Italian National Council of Economy and Labour (CNEL)
- Date submitted: 31 Oct 2011
- Stakeholder type: Major Group
- Name: Italian National Council of Economy and Labour (CNEL)
- Submission Document: Download
Full SubmissionNational Council of Economics and Labour OBSERVATIONS AND PROPOSALS: THE CNEL?S CONTRIBUTION TO THE UNITED NATIONS CONFERENCE ON SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT IN RIO DE JANEIRO 2012 (RIO+ 20) Assembly, 29 November 2011 1. BACKGROUND 1.1. On 24 December 2009 the General Assembly of the United Nations passed a resolution to hold a conference on sustainable development in 2012 (UN Conference on Sustainable Development -UNCSD). The UNCSD 2012 will be held in Rio de Janeiro, 40 years after the conference on the human environment held in Stockholm, 20 years after the conference on the environment and development in Rio de Janeiro (Environment and Development -UNCED) and 10 years after the world summit on sustainable development held in Johannesburg (World Summit on Sustainable Development -WSSD). 1.2. Based on the resolution of the General Assembly, the UNCSD 2012 will have three objectives, with the proceedings focussing on two topics in particular. The objectives are: -to guarantee a renewed political commitment to sustainable development; -to review the progress made to date, as well as the persistent delays in the enactment of the conclusions of the summits held on sustainable development; -to address the new challenges on the horizon. The two specific topics are: - a green economy within the context of sustainable development and the elimination of poverty; - the institutional framework for sustainable development. 1.3. The CNEL, in light of the noteworthy contribution that the Rio summit can make to reinvigorating political determination and will, on both the global and regional levels, towards making further progress in the direction of more sustainable development, is using the present contribution to make proposals on a number of key issues that, in the opinion of the Council, are of particular importance to the success of the summit. 1.5. The CNEL welcomes the Resolution of the European Parliament and the Communication of the Commission, considering them important points of reference for a joint analysis by the various institutions of the EU, so as to arrive at a common position in preparation for the Rio+20 Conference. The CNEL is especially glad to see that the Communication of the Commission was presented jointly by the commissioners responsible for the environment and for development, making clear the connection that exists between the environment, sustainable development and aid to development. 1.6. In large part, the CNEL concurs with the opinion of the EESC on the Communication of the European Commission to the European Parliament, to the Council, to the European Economic and Social Committee and to the Committee of the Regions Rio+20: toward a green economy and improved governance. 1.7. Finally, the CNEL is confident that that all institutions and key participants in economic and social life shall work towards ensuring that the proceedings of the Rio + 20 summit serve as an incentive for reinforcing Italy?s commitment to sustainable development. 2. OBSERVATIONS 2.1. The current situation. Although progress has been made over the last 20 years with regard to certain aspects of sustainable development, in many areas the situation has worsened. seen in absolute terms, poverty has increased: 2.6 billion people live on less than 2 euro a day; 1.5 billion workers, meaning roughly half the world total, do not have steady work. In 2010 the employment level was the highest since records have been kept; the levels of carbon emissions in the atmosphere are continually on the rise, and climate change is having increasingly negative repercussions on living conditions in many regions of the world; immigration is increasing on a global scale, placing additional pressure on the environment and on the security of supply flows; based on current demographic trends, by 2050 the world?s population will have reached 9 billion, making the above problems even more pressing. 2.2. New and emerging challenges. The growth of the world population, plus rising expectations in terms of standard of living and increased consumption of raw materials are beginning to place a strain on supplies of food, Energy and other raw materials, leading to higher prices and serious social and political problems. 2.3. One of the most important new challenges that the world must face in the coming century is maintaining or reaching an adequate level of security in terms of food, Energy and resources for everyone ? both current and future generations -in a world whose population is on the rise and whose natural resources are limited. What is needed is qualitative economic growth able to contribute to eradicating poverty and social injustice while preserving natural resources for future generations. The key topics on which the 2012 world summit should concentrate its attention include the establishment of institutional structures able to meet these challenges. 2.4. Over the last three years the economic and financial crisis has been the central concern of political leaders and economic and financial bodies. Still, these pressing short-term problems should not deflect attention from the problems of the real world economy referred to above or from the impelling need to channel the activities of the world economy in the direction of increased sustainability, equity and greater respect for the environment. In and of itself, this transition should be a major source of new investments and new employment opportunities, in addition to ushering in increased levels of equity, cohesion, stability and resilience. In short, it could contribute to resolving the current economic difficulties. 2.5. A renewed political commitment. The 2012 Rio summit provides a valuable occasion for outlining this transformation and for determining the high-level political commitment that will be needed if this change is to become reality. It is of fundamental importance that the various heads of government address these problems, participating in the Conference in order to guarantee its success. Furthermore, given that the key issue is transforming the global economy, ministers of finance, the environment and economic development should also take part in the Conference. 2.6. Sustainable development is based on initiatives and on the participation of civil society, which, therefore, should also be involved in both the preparation for and the followup to the summit, as well as in the enactment of its conclusions. Forums for discussion should be created on both the national and international levels, in order to promote among the elements of civil society involved, as well as between civil society as a whole and political leaders, a dialogue on the topics of achieving the transition towards a green economy and sustainable development. 3. PROPOSALS 3.1. The green economy 3.1.1 A definition of the green economy. It is proposed that the summit arrive at a shared point of view on the definition and meaning of green economy, as well as on the reasons that make it an especially important objective for the entire world. To this end, the reflections and considerations being developed on the green economy by the UNEP (the United Nations Environmental Program) and within the OECD (the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development) constitute important points of reference. 3.1.2. Put concisely, the objective of the green economy is to render models of production and consumption more respectful of the natural resources they utilise, and specifically to reduce their dependence on fossil fuels. In practical terms, the intent of the green economy is to supply new tools capable of more effectively achieving the objective of sustainable development, resulting in an improved integration of these same tools within the framework of the other economic objectives pursued by governments and businesses. 3.1.3. The principles of the green economy. It is held that the RIO + 20 summit represents an excellent opportunity to establish a framework of principles capable of guiding the transition in the direction of a greener global economy. Such principles should be draw from the underlying contents of the principles of Rio '92, of the Earth Charter, of the activities of the UNEP, the OECD and the ILO, as well as from other sources of note, so as to focus, though without taking the place of these existing principles, on those values that prove to be of particular importance in terms of sustainable economic management. Such principles should explicitly include the internationalisation of external factors affecting the environment and social concerns, decreases in flows of natural resources, increased defence of ecosystems and the elimination of perverse subsidies, as well as the principles of equity, cooperation and shared but differentiated responsibilities. 3.1.4. In particular, a well-balanced framework of principles should ensure that the transition towards a green economy is managed in such a way as to prove advantageous for all the world?s regions and not merely for a group of countries, such as those of the developed world. 3.1.5. Tools and measures. It is recommended that tools and political measures geared towards promoting sustainable development be shared: they could be grouped into five main categories: ? direct public spending geared towards sustaining the development and spread of greener technologies (for example, through R&D programs, subsidies for the start-up of new businesses and investment programs, programs of public tenders, direct consumer incentives etc.); ? tax measures designed to discourage activities damaging to the environment by ceasing to subsidise them or by taxing them; ? regulations meant to prevent or limit the less sustainable activities practiced by businesses or by other subjects, or that require the utilisation of greener methods or procedures; ? programs designed to inform, educate, supply with consulting and motivate businesses, workers, consumers etc. with respect to the challenges to be faced in terms of sustainability, as well as the contribution they can make to achieving the transition towards sustainability; ? shared tools for assessing the impact of anthropogenic activities on natural resources (the accounting of natural resources, the ecological footprint, ?Factor 10? etc). 3.1.6. It is to be hoped that the RIO + 20 summit will provide a major occasion for formulating an overview of the progress made to date in terms of sustainable development throughout the world. Even though measures of note have been introduced in many parts of the world, including Europe, over the last 20 years, the overall impact of such initiatives is not yet sufficient to contrast the persistent tendency to engage in non-sustainable development. Seeing that today, compared to 20 years ago, any of the dangers and problems tied to unsustainable development have become all the more menacing and urgent, the summit should consider how to revive global and regional efforts to enact the objectives of sustainability. To this end, the summit should specifically reflect on how to apply the different types of tools in a more rigorous fashion, and how to mobilise the public and private capital needed to carry out the transition in an equitable and balanced way throughout the world. 3.1.7. The obstacles. It is held that the lack of sufficient progress in terms of sustainable development can be traced to four general factors that the summit should, to the extent possible, examine in greater depth: ? the lack of consistent, reliable information of the impact of the different activities on the sustainability of the economy; ? the lack of confidence in the feasibility of the transition towards more sustainable models of production and consumption, as well as in the potentially positive impact of a similar transition on the wellbeing of individuals, on employment and on equity; ? the lack of confidence in the good faith of other countries and organisations, along with the fear that being the first to enact measures for sustainability can undermine the competitive position of whomever takes such action; ? the lack of commitment to sustainability on the part of those sectors of the public administration responsible for economic and financial operations, as well as from the managers of major companies and from the representatives of financial interests. 3.1.8. Assessment of the progress made towards a greener economy. One possibility proposed is to establish parameters to measure the progress made by businesses and by other organisations in the field of sustainability. In particular, methods should be drawn up to measure the different types of natural capital found in our territory, in our seas, in our atmosphere and in the biosystems that they sustain. Another necessary step would be to measure the negative or positive impact that the various economic activities can have on this capital. 3.1.9. The summit could establish international mechanisms, together with a timeline, in order to create a uniform set of procedures to be followed when countries draw up and publish the balance-sheets for their natural capital and when annual reports are issued on the impact of economic activities in terms of strengthening or weakening the natural capital, plus, in general terms, when the framework for achieving the shared objective of sustainable development is formulated. 3.1.10. It is also proposed that international processes and mechanisms be established in order to specify and analyse the way in which the different political tools and practices in the individual countries either contribute to progress towards stability or hinder it, so as to favour, over time, a greater convergence towards more sustainable economic policies throughout the world. 3.1.11. Even today, special attention is still focussed on the growth of the GDP alone as an index of development. Little or nothing is said about the consumption of natural resources and the promotion of equity. A more sustainable approach to policies of development calls for a wider-ranging vision that also considers the maximisation of wellbeing as a full-fledged goal for society. The summit should have as one of its specific objectives arriving at a commitment to establish a system for measuring the wellbeing of communities, in order to supplement the purely economic gauging of processes of development. 3.1.12. It would also be helpful if, in each country, information on the environment, on the progress made towards a greener economy and on other aspects of sustainable development were made more readily available, in order to facilitate more fully informed public discussion of the key issues. In Europe, the 1998 convention on access to information, on the participation of the public in decision-making processes and on access to the law with respect to environmental issues (the Aarhus Convention) has broadened and reinforced public rights to obtain access to information, at the same time promoting public participation and recourse to the law. Discussions are currently being held on the possibility of drawing up a similar convention in Latin America. The UNEP has formulated a more general framework that addresses a number of these considerations. The summit should encourage initiatives geared towards establishing similar conventions in all the regions of the world, within a global context. 3.1.13.Giving visibility to instances of success. There are countries, regions, cities, companies etc. in which noteworthy results have been achieved in the course of the transition towards sustainability. They have demonstrated that it is possible to reduce the negative environmental impact of the various economic activities while, at the same time, creating new opportunities for employment, thus improving overall wellbeing. More should be done to highlight the success stories recorded throughout the world, using them as examples capable of convincing others to follow the same path. 3.1.14. Reinforcement of international trust. Certain elements of the transition towards sustainability are starting to be shared. For example, technologies featuring low carbon emissions have become widespread in a series of key sectors, and they will probably serve as one of the main driving forces behind future economic growth, improvements in wellbeing and the creation of jobs. It would be helpful if the summit were to provide further impetus to this transition, in order to increase the flow of resources and investments earmarked for the green technologies of the future, extending the scope of the transition to attract adequate investment flows for the sectors most often neglected, or that have registered less impressive results, such as the protection of the biosphere and the marine environment. 3.1.15.Turning the tax base greener. The most important challenge facing the 2012 Rio summit will be how to reach a more practically effective, far-reaching global agreement on mobilising public and private resources allocated for the development of skills and knowhow, for transfers of technology and for programs of sustainable investment to aid the less developed countries, as well as countries currently experiencing development, to keep pace with the transition towards sustainability, but in an equitable manner. In order to arrive at a solution to this problem, it is proposed that the summit give greater impetus to national and international efforts aimed at making the tax base greener. Indeed, it is held that the time has come to launch an initiative in favour of a tax on financial transactions, through an agreement reached on a global level, with the revenues to be used to finance investments in the field of sustainable development. We hold this to be a point of paramount importance, seeing that the capacity to make the transition towards sustainability can vary significantly from one country to another in terms of natural, economic and human resources. 3.1.16. Investments in research and development activities. The competent bodies within the United Nations should be assigned to identify sectors of research and development on technologies and tools favouring a green economy that could benefit from a move to combine such efforts through international cooperation. It is important that the new, greener technologies be rapidly implemented throughout the world. The responsible bodies of the UN should specifically identify any barriers to the rapid transfer of such technologies, determining ways in which they can be overcome. 3.1.17. Programs of public tenders can constitute an effective tool for moving manufacturers in the direction of greener products and services. Europe already has experience in holding "green" public tenders in compliance with the principles of free trade and within a European framework. The competent bodies of the UN could be assigned the specific task of promoting successful practices in this field throughout the world. 3.1.18. Investment flows. A new global understanding. According to widely accredited estimates, over the next 40 years the global investment needed to achieve the transition to a low-carbon-emissions economy in the Energy sector alone shall be on the order of trillions of euro. And other elements of the transition to sustainability will also require massive sums. The ability to achieve this transition varies from one country to another in terms of natural, economic and human resources. One of the most important challenges facing the Rio 2012 summit will be finding a way to arrive at a more practically effective, farther-reaching global understanding to mobilise public and private resources for the development of capabilities, transfers of technology and programs of sustainable investment meant to aid the less developed countries, as well as countries currently in the development stages, so that they can keep pace with the transition towards sustainability, but in equitable fashion. The responsible bodies of the UN should be assigned the task of monitoring the progress made in terms of financial commitments and other efforts undertaken to assist developing countries in making the transition to sustainability. 3.1.19. Involvement of economic and financial leaders. Earlier discussions on the topic of sustainable development were essentially prepared by ministers of the environment and their departments, which inevitably played the dominant role. This phase provide to be of use when it came to identifying and assessing the problems. But now that the world has moved on to taking more practical action in the field of sustainability, implementing important measures involving taxes and industrial policy and redirecting major flows of financing and investment, it is proposed that economic and financial departments take on a more leading role. The summit should stimulate the political will and commitment needed to make sustainable development a priority item on the agendas of ministers of economics, finance and industry, in addition to establishing mechanisms capable of transforming this commitment into effective action extending over a long-term time frame, both nationally and internationally. 3.2. The institutional framework. Governance. 3.2.1. International governance. For the last 19 years responsibility for international monitoring of the progress made throughout the world in terms of sustainable development was held by the United Nations Commission on Sustainable Development (CSD). Nevertheless, national participation in the activities of the CSD is handled primarily by the ministries and departments of the environment, which do not possess the authority, either individually or collectively, to take effective measures in the fields of economics or finance, or in other sectors falling outside the scope of their responsibilities, and this despite the crucial importance of such measures for the progress of sustainable development. 3.2.2. It is held that the summit can remedy this problem by establishing a more effective mechanism within the UN system, meaning one that brings together the ministries and departments of economics, industry and labour (plus other ministries, if necessary), in order to jointly formulate global policies and programs of action involving sustainability. The above mechanism could take the form of a council on sustainable development that supplements and reinforces the activities currently carried out separately by Ecosoc and by the CSD of the UN. These supplementary activities could also be supported by a committee organised to ensure coordination of all the UN agencies that handle issues of sustainable development, including the IMF, the WTO, the WHO, Unesco etc. In addition, the UNEP should be reinforced, allowing it to make a more incisive contribution within the framework of all these processes. 3.2.3. Such a council should have as its members all the countries of the world, represented by their highest-placed political leaders. The Council should give priority to global initiatives involving all aspects of sustainable development, promoting the transition towards a greener economy while initiating activities that regard new and increasingly important issues such as food and Energy security. 3.2.4. This new council should establish close ties with the World Bank and with the International Monetary Fund (IMF), which would be assigned a new mission, namely that of making the promotion of sustainable development a central focus of their efforts. 3.2.5. The United Nations program for the environment (UNEP) and its development program (UNDP) should be reinforced, so that together they can make a more incisive contribution to the environmental aspect of sustainable development, as well as to development per se. 3.2.6. National governance. New vigour should be instilled in the national mechanisms designed to promote sustainable development. The primary responsibility for promoting sustainable development should be clearly placed with the government and with all the ministries most directly involved. Steps must be taken, in particular, to revive and update national strategies for sustainable development, ensuring the full involvement and support of businesses, workers and all the different sectors of civil society. At the same time, advisory bodies should be established, such as the national councils for sustainable development, and give adequate resources to make a full-fledged contribution to the introduction of new ideas, as well as to efforts to maintain the pressure for further progress. 3.2.7. Regional and local governance. Within the context of progress towards sustainable development, regional and local government bodies hold a number of key responsibilities, as shown by the many excellent examples of the results such bodies have achieved throughout the world. Nevertheless, to date the progress made has not been uniform. The summit could contribute to more widespread progress by highlighting the best results, as well as by encouraging national authorities to set objectives for further progress by their respective regional and local government bodies and to support them in fulfilling such commitments. 3.2.8. Businesses. Over the last 20 years, businesses have made noteworthy improvements, increasingly moving in the direction of sustainability. Still, progress in this sense has been uneven. It is held that the moment has arrived to encourage, based on the best examples, improved practices in terms of sustainability. The summit could serve as a useful occasion for initiating discussion and reflection on a similar effort. 3.2.9. Employment. It is held that the ILO?s ?Decent Work? principles and objectives should be made a full and integral part of the commitments of the UN conference. This is the main path to be taken in terms of guaranteeing fairness in the course of the transition towards equitable, sustainable development both in developed countries and in those where development is currently underway or has been delayed. Of particular importance is the need to support programs of education and training, especially for young people, and in all countries; it is held that the promotion of new skills and know-how will contribute to creating new jobs on the global labour market, generating positive social repercussions worldwide. 3.3. Objectives in key sectors 3.3.1. It is proposed that the summit assess the ways in which the green economy concept will influence the primary economic sectors. Steps should be taken in each sector to encourage a more efficient use of Energy, as well as of all other natural resources, so as to reduce the impact of pollution and of the production of waste, in addition to which greater attention should be focussed on the environment and on biodiversity. In the case of the developing countries, the current projects revolve around the achievement of the Millennium Development Goals (MDG). It is recommended that, on the occasion of the revision of these goals in 2015, new development objectives be set, with greater emphasis placed on objectives of sustainable development. To this end, the Rio + 20 summit could issue a mandate providing guidelines for the revision of the MDG. 3.3.2. Energy. Turning the Energy sector green constitutes the single most important challenge of the overall push towards a green economy. In today?s world, the production and consumption of Energy practically underlie all economic activities carried out worldwide. According to the 2010 report of the IEA (International Energy Agency), the world Energy outlook for 2035 is characterised by an increase in the demand for Energy, together with an essentially unchanged production mix. Basic access to Energy remains a pressing need in some of the world?s poorer regions. Meanwhile traditional fossil fuels (especially oil) are becoming increasingly rare, in addition to proving more difficult and costly to procure. What is more, emissions from the combustion of fossil fuels are the primary cause of the accumulation of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere, as well as the ominous changes in the climate, in the levels of the sea etc., the effects of which are already starting to be seen. 3.3.3. The ambitious objectives for reducing greenhouse gases make necessary an attentive assessment of the tools available for limiting CO2 emissions to the greatest extent possible, while guaranteeing, at one and the same time, minimum cost expenditures and a maximum level of safeguards for the competitiveness of industry. In identifying such tools, mention can be made of, from among other options, the production of Energy from renewable sources and Energy efficiency, with the synergy between the two being of fundamental importance when it comes to achieving the objectives with higher levels of flexibility and lower costs for each country system. As part of this effort, the European Commission has already established a new working plan (the Low Economy Roadmap) for achieving an 80% reduction in carbon reductions by 2050, as compared to 1990 levels. Leading the shift on the planetary level towards a low-carbon emissions economy should represent the main objective in efforts against climate change. 3.3.4. Discussions regarding the objectives and the timeline for the transition to a more ecological economy have already been initiated in any forums, in particular within the framework of the UN convention on climate change. As part of a global understanding, it would be helpful if the summit forecast the level of investment that will necessary over the next 40 years in the less developed countries and in small, relatively isolated states in order to provide them with adequate access to sources of clean Energy while establishing suitable international mechanisms capable of contributing to generating the necessary funds and to monitoring the progress made. 3.3.5. Transportation. Reducing dependency on fossil fuels and promoting an efficient use of resources constitute the primary challenge with regard to sustainability in the transportation sector as well. To meet this challenge, it will be necessary to: ? reduce or limit increases in the demand for transportation through improved planning of the constructed environment; ? promote collectives modes of public transportation rather than individual modes of transport; ? increase the Energy efficiency of all modes of transport; ? abandon fuels with higher levels of carbon in favour of fuels with zero or low carbon emissions, such as green electric Energy or bio-fuels produced in accordance with the tenets of sustainability; ? further improve existing agreements on the disposal of vehicles and other transportation materials at the end of their life cycle. 3.3.6. The constructed environment. Urban environments vary significantly throughout the world, mirroring specific climatic, physical, social and economic conditions, as well as the different historical backgrounds. Still, they all face a number of common underlying challenges tied to the need to achieve greater sustainability. For example, a decidedly higher level of efficiency must be attained in the use of Energy to heat or cool all the types of buildings, as well as in the use of other materials and resources. Steps should be taken to promote forms of transportation that are greener and less damaging to the environment everywhere, and efforts must be made to improve the management and conservation of water resources worldwide. Improvements should also be made in the management of waste flows, with emphasis placed on reducing waste production and supporting reuse and recycling. Another priority objective in urbanised areas, and one whose pursuit can no longer be put off, is the objective of improving the quality of the air: this constitutes a determining factor (as reported by the WHO) not only in the health of citizens, but also in the rising levels of healthcare spending. All the above considerations call for renewed attention, in light of the ongoing growth of the urban population, with a further result of the situation being a powerful impetus towards the innovation of processes and products. 3.3.7. Agriculture and the rural environment. It is held that, from the perspective of the green economy, thoroughgoing changes must occur in agricultural practices in many parts of the world. In numerous countries government intervention is essentially geared towards safeguarding the income of farmers or limiting the prices of basic foodstuffs or meeting both goals. While these are fundamental concerns, they should be supplemented with equal attention for the roles played by the agricultural and rural worlds in guaranteeing food security, conserving the natural capital of the land and its resources of biodiversity and defending food security against the threat of hydrogeological disruptions and flooding, together with their contributions to Energy policies, which are not of secondary importance either. A further concern is the development of more virtuous policies for the use of farmland exposed to continuous erosion on account of invasive urbanisation. 3.3.8. Another point to be stressed is that deforestation and the deterioration of forestry resources lead to environmental and social damage that proves difficult to reverse, such as prolonged alterations in the balance of water tables, the onset of steppe-like terrain or desertification, climate changes and a loss of biodiversity, as well as rural poverty and conflicts over land and access to resources, rights and benefits, the overall economic cost of which proves to be far greater than the cost of eventual preventive and corrective efforts; it is held that the Rio+20 Summit should set itself the objective of ensuring participatory governance in the forestry sector, together with an equitable and fair distribution of benefits, plus the conservation and sustainable use of forests worldwide. 3.3.9. The CNEL holds that the key to sustainable agriculture lies in food production that is quantitatively sufficient, qualitatively excellent and regionally diversified, being implemented throughout the territory, in compliance with respect for nature and in such a way as to safeguard and defend the rural environment, preserve the differentiation and distinctive quality of production activities and promote both cultural landscapes rich in a wide variety of different species and rural areas. 3.3.10.Effective measures should be taken to improve the operations of agricultural markets while rendering them more transparent. Unacceptable fluctuations and increases in the prices of food products should be contrasted. The use of renewable raw materials for the production of Energy cannot be promoted at the expense of the procreant of food supplies worldwide. Secure supplies of food should be guaranteed by establishing reserves on a regional basis. There should also be a push to make increased use of the residual biomass generated by agricultural activities and food production. 3.3.11. Steps must be taken to guarantee workers? rights in the agricultural sector, through application of the existing ILO conventions. The active participation of civil society in projects of regional and local sustainability is indispensable and, to this end, particular emphasis should be placed on the role of women in developing countries. 3.3.12. The FAO and the UNEP could be entrusted with the task of jointly examining the sustainability of current agricultural practices, and of the management of the land, in each country, further analysing possible options for reforming these sectors, while also looking at the regulations and incentives under which they are currently governed, all for the purpose of promoting a greener rural sector. 3.3.13. The marine environment. In the same way as we discuss the green economy, we can also speak of a Blue Economy with regard to marine resources. Here too increase attention and efforts must be forthcoming from the international community. The marine environment is currently subject to growing pressure on account of pollution and excessive exploitation of marine resources, which, in certain limits, has reached the danger level. It balances, which not only ensures flows of food resources, but also serves as one of the most potent systems of climate regulation, could be threatened by policies of unwise use. The summit should make it obligatory that a new international procedure be established to reinforce and coordinate the existing mechanisms for safeguarding the marine environment. The summit should also assign to the responsible bodies of the UN the task of implementing a new international procedure designed to strengthen and coordinate existing mechanisms in the field of defence of the marine environment, in addition to finding a more effective approach to preserving stocks of fish and other marine resources than that taken under current rules and regulations. 3.3.14. Biodiversity. The safeguarding of biodiversity should be viewed as one of the primary guarantees of survival. We ask that the Conference reiterate this principle, in light of what we hold to be an excessive tendency to underestimate the loss of living species that occurs on a daily basis. This issue undoubtedly entails an ethical problem that cannot be ignored: namely that of the relationship between mankind and nature. But even when biodiversity is considered in purely economic terms, it appears as an extraordinary resource for policies of sustainable development. And this is true not only on account of the ?services? that biodiversity provides (an example being the critical importance of the pollination carried out by the very insects continually threatened with products introduced into the air), but also with regard to extremely important economic sectors, such as tourism and leisure activities.