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  • Published on: 28 Mar 2012
  • Submitted by: Ibon International

Roundtable Discussion on Equity and Sustainability
This event, moderated by Hamish Jenkins, UN-NGLS, addressed equity and its relationship with sustainability, and discussed the need to bring concerns on the distribution of resources to the centre of the debate at Rio+20.

David O'Connor, UN DESA, said the concept of sustainability is, at its core, about equity both intragenerationally and intergenerationally. He highlighted that intragenerational equity within countries is highly dependent on government policies. He drew attention to the question on whether the world?s poor are getting an equitable share of the benefits from globalization. He underscored the need to work on the convergence between human development and the ecological footprint of nations.

Anabella Rosemberg, ITUC, supported a social protection floor as a first step for building intragenerational equity, particularly within countries. Azra Sayeed, Asia Peasant Coalition, said the primary issue regarding equity is how to change people?s values and resist the forces that are responsible for the current state of the world, such as those that have promoted individualism over collectivism.

Josť Pineda, UNDP, described findings in the Human Development Report 2011, highlighting the strong connection between sustainability and equity. He underscored that a current trend in some countries to reduce inequality, but lamented that this trend could be adversely affected if environmental issues are not properly addressed.

Meena Raman, Third World Network, presented the example of the climate change regime currently under negotiation to depict how inequity is being threatened, as the principle of ?common but differentiated responsibilities and capabilities? and ?historical responsibility? are being wiped out from the new regime.

Sheng Fulai, UNEP, saying that inequity is a ?pervasive enemy,? drew attention to some causes for inequity and emphasized the role of strong taxation and redistribution policies to redress this. He underscored that green economy has relevant positive implications for equity, and noted that the ?Green Economy Report,? published by UNEP in 2011, highlights the importance to invest in people and social dimensions. Paul Quintos, Ibon International, cautioned against giving nature a price as this could end up exacerbating inequity.

In the ensuing discussions, participants addressed, among others, capitalism, regulations, a possible equitable share of sustainable development, and consumption patterns.

Contact: Paul Quintos
Anabella Rosemberg
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