- Date submitted: 1 Nov 2011
- Stakeholder type: United Nations & Other IGOs
- Name: United Nations Office for Project Services (UNOPS)
- Submission Document: Download
UNOPS Inputs Rio + 20 ?for Compilation Document
UNOPS (the United Nations Office for Project Services) input to the Compilation Document of the United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development (Rio+20) is based on its mandate as a ?central resource for the United Nations system in procurement and contracts management as well as in civil works and physical infrastructure development, including the related capacity development activities.?
Question A of guidance note: ?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? ?
The unprecedented surge of popular movements around the world initiated by a lack of confidence in political leadership is at an all-time high. For the Rio+20 summit to be viewed as credible, it has to strike the right chord in diverse communities around the world by demonstrating that leaders are taking responsibility for meaningful change, linking ?greening? with economic recovery, and making investments that are tangible to people.
As the most critical global challenge of the 21st century, climate change threatens man-made infrastructure, and ecosystems. It has already led to severe, even catastrophic effects, especially to the most vulnerable communities in developing countries. It will lead to even more erratic and extreme weather conditions for decades to come, including floods, droughts, sea-level rise and more.
Therefore, the following should be considered as methods to reinforce the three pillars of sustainable development: social, economic, and environmental.
1. Addressing the critical nexus Climate Change ? Infrastructure ? Community Development for the advancement of sustainable development goals is becoming urgent. This should include the implementation of initiatives to climate proof productive and social infrastructure, and increase the resilience for natural disasters all with a focus on community involvement.
The achievement of sustainable development goals will require both structural and non-structural policy/project work related to the climate change ? infrastructure ? community development nexus in various sectors requiring physical infrastructure and procurement, including: urban and rural planning; construction of residential and communal facilities; water supply, sanitation and health; transport; energy; agriculture...etc.
Sound infrastructural design is essential for the prevention and management of natural disasters induced by climate change including increasing the resilience of communities and local and national assets. Introducing international best practices in disaster prevention during construction could be useful when implementing any construction project.
Enhancing people?s well-being while addressing global environmental issues should be a major concern for the outcome of Rio+20. One of the most successful and proven examples in this context is the Small Grants Programme (SGP) funded by the Global Environment Facility (GEF). This programme, implemented by UNDP, and executed by UNOPS in over 120 countries, in all continents, embodies the very essence of sustainable development with a community approach. Established after the Rio Earth Summit in 1992, it is an experience that Rio+20 should capitalize on, learning lessons from it for scaling and replication.
Public procurement plays an instrumental role in public policy and provides a cornerstone for good governance. There is a need to consider how to make better use of resources through clear and simple procurement policies and practices, setting sustainability objectives and balancing economic, social and environmental outcomes of public procurement practices and decisions. For this reason, ?sustainable procurement? is an increasingly important policy tool in the achievement of sustainable development. Governments and other stakeholders must engage in sustainable procurement to create frameworks for good governance and green economies.
1. There is a need to deal with the increasing evidence on the connection between climate change and conflicts, and the extra burden posed by natural disasters on vulnerable groups including their safety. In addition, addressing health risks associated with climate change and natural disasters is imperative.
Question C of guidance note: ?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.);
1. Given the three key themes for Rio+20 on integration, coherence and implementation, noteworthy achievements have been obtained on policy formulation since the Rio summit of 1992, but implementation has been lagging behind in terms of concrete activities on the ground to address the increasing deterioration of living conditions of local communities and ecosystems. Rio+20 must ?translate policies into concrete action and increase the level of implementation?. Rio+20 must give implementation a real boost.
In addition to the necessary Political commitment, the main ingredients needed to increase the level of implementation are a) financing and b) implementation capacity. Therefore, Rio+20 should focus on facilitating simple financing mechanisms and capacity building for the design and implementation of policies, and, even more urgently, the design and implementation of projects for action at community level. There must be renewed commitment ? building on Rome, Paris, Accra and Busan ? towards national implementation. This presents an opportunity instead of a challenge, for all stakeholders of the sustainable development process ? namely developing countries and their people as well as private and public sector partners including organizations that can retool as capacity builders and implementation advisors. UNOPS, as part of the goal of ?UN Delivering as One? is ready to contribute to strengthening project implementation capacities of countries for sustainable procurement and sustainable infrastructure development, among other methods.