- Date submitted: 1 Nov 2011
- Stakeholder type: Member State
- Name: Liechtenstein
- Submission Document: Download
Liechtenstein?s National Submission
The Outcome of Rio+20
Liechtenstein considers the overall objective of Rio+20 to be the improvement of human well -being through sustainable economic growth, social development and the protection of the environment within the range of planetary boundaries.
A successful Rio+20 Conference should result in the political commitment at the highest level to accelerate and broaden the world-wide transition towards a green economy that promotes sustainable development and contributes to poverty eradication. It should send out a clear, unified signal to all peoples that sustainable development is the only model for development and that economic, social, cultural, environmental and political dimensions of development are interdependent and mutually reinforcing.
Rio+20 should acknowledge the importance of democracy, good governance and respect for human rights to achieve sustainable development in all its dimensions. The right to development is an inalienable human right by virtue of which every human person and all peoples are entitled to participate in, contribute to, and enjoy economic, social, cultural and political development, in which all human rights and fundamental freedoms can be fully realized. Rio+20 should remind governments of their core responsibility to guarantee and promote this comprehensive right to development for their people.
While building on the progress to date, identifying remaining gaps in the implementation of the outcomes of the major summits on sustainable development and addressing new and emerging challenges is important, the Outcome of Rio+20 should clearly focus on conveying shared visions, principles and values for sustainable development. In this regard, Liechtenstein favours a concise and forward looking outcome, reaffirming and building upon internationally agreed development goals, including the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), the Agenda 21, and the Johannesburg Plan of Implementation (JPoI). A short political text will be the best way to effectively catalyse political will.
Rio+20 should provide the impetus and the tools for a global transition to a green economy. The outcome could mandate the development of Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), which would include actionable targets integrating the environmental, economic and social dimensions. Finally, it should further initiate timely reforms of the institutional framework for sustainable development (IFSD), within a set timeframe, including the architecture for international environmental governance (IEG).
Rio+20 is an opportunity to launch and endorse sectoral priorities, initiatives, commitments and pledges that contribute to integrating the three pillars of sustainable development. These could be included in an Annex to the outcome and should include follow-up modalities.
The Green Economy
Vision and Principles
The green economy should be seen as a pathway to sustainable development, which provides policy tools to correct deficiencies in market, development and trade policies and mechanisms that have
contributed to current global problems including climate change, resource depletion, inequality, poverty, and economic instability. It should include a range of economic and policy options that will advance all countries on this pathway.
The green economy should be built upon principles of inclusiveness and equity, and be geared towards green job creation.
Liechtenstein considers a liberal economic policy combined with a predictable legal and social order that put in place enabling conditions for businesses as key factors for greening economies and eradicating poverty. A transition to a green economy will involve both macro-economic and micro- economic changes. Regulatory instruments should create a green economy friendly environment, and should avoid harmful incentives. Market-based instruments are flexible and cost-effective tools that stimulate and support the transformation process towards greener economies. In order to guarantee a successful transition to a green economy, capacity building and technical assistance on the basis of national ownership and leadership are key. An objective of the green economy should be to enable innovation. Responsible entrepreneurship, networks, and innovation should therefore be promoted. Environmentally harmful subsidies should be eliminated, as they further unsustainable practices.
What is a green business?
It is important to establish a common understanding of what a green business constitutes. Crucial factors are:
Enduring commitment to environmental principles in business operations;
The supply of environmentally friendly products or services that replace or decrease demand for non-green products and/or services that increase demand of ?green? products;1
Availability of social services such as retirement plans, health care as well as decent working conditions.
Outcome on the Green Economy
The outcome on the green economy should be concrete and action oriented. Liechtenstein considers the following elements as key for a successful outcome on the green economy:
A broad political commitment at the highest level;
A ?Green Economy Roadmap? containing the most important common goals, concrete measures and timelines;
The launch of a platform to bring together current activities, best practice examples and approaches of different stakeholders, including governments, international organisations, business and industry, NGOs, and the scientific community;
A monitoring mechanism - for example a peer review - in order to secure implementation.
The Green Economy Roadmap should be as concrete as possible, while recognizing that there is no ?one-size-fits-all? solution. New approaches, such as public-private partnerships or involvement of non-state actors, should help promote continuing improvements with respect to environmental protection, working conditions and social welfare. The Green Economy Roadmap should build on the Rio Principles, such as Principle 8 on the reduction and elimination of unsustainable patterns of production and consumption and Principle 16 on the internalization of environmental costs and the use of economic instruments, which remain highly relevant.
1 This should also include assets and equity trading.
The success of Rio+20 in the long-term will be measured by the implementation of its agreed commitments and goals. Liechtenstein believes that a mechanism to monitor progress is very important to ensure credibility and engagement. The introduction of green economy indicators could be a possible instrument to monitor whether or not and in which areas a country is on the road to a green economy and to guarantee a prompt and swift response in case of setbacks and/or inefficiency. Economies should therefore not only be judged on the basis of their GDP, but also on the basis of other green factors such as, health of the environment, biodiversity, air pollution, social welfare, etc. Generally speaking green indicators have to become mainstream economic indicators.
Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)
Liechtenstein considers Rio+20 as a critical opportunity for the international community to translate discussions on the integrated pursuit of the three pillars of sustainable development into tangible goals. Therefore, Liechtenstein is willing to constructively engage in discussions about Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). SDGs could address problems of integration and implementation of the current framework for sustainable development. They should be based on Agenda 21 and JPoI, while reflecting new and emerging challenges. The ultimate aim of such goals should be the equitable and inclusive improvement of human well-being, including through poverty eradication and a green economy. Such goals should apply universally. In addition, they must not be seen to as diverting attention from MDG goals, but rather be seen as a renewal of commitment to development, with a new focus on sustainability.
The SDGs should be underpinned by targets to give direction at the global level and indicators to reflect the reality and priorities at national level. They should become a tool for national policy guidance and be translatable into action at all levels, global, regional, national and local, thus forming a basis for dynamic interaction between these levels. Rio+20 should begin the process of defining a limited number of goals, which are further elaborated through clearly defined targets, roadmaps and tool-kits, partnerships and corresponding responsible governing bodies. This elaboration should provide the means towards implementation.
For Liechtenstein SDGs should include: Green Growth
Green job creation, sustainable public procurement, rule-based, predictable, non-discriminatory trading
and financial system, corporate sustainability, green economy indicators
Sustainable Production and Consumption
Efficient and sustainable resource use, reducing resource degradation, pollution and waste, lifecycle analysis, certification schemes
Universal access to healthcare, combat communicable and non-communicable diseases, reduce child mortality, improve maternal health, link environmental and human health
Promote clean energy for all, reduce global energy intensity, increased proportion of renewables in global energy mix
Emissions reductions targets, fiscal and policy incentives, mitigation and adaptation
Access to safe drinking water and sanitation, sustainable water management, reduced water pollution, increased global water productivity of agriculture
Food and Agriculture
Sustainable agriculture, zero net land degradation, combat desertification, ecological restoration, integrated watershed management, removal of subsidies, that have negative effects on the environment and are incompatible with sustainable development
Halt and reverse Forest loss, Forest certification schemes, legal frameworks and good governance, REDD+, Sustainable Forest Management (SFM)
Reduce biodiversity loss, biodiversity targets, establishment of marine protected areas
Education, Access to Information, and Participation
Universal education, integrated education for sustainable development, gender equality, green skills training, increased participation of all stakeholders, freedom of information
Best practices and lessons learned from the development to the achievement of the MDGs should be fully taken into account in the design of the SDGs. The SDGs should be fully mainstreamed in the UN system, the international financial institutions (IFIs), and other relevant institutions and at all levels. A strengthened and consolidated institutional architecture for sustainable development should be mandated with the coordination of efforts and the monitoring of progress towards the SDGs.
Institutional Arrangements for Sustainable Development
Reform of the institutional framework for sustainable development (IFSD) should lead to a coherent, coordinated and balanced integration of the three pillars of sustainable development, geared towards enhanced implementation of sustainable development policies and programmes. Form should follow function. Therefore reform options should address weaknesses and gaps in the current system. These include:
? Lack of coordination for sustainable development; lack of implementation of sustainable development policy frameworks, including Agenda 21, and JPoI;
? Lack of a single recognized global platform for environmental governance; lack of an
effective authority to implement policies under the environmental pillar within the UN
system; lack of coordination among UN agencies;
? Fragmentation, gaps, overlaps among Multilateral Environmental Agreements (MEAs); overflowing reporting and meeting burden on Member States; lack of coherent administrative approach; lack of systematic review of effectiveness;
? Lack of coherent and authoritative scientific advice on all pillars of sustainable development;
overlaps and ignored inter-linkages; weak science-policy interface;
? Lack of implementation; insufficient capacity building and technical assistance;
? Proliferation and complexity of funding mechanisms; weak linkage between policy and funding; no overall financial tracking system; insufficient, unstable, and unpredictable funding base for United Nations Environmental Program (UNEP);
? Insufficient partnerships with civil society, business and industry and the scientific and
academic community within the UN framework; current rules of procedures limiting
cooperation between the UN and outside partners;
? Inadequate integration of sustainable development into development assistance at country level.
These weaknesses and gaps must be addressed in order to achieve sustainable development. Therefore, Liechtenstein is in favour of reforms that avoid the creation of new structures if not accompanied by an appropriate consolidation of existing structures.
Liechtenstein?s priorities for institutional reform include
? An overall strengthening of the UN governance structure for sustainable development;
? The geographical and functional consolidation of existing institutional arrangements;
? Inclusive participation in sustainable development decision making bodies within the UN
? A reduction of overlap in mandates and improved coordination and coherence.
The overall objectives of the reform should include
? Developing a global authoritative entity for sustainable development;
? Achieving effectiveness, efficiency and coherence within the UN system;
? Improved monitoring, evaluation, and accountability for sustainable development;
? Creating a strong, credible and accessible science base and policy interface for sustainable
? Securing sufficient, predictable and coherent funding;
? Ensuring coherent response to country needs.
Reform of the Institutional Framework for Sustainable Development (IFSD)
To meet these objectives, Liechtenstein proposes the following institutional reform measures:
Rio+20 should lead to improved interagency coordination for sustainable development. Establishing a system-wide strategy for prioritization and coordination of activities should result in efficiency gains by minimizing competing policies and duplication of activities and enabling agencies to focus on their areas of comparative advantage. The entities under the Chief Executive Board (CEB), including the High Level Committee on Programmes (HLCP) and the United Nations Development Group (UNDG) should promote policy coherence and delivery on sustainable development at all governance levels. UN participation in coordination at the regional level should be strengthened. At the national level, United Nations Development Assistance Framework (UNDAF) and United Nations Country Teams (UNCT) should deliver as one (DaO) on sustainable development.
Liechtenstein sees merit in considering the option of transforming the Commission on Sustainable Development (CSD) into a Sustainable Development Council (SDC), subsidiary to the General Assembly. The SDC?s mandate should include the coordination, consolidation and advancement of sustainable development objectives across the UN system, including by integrating sustainable development principles in UN development policy-making and operational activities and at all levels Its agenda setting should be conducive to strong periodic high-level attendance. It should provide political guidance and coordination for sustainable development and enhance implementation, including of the SDGs. It should also ensure integrated discussions between past, current and emerging challenges such as economic stability, food security, climate security, energy security, social security and resilience to natural disasters. Its rules of procedure should allow for inclusive Member States participation, including through a strong observer status, as well as for strong civil society and private sector participation and for the participation of other relevant stakeholders.
Furthermore, its membership should achieve a balance between legitimacy and effectiveness. Its work should be guided by the principles of inclusiveness and transparency. Governing bodies of the IFIs should be represented in the SDC.
In order to enhance implementation of sustainable development policies, the SDC should be equipped with appropriate tools to strengthen accountability and monitoring of national sustainable development commitments. Such mechanisms could take the form of a peer review process to assess implementation of sustainable development commitments, including the SDGs. The SDC should serve as a focal point for civil society, academia, the private sector and other relevant stake- holders.
The central role of the UN in coordinating global sustainable development policy and activities can be further strengthened by including initiatives from different actors and stakeholders outside the UN, including from informal groupings like the G20 and the G8 and from the private sector. Such activities should be actively encouraged and promoted. They should feed into and complement relevant UN activities and be covered by the wider UN development policy coordination framework.
International Environmental Governance (IEG)
Environmental governance must be addressed when reforming the IFSD, as there is no strong IFSD without reform of International Environmental Governance (IEG). In order to address the gaps and weaknesses of the current IEG system, including the inability of UNEP to fully exercise its mandate, Liechtenstein supports proposals to strengthen UNEP , by enhancing UNEP's role to become the leading global voice for the environment, to inform global decision-making, and mobilize necessary resources to respond to past, current and emerging challenges.
To this end, Liechtenstein supports the proposal to upgrade UNEP to the status of a UN Specialized Agency. The specialized agency should be built upon existing UNEP structures and have headquarters in Nairobi and liaison offices in NY and Geneva. Representation of the specialized agency should be included in the governing bodies of the IFIs and the SDC.
The specialized agency should meet in a General Council or Assembly every few years, with its
Governing Council meeting between sessions. Its mandate should include the following functions:
Develop a system-wide strategy for environmental policy in the UN system to increase its effectiveness, efficiency and coherence, and contribute to strengthening the environmental pillar of sustainable development;
prepare and transmit agreed global environmental assessments and priorities to the UNGA, SDC, and IFIs;
Convene broad-based stakeholders on the environment, in particular the scientific community and civil society;
Review the outcomes of the MEA COPs, convene Presidents/Chairs of MEA governing bodies, support implementation of COP decisions, and promote joint delivery of common MEA services;
Enhance accountability to environmental commitments by reviewing compliance.
A specialized agency should also function as the mechanism for global coordination and
streamlining among existing MEAs. MEA secretariat functions and common services should be clustered to enable joint delivery of common MEA services and to enhance efficiency gains, while fully taking into account their legal autonomy. To this end, joint services and functions could include secretariats, legal, financial and conference services, reporting, scientific structures, programmatic structures and knowledge management and IT. Joint services and functions would also enhance the secretariats' ability to comprehensively and cohesively support countries in their implementation of MEAs. Joint delivery could also contribute to reducing the number of scattered meetings of COPs, by promoting back-to-back meetings.
The specialized agency should strengthen the science-policy interface and support and improve scientific research and development at the national level. It should build upon existing international environmental assessments, scientific panels and information networks, in order to facilitate cooperation in the collection, management, analysis, use and exchange of environmental information. It should also lead in the development of indicators, early warning and alert services, assessments, science-based advice and policy options. The Global Environment Outlook (GEO) process should be strengthened by increasing participation of all relevant stakeholders, which would lead to increased relevance and impact. Its outputs should be mainstreamed into decision-making bodies, including the IFIs.
The Environment Management Group (EMG) could conduct environmental impact assessments and examine the use of environmental and social safeguards for UN activities at all levels. It could also provide guidance at the national level on environmental impact assessments and environmental and social safeguards.
In addition, a system-wide capacity-building framework should be developed and targeted at strengthening national capacities required to implement MEAs and agreed international environmental objectives. The specialized agency should establish strong regional programmatic presence and help coordinate regional environmental initiatives. The capacity of its regional offices should be strengthened, as should environmental expertise within UNCTs, as part of a broader DaO for sustainable development framework.
To strengthen the link between global environmental policy making and financing, allocation of Global Environmental Facility (GEF) funds should be guided by commitments under the MEAs and GEO outcomes. The accessibility, cooperation and coherence among financing mechanisms and funds for the environment should be increased. A financial tracking system for environmental activities should be established and include funding under State commitments to the Green Climate Fund. In order to widen and deepen the funding base for the specialized agency and UN environmental activities, sufficient, predictable and coherent funding should be secured.
It is important that the processes that lead to such reforms be conducted in an open, transparent and inclusive manner with the aim of generating the largest possible support by Member States to ensure their full implementation. At the same time, the rules guiding the decision-making processes must be applied such that they are conducive to reaching outcomes. A commitment to environmental sustainability should guide all actions undertaken throughout the reform process.