• Date submitted: 31 Oct 2011
  • Stakeholder type: Member State
  • Name: Croatia
  • Submission Document: Download
Keywords: Research (4 hits),

General Content

a) What are the expectations for the outcome of Rio+20, and what are the concrete proposals in this regard, including views on a possible structure of the Outcome document?

Draft National Submission of the Republic of Croatia
for Compilation Document for UNCSD 2012

The following non-paper aims at setting out views as to the overall priorities for Republic of Croatia at Rio+20 Conference 2012.
In light of Croatia?s expected full EU membership in July 2013, the following identification of priorities should be read in line with overarching EU expectations for concrete outcomes at Rio+20. These draw on a range of EU policies pertaining to environment protection and sustainable development, in particular the EU Sustainable Development Strategy of 2006 and EU 2020 Strategy for smart, sustainable and inclusive growth and the EU Commission Communication ?Rio+20: Towards the Green Economy and Better Governance? dated June 2011.

General Content:

a. What are the expectations for the outcome of Rio+20 and what are the concrete proposals in this regard, including views on a possible structure of the Outcome document?

Croatia holds high expectations for a UNCSD 2012 in Brazil next year. Renewed and re-energized political commitment will be key for the successful outcome and relevance of Rio+20. This will be necessary to reinforce and re-launch the global partnership for sustainable development borne out of the Rio Summit in 1992. Therefore at Rio+20, political consensus will be essential to achieve a common and shared vision for change that can deliver concrete, measurable and forward-looking results for all. While some progress has been made in advancing sustainable development over the last decennia, many environmental problems have not been solved and have even become more acute, and economic, social and environmental problems are closely linked.

Given the less than conducive political climate in many countries due to ongoing repercussions of the global financial and economic crises, increased domestic policy focus and general summit fatigue in the multilateral arena, it is clear that securing such political commitment at Rio+20 will be challenging but need not be impossible. In order for this to happen, all countries and all stakeholders must feel they have a stake in the success of the conference, in order to ensure full implementation of its outcome.

This calls for a visionary focused political outcome that strategically targets number of key priorities with involvement of all stakeholders, with a view to addressing new and emerging challenges of our times. Having this in mind, we see green economy as a potential to lead us to a new development paradigm and new business model where growth, development and environment are seen as mutually reinforcing each other.
Inclusive and equitable development should be at the heart of the Rio+20 agenda. Therefore there should be close alignment of the Rio+20 agenda with the ongoing and especially post-2015 MDGs agenda.

Croatia expects that agreed political document should be supported by operational outcomes that should include a green economy roadmap with specific goals, objectives and actions at international level as well as a package of reforms which includes transforming the UNEP into a specialized UN agency for the environment, leading to a strengthened international environmental governance (IEG) as part of a more balanced and effective IFSD.

b) What are the comments, if any, on existing proposals: e.g., a green economy roadmap, framework for action, sustainable development goals, a revitalized global partnership for sustainable development, or others?

Adopting a Green Economy Roadmap would be a significant achievement at Rio+20. Such an instrument should help all countries. It should be based on national leadership and respect national differences, so as to accelerate each country?s transition towards a green economy. This road map should contain a framework of policy options that essentially steer countries away from current economic growth models based on the eco-system principles and promote low carbon growth, renewable energy, fair distribution of social capacities and sustainable management of natural resources, so as to tackle global challenges of food and energy security and climate change.

Looking beyond the first MDGs implementation period (post-2015), a possible impetus for sustainable development implementation would be the launch of a dedicated process at Rio+20 to devise a set of Sustainable Development Goals, with the view of achieving full integration of both the MDGs and Sustainable Development agendas. This would ensure more holistic implementation of the three sustainable development pillars towards paving the way for more effective and sustained poverty eradication. Within this discussion Rio+20 could contribute to the consideration of new and complimentary indicators to traditional GDP as a measure of development based on the ?Beyond GDP? initiative dedicated to developing indicators for measuring progress, true wealth, and well-being.
c) What are the views on implementation and on how to close the implementation gap, which relevant actors are envisaged as being involved (Governments, specific Major Groups, UN system, IFIs, etc.);

For Rio+20 to be successful in bridging the current implementation gaps, the relevance of all stakeholders at all levels needs to be scaled up.
Throughout the Rio+20 process the active engagement of all major groups and relevant stakeholders, individually or through strategic partnerships, in the subsequent implementation of the Conference?s outcomes will be vital. Therefore, promotion of public interest, awareness and participation, good governance and coordination and cooperation mechanisms between government departments, as horizontal coordination on sustainable development, as well as vertical, among different levels of administration (national, regional and local) in a multistakeholder manner, including the representatives of major groups, civil society and the private sector is needed. Participation is crucial for achievement of sustainable development goals and in that sense Aarhus Convention should provide inspiration for other UN regions and countries in implementation of Principle 10.

Investments combined with Research by the private sector and academia, under enabling environment created by national and local authorities; need to provide the decision-makers with an institute basis for management of all components of sustainable development and to underpin the transition to a green economy in the context of sustainable development and poverty eradication.

Viewing that mobilization of national and innovative sources of financing will be key for successful implementation of Rio+20 outcomes, it will be necessary to enhance its relevance nationally with all state actors.

Likewise civil society alongside governments will have leading roles in changing societal behavior needed to make the leap to more sustainable means of consumption and production. This also includes enhancing and strengthening of systematic training and education of all stakeholders on sustainable development and sustainable consumption and production issues. Since education and awareness-raising are crucial for changing the patterns of unsustainable behaviour and achieving the objectives of sustainable development, Croatia adopted Action plan on Education for Sustainable Development in April 2011 focusing on formal, non-formal and informal education.

d) What specific cooperation mechanisms, partnership arrangements or other implementation tools are envisaged and what is the relevant time frame for the proposed decisions to be reached and actions to be implemented?

Croatia considers the adoption of the 10 Year Framework of Programs for Sustainable Consumption at Rio+20 as an integral implementation tool for transition to a green economy with special reference to following sectors: waste management, energy, mobility/transport, water, housing, agriculture-food and tourism.

Regional and sub-regional mechanisms have an important role to play in the Rio+20 process. Given the specificities of each region and sub-regions, Rio+20 should enhance the role of Regional Commissions in the post Rio+20 implementation phase, as well draw benefits from other existing regional cooperation mechanisms as for example UNEP/Mediterranean Action Plan.

Specific Elements
a) Objective of the Conference: To secure renewed political commitment for sustainable development, assessing the progress to date and remaining gaps in the implementation of the outcomes of the major summits on sustainable development and addressing new and emerging challenges.

Contributions could include possible sectoral priorities (e.g., (e.g., energy, food security and sustainable agriculture, technology transfer, water, oceans, sustainable urbanization, sustainable consumption and production, natural disaster preparedness and climate change adaptation, biodiversity, etc.) and sectoral initiatives that contribute to integrate the three pillars of sustainable development could be launched and endorsed at Rio+20.

a. Objective of the Conference:

Croatia views the transition to a green economy as the appropriate pathway to reaffirm the Rio Principles and strengthen sustainable development implementation and tackle poverty eradication. This will entail moving beyond ?business as usual? towards a new paradigm for development. Inclusive growth which promote sustainable consumption and production patterns, increase resource efficiency, protect biodiversity and provide sustainable management of natural resources and also models for overcoming social obstacles, models for interconnection economy and environment should be in focus. Therefore, Rio+20 should promote global cooperation in key sectors such as the management of natural capital, and efficient use of land, water, forests, seas and oceans, marine environment. It should establish sectorial priorities for energy, agriculture, fisheries and waste management amongst others, underpinned by the adoption of a 10 YFP for sustainable consumption and production.
Discussions at Rio+20 need to address the issue of Means of Implementation to ensure the outcome can be successfully implemented. In light of the continuing global economic crises, it is clear that a variety of financial resources will have to be mobilized, matching the funds alongside more efficient use of existing resources.

b) Green economy in the context of sustainable development and poverty eradication: views regarding how green economy can be a means to achieve sustainable development in its three dimensions, and poverty eradication; what is its potential added value; experience to date, including what has worked and how to build upon success, what are the challenges and opportunities and how to address the challenges and seize opportunities, and possible elements of an agreement in outcome document on a green economy in the context of sustainable development and poverty eradication

Embarking on a pathway to a green economy as a deliverable at Rio+20, through the adoption of a roadmap which included a framework of policy options and specific goals, objectives and actions, would enable a greater integration of the three pillars of sustainable development, and foster poverty eradication. This could be achieved by promoting long-term and sustainable growth, decent job creation, increasing resource efficiency, renewable energy and sustainable consumption and production, finding the balance between sustainable economic and social development and resource efficiency, minimizing the pressures to the environment and by mainstreaming the environment into all the sectoral policies related to sustainable development. To have genuine impact on the ground, green economy roadmap must be tailored to each country?s needs.
The transition towards a green economy needs a higher coherence at all levels, addressing all sectors with the view of benefiting from cross-sectoral policy. To this end, framework conditions should be established to support different measures that support green economy development.
Croatia sees sustainable consumption and production as a key driver to achieve transition towards greening economies worldwide in a context of sustainable development and poverty eradication.
In the process of greening the economy role of private sector should be also addressed. Corporate social responsibility is a tool that promotes sustainable business model in supply chain and including environmental and social concerns in private sector investment decisions and should be highly promoted.
Involvement of scientific Research is essential for development of science-based measures and instruments for green economy framework therefore mechanism for international Research cooperation should be established.
In September 2011 Government of the Republic of Croatia adopted Strategic guidelines for green economy development: Green Growth of Croatia, as a basis for concrete intersectoral activities including gradual reform and refocusing of development policy, investments and consumption in direction towards special sectors like clean technologies, energy efficiency, renewable energy, green transport, water management, waste management, sustainable agriculture, forestry and sustainable tourism.

c. Highlights on specific areas
According to Croatian National Sustainable Development Strategy there are eight challenges for sustainable development of Croatia, in relation to which we would highlight actions in a few specific areas: marine and coastal environment, water, biodiversity, forestry and food production.
(i) Maritime and coastal natural resources are of high importance for the Republic of Croatia as a Mediterranean country, with more than 1.000 islands on the East coast and the central area of the Adriatic, making it the second largest archipelago in the Mediterranean. The appropriate protection and management of coastal and marine environment, according to principles of integration and ecosystem approach are the way towards achieving sustainable development goals in that area. We therefore consider it necessary to intensify and promote a holistic and integrative approach that will include conservation and management measures and address cumulative environmental impacts:
Achieving ecosystem-based integrated coastal zone management (take coordinated action at all levels-local, national, regional and international, communicate the importance of integration among decision makers and main stakeholders, promote pilot projects as demonstration projects and implementation of best practices, prioritize increased funding and capacity building, incorporate the ecological and socio-economic value of marine biodiversity and ecosystem services, including through the application of available harmonized economic and non-economic valuation methodologies, into development planning and sectoral management frameworks, address cumulative impacts on the marine environment through the use of EIA and SEA)
Replication of legal instrument for integrated management of coastal zones on the basis of Barcelona convention Protocol on ICZM on the Regional Seas' basis, thus ICZM could be adopted internationally as a key principle of coastal and marine management.
Addressing the risks affecting the coastal zone by vulnerability and hazard assessments of coastal zones and taking prevention, mitigation and adaptation measures to ease the effects of natural disasters, in particular climate change
Interdisciplinary science-policy interface to implement ICZM policies
Advancing management of LBS of marine pollution
Developing a global action plan to combat marine litter and pollution
Enhancing UN action on seas and oceans ? by establishing a high-level oversight mechanism on Oceans
Establishing consistent frameworks for measuring the conditions of oceans and coastal populations and the results of management actions ? regular process of Global Marine Assessment
Awareness-raising, training, education and Research on ICZM in interdisciplinary manner including the interaction between activities and their impacts on coastal
(ii) Strengthen implementation of internationally agreed goals for water and sanitation and expand commitments and initiatives addressing Integrated Water Resources Management at national level and for joint management of transboundary waters is needed.
(iii) Biodiversity is our natural capital, delivering ecosystem services that underpin our economy. Ecosystem services contribute to human welfare, both directly and indirectly, and represent part of the total economic value of the planet. It?s necessary to continuously promote and improve understanding of the overall value of ecosystem services in order to bridge and bring nature from short-term need to the long-term societal well-being. In order to ensure ecological coherence, ecosystem approach should be applied as a framework for integrated management that promotes conservation and sustainable use in an equitable way. Without the effective management of ecosystems, there can be no economic development that generates sustainable human and social welfare; equally, without the full engagement of diverse sectors in the economy and society in the management of ecosystems, there can be no effective biodiversity conservation. At the tenth meeting of the Conference of the Parties new Strategic Plan for Biodiversity for the period 2011-20201 was adopted as the overarching framework on biodiversity, not only for the biodiversity-related conventions, but for the entire UN system. In the upcoming period Croatia will continue the work on achieving the targets set out by the Strategy with the aim at reversing biodiversity loss and speeding transition towards a resource efficient and green economy.
(iv) Sustainable forest management brings a number of direct and indirect benefits (environmental, economic and social) as well as development opportunities that can be multiplied by further development and investment in the forestry sector. Potential of forestry has been widely elaborated and worked out from national to global levels as one of the most important components of the green economy. The foundations of this potential are based precisely on the sustainable management of forests, particularly in the interaction with the areas of adaptation of forests to climate change and mitigation of its consequences, contribution of forests to global reduction of greenhouse gas emissions, conservation of water resources and biodiversity, promotion of the use of wood as a desirable and "carbon friendly" organic material with a low "carbon foot print", that represents the foundation of the "green construction" and renewable energy.
Development of tools and methodologies by the use of which all "inputs" and "outputs", that is benefits and values ​​arising from sustainable forest management and the advisability of investing in the forestry sector, would be measurable and comparable in all abovementioned key areas and policies oriented towards them, would also contribute to the strengthening and promotion of sustainable forest management as a strong and stable source of income and permanent driving forces of long-term sustainable development of national economies.
Therefore, the mobilization of existing and securing additional funds from all available sources and their focus on sustainable forest management on the global level is the imperative of current and future forestry activities of world forestry scene, which has already been proclaimed and strengthened by four existing global objectives for forests.
(v) Food production should be organized in a way that will enable farmers to put their agricultural resources to the best possible use, combined with sustainable development in rural areas, in order to ensure a stable supply of food to consumers in quantity and quality satisfying domestic demand. Food safety and quality is a prerequisite for gaining both domestic and global markets. Key factor is the establishment of dialogue and coordination of activities between all participants in the food production and consumption chain. Innovation and increasing of added value will be an imperative for the agriculture and rural development sector as a whole.
An institutional framework of government services in sustainable agriculture development should be strengthen into national policies, laws, investment strategies, education and extension programs;
It is necessary to raise public awareness about sustainable development and involve all concerned stakeholders including farmers, researchers, technicians, extension specialists and agronomists in distribution of information and technology in that field.

c) Institutional framework for sustainable development: Priorities and proposals for strengthening individual pillars of sustainable development, as well as those for strengthening integration of the three pillars, at multiple levels; local, national, regional and international.

Strengthening and coordination of the institutional framework to scale up sustainable development implementation will require improved governance structures at all levels. The institutional framework for sustainable development, being one of the two topics of UNCSD ?Rio+20? conference, gives a unique opportunity to implementation of sustainable development at global, regional, national and local level in a coherent manner in all the countries which will largely facilitate the implementation of the ?green economy? concept, being the first topic of the conference.
At the global level this calls for a reformed institutional framework that is less fragmented and better equipped to bridge implementation gaps of the three pillars of sustainable development, as well as to trigger and to sustain the overall transition to the green economy. Rio+20 should mark the start of an ambitious process that brings about genuine reform in scaling up coherence of the UN sustainable development governance architecture. In view of proposed options: reform of the UN GA, ECOSOC, CSD and possible Sustainable Development Council, Croatia is of the position that these are not mutually exclusive and may even be considered as a combination of options.
An important step forward at ?Rio+20? would be finding the means to ensure greater role for the International Financial Institutions, including regional banks, to ensure greater mainstreaming of environment into their respective mandates, since better environmental policies support sustainable economy growth and social inclusiveness.
The International Environmental Governance (IEG) Mechanism needs to be strengthened at the global level, as a part of overall sustainable development governance. Croatia, having been a part of the consultative high-level group that participated in delivering Nairobi-Helsinki outcome, strongly supports the conclusions on system-wide responses for strengthening IEG including: science-policy interface, system-wide strategy for environment in the UN, synergies between compatible multilateral environmental agreements, stronger link between global environmental policy making and financing, system-wide capacity-building framework for environment, strengthened strategic engagement at regional level.
Finally, in this regard, the crucial outcome of ?Rio+20? should be strengthening UNEP into a UN specialized agency with a strengthened mandate and predictable funding.

d) Any proposals for refinement of the two themes. Recall that Resolution 64/236 describes the focus of the Conference: "The focus of the Conference will include the following themes to be discussed and refined during the preparatory process: a green economy in the context of sustainable development and poverty eradication and the institutional framework for sustainable development".


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