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Wednesday, 1 February 2012

UN Report Urges Change To Sustainability

This week, the UN launched its Global Sustainability Panel Report, "Resilient People, Resilient Planet: A Future Worth Choosing", putting forward 56 recommendations to boost sustainable development and better integrate it into economic policy, including a call for governments and organisations to increase the resources allocated to integrate resilience planning into their development budgets and strategies and to minimise disaster risk. The EU agreed on its Sustainable Development Strategy in Gothenburg 2001, aiming to fully integrate sustainable development into policymaking but still in Europe and globally there seems to be a need for this to happen in a more consistent way.

The 22-member Global Sustainability Panel, composed by current and past heads of state and government and ministers, was established by the un secretary-general in August 2010 to formulate a new blueprint for sustainable development and low-carbon prosperity and to date has been co-chaired by the presidents of Finland and South Africa.  This is the Panel’s final report and they urge economists, social activists and environmental scientists to unify disciplines, to dialogue in a common language and to bring the sustainable development paradigm into mainstream economics.

The report inputs include preparation guidelines for the 2012 UN Conference on Sustainable Development (Rio+20) and the annual meetings of the Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC).  The Panel stresses that world leaders need to focus on the long-term resilience of people and the planet.  South Africa President Zuma says “Our report makes clear that sustainable development is more important than ever given the multiple crises now enveloping the world.”

The Panel’s report makes a range of concrete recommendations on choices that can be made by individuals, businesses and governments towards a more sustainable planet, a just society and a growing economy. The themes centre on empowerment of people through poverty eradication, human rights, gender equality and by supporting education for sustainable development and the creation of employment opportunities. Enabling consumers to make better choices and to take advanced responsible is also considered essential. Increasing finance for sustainable development is recommended and progress and technology are equally highlighted, especially for renewable energies. As discussed in one of our previous posts, governments and business are further encouraged to build strategic partnerships between themselves and local communities for the implementation of sustainable technologies, innovations and infrastructures.

The Panel made recommendations how to align economics and sustainability, but the challenge lies in how to apply them. Concrete actions might be supported, for instance, if policy guidance goes forward at Rio+20, as government involvement is a decisive piece of the implementation equation. But citizen participation as consumers, voters and investors should be key into applying actions towards sustainable societies.

Blog by Ana

1 comment:

  1. Thanks Ana, this is really interesting. I just wish that we could push things beyond political will and rhetoric. There have been so many great strategies and policies over the years. What strikes me here is the focus on people and both the words resilience and empowerment. We have to make this debate real to people at a time when financial hardship only threatens to worsen. Thanks for your post.