Green Cross International
Information
  • Date submitted: 1 Nov 2011
  • Stakeholder type: Major Group
  • Name: Green Cross International
  • Submission Document: Download
Keywords: Accountability (1 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?

? For the Rio+20 Conference to result in a plan for transformative action to put the global community on the path to sustainable development. We can no longer afford a process that merely creates new treaties and conventions. The time has come to put the spotlight on individual and collective actions of governments to achieve sustainable development goals.
? For country representatives and state leaders to use this platform and announce specific and incremental (new) sustainable development initiatives, challenges, commitments and how they can work as part of a global, inter-governmental framework to promote an effective means of sustainable development.
? For the Rio+20 ambitious and action-oriented outcome document to be politically-binding and to recognize the imminent threat of exceeding our planet?s natural limits. It must recommit governments to act on their promises and ensure that these are sufficient to address the scale of the challenges that we are facing to ensure development path that is truly sustainable ? for the sake of their populations and of humanity as a whole. Such political commitments must be aggregated and presented in an appendix of country commitments to the outcomes document for a global registry of sustainability actions. Adequate enforcement mechanisms must be incorporated.
? For the document to provide specific solution-paths commensurate with the declared ambitions of the Summit. For example, the document could envisage the curtailment of military expenditures and propose such proceeds be invested meeting Millennium Development Goals and other initiatives that promote sustainable development, particularly in the global south. Two decades since the end of the Cold War, over 20,000 nuclear weapons still exist, with many on high alert and each much deadlier than those that devastated Hiroshima and Nagasaki in 1945. Almost US$105 billion was projected to be spent on nuclear weapons in 2011, up from US$91 billion in 2010. Shifting such monies away from weapons to sustainable development would have profound impacts on the lives of over 3 billion people and would promote security and stability around the world. Spending US$105 billion annually over five years could:

o Lift 1 billion people out of poverty.
o Allow 60 million more children to live past their 5th birthdays.
o Supply 700 million people with clean drinking water.
o Give 1.3 billion people access to basic sanitation.
o Provide 280 million children with proper nutrition.

? For the document to reflect the need to re-invent our measures of progress and recognize the need to incorporate ?externalities? in decision making models. Following the 2008-09 economic crisis, we need to re-invent our operating models in a way that is transparent, inclusive, environmentally sound and socially fair. Speeding up the phase-out of subsidies for practices that are destructive socially and to the environment must be identified as a priority.

? For the adoption of the Earth Charter as a fundamental document to promote and reinstall principles of shared ethical and spiritual values in making the transition to a sustainable way of life.

? Skepticism over the world?s ability to achieve the Millennium Development Goals is unacceptable. A new vision and energy is needed to report and monitor how to achieve these goals to ensure their noble aspirations are fulfilled.

? Expanding the set of five thematic clusters for reporting, as proposed by Resolution 64/236 to include ?security in the context of sustainable development.?

? For Green Cross International to be given the mandate to report biennially on our subject matter area, that being the nexus of environmental degradation, insecurity and poverty eradication, and to monitor how sustainable development practices can achieve positive gains in these areas.

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?

? The outcome document for Rio+20 must stress the need for a holistic response to our sustainable development challenges, one that ensures a systemic approach to security, poverty and the environment.

? Greening of the economy is just one part of what must be a multi-layered response. As a starter it will incorporate a dramatic increase in resource productivity, a reduced reliance on fossil fuels and a switch to alternative and renewable sources of energy. We cannot be fooled into thinking such ?economic greening? will be the silver bullet for sustainable development. Rather, this is just a step on the road towards sustainability, and the global community must invest equal energy in securing peace, eradicating poverty and protecting our natural resources.

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.);

? All sectors of modern society, governments, corporations and civil society, must contribute to the process of sustainable development.

? We must first close the gap between rhetoric and reality. In celebrating the green successes of corporations and governments we must ensure that their actions truly represent progress for the sustainability agenda.

? A dramatic increase in resource efficiency and waste reduction is a top priority. Waste is the enemy of sustainability. Smart energy and smart water initiatives must be celebrated to enable the access to alternative and renewable energy sources and safe drinking water globally. Systemic solutions must be implemented to reward institutions and corporations that adopt behaviors that are socially and environmentally desirable.

? A mechanism of Accountability and enforcement is needed to ensure governments and economic groupings keep to their promises and commitments when it comes to sustainable development.

? The contribution of civil society in advancing sustainability objectives must be recognized, promoted and given a more meaningful, actionable role in implementing sustainable development measures globally.

? In recognition of the short-term limitations of political cycles, sustainability must be given a permanent platform that transcends these time limitations in order to allow the implementation of socially desirable objectives with longer-term horizons, including those of future generations.

? The capabilities of the United Nations, through the Commission on Sustainable Development and other mechanisms, must be enhanced to allow for greater actionable leadership to advance sustainable development objectives. Climate change and environmental degradation require adequate a more effective institutional framework that should be determined at the highest possible level and warrants the involvement of the UN Security Council.

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?

? Civil society organizations, as representatives of the global community, must be enabled to cooperate in a more effective and meaningful manner when it comes to global sustainable development initiatives. This can be fostered within the existing United Nations system.

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.

? For the document to provide specific solution-paths commensurate with the declared ambitions of the Summit. For example, the document could envisage the curtailment of military expenditures and propose such proceeds be invested meeting Millennium Development Goals and other initiatives that promote sustainable development, particularly in the global south.

? Expanding the set of five thematic clusters for reporting, as proposed by Resolution 64/236 to include ?security in the context of sustainable development.?

? For Green Cross International to be given the mandate to report biennially on our subject matter area, that being the nexus of environmental degradation, insecurity and poverty eradication, and to monitor how sustainable development practices can achieve positive gains in these areas.

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

? Greening of the economy is just one part of what must be a multi-layered response. As a starter it will incorporate a dramatic increase in resource productivity, a reduced reliance on fossil fuels and a switch to alternative and renewable sources of energy. We cannot be fooled into thinking such ?economic greening? will be the silver bullet for sustainable development. Rather, this is just a step on the road towards sustainability, and the global community must invest equal energy in securing peace, eradicating poverty and protecting our natural resources.
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.

N/A
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".

N/A

Full Submission

Green Cross International was created in 1993 in response to a call made during the 1992 Rio Earth Summit to create a Red Cross for the environment that would apply the emergency response model to ecological issues and trans-border environmental crises. Today, Green Cross operates in over 30 countries and works through advocacy and on-the-ground projects to address the nexus of environmental degradation, security and poverty eradication.

Two decades since the idea for a Green Cross was floated, we return to Rio for the 2012 UN Conference on Sustainable Development as a fully-fledged global organization, determined to help maximize the outcome of Rio+20.

Conclusion

Green Cross recognizes the United Nations position that eradicating poverty, changing unsustainable patterns of production and consumption, and protecting and managing the natural resource base of economic and social development are overarching objectives of and essential requirements for sustainable development.

This same premise was also well understood in 1992, but clearly not enough has been done in the 20 years following to respond to such realities.

We cannot afford to allow another two decades pass without taking urgent, concrete action on these fronts. Failure could result in irretrievable consequences. Success, however, can ensure a brighter future for humanity today, tomorrow and in the future, as well as for the planet that sustains us.
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