averages; and • natural and social metrics as well as monetary metrics of growth. This creates a difficult strategic choice. We can adopt a simplistic ‘limits to growth’ position, an oversimplification that nevertheless indicates a boundaries and their economic, legal, and scientific implications: www.planetaryboundariesinitiative.org .2 3 RIO+20 RIO+20
  4. 4. Population, Reproductive Rights and Planetary and Societal boundaries Sarah Fisher Population and Sustainability Network Planetary Boundaries Leida Rijnhout Executive Director, ANPED Population is a critical but neglected link in the debate When sustainable development But the pillar approach does not indicate any limitations over potential policies to help ensure we respect the in the carrying capacity of the planet, nor of society. planetary boundaries that offer a safe and just operating became an important concept, Consequently, it presents a false solution of unlimited space for humanity. Achieving universal reproductive lots of people started to growth. Which is quite dangerous, as too much economic health and rights offers a win-win strategy that would growth often provokes irreversible environmental damage reduce pressure on each of the critical boundaries, while visualise it in different graphs and too much pressure on people too. The pillar approach, driving progress towards the social boundaries that must and drawings. The most known of however, has the blessing of the Washington Consensus. be met if sustainable development is to deliver for all. these conveys of image the three A more realistic approach is talking in terms of ‘capitals’. The UN Global Sustainability Panel’s recent report warns pillars patiently standing next It provides a better understanding of the limits we have that; ‘By 2030, the world will need at least 50% more food, to deal with. The environmental capital is our planet. It to each other. The rationale 45% more energy and 30% more water – at a time when draws precise boundaries for defining and organising environmental boundaries are throwing up new limits to behind it is that when those our lifestyles. This is quite clear. Also clear is that we are supply.’ Population impacts on both supply and demand. pillars are in balance, we will already going far beyond those boundaries. According to the UN’s medium term population achieve sustainable development. But we also have boundaries to our social capital. Social projection, by 2030 the world population will have And when the economic pillar capital includes, among other things, the levels of health, increased from 7 billion today, to 8.3 billion; reaching 9.3 education, and social networking in a society. If the stress billion by 2050. Alongside unsustainable and inequitable grows, we have to invest more on society is too high, we are also depleting our social consumption patterns, population size is a key factor in the social and environmental capital. If we each have to work 60 hours a week in order in determining the scale of humanity’s use of natural pic: Anindya Phani, Courtesy of Photoshare to maintain our economic growth, and people get sick and resources. Whether it is increasing land use change, pillars. It also is necessary to exhausted, then we are “eating” into our social capital. We freshwater use, climate change or any of the other nine is projected to have risen by 70%. Furthermore, other connect those pillars to each see the same dynamic with the number of young children critical thresholds identified by the planetary boundaries population dynamics – including migration, urbanisation suffering from with respiratory diseases because of approach, population growth is a common denominator. other. But as Elton John already increasing pollution. Equity, well being and happiness are and ageing – have significant implications for sustainable Pressures on ecosystems stem from human demands for development and deserve consideration. informed us in one of his songs, crucial for social capital too. food, water, energy, land and so on. “you can build a bridge between It is often assumed that the trajectory of future The way we visualise sustainable development is very The resulting human impact on the environment is, of population growth cannot be changed without coercive them, but the empty space important in determining how we implement it. Look at the course, not only determined by the number of consumers interventions that necessitate restrictions on individual remains…” graphics, and decide “which best represents the planetary (population size), but also by per capita consumption and freedoms relating to desired family size. On the contrary, and societal boundaries?” Decide which helps emphasise the efficiency with which natural resources are utilised. Yet, given the scale of the challenges we face, we need to move beyond the simplistic belief that the cause and solution global population dynamics can, and must, be addressed in ways that respect and protect human rights. In developing countries, an estimated 215 million women . that our (green) economies have to stay within the limits of our social and ecological capital, in order to be sustainable. lies in either ‘population’ or ‘consumption.’ Instead we are not using contraception and are at risk of unplanned must embrace the full range of strategies available, and pregnancy. This vast unmet need for contraception offers Sustainable development? Or recognition of limits! if population is absent from the debate, the effectiveness considerable opportunities to reduce population growth, of other interventions will be significantly compromised. simply by reducing unplanned pregnancies. This can be achieved by increasing access to the voluntary family One of the many complex reasons why population issues planning services that women want and need in order to are sometimes either dismissed, or deemed irrelevant, plan and space their pregnancies as they choose. This is is the dire neo-Malthusian warnings of the ‘60s and a recommendation made in both the recent UN report ‘70s. Thankfully, despite the world population having Resilient People, Resilient Planet, and Oxfam’s paper A more than doubled since 1960, humanity hasn’t faced Safe and Just Space for Humanity. the mass starvation predicted, not least because of the Green Revolution. But on a planet of finite resources, At Rio+20, global leaders must commit to increased population cannot continue to increase exponentially investment in voluntary sexual and reproductive health without serious consequences for the environment and programmes that respect and protect rights. Achieving human well-being. While today there is enough food to universal reproductive health and rights would not only ease feed everyone comfortably (the real issue is inequitable the pressures on planetary boundaries, but would drive access and distribution), that does not guarantee that progress towards health, gender equality, poverty alleviation, we will be able to sustainability produce, and ensure access to food for all, in 2050 – when demand for food . and other important goals for the social boundaries that are critical to securing sustainable development.4 5 RIO+20 RIO+20
  5. 5. Is doughnut economics too Western? Eduardo Gudynas A critique from Latin America Senior researcher, Latin American Center of Social Ecology (CLAES) The discussion paper recently I am concerned about this tradition, but because in many The social and environmental crisis is so serious that it cases it seems as if we are starting from scratch, and the is now time to put aside minor adjustments and reforms, launched by Oxfam, ‘A Safe and trials and errors of the recent past have been forgotten. and instead address the root causes of resistance to the Just Space for Humanity’, has Many believe that it all started with the Brundtland report idea of development. We must adopt an approach whereby in 1987, which led to the disappearance of the fertile the term ‘sustainable development’ no longer requires the many positive aspects that can discussions of the 70s and most of the 80s. This amnesia suffix ‘development’. The civil society programme in Rio+20 be shared with organisations is reinforced by many governments and in the way in which should not focus simply on fixing the superficial problems UNEP deals with sustainability. of development, it is necessary to look for alternatives to and movements in the Global the entire body of ideas about development. South. It also contains elements These points are relevant, as the origin of the concept of sustainability was an environmental criticism In this effort, the ethical dimension is key, and this point that are in line with Oxfam’s of development. It was a questioning that forced a appears in the references to the norms of the doughnut. commitment to eradicating redefinition of ‘development’. Thus, any discussion of But here also it is necessary to delve a little further into poverty and protecting the sustainability necessarily involves an intense debate on the ingredients of this recipe. the ideas of development. environment. If sustainable development strengthens its demands Starting with this concern, although there is a description for change, it must abandon the traditional idea of The document proposes a doughnut, which adds a pastry of ‘sustainable development’, and that development in the development and thus break with the anthropocentric to the mix of sustainable development recipes, and we 21st century must eradicate poverty, I’m not exactly clear ethics that are characteristic of Western cultural tradition. should review it thoroughly. on what the idea of ‘development’ is in the doughnut. At Conventional development needs anthropocentrism, as times the paper seems to suggest that it is not necessary within this concept, it is man alone who can give value Let’s begin by pointing out that this approach is ambitious, These different ‘developments’ may diverge in their to discuss the basic ideas of ‘development’, but rather and, as a consequence, man asserts his authority over since it claims to offer a new perspective on sustainable instrumental management choices, but in the end they all that our notion of development should be reduced to the nature, women, children, etc. development: the articulation of human rights and share a common belief with regard to progress and the components of the doughnut. environmental limits in a just and safe space. efficient appropriation of nature. This is plainly evident, The solution to this position lies, among other things, in all its drama, with the position of the World Bank’s But in my view, a discussion about sustainability requires in recognising the rights of nature. This is an essential But just how new is this perspective? The idea of an current chief economist, Justin Yifu Lin, a Chinese native the idea of development to be questioned, especially the ingredient in the environmental components of a critical environmental space was first considered in the 1990s, by who first trained as a Marxist economist in Beijing and Western concept of development. There are undoubtedly proposal on sustainable development. We cannot both academia (in the early work of the Wuppertal Institute later at the neoliberal Chicago school of economics. Lin many ways of understanding development, and we have talk seriously about the environment without first in Germany) and social movements (in this case Friends of advocates a mix of Marxism and Keynesianism, of State seen capitalist programmes with varying emphasis acknowledging the rights of nature. In this area, Oxfam’s the Earth, a point acknowledged in Oxfam’s paper). communism and corporate capitalism, in which there is (neoliberal, Keynesian, neo-Keynesian, etc.), as well as Discussion Paper must review recent experiences in South no room for sustainability. This he does openly in public, socialist programmes (e.g. the Soviet model and all its America, especially with regard to the recognition of those Furthermore, the idea of linking human rights and and even more so, from the World Bank. (www.oxfamblogs. variants), and even complex hybrids (like that of China). rights in the new Constitution of Ecuador. Under this new environmental issues is older still. To give you an example, org/fp2p/?p=2982) These tendencies have significant differences in terms of ethic, in these kitchens there would not be doughnuts in 1974, amid the hubbub of debate about development the role of the State, the concept of property, and ways separating environmental components from social ones, and the environment, a group of prominent academics This makes it evident that the ideas of development of redistributing wealth. The ‘right to development’ has but rather some would be contained within others. and politicians issued the Cocoyoc Declaration. It was are deeply rooted in contemporary culture. A radical also been discussed, which would greatly complicate the a very important contribution at the time, and held that criticism must be aimed at these foundations, like that doughnut. But what is striking is that they all share a set These and other examples show that sustainability also the future of humanity lay in finding a balance between of sustainability. Without such questioning, there is a of basic ideas – all of them Western – such as the belief requires more multicultural recipes that do not rest so the environmental ‘outer limits’ and the ‘inner limit’ of risk that the ‘doughnut’ version of sustainability will be in progress, the appropriation of nature, and the dream much on Western traditions. fundamental human rights. branded as a new example of alternative development. of material comfort. ‘Development’ involves common It will join the list of other attempts at reform, such as principles for organising society, production, and the Eduardo Gudynas is a senior researcher at the Latin This type of problem, where the new is not so new, human development, local development, endogenous relationship with the environment. American Center of Social Ecology (CLAES), based in and the key background seems to have been forgotten, development, etc., which started off with a certain Uruguay. His expertise is on sustainable development has become commonplace in the current cooking of radicalism, but ended up being co-opted by the and alternatives to development. This article has been . sustainable development. My impression is that the conventional position. Would it be a success in the future republished, from Eduardo’s blog which can be viewed discussions, about Rio+20 in particular, have great if the UNDP published a doughnut index, as it does today with human development? here: www.accionyreaccion.com difficulty in recovering the long tradition of debates on development and the environment. I say this not because6 7 RIO+20 RIO+20
  6. 6. Managing our natural resources through Rio+20: The future we want for biodiversity John Hontelez Chief Advocacy Officer, FSC sustainable public procurement Veronika Kiss Programme Coordinator, CEEweb for Biodiversity Green (and inclusive) economy, sustainable economy, In the run-up to Rio+20, CEEweb How can limitation be achieved? sustainable development – whatever we call it, sustainable for Biodiversity, a Central and public procurement (SPP) has to be part of it. Public Changing the boundary conditions of the economy, authorities are big consumers. In the European Union (EU) Eastern nature conservation network, and more specifically, reducing resource use globally, their purchases represent 18% of GDP in other parts of , is advocating for an ambitious is inevitable and it should be realised together with the world it is over 20%. Their choices can create reliable ensuring equal access to resources and equitable sharing global deal to ensure that economic markets for environmentally and socially sound products, of benefits for all. We propose that actions to address services and works, thereby contributing, in a practical activities stay within the global production and consumption patterns and limit natural way, to sustainable production and consumption patterns. carrying capacity, that access to resource use should include an energy quota scheme. This would introduce an incentive system, which can ensure resources and land is ensured to all, If SPP is well designed, it can, for instance, boost access to resources, reduce disparities in resource use sustainable forest management, which can help to put an and that the generated benefits are and help realise resource efficiency investments for all. end to the ongoing deforestation and forest degradation shared equitably. The hope is that It can also boost research, innovation and employment, in large parts of the world. Particularly in the tropical in sectors that contribute to the efficient and sustainable regions, deforestation has, overall, hardly slowed down such a global deal will be translated use of resources. The four pillars of an energy use quota in the past decade. This undermines the livelihoods of into concrete actions, underpinned by system, should cover all non-renewable energy sources, the local population, contributes to climate change, and strong political will, and regularly and be applied on national and global levels. The four reduces the resilience and diversity of these important pillars are: ecosystems. Consequently, it both reduces the carrying monitored, with an active involvement capacity of our planet, and the social and economic of the civil society. Transition • A resource use quota system introduced at an opportunities for these societies. international level for countries and at a national to a real, and thus sustainable, level for individuals, public and private consumer. pic: Walmart What first needs to be done in any country is, of course, to green economy, requires that total The quota system should ensure the yearly fight illegal logging and deal with the social causes of forest reduction of all non-renewable energy resources environmental pressures (originating on global level. Those, who save part of their degradation. National legislation should cover traditional preferably local. Countries and cities with experience from resource use, land use and from allocated annual quotas, will be able sell their property and access rights for the local communities, and could commit themselves to team up with counterparts remaining quotas, through a quota managing environmental and social conditions. But authorities at and share experience. Furthermore, it could be wise pollution and alien genotypes) are organisation, to those who have consumed more all levels can give a direct push to support sustainable to phase-in SPP: let the market know that after 5 years, reduced and limited to stay within the than their allocated quotas. forest management by requiring that anything that they public authorities will start giving preference to bids that carrying capacity of the Earth. • A market for environmental goods and services. buy, build or maintain – that has a forest origin – comes show evidence of sustainable production, for example An open market that operates according to from sustainably managed forests. The best proof of this with labels or certificates; and that this will become a environmental and ethical rules, including aspects is to ask for FSC certification. requirement after 10 years. This would be a clear signal pic: Adam Valvasori of sustainability and market considerations. The that there will be a market for economic operators that money received, from selling energy quotas, could SPP has not been given much attention in the current start innovating and reorganising their production. It would be exchanged for products in this ‘eco-labelled’ proposals for Rio+20, except through four amendments also give donors, the clear framework that is needed to secondary market. by the EU. But it is being practiced in more and more make that shift. In this way, developing countries can give • A Revolving Fund, which provides the opportunity countries, often as a result of the initiative of cities, but a boost to sustainable production patterns domestically, for everyone, both energy producers and also through the development of systematic policies leading to better management of their natural resources, consumers, to be able to achieve savings through by national governments. Usually the environmental better social conditions, new and better jobs, and increased energy efficiency and renewable energy dimension is more present than the social one. The EU export opportunities with more added value. And finally, it investments. The Revolving Fund would provide is currently discussing legislation on public procurement could give the boost to sustainable management of tropical interest free loans in quota money with a payback that will allow environmental requirements to be much forests, which is urgently needed. period adjusted to the energy savings or income clearer than social ones generation realised through the investment. . Let’s use the Rio process to leave prejudice about SPP • A Support Service to provide advice on lifestyle, Representatives from developing countries often express behind and instead generate a collaborative effort to get planning, social and environmental issues, as concern that promoting SPP can complicate exports to it going everywhere in the world and create a powerful well as information on the functioning of the developed countries, and that it will be difficult for local signal to private consumers! scheme to consumers. producers to comply with the criteria. These are fair points, but one should not throw out the baby with the A global quota scheme will enable the necessary radical bath water, but instead look at what are the practical change in developed countries, as well as leapfrogging in constraints and resolve them. MORE INFO developing countries. Application of a quota scheme at the Forest Stewardship Council: developed sustainable forest international level has the potential to generate funds for One constraint can be lack of experience with SPP: How to do it, so that it makes a real difference in the environmental and social senses, while promoting economic activities, management standards in balanced multi-stakeholder . processes with essential social and environmental criteria. www.fsc.org. developing countries from the trade of energy quotas. . innovations, technology transfer and capacity building in8 9 RIO+20 RIO+20
  7. 7. Reflections on the right to water: what is at stake as we move towards Rio+20? Shiney Varghese Senior Policy Analyst, Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy This week, as the world pic: Houston Marsh Unfortunately the Ministerial Declaration of the World While the Ministerial Declaration of the 6th World Water celebrates World Water Day, Water Forum that came out on 13th March neither took Forum is neither legally binding, nor does it carry the some countries at the United account of these suggestions nor paid attention to political and moral authority of a UN resolution adopted the warning by civil society groups that ‘a Ministerial in accordance with UN rules and procedures, it appears Nations are trying to remove Declaration containing retrogressive language on the that the warning by civil society was spot on. This week the reference to ‘right to right to safe drinking water and sanitation would still set in New York, a handful of governments have been trying a negative precedent, which a small number of States to remove the reference to right to water from the draft water’ from the document that will use to try to undermine progress on the right to safe outcome statement being prepared for Rio+20, the 20th will guide the international drinking water and sanitation at the United Nations level anniversary of the first earth summit held in Rio in 1992. and in other international processes’. The current draft was formulated on the basis of extensive development path in the consultation with governments, private sector and civil coming decade. society. Despite many shortcomings, this draft outcome document affirms a rights based approach to sustainable It was less than two years ago, in the summer of 2010, that And yet again, in the lead up to the 6th World Water development, and clearly refers to the right to water. the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) adopted a Forum earlier this month (March 12-17, 2012), the draft resolution recognising water as a human right. This was ministerial declaration did not clearly affirm the right to What is at stake? followed by the adoption of a resolution on ‘human rights water, despite the fact that it has now been recognised and access to safe drinking water and sanitation’ by by both by the UN General Assembly and by the UN To begin with, this language weakens the clear affirmation United Nations Human Rights Council (UN HRC), which Human Rights Commission. Expressing her surprise, that governments need to determine how to realise the right made these rights legally binding. The recognition of the Special Rapporteur on right to water, warned that to water, and leaves room open for States to individually right to water by these UN bodies, and the developments “the outcome of the World Water Forum may result in determine whether their human rights obligations require since – such as the appointment of a Special Rapporteur ‘solutions’ built on faulty foundations.” This is surely a them to realise the right to water and sanitation for all. on right to water and the resolution by the World Health pointed reference to the slogan of the 6th Forum that The right to water is also recognised as a useful tool by Assembly which recognises right to water – have helped "It’s time for solutions and commitments”. communities who are impacted by developments that place these rights on the global agenda. reduce their access to safe water. A clear affirmation of Instead of unequivocally reaffirming the ‘the human these legally binding rights (as per HRC resolution and/ or These successes were partly the result of collective right to safe drinking water and sanitation’, and national constitutions) in national and international rules, efforts of water justice activists over the last 10 years. explicitly committing to the full implementation of the regulations and policy documents become extremely Our own advocacy on right to water was in direct same, the draft ministerial declaration only committed important for pursuit of decisions that are advantageous response to the reference to water as a “need” [instead to accelerate the full implementation of ‘human right to vulnerable communities. of a right], in the Ministerial Declaration of the 2nd obligations relating to access to safe drinking water World Water Forum in 2000. and sanitation’. The issue of whether access to safe An important corollary to the recognition of this right, drinking water and sanitation is a human right was left is the attention it draws to the large number of people But these efforts have been met with consistent pushback open for interpretation. for whom these rights are not a reality yet. A case in from some quarters. The efforts to undermine the point is the way the Special Rapporteur on right to water recognition of the right to water have been most visible at To many groups in civil society, it was clear that the has been able to highlight violations of right to water in the triennial World Water Forum. Starting with the second draft Ministerial Declaration fell short of commitments countries that she visits. World Water Forum in 2000, it has steadfastly refused that virtually all UN Member States had already made to recognise the right to water. This was the case at the in multiple fora. Over 40 international and national Globally, there is an increasing attempt to promote 3rd World Water Forum in 2003 (which followed the UN networks and organisations issued a joint call to the 6th policies that will treat water primarily as an economic General Comment in 2002 on right to water), at the 4th World Water Forum, asking that ‘human right obligations good, at the cost of water as a fundamental right. World Water Forum in 2006 (where several governments relating to access to safe drinking water and sanitation’ Several Rio+20 initiatives on the green economy also led by Bolivia asked that the Ministerial recognise water be replaced by ‘the human right to safe drinking water follow an approach that narrowly focuses on resource as a human right) and at the 5th World Water Forum (to and sanitation’, or failing that, they abstain from use efficiency and economic growth. In the absence of which the UNGA president sent a letter affirming the endorsing the declaration. effective regulatory frameworks, safeguards and the need to recognise water as a human right, and at which clear recognition of water as a fundamental human 24 governments came out with counter-declaration right, corporate interests will continue to supersede recognising water as a human right). marginalised, low-income communities and smallholder pic: Julien Harneis Day, as we move towards Rio+20. . farmers. The stakes are especially high this World Water10 11 RIO+20 RIO+20