Resolution passed at the EGP 4th Congress Meeting, Paris, November 11-13, 2011
In June, 2012, the world community will reconvene in Rio for the UN Conference on Sustainable Development (Rio+20), which will focus on two themes: ‘a Green economy in the context of sustainable development and poverty eradication’ and ‘the institutional framework for sustainable development’.
The first UN Conference on Environment and Development -the Earth Summit- was held in Rio de Janeiro in 1992.
The resulting Rio Declaration recognized each nation’s right to pursue social and economic progress and established the concept of sustainable development delimited by the integration of the economic, social and environmental pillars. It addressed the lifestyle of our current civilization and acknowledged the urgent need for a deep change in our consumption and production patterns.
In 2000, the UN set out 8 Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) for the elimination of poverty and gender inequality, for maternal and child health, for universal education, combatting HIV/AIDS, achieving environmental sustainability and calling for a global partnership for development. These objectives are required to be achieved by 2015 but currently fall a long way short of their targets.
The World Summit on Sustainable Development (WSSD) was held in Johannesburg in 2002 to renew the global commitment to sustainable development but was widely regarded as a wasted opportunity and the agenda was over-ridden by trade interests.
In November 2011, a few short weeks after the EGP Congress closes, the Climate Change negotiations-COP17-will resume in Durban.
In June 2012 the world community will reconvene in Rio for the UN Conference on Sustainable Development (Rio+20), which will focus on two themes: ‘a Green economy in the context of sustainable development and poverty eradication’ and ‘the institutional framework for sustainable development’.
The EGP Congress
1. Recognises that the three Conventions, which emerged from Rio, on Biodiversity (CBD), Climate Change (UNFCCC) and Desertification (UNCCD) were major steps in international multilateral co-operation and have generated supplementary treaties of considerable value, notably the Kyoto, Cartagena and Nagoya Protocols;
2. Regrets however that the sense of vision, optimism and enthusiasm generated by the Earth Summit has been lost and that the Millennium Development Goals too are far from being realised.
3. Calls therefore for a greater sense of urgency and creativity to be applied in the UN preparatory process, including the preparation of appropriate new multilateral environment agreements;
4. Stresses that as many as 1.4 billion people still live in extreme poverty, half of whom live in sub-Saharan Africa; one sixth of the world’s population is undernourished, while food insecurity is on the rise and unemployment or underemployment remain the reality for a large proportion of the population in the developing countries; 70% of the people living on under $1 a day are women; climate change poses a serious threat to poverty reduction, human rights, peace and security and the achievement of the MDGs in many developing countries.
5. Stresses that we have to respond to the challenge of a world population, expected to rise to at least 9 billion in 2050, which will put even greater demands on the limited supply of natural resources and lead to an ever-growing demand for water, land and forest, to further biodiversity loss, overfishing, ecosystem degradation and deforestation;
6. Emphasises therefore that the Rio+20 Summit should negotiate an integrated approach to address the multiple and inter-related challenges of poverty eradication, health, food security, employment, gender equality, climate change and energy supply; stresses that the Rio +20 summit represents a major opportunity to reaffirm the systemic vision of sustainable development, which calls for a radical change from the existing system. The ecological and social transformation supported by sustainable development is the only way to get out of the present systemic crisis, and to reach the fundamental objectives of social justice and the preservation of the planet’s natural resources.
7. Identifies an urgent need for a new Treaty to protect and manage our Oceans, which play a central role in global climate processes, are a major source of energy, are home to a wealth of biodiversity, and provide sustainable livelihoods as well as the essential elements for life, including food, medicines, and freshwater; All of these attributes are under threat;
8. Recognizes that traditional international migratory regimes fail to cover new forms of migration such as environmental and climate induced displacement. Therefore, calls for the establishment of a new migratory regime concerned with the challenges of international environmental and climate induced migration;
9. Expresses deep concern that the commitments made under the Kyoto Protocol on Climate Change will shortly expire and that progress in negotiations for a second round of commitments and/or a replacement Treaty are proceeding at an irresponsibly slow pace;
10. With regard to the theme of ‘a Green economy in the context of sustainable development and poverty eradication’:
Insists that the emphasis on the Green economy should reflect the acceptance of limits to economic (GDP) growth in both developed and developing countries and the need to choose for really sustainable forms of economic development, as indicated by alternative welfare parameters such as the ISEW (Index of Sustainable Economic Welfare);
− Insists that the emphasis on the Green economy should reflect the innovatory thinking of the Green New Deal, developed and elaborated by the EGP, and not be a cover for corporate green-wash or divert attention away from the need for real sustainable practices and a real shift in the production and consumption patterns of the developed and emerging economies;
− Underlines the need for addressing new and emerging challenges in global commerce, such as the scarcity of resources, the ever-escalating cost of commodities and the long-term consequences for economic and social stability of such matters;
− Stresses that the transition towards a Green economy requires urgent action as regards ecosystems protection, efficient and sustainable resources and natural capital, while promoting sustainable consumption and production;
11. With regard to the theme ‘the institutional framework for sustainable development’:
− Accepts that the challenges, which lie ahead, are mutually related and interdependent and that the UN Sustainable Development process must be given an on-going and coherent structure, including the need for a coordinated approach between the three Rio Conventions (Biodiversity, Climate Change and Desertification);
− Therefore calls for an upgrade of the Commission on Sustainable Development (CSD) within the institutional framework of the United Nations;
− Considers that the UN Environment Programme and other related UN agencies should be transformed inside the UN system, by the creation of a democratically accountable World Environment Organisation;
− Calls further for an international environmental court, so that global environmental legislation becomes more binding and enforceable, and that this higher body can resolve conflicts with trade rules and the World Trade Organisation;
− Demands that Europe takes its full responsibility and plays a major role in the success of the Rio +20 summit;
− Calls for the EU to integrate sustainable development as the major objective to find longer-term solutions to the systemic crisis and accelerate the European integration process; and to establish sustainable development monitoring and evaluation mechanisms in the implementation of its policies, associating the different levels of governance and actors, from the local to the regional and continental levels.
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