Norway
Information
  • Date submitted: 1 Nov 2011
  • Stakeholder type: Member State
  • Name: Norway
  • Submission Document: Download
Keywords: Finance (2 hits),

Full Submission

Norway?s National Submission

Preamble

Since the Rio Summit in 1992, globalization has accelerated and global wealth has increased. We have witnessed a sharp continued population growth and an increased urbanization rate. Several countries have graduated into the group of middle income countries. Many people have been lifted out of poverty. However, these achievements have been accompanied by increasing inequality, while the environment and nature?s capacity to reproduce itself is under growing pressure. These social and environmental challenges are both threatening future growth and prosperity. The recent food and financial crises combined with the emergency of climate change demonstrate what is at stake. These challenges need to be addressed at a global level, preparing the world for accommodating 9 billion people by 2050.

The Rio+20 conference represents an important opportunity for the international community to enhance global cooperation on sustainable development. It should reiterate that these global challenges must be addressed in an integrated, inclusive manner. We must pursue social justice, gender equality, poverty eradication, environmental and economic sustainability as inseparable goals both nationally and internationally. Empowerment of women is an important catalyst and precondition for change. It is well documented that investments in the human capital of women enhance economic efficiency and improve other development outcomes. Gender sensitive indicators have to accompany relevant goals to enable monitoring of the equality of development outcomes. An important outcome from Rio+20 should be a UN and a global community that is genuinely committed to and better equipped to tackle these multi-faceted challenges.

Crucial instruments, such as the conventions on climate change, biological diversity and desertification, were created in Rio twenty years ago to protect the natural capital that underpins our livelihoods. Rio+20 must reiterate our obligation to follow up on these conventions and other regimes developed since then. Increased ODA was also a commitment from Rio. Norway has delivered on that for several years with an ODA of more than 1per cent of Gross National Income. However, ODA alone is neither sufficient nor sustainable in the long-run in order to ensure all-inclusive sustainable development. As we move forward we must focus on political will and commitment to ensure sound and robust income generation at national level. The private sector and civil society are essential in this respect. We also have to bear in mind the importance of educating and involving the youth to prepare them for the challenges that need to be tackled now and in the years to come.

Norway would like to highlight a few specific deliverables for Rio+20, underlining how they tie in with our efforts to reach the MDGs and the necessity of looking beyond 2015. We see great potential for moving forward on certain aspects of the green economy agenda, and we voice that an important outcome from Rio would be a more efficient, effective and coherent UN system, better equipped to address all the three dimensions of sustainable development, both individually and as an integrated whole.

Conference Objective

Proposed deliverable: Sustainable Development Goals:

Norway is supportive of efforts to develop a set of Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) as a manifestation of a renewed political commitment for sustainable development. Such goals should integrate the three dimensions of sustainable development and be universal in nature. SDGs should be a complement to the MDGs and could as such be an important contribution from Rio to the post-2015 agenda.

Other issues/deliverables:

Norway is committed to playing an active and constructive role in the preparatory process with a view to contributing to a successful outcome. Norway is positive to review and discuss proposals put forward by other countries when tabled, such as the EU Road Map for green economy and proposals related to thematic issues such as oceans, water and green jobs. ****

1) Green Economy for Poverty Eradication and Sustainable Development

Green economy is a means to promote sustainable development, and must promote gender equality and social and intergenerational equity, build on decent work and provide sustainable livelihoods. A key role of Rio2012 is to make greener political and economic choices more attainable. The development of green jobs is key in the transition towards a greener economy, and merits further attention.

A toolbox of available approaches and instruments, recommendations of policy options, based on the sharing of experience and best practice, should be a deliverable from Rio. Measures that have been developed within the Sustainable Production and Consumption process should be part of the toolbox, and promoted further, as well as tools to ensure the sound management of chemicals throughout their life cycle.

Norway would like to emphasize four key building blocks for a greener and more sustainable development: 1) Measures for greener economic policies, 2) Sustainable energy for all, 3) Food and nutrition security, and 4) Taking the natural capital into account:

1a) Measures for Greener Economic Policies

Rationale

A wide array of approaches and instruments, tailored to the needs of each country, is needed to integrate the environmental, social and economic value of the natural capital in all economic decisions. Good governance at all levels is a prerequisite to achieve this integrated approach. Together with the removal of environmentally harmful subsidies, a mix of policies including the use of economic instruments may bring the world towards a greener economy. A specific example of an economic instrument is green taxes, an area in which Norway has been a pioneer. A carbon tax was introduced in 1991 and today more than 70 per cent of Norwegian greenhouse gas emissions are covered by economic instruments (taxes and tradable quotas). Such policies encourage consumers and producers to take environmentally sustainable choices and will make investments in green alternatives more profitable, and at the same time create revenues that can be used to strengthen welfare.

To achieve a greener and more sustainable economy, business development and an increase in sustainable private investments will also be essential. Many of the world?s leading companies have sustainability strategies and Rio should promote and foster such strategies.

Key points/deliverables:

1. Rio should present a set of recommendations to inspire the implementation of green taxes and incentives, underpinned by documentation of their effects at different income levels.

2. Removing or reducing environmentally harmful subsidies, while taking measures to compensate vulnerable groups, should be promoted.

3. Consolidation of existing business reporting systems, such as Global Reporting Initiative, Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative and country-by-country reporting into one framework, encouraging transparency and consistency.

4. Rio should call attention to the use of ethical guidelines in the management of large investment funds as a means of promoting more sustainable investments.

1b) Sustainable Energy for All

Rationale

Energy is a critical enabler: access to affordable, reliable and sustainable energy services underpins human well-being, the realisation of social and economic human rights, empowerment of women, and economic growth. There is a large untapped potential for using renewable energy resources in many countries, and a considerable energy efficiency improvement potential in others. This offers win-win opportunities by improving energy security and jobs. Increased energy efficiency and renewable energy production capacity can support access to energy whilst limiting greenhouse gas emissions at the same time.

Key points/deliverables:

1. Rio should adopt measures to realise the UN Secretary-General?s ?Sustainable Energy for All? initiative and its action agenda aimed to provide universal access, double energy efficiency and double the share of renewable energy by 2030.

2. Finance to achieve universal access should be raised from a combination of sources: the private sector, national governments, official development assistance and multilateral development institutions.

3. The potential to use result-based financing to incentivise governments to create an improved environment for commercial investments needs to be explored. Climate Finance could also constitute a source for improved financing of sustainable energy.

4. Government commitment and supportive policies are vital for success. Strong governance and effective regulatory frameworks free from corruption that seek to minimise political and economic risks to encourage investments must be promoted, along with strengthened national and local companies and institutions to deliver energy services.

1c) Food and Nutrition Security

Rationale

?Business as usual? will be constrained by natural resource limits (water, air, soil, marine resources, biodiversity and ecosystem services), putting food and nutrition security and economic growth at risk. Many places the majority of smallholder farmers are women, often constrained by discrimination which is also obstructing growth. Special attention should be given to ensuring their rights.

Key points/deliverables:

Support integrated, sustainable and climate smart policies and solutions for land, water, coast and ocean use, by:

1. Stimulating climate smart food production systems, including by investing in women?s education, skills and entrepreneurship.

2. Increased research, capacity building and dissemination of knowledge on plant genetic resources based on participatory processes ensuring equitable benefit sharing.

3. Employing spatial planning as a tool to bring together multiple users to make informed and coordinated decisions on how to use resources sustainably and preserve vital ecosystem services.

4. Support the development of a Global Strategic Framework for Food Security and Nutrition, as well as i.a. Voluntary Guidelines for the Responsible Governance of Tenure of Land, Fisheries and Forests in the Context of National Food Security.

5. Recognizing the important role of the FAO Code of Conduct for Responsible Fisheries and its related international plans of action, and actively address illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing.

Strengthening the productivity of small scale farmers and increase their incentives for productive investments by:

6. Ensuring equal rights for women, including user rights, to land, water, soil and equal access to credit, extension services, as well as to other inputs.

7. Committing to reducing post-harvest losses by half by 2050.

Ensure follow up of agreed international measures and links to national strategies by:

8. Encouraging the UN Committee on World Food Security to identify deficiencies and shortcomings impeding the implementation of existing agreements, plans and proposals, and to develop a work plan for improved consistency between national, regional and international levels.

1d) Taking the Natural Capital into Account

Rationale

Sustainable management of the natural capital, including restoration of biological diversity and ecosystem services, can create livelihoods, decent jobs and business opportunities, and prosperity for people living in and off the ecosystems. Women?s capacities and rights are often overlooked and must be part of decision making processes related to sustainable management. It is a shortcoming in most economies that they do not take the value of natural capital sufficiently into account in decisions, national accounting and economic transactions.

Forests play a crucial role, both as livelihoods for millions of people, especially for the world?s poorest and indigenous people, and as a large carbon sink and host of immense biodiversity. International efforts to reduce emissions from deforestation and forest degradation in developing countries (REDD+) is one example of how natural capital can be valued. Through the creation of financial incentive structures for REDD+, efforts to maintain forests can become economically attractive alternatives to activities which result in deforestation.

Early experience in applying results-based financing in REDD+ ? with payments for verified ecosystem services as an ultimate aim - shows that this approach has the potential to help catalyse broad-based national policy changes. Such transformational changes are, in turn, necessary to alter the economic logic of development policies that underpin continued destruction of the forests.

The application of similar type of incentive structures could be contemplated in other sectors where broad-based national policy changes are necessary.

Key points/deliverables:

1. Encourage countries to do follow-up work to ?The Economics of Ecosystems and Biodiversity? project (TEEB), when feasible through national studies, to recognize, demonstrate and capture values of domestic biodiversity and ecosystem services.

2. Promote development of natural and environmental resource and services accounting, through the development of new tools and standards enabling countries to recognize the natural capital. The ongoing work by the World Bank on Wealth Accounting could be a reference point of interest.

3. Promote results-based financing as a tool for valuing natural capital, particularly in developing countries. Encourage processes to strengthen and adapt financial mechanisms to provide results-based financing for nationally defined development programs

4. Encourage processes in which methods and institutions to facilitate payments for verified emission reductions from deforestation/degradation are scaled up and strengthened. Experience from results-based financing in REDD+ could usefully be applied to other sectors, such as climate smart agriculture and sustainable energy.

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2) Institutional Framework for Sustainable Development

Strong and effective institutions are needed at all levels, nationally and internationally, to promote sustainable development. Rio+20 provides us with a special opportunity to address the institutions of the UN system in the field of sustainable development; to strengthen what works and to act on the shortcomings, hence the following is focused primarily on the UN.

Rio+20 should take steps towards a more effective, coherent and less fragmented UN system, better equipped to address all the three dimensions of sustainable development, both individually and as an integrated whole. This would require a) an improved inter-governmental forum to address sustainable development, b) a strengthening of efforts to make the UN deliver as one for sustainable development, and c) ensuring effective governance within all three pillars.

2a) Improved Inter-governmental Forum to Address Sustainable Development.

Rationale

In today's inter-governmental system social, economic and environmental issues are too often addressed as separate matters in different forums, not as an integrated whole. We need a forum that can facilitate greater coherence in the way we address sustainable development. The Commission on Sustainable Development (CSD) was intended to be such a forum, but it has not functioned as intended.

Key issues/deliverables:

1. Rio+20 should examine options for substituting the CSD with a more effective and authoritative organ, such as a Sustainable Development Council. Such a council should preferably have a more prominent position in the UN system than the CSD and involve a broad set of actors, such as the international financial institutions (IFIs) and civil society, including the private sector, women?s organisations and youth representatives.

1.1. One of the tasks of such a Council could be to conduct peer reviews in order to promote coherence and accountability at the national level and facilitate cooperation and exchange of experiences. Lessons can be learned from experiences with similar mechanisms, such as that of the African peer review mechanism under NEPAD.

1.2. Another task could be to review the progress towards the Sustainable Development Goals, provided such goals are adopted.

2b) Greater UN System-wide Coherence: A System-wide Strategy for Sustainable Development

Rationale

A large number of UN agencies are involved in activities on various aspects of the environment?development nexus. Further efforts are needed to make the system deliver more effectively and efficiently as one and minimize duplication and fragmentation. Much has been achieved over the last few years, in particular through the ?Delivering as One? efforts at country level. These efforts need to be strengthened and expanded, including by a global parallel to ?Delivering as One?. There is also a need for greater coherence between the normative and operational aspects of the UN?s involvement in environmental issues.

Key points/deliverables:

1. Rio+20 should provide a mandate for the UN to develop a system-wide strategy for environment and development. Such a strategy should increase interagency cooperation and clarify the division of labour within the UN system. To ensure broad ownership, the development of the strategy should be organized and guided by the Chief Executives Board (CEB), i.a. drawing on the experiences gained by the UN Environment Management Group (EMG) in other processes.

2. Such a strategy should be accompanied by measures to provide a better overview of the funds provided for UN environment and development purposes, in order to improve transparency and more effective use of such funds.

3. Such a strategy should also be accompanied by more joint programming, i.a. building on experiences made by UNAIDS and UN Women.

2c) Ensuring Effective Governance within All Three Pillars

Rationale

While overall progress in implementing sustainable development since the 1992 Rio conference has been less than desired, the progress in the environmental pillar has been the slowest. To address this challenge a priority should be to make governance of the environmental pillar more effective. We need an environmental organization which enjoys broad support, has a sound resource base, is bold and capable of promoting environmental concerns in the broader context of sustainable development and poverty eradication.

Multilateral Environmental Agreements (MEAs) are prominent features of the environmental governance system. Rio should call for enhanced coherence and coordination amongst the treaties and their secretariats responsible for administration. Reforms to this end could include:

Key points/deliverables:

Reform of UNEP?s Governance Structure:

1. Universal membership of the UNEP Governing Council. This should foster greater ownership by member states over UNEPs activities, and give more weight and legitimacy to the decisions made in the GC.

2. Establishment of an Executive Board to facilitate more efficient decision-making between GC sessions. This should also promote closer dialogue and greater trust between member states and the secretariat.

3. Increased involvement of civil society in the governance of UNEP. This should make the decision-making process more inclusive, add legitimacy and creativity and strengthen UNEP?s engagement with civil society partners.

Improved financial basis:

4. UNEP needs a funding basis that is adequate, predictable and stable and sufficient to fulfil its mandate. This should enable UNEP to strengthen the capacity of its regional offices to support national priorities through the UN Country Teams.

Convergence of Multilateral Environmental Agreements (MEAs):

5. Rio+20 should strongly encourage further collaboration amongst and strengthening of synergies between thematically related conventions as well as between those closely interlinked (such as the Rio-conventions).
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