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  • Published on: 10 Aug 2011
  • Submitted by: Millennium Consumption Goals (MCG)
  • More information

Millennium Consumption Goals (MCG)
The Millennium Consumption Goals (MCG) proposal was made by Prof. Munasinghe in January 2011 at the United Nations in New York, during preparatory discussions for the forthcoming 2012 UN Conference on sustainable development (UNCSD2012 or Rio+20). The background paper for the original proposal ?MCG: How the Rich Can Make the Planet More Sustainable? is available at:

Consumption drives modern economies. MCG could help make our development path more sustainable, by focusing on the unsustainable patterns of consumption, production and resource exploitation that have led to multiple crises threatening the future survival of humanity. We already face formidable problems of development like poverty, hunger, water and energy scarcities, illness and conflict. Climate change is now considered the ultimate risk multiplier which will exacerbate them all.

The MCG seek to address the unsustainable aspects in the lifestyles of the 1.4 billion people in the richest 20 percentile of the world?s population, living in all countries. They consume over 80% of global output, or 60 times more than the poorest 20 percentile. Instead of viewing the rich as a problem, they should be persuaded to contribute to the solution ? by consuming more sustainably.

The MCG will complement the Millennium development goals (MDG) designed to help the world?s poor. The MCG need not necessarily be mandatory targets, but rather a set of benchmarks to be achieved through a combination of voluntary actions by sustainable consumers and producers, supported by enabling government policies and measures.

The Millennium Consumption Goals Initiative (MCGI) was launched to move this idea forward sensibly and systematically. The MCGI is being pursued by a broad coalition of stakeholders called the MCG Network (MCGN). It is action-oriented, multi-level, pluralistic and transnational.

The MCGI seeks to be as inclusive as possible, and follows a multi-track approach. The MCG is moving forward on the UN agenda, but this process may take some time. Meanwhile, action is being taken NOW by individuals, families, communities, enterprises, cities, regions and countries. These pioneers are already developing their own specific versions of MCG (tailored to their own circumstances), implementing them, and monitoring and reporting progress ? clearly, there is no need to wait for broad multilateral agreements at the UN-global level!

To summarize, MCG is being pursued by the willing, at whatever level they choose, and focusing on the goals they prefer ? carbon emissions is the favourite, but energy and water are also attractive. Meanwhile, we hope that a broader enabling framework of goals and policies will emerge gradually from substantive discussions at the UN/government level. This is the present concept, but we are still in the early stages and hopefully the MCGI will evolve as it moves forward with the support of its many network partners.
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