Oxfam
Information
  • Date submitted: 1 Nov 2011
  • Stakeholder type: Major Group
  • Name: Oxfam
  • Submission Document: Download
Keywords: Implementation (8 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?

1. Oxfam expects governments to make the Rio+20 outcomes a cornerstone, marking an unequivocal change of course towards an era of more sustainable and inclusive economic development in which the struggle to end poverty is a central concern of all. Governments should view Rio+20 as an opportunity to:


Set the vision for 21st century development, and agree to establish the measures, goals and institutions required at national and international levels to shift economies and, more broadly, our model of development, onto more sustainable, equitable pathways.


Identify areas where on-going multilateral action is needed to manage shocks and scarcities so as to minimise their impacts on poor and vulnerable communities.


Engage and inspire citizens and civil society both to contribute directly to sustainable consumption and production patterns, and to support strong governmental and intergovernmental action necessary to achieve these.


2. Specific proposals that could help deliver such an outcome include:


Development of, and agreement on, new indicators of economic progress, additional to GDP, focused on well-being and equality, on building social, human and economic wealth, and preserving natural resources.


Replacing the existing, broken food system, with one that is equitable, sustainable and resilient by focusing on key hotspots of: food and nutritional security; land grabbing; the impacts of food price volatility; patterns of distribution and consumption; investment in smallholder agriculture, and in women producers in particular, and; agro-ecological approaches that value and invest in soil, water, forest and biodiversity conservation.


Establishment of new energy goals that expand affordable energy access by the poorest people, and incentivise renewable energy and energy efficiency.


Introduction of measures to raise resources for sustainable development-related issues from new and additional sources such as a fair carbon charge on international transport and/or a financial transactions tax to generate financial flows to combat climate change and poverty eradication.


Reforms geared towards enhancing global institutional co-ordination and coherence ? in particular to mitigate, and respond to, resource-related crises and risks, such as food and climate shocks, while increasing transparency and expanding civil society participation.



More detailed proposals that Oxfam believes merit special attention as part of the Rio+20 outcomes are described in the Annex to this document (below). The Rio+20 outcome document needs to provide space for tried and tested policies which will ensure a just transition to sustainability, as well as innovations. Both will require a special focus on international and national policies to protect poor people‟s rights and interests, especially rules to improve secure access to natural resources, such as land, water, and other critical resources.



3. In order to deliver expected outcomes, the structure of the outcome document will need to include:



Overarching principles for a new prosperity in which resources are shared, resilience is built, and wealth and power are distributed to the many, including a re-affirmation of the Rio Principles agreed in 1992.


Time-bound goals and targets, including related economic estimates, to give meaning to the intentions expressed by governments.


A place for action-oriented proposals, such as those mentioned under #2 (above), including specific provisions for means of Implementation and follow-up.




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?

Green Economy Roadmaps


Poverty eradication, equity, and resilience must be central ? not supplementary ? to any vision of and/or approach to more sustainable and inclusive economies, no matter how they are described. Oxfam believes that it is critical to ensure key principles of fairness are at the heart of the vision. In particular, this includes:


Expanding access and protecting poor people‟s rights to natural resources. People in rural communities are especially reliant on natural resources for their livelihoods and resilience, yet their access to, and rights over, these resources are often inadequate and insecure. Rio should endorse an approach, which ensures effective regulation to protect people‟s rights to these assets, and creates benefits.


Promoting gender equity. Rural women in developing countries have long experienced unequal and insecure access to natural resources, while depending disproportionately on them. Supportive policies include, for example, securing women‟s land rights or designing energy services to meet women‟s needs.


Ensuring a just, resilient transition to cope with industrial change and increased shocks and stresses from volatile commodity prices (oil, food) and as climate change gathers pace. Policies need to ensure the transition is fair and increases resilience (e.g. promoting jobs for low-income workers, using social protection measures effectively).


Ensuring fairness in global efforts to manage natural resources. Equitable burden-sharing between countries has long been accepted as both ethically just and politically necessary for a global climate deal. As the world starts to hit limits for other key resources (e.g. land, water), the issue of ?fair shares‟ in consumption may become relevant to these as well.


Voice and participation. Ending poverty will remain elusive so long as people living in poverty are excluded from the decisions their lives depend upon. Participation and accountability have long been emphasised as critical for sustainable development, but in many countries these remain weak. For instance, discussions on new low-carbon strategies can be highly technical, skewed by elite interests or focused on technology solutions not suited to poor people‟s needs. Roadmaps should make a specific effort to include marginalised groups, build their understanding of the issues and their capacity to hold governments to account. Global institutions must also open themselves to the same principles.



Roadmaps will need a clear destination for what they are trying to achieve. There is no coincidence in the fact that crises of sustainability and equity are occurring after decades in which economic growth has been almost universally pursued as a goal in and of itself. Any new roadmaps must begin by setting course for a destination in which economies are managed to both respect the biophysical limits of the planet‟s natural resource base and deliver a set of social development goals ? including universal access to health and education, progressive taxation, gender equity, expanding access to productive agricultural land. Both aspects are critical to ensuring equity, and end to poverty.


Any roadmaps need to point in the direction of absolute decoupling of resource use from economic growth, while equitably expanding access for people living in poverty. A key marker for the sustainability of a country‟s economic development path is, in the first instance, the extent to which it has decoupled economic growth from resource use in absolute terms. That is, in order to achieve environmentally sustainable economic growth at the global scale, global use of natural resources must fall while GDP continues to rise (relative decoupling, where GDP grows faster than growth in resource use, is insufficient). Given that the planet‟s renewable resources are already being used far beyond sustainable levels, absolute decoupling is needed quickly in order to prevent irreversible environmental damage.


Sustainable Development Goals


Discussion of Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) must not divert political attention delivering and investing in achieving the MDGs between now and 2015.


To serve as meaningful indicators of progress, any sustainable development goals will need to address the absence in the MDGs of measures to address inequity, as well as the absence of targets and policies that ensure environmental sustainability. Over the next decade we need a very rapid transition to a new model of prosperity, which delivers growth that both respects planetary boundaries and has equity at its heart.


Rather than adding a new set of indicators in parallel to the existing Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), new proposals for sustainable development goals should aim to serve as a comprehensive framework for the post-2015 period, ensuring that the issues covered by the existing MDGs feature prominently in the coming period.


There are a range of options for defining the scope and content of any SDGs. One option which appears to merit further examination may be to structure these around two critical, inter-locking principles: planetary boundaries, and a social development threshold. In other words, taken as a whole, the selection of goals and objectives could define a safe and socially just operating space for humanity and help measure progress towards that end.


Experience shows that global goals need to be rooted in national indicators and developed through comprehensive participatory processes. To help ensure accountability, any global goals or objectives defined would need to be enmeshed within a set of national indicators. Such indicators could also be used to complement Gross Domestic Product (GDP) and transform the current (limited) understanding of economic progress. Information must also be made public, and widely accessible.



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.);

Innovative finance for climate change and poverty reduction


A fair green transition will require a mobilisation of public finance on a massive scale to leverage private investment and so help ?close the Implementation gap.? As well encouraging rich nations to meet their commitment to spend 0.7% of GNI on development aid, Rio+20 is an opportunity to get agreement and backing for innovative finance mechanisms. Two mechanisms that are gaining political momentum among governments (in the EU, G20, UNFCCC) and are supported by many expert reports are:


Revenue-raising from tackling international transport emissions. Schemes to cut air and shipping emissions, which are currently unregulated, could raise more than US$15bn each year. This should be used to address climate change adaptation and mitigation in poor countries.


A tax on financial transactions. An average tax of 0.05% on all transactions between financial institutions could generate US$400 billion worldwide for poverty-reduction and climate change ? and help address the risks of high frequency trading. Several countries already levy certain types of financial transactions tax.


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?


Reforming institutions, rules and processes is vital, since ?unsustainability‟ is largely a result of weak governance at all levels (global, regional, national, local). The existing ideas for a minor reconfiguration of the UN system being discussed by governments for Rio+20 fall short of what is needed to achieve the transformational changes sustainability requires. Governments need to:


Assert firm backing for stronger multilateral governance needed to a) assess and regulate resource use so these remain within safe environmental limits and are shared fairly; b) mobilize investment to public goods and shift the behaviours of business and consumers; and c) protect vulnerable people by limiting risks and building resilience to shocks. Specifically, establishment of a global framework with robust international standards and accountability mechanisms to help regulate transboundary access to land, water, and other critical resources is important.


Prioritise the need to build resilience to shocks and stresses as a new challenge for the international system. The frequency and intensity of shocks (financial, economic, food, environmental, weather-related etc) experienced by poor communities are increasing, but without any major advances in resilience. At an international level, a resilience agenda would involve, for example, more leadership and investment on Adaptation and Disaster Risk Reduction and exploring a multi-stakeholder initiative to develop a Common Resilience Framework ? needed to harmonise currently un-aligned interventions across development, risk reduction and climate change adaptation.



Focus on improving co-ordination and coherence in the short-term. Institutional silos and fragmentation between different parts of the international systems continues to be a key problem ? leading to wasted resources, lower impacts and short-lived or conflicting outcomes. More joint work between agencies on cross-cutting issues, like food or energy security, to create shared goals, develop and share data, and build common analysis and responses is vital.


Play the ?pathfinding‟ role to see where future deals are needed in the long-term. There are some areas where future agreements and co-operation will be needed, but understanding of the issues or solutions may be limited, or political consensus does not yet exist (e.g. food price volatility, soil degradation, water grabs, ?fair shares‟, conflict-related resource shocks etc). Rio+20 provides a space to identify these gaps and tensions, the different interests at stake, and agree initial steps to address these ? for instance, by commissioning assessments of the readiness of existing institutions and agreements to handle future stresses.


Formalize means by which civil society can contribute to international decision-making processes relevant to sustainable development.


Ensure global institutional support for the future that already exists, in the form of innovative solutions that are sustainably growing greater prosperity today. Organizations, businesses, movements, and networks for a new prosperity are appearing, growing, and connecting up all over the world. Poor farmers‟ organisations demanding fair shares from national budgets and market chains. Development NGOs working on sustainable agriculture. Environmental organizations calling for a sustainable future. Women‟s groups claiming their rights to resources. Communities leading low-carbon lifestyles. Movements, such as Fair Trade, which link ethical consumers and the private sector. Grassroots campaigns calling for the right to food to be respected. The list is long and growing. Mechanisms dedicated to incubating, cross-fertilizing, and disseminating sustainable solutions globally in the coming decade will be essential to realizing sustainable development.



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?

N/A
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.

N/A
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

N/A
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

Oxfam submission to UNCSD with inputs for the Rio+20 compilation document

Oxfam works with partners around the world to find lasting solutions to poverty and injustice. Currently, we work in more than 70 countries and respond to an average of 30 humanitarian emergencies each year. Our efforts aim to help people realize their fundamental rights to a sustainable livelihood, including decent jobs and access to ? and protection of ? the natural resources upon which livelihoods depend; to health, education and other essential services; to life and security; to participate fully in the decisions that affect their lives; and to equity, for women, ethnic minorities and others suffering discrimination. We fight poverty and suffering through campaigning, long-term development work, and emergency response. Oxfam is a confederation of 15 different affiliates from around the world (http://www.oxfam.org/en/about).

With the 20th Anniversary of the 1992 Earth Summit just months away, Oxfam observes important progress over the past two decades ? on reducing poverty, and mainstreaming concerns about climate change and other sustainable development issues ? but also a global model of economic development that is still failing to result in more inclusive or sustainable societies. Progress on sustainable development since 1992 has been weak and, overall, threats have worsened.

Whilst millions of people have been lifted out of poverty, the benefits of growth have been unevenly distributed and global income inequality is rising. Hunger levels are almost unchanged from 40 years ago, despite gains in income and agricultural productivity. We have faced two food price crises within 3 years and now a famine in Somalia. A weight of evidence demonstrates that inequality leads to instability, prevents productive investment, undermines institutions of government, and contributed to the financial crisis from which the world is still suffering. Protests now emerging around the world show the extent to which citizens are concerned about this corrosive power of inequality. But only a handful of the world‟s leading economies have reduced income inequality since 1990. Women continue to be systematically excluded from economic opportunities across the world.

Life depends on the planet‟s natural resources, those we use for food, water and energy, and yet the current trajectory of resource use is appalling. Humanity‟s ecological footprint has more than doubled since 1966 and we are using nature‟s services 50 per cent faster than Earth can renew them. We have transgressed 3 out of 9 critical planetary boundaries (biodiversity, greenhouse gases, nitrate use). Further natural resource depletion threatens to widen the gross inequalities of today, whereby most resources are consumed by a well-off minority. No country has yet demonstrated that it is possible to achieve high average income with sustainable natural resource use. Only four of the world‟s leading economies have reduced their carbon emissions since 1992.

The world‟s broken food system shows what happens when policies work only for the few and fail the many, when policies both undermine the natural resources we depend on and fail to address resulting vulnerabilities. Another 20 years of the same won‟t only be bad for people living in poverty; it will be bad for everyone. Rio+20 must begin to reverse these trends. It is a rare chance to restore credibility, by getting serious about implementing the solutions that exist already, and concentrating efforts on key sectors that can help catalyse transformational change on a global scale.

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?

1. Oxfam expects governments to make the Rio+20 outcomes a cornerstone, marking an unequivocal change of course towards an era of more sustainable and inclusive economic development in which the struggle to end poverty is a central concern of all. Governments should view Rio+20 as an opportunity to:

Set the vision for 21st century development, and agree to establish the measures, goals and institutions required at national and international levels to shift economies and, more broadly, our model of development, onto more sustainable, equitable pathways.

Identify areas where on-going multilateral action is needed to manage shocks and scarcities so as to minimise their impacts on poor and vulnerable communities.

Engage and inspire citizens and civil society both to contribute directly to sustainable consumption and production patterns, and to support strong governmental and intergovernmental action necessary to achieve these.

2. Specific proposals that could help deliver such an outcome include:

Development of, and agreement on, new indicators of economic progress, additional to GDP, focused on well-being and equality, on building social, human and economic wealth, and preserving natural resources.

Replacing the existing, broken food system, with one that is equitable, sustainable and resilient by focusing on key hotspots of: food and nutritional security; land grabbing; the impacts of food price volatility; patterns of distribution and consumption; investment in smallholder agriculture, and in women producers in particular, and; agro-ecological approaches that value and invest in soil, water, forest and biodiversity conservation.

Establishment of new energy goals that expand affordable energy access by the poorest people, and incentivise renewable energy and energy efficiency.

Introduction of measures to raise resources for sustainable development-related issues from new and additional sources such as a fair carbon charge on international transport and/or a financial transactions tax to generate financial flows to combat climate change and poverty eradication.

Reforms geared towards enhancing global institutional co-ordination and coherence ? in particular to mitigate, and respond to, resource-related crises and risks, such as food and climate shocks, while increasing transparency and expanding civil society participation.

More detailed proposals that Oxfam believes merit special attention as part of the Rio+20 outcomes are described in the Annex to this document (below). The Rio+20 outcome document needs to provide space for tried and tested policies which will ensure a just transition to sustainability, as well as innovations. Both will require a special focus on international and national policies to protect poor people‟s rights and interests, especially rules to improve secure access to natural resources, such as land, water, and other critical resources.

3. In order to deliver expected outcomes, the structure of the outcome document will need to include:

Overarching principles for a new prosperity in which resources are shared, resilience is built, and wealth and power are distributed to the many, including a re-affirmation of the Rio Principles agreed in 1992.

Time-bound goals and targets, including related economic estimates, to give meaning to the intentions expressed by governments.

A place for action-oriented proposals, such as those mentioned under #2 (above), including specific provisions for means of Implementation and follow-up.

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?

Green Economy Roadmaps

Poverty eradication, equity, and resilience must be central ? not supplementary ? to any vision of and/or approach to more sustainable and inclusive economies, no matter how they are described. Oxfam believes that it is critical to ensure key principles of fairness are at the heart of the vision. In particular, this includes:

Expanding access and protecting poor people‟s rights to natural resources. People in rural communities are especially reliant on natural resources for their livelihoods and resilience, yet their access to, and rights over, these resources are often inadequate and insecure. Rio should endorse an approach, which ensures effective regulation to protect people‟s rights to these assets, and creates benefits.

Promoting gender equity. Rural women in developing countries have long experienced unequal and insecure access to natural resources, while depending disproportionately on them. Supportive policies include, for example, securing women‟s land rights or designing energy services to meet women‟s needs.

Ensuring a just, resilient transition to cope with industrial change and increased shocks and stresses from volatile commodity prices (oil, food) and as climate change gathers pace. Policies need to ensure the transition is fair and increases resilience (e.g. promoting jobs for low-income workers, using social protection measures effectively).

Ensuring fairness in global efforts to manage natural resources. Equitable burden-sharing between countries has long been accepted as both ethically just and politically necessary for a global climate deal. As the world starts to hit limits for other key resources (e.g. land, water), the issue of ?fair shares‟ in consumption may become relevant to these as well.

Voice and participation. Ending poverty will remain elusive so long as people living in poverty are excluded from the decisions their lives depend upon. Participation and accountability have long been emphasised as critical for sustainable development, but in many countries these remain weak. For instance, discussions on new low-carbon strategies can be highly technical, skewed by elite interests or focused on technology solutions not suited to poor people‟s needs. Roadmaps should make a specific effort to include marginalised groups, build their understanding of the issues and their capacity to hold governments to account. Global institutions must also open themselves to the same principles.

Roadmaps will need a clear destination for what they are trying to achieve. There is no coincidence in the fact that crises of sustainability and equity are occurring after decades in which economic growth has been almost universally pursued as a goal in and of itself. Any new roadmaps must begin by setting course for a destination in which economies are managed to both respect the biophysical limits of the planet‟s natural resource base and deliver a set of social development goals ? including universal access to health and education, progressive taxation, gender equity, expanding access to productive agricultural land. Both aspects are critical to ensuring equity, and end to poverty.

Any roadmaps need to point in the direction of absolute decoupling of resource use from economic growth, while equitably expanding access for people living in poverty. A key marker for the sustainability of a country‟s economic development path is, in the first instance, the extent to which it has decoupled economic growth from resource use in absolute terms. That is, in order to achieve environmentally sustainable economic growth at the global scale, global use of natural resources must fall while GDP continues to rise (relative decoupling, where GDP grows faster than growth in resource use, is insufficient). Given that the planet‟s renewable resources are already being used far beyond sustainable levels, absolute decoupling is needed quickly in order to prevent irreversible environmental damage.

Sustainable Development Goals

Discussion of Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) must not divert political attention delivering and investing in achieving the MDGs between now and 2015.

To serve as meaningful indicators of progress, any sustainable development goals will need to address the absence in the MDGs of measures to address inequity, as well as the absence of targets and policies that ensure environmental sustainability. Over the next decade we need a very rapid transition to a new model of prosperity, which delivers growth that both respects planetary boundaries and has equity at its heart.

Rather than adding a new set of indicators in parallel to the existing Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), new proposals for sustainable development goals should aim to serve as a comprehensive framework for the post-2015 period, ensuring that the issues covered by the existing MDGs feature prominently in the coming period.

There are a range of options for defining the scope and content of any SDGs. One option which appears to merit further examination may be to structure these around two critical, inter-locking principles: planetary boundaries, and a social development threshold. In other words, taken as a whole, the selection of goals and objectives could define a safe and socially just operating space for humanity and help measure progress towards that end.

Experience shows that global goals need to be rooted in national indicators and developed through comprehensive participatory processes. To help ensure accountability, any global goals or objectives defined would need to be enmeshed within a set of national indicators. Such indicators could also be used to complement Gross Domestic Product (GDP) and transform the current (limited) understanding of economic progress. Information must also be made public, and widely accessible.

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.).

Innovative finance for climate change and poverty reduction

A fair green transition will require a mobilisation of public finance on a massive scale to leverage private investment and so help ?close the Implementation gap.? As well encouraging rich nations to meet their commitment to spend 0.7% of GNI on development aid, Rio+20 is an opportunity to get agreement and backing for innovative finance mechanisms. Two mechanisms that are gaining political momentum among governments (in the EU, G20, UNFCCC) and are supported by many expert reports are:

Revenue-raising from tackling international transport emissions. Schemes to cut air and shipping emissions, which are currently unregulated, could raise more than US$15bn each year. This should be used to address climate change adaptation and mitigation in poor countries.

A tax on financial transactions. An average tax of 0.05% on all transactions between financial institutions could generate US$400 billion worldwide for poverty-reduction and climate change ? and help address the risks of high frequency trading. Several countries already levy certain types of financial transactions tax.

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?

Reforming institutions, rules and processes is vital, since ?unsustainability‟ is largely a result of weak governance at all levels (global, regional, national, local). The existing ideas for a minor reconfiguration of the UN system being discussed by governments for Rio+20 fall short of what is needed to achieve the transformational changes sustainability requires. Governments need to:

Assert firm backing for stronger multilateral governance needed to a) assess and regulate resource use so these remain within safe environmental limits and are shared fairly; b) mobilize investment to public goods and shift the behaviours of business and consumers; and c) protect vulnerable people by limiting risks and building resilience to shocks. Specifically, establishment of a global framework with robust international standards and accountability mechanisms to help regulate transboundary access to land, water, and other critical resources is important.

Prioritise the need to build resilience to shocks and stresses as a new challenge for the international system. The frequency and intensity of shocks (financial, economic, food, environmental, weather-related etc) experienced by poor communities are increasing, but without any major advances in resilience. At an international level, a resilience agenda would involve, for example, more leadership and investment on Adaptation and Disaster Risk Reduction and exploring a multi-stakeholder initiative to develop a Common Resilience Framework ? needed to harmonise currently un-aligned interventions across development, risk reduction and climate change adaptation.

Focus on improving co-ordination and coherence in the short-term. Institutional silos and fragmentation between different parts of the international systems continues to be a key problem ? leading to wasted resources, lower impacts and short-lived or conflicting outcomes. More joint work between agencies on cross-cutting issues, like food or energy security, to create shared goals, develop and share data, and build common analysis and responses is vital.

Play the ?pathfinding‟ role to see where future deals are needed in the long-term. There are some areas where future agreements and co-operation will be needed, but understanding of the issues or solutions may be limited, or political consensus does not yet exist (e.g. food price volatility, soil degradation, water grabs, ?fair shares‟, conflict-related resource shocks etc). Rio+20 provides a space to identify these gaps and tensions, the different interests at stake, and agree initial steps to address these ? for instance, by commissioning assessments of the readiness of existing institutions and agreements to handle future stresses.

Formalize means by which civil society can contribute to international decision-making processes relevant to sustainable development.

Ensure global institutional support for the future that already exists, in the form of innovative solutions that are sustainably growing greater prosperity today. Organizations, businesses, movements, and networks for a new prosperity are appearing, growing, and connecting up all over the world. Poor farmers‟ organisations demanding fair shares from national budgets and market chains. Development NGOs working on sustainable agriculture. Environmental organizations calling for a sustainable future. Women‟s groups claiming their rights to resources. Communities leading low-carbon lifestyles. Movements, such as Fair Trade, which link ethical consumers and the private sector. Grassroots campaigns calling for the right to food to be respected. The list is long and growing. Mechanisms dedicated to incubating, cross-fertilizing, and disseminating sustainable solutions globally in the coming decade will be essential to realizing sustainable development.

Annex: What are the issues that need to be urgently addressed through the Rio+20 process?

Rio needs to go beyond defining a vision and green economy principles by agreeing concrete measures, which can catalyse the shift to a sustainable, equitable economy. Whilst precise goals and actions require further thought and definition, three areas Oxfam already sees as important are: food and agriculture, energy, and alternate economic indicators.

Food security and sustainable agriculture

The food system is under intense pressure to meet demand for a growing population in a world of resource-constraints. Arable land and water resources are being degraded and squeezed by demands for other uses. Climate change is an additional threat. Women farmers‟ livelihood security is undermined by highly unequal access to productive resources technologies and services. Investing in smallholders, rural economies and sustainable agricultural practices in developing countries can boost poor people‟s incomes, food availability and environmental protection - and provide the ?growth spark‟ for development. Inclusion in decision-making and ensuring access to land and water, new technologies, agricultural extension, credit, markets and social capital can significantly increase women‟s productivity and the food security of their communities. Setting a new course for global agriculture requires multiple interventions and a much stronger role for governments. Some key priorities for action in developing countries, which Rio+20 can support, are to:

Change the terms of debate toward an ?ecosystems approach?. Despite significant developments in agriculture, policy remains dominated by an interventionist approach focused on specific techno-fixes and inputs, such as agrochemical application. However, there is huge potential for low-input, agro-ecological farming techniques to raise yields, improve soil fertility, conserve natural resources and reduce dependence on expensive inputs (e.g. System of Rice Intensification). Several expert agencies and reports advocate these approaches (the UN Special Rapporteur on the Right to Food, UNEP, UNCTAD, FAO and the IAASTD).

Increase and re-align finance flows to sustainable smallholder agriculture. Donors, governments and companies need to increase investment in smallholders, agriculture extension services, conservation agriculture and rural infrastructure. R&D should be redirected toward ?technologies of practices‟ (not just specific products or inputs). All governments should massively increase incentives and support to farmers willing to adopt agro-ecological farming methods. Donors should: (1) commit to invest in food security and sustainable small-scale food production past the l‟Aquila commitment period, outline a clear strategy for spending the money to enable the scaling up of proven sustainable approaches, and measure and report on progress against commitments, specifically in support of smallholders, women, and country-led plans; and (2) set out plans to allocate a minimum of 10% of their ODA to agriculture and food security in order to match the commitments of African governments in the 2003 Maputo Declaration. Perverse subsidies should be dismantled, including biofuels mandates and trade-distorting agricultural subsidies in the EU and North America.

Champion the needs and contribution of women producers. Women produce much of the food consumed in developing countries, yet receive just 7% of total aid to agriculture, forestry and fishing. Inclusion in decision-making and ensuring access to land and water, new technologies, agricultural extension, credit, markets and social capital will dramatically increase women‟s productivity and the food security of their communities. Governments should commit to: provide women food producers equal access to inputs, credit, and extension services; implement and enforce existing gender-equitable policies on land rights and tenure; and enact policies that substantially increase access to land and water resources for women.

Refocus agricultural research on food security and sustainability Governments must task the CGIAR research institutions with R&D improvements to orphan crops, robust research on improving agro-ecological practices and food processing technologies, and both quantitatively and qualitatively assessing their impacts on livelihoods and food security. Research institutions must have measurable targets established by local- and country-level needs assessments. They must support research partnerships involving collaboration among poor women and men farmers, extension services, and agricultural scientists.

Rebuild extension services prioritising women smallholder food producers. Governments and donors should commit to support scaling-up of national extension services and focus on capacity building of extensionists, innovations, best practices, participatory processes, and peer-to-peer learning. Developing country governments should commit to an unprecedented push to rebuild agricultural extension services to small-scale food producers to help achieve widespread uptake of agro-ecological practices to address key threats to soil, water, biodiversity and food security including specific approaches and measurable targets to provide services for women food producers.

Focus on key threats to soil, water and biodiversity. Soil health, water availability, and biodiversity are three pillars for a productive agro-ecosystem, yet these are under threat. For instance around a quarter of vegetated land on earth has already been affected by human-induced soil degradation and three-quarters of plant genetic resources ? vital to make production resilient to pests and weather shocks - have been lost over the last century.

Promote smallholder access to land, water, other natural resources, markets and information ? with a strong role for governments. Smallholder food producers, who know how to produce under the most variable conditions, are being pressured to migrate to cities. Cultural diversity and knowledge about local conditions are declining, as is agro-biodiversity. This wide agenda encompasses, for example, improving access to finance (credit, insurance) and information (market prices, weather forecasting), supporting producer organisations to strengthen their links into value chains, improving land tenure systems and water rights, and investing in on-farm and rural infrastructure (storage facilities, roads, access to basic services) as well as access to social nets and incentives for the youth to remain in their communities. This agenda must have a special focus on women‟s needs in rural areas.

Energy access and clean energy

There is already strong interest in making the energy sector a focus for Rio+20, which Oxfam welcomes. Transforming our energy systems is essential to cut poverty, meet the Millennium Development Goals, boost growth and help countries cope with rising fossil fuel prices while also limiting the increase in global average temperature to 1.5C, which is critical to achieving the objective of the UN Climate Change Convention.

Rio+20 should build political commitment by agreeing new energy goals. The UN‟s 2012 campaign of Sustainable Energy for All provides a starting point for defining what those goals could be. This aims for, by 2030, universal access to modern energy services, a 40% reduction in global energy intensity and increase of renewable energy use globally to 30%.

Increasing poor people‟s energy access should be the priority. On current projections, the numbers of people using traditional biomass for cooking will be higher in 2030 than today and those without electricity access will only fall by a small margin. New goals and investments must focus on the full range of energy services that poor people need, such as energy for lighting, cooking, heating and cooling, access to information and communications, and mechanical power. Achieving universal access will require additional finance of $35-40 billion per year by 2030, with at least $15 billion of that needed in the form of grants for the least developed countries.

Measures of Progress Beyond GDP

Governments at Rio should champion the development and systematic use of new indicators of economic progress, which can ?measure what matters‟ in the 21st century, far better than GDP has done. A fair green economy will require new measures of economic progress. These can provide a new compass to steer economies and targets for governments and policy-makers. Leading, credible experts and institutions are throwing their weight behind this agenda ? from the 2009 Stiglitz-Sen-Fitoussi Commission, to the work of OECD and UNEP.

New indicators could draw on the Stiglitz-Sen-Fitoussi proposals to: shift from focusing on economic output to measuring income, including its distribution across households; recognise the value of unpaid goods and services, particularly in the care economy and in environmental service provision; and give value not just to the current stream of goods and services but to changes in the underlying stock of assets from which all wealth is generated ? a nation‟s natural assets (ecosystems, renewable resources), human assets (people‟s knowledge and skills), social assets (institutions and community), and physical assets (infrastructure and machinery). Measures and goals on inequality should be a particular focus, given the link between equality, social cohesion, resource use and development. Economies, defined in these broad terms, can grow and progress substantially from where they are today.

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