Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU)
- Date submitted: 1 Nov 2011
- Stakeholder type: United Nations & Other IGOs
- Submission Document: Download
- Additional Document:
THE SECRETARY GENERAL
2012 United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development (Rio+20):
IPU contribution to the first draft outcome document
Geneva, 31 October 2011
Distinguished Co Chairs,
I am writing in response to your call for submissions to the first draft outcome document of next
year?s United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development.
The IPU contributed to the 1992 Rio Summit and its follow up conference in Johannesburg in
2002. Overthe years, the organization has raised awareness in parliaments, organized debates
and adopted resolutions touching on virtually all aspects of the original Agenda 21. Only last
week, the IPU debated sustainable development issues during the 125 Assembly in Bern,
The views that follow draw from those processes as well as submissions received directly from
parliaments in view of the present global consultation. They are organized along the two main
themes of next year?s conference.
1/ The green economy in the context of sustainable development and poverty eradication:
- The green economy is a useful concept. Itcan help propel forward many of the
objectives of sustainable development in an integrated manner. It needs to be
compatible with the larger policy framework that must underpin the sustainable
development agenda for poverty eradication. This includes policies that aim at achieving
full employment, guaranteeing basic rights to health, education and livelihood,
managing population growth and movements, reducing inequalities, containing stress
on natural resources and preserving the environment. The document of the Rio+20
Conference should therefore affirm a commitment to these policies as part of the new
green economy paradigm.
- To succeed, green economy policy prescriptions will need to aim at the
dematerialization of the economy, beginning in high consumption developed countries.
A gradual shift is required away from energy/resource intensive material production and
consumption toward education, culture, and leisure activities as equally worthwhile
objectives of human development. The green economy must be less focused on growth
and pay more attention to redistribution and rationalization of resources and incomes
within countries and globally. The green economy will only succeed if it achieves a
decoupling - on a global scale - of economic growth from environmental impacts.
- Though requiring a strong national policy framework, the green economy must also be
grounded at the community level through the involvement of local authorities. National
and local governments must work together to forge a coherent and mutually reinforcing
policy environment. Urban planning that facilitates public transport, renewable energy
solutions, recycling and reusing by industry and consumers etc. at the local level will be
key components of the green economy in developed and developing countries alike.
- The green economy must not be confined to developed countries that possess the
required means of implementation. It must be a global phenomenon that includes
developing countries while respecting the key principle of common but differentiated
responsibilities. This will require more and better official aid, technology transfers
through both private and public sector support, and a significant strengthening of the
international legal regime (trade, finance, etc.).
- The green economy presents a risk of over reliance on technological solutions. While
green technologies and green production methods will have a key role, their application
and overall effect on sustainable development will need to be carefully evaluated to
avoid risks to food security, human health and other social concerns. The positive impact
of green technologies will also greatly depend on an equitable distribution of ownership
rights between developed and developing countries. Key productive assets like land will
need to be carefully managed to avoid excessive concentration in a few large entities.
2/ The institutional framework for sustainable development:
- The current global architecture does not sufficiently integrate the three dimensions of
sustainable development across the full spectrum of UN bodies, programmes, agencies,
and international conventions. There is clearly a need for a reordering within the UN
system as well as the UN inter governmental machinery, beginning with the functional
commissions of ECOSOC.
- The global normative framework for sustainable development should be linked better to
national decision makingprocesses. Any new UN architecture for sustainable
development should make it possible to include national parliaments in the design and
implementation of global commitments. Ifa new inter governmental body is created, it
should consider a multi stakeholder format similar (as a basic model) to that of the
Development Cooperation Forum of ECOSOC. Parliaments should be clearly identified in
the outcome document as key to the implementation of all policies for sustainable
- The Rio conference should provide further impetus to institutional reforms at the
national level. Experience, so far, shows that little progress has been made within
parliaments to mainstream sustainable development. The same applies to the executive
branch where ministries continue to operate in silos without sufficient coordinating
structures. This integration is critical to the design and implementation of sound
national strategies for sustainable development.
- The Rio conference should encourage all countries (with regard for relative national
capacities) to adopt green budgets. As the key tool of policy making, the budget
document and related processes can be at the center of the institutional and societal
transformation required for the integration of all three pillars of sustainable
development. At a minimum, green budgets would incorporate from the start a full
valuation of the social and environmental costs of government expenditures as well as a
complete accounting of natural resources and related ecosystem services.
- An important adjunct to green budgets may be the institution of green GDP
measurements which would reflect the net effect of economic growth on the natural
environment. To help generate a momentum toward green budgets the UN and related
organizations, could adopt a common global standard and establish capacity building
programs to help member states acquire the required technical capacities.
The IPU recognizes the importance of the Rio+20 Conference. It offers a unique opportunity for
the global community to chart a new course for the future of the planet. Humanity is living
beyond the carrying capacity of the earth while billions of people remain excluded from social
and economic progress. The political will to adopt necessary reforms is often lacking, with short
term imperatives all too easily trumping long term concerns. Nothing short of a total re think of
the entire incentive system that drives social, economic and environmental development will be
required to set the earth on a more sustainable course.
The IPU looks forward to the negotiations of the draft outcome document as an opportunity to
further engage with the United Nations on all of these issues.
I wish you and your colleagues every success with the difficult task ahead.
Anders B. Johnsson
CHEMIN DU POMMIER 5 P.O. BOX 330 1218 LE GRAND-SACONNEX / GENEVA (SWITZERLAND)
TEL.: (022) 919 41 50 FAX: (022) 919 41 60 E-MAIL: firstname.lastname@example.org