- Lead-organizer: International Institute-Association of Regional Ecological Problems
- 09:30 - 11:00
- Date: 19 Jun 2012
- Room: T-10
WORLD ENVIRONMENTAL CONSTITUTION: TOWARD A SUSTAINABLE FUTURE
Organizing partners1. International Institute-Association of Regional Ecological Problems (IIAREP), Ukraine ? lead organizer.
2. Gund Institute for Ecological Economics, University of Vermont, USA.
3. All-Ukrainian Ecological League, Ukraine.
IntroductionTo break through to a sustainable future, scientists from post-Chernobyl Ukraine, supported by their American, British and Belgian colleagues, urge development of the World Environmental Constitution (WEC). The WEC should be comprised of two indissoluble parts:
a) definitive ? a global legal act prescribing basic norms for environmental safety and stimulation of a green economy for sustainability;
b) institutional ? to fulfill the WEC mandate, a global system of environmental governance under the umbrella of the World Environmental Organization (WEO).
The idea of a WEC is as old as Rio-92. First declared by scientists in April 1992, it has been repeatedly emphasized by Ukraine at UNGA sessions since 1997. Simultaneously, WEO establishment has been promoted by Brazil, France, Germany and other states.
Without such a breakthrough, any political commitments on Rio+20 Summit, even reaffirmation of Rio-92 principles, will not provide desirable results.
Detailed programmeWORLD ENVIRONMENTAL CONSTITUTION:
TOWARD A SUSTAINABLE FUTURE
The Earth Summit Rio-92 created clear, comprehensive and far reaching guidelines for the sustainable development of mankind, but the following fora (Rio+5, Rio+10, Summits on Climate Change, Conferences of UNFCCC) did not make tangible progress in that direction. Forty years since Stockholm-72, the principles of equal environmental rights for present and future generations have not been fully implemented.
Accordingly, the conflict between economic growth and an outdated political and legal system, on the one hand, and achieving goals of sustainability, on the other, should be identified by the UN as a fundamental problem. The highest priority should be given to the construction of an institutional framework for sustainable development. A real breakthrough towards a sustainable future is possible only through decisive ideas and actions to establish a truly effective world environmental governance system.
This side event will focus on the idea of the World Environmental Constitution (WEC). The WEC should be comprised of two indissoluble parts:
a) definitive ? a global legal act prescribing basic norms for environmental safety and stimulation of a green economy for sustainability in order to implement the Rio-92 principles. It must provide enhanced political and legal guidelines, with a set of incentives and sanctions for the environmental behavior of all countries within their capacities and with respect to their sovereignty;
b) institutional ? to fulfill the WEC mandate, a global system of environmental governance under the umbrella of the World Environmental Organization (WEO), a fully-fledged UN agency created through the transformation of the UNEP.
The WEC is principally a new concept that will define the legal status of a human being not only as a citizen of a state, but also as a citizen of the planet with basic environmental rights, privileges and responsibilities. It will close gaps in the international legislative regulation and will represent a comprehensive international environmental policy in a concentrated form.
The idea of a WEC is as old as Rio-92. First declared by scientists in April 1992, it has been repeatedly emphasized by Ukraine at UNGA sessions since 1997.
During the 20 years following Rio-92, leaders from Germany, Brazil, Singapore, South Africa, Ukraine, France and other countries have urged at UN General Assembly Sessions and other high-level political fora the necessity to create the WEO and an enhanced legal framework to achieve the goals of sustainable development. The European Union has submitted a similar proposal to the Rio+20 outcome document.
This side event will focus on how to achieve the required efficiency of the future WEO and other bodies of global environmental governance. In our view, this task is inseparable from creating the enhanced legal framework for a transition to a green economy. Thus, the establishment of the WEO and development of the WEC should be undertaken simultaneously as one unified goal.
Yuriy Tunytsya, Executive Director of IIAREP, will be the main speaker at the event. Other expected discussants include experts in international environmental policy and law from the academic and NGO sectors: Anatoliy Tolstouhov, Ihor Soloviy, Svyatoslav Kraevskyy (Ukraine); Joshua Farley, Paul Barresi, Brian Czech (USA); and Geert van Hoorick (Belgium).
Outcomes from this side event will add integrity and a deeper understanding of the three pillars of sustainable development to the Summit and will make its work more constructive. In the long term, initiation of the WEO and WEC, if included in a Rio+20 decision, will contribute to:
- institutionalization of a global environmental governance system to create an effective framework for the transition to a green economy and to prevent global environmental threats;
- creation of a permanent mechanism for a global dialogue of all interested parties, reducing the conflict of interests between the South and the North, to achieve the goals of sustainable development. This would be a new code of norms, with input from an array of over 500 treaties and conventions concerning the environment that are currently valid but ineffective;
- concrete steps toward protecting the environmental rights of current and, particularly, future generations who are deprived the right to vote. The corresponding principles of Stockholm-72 should be finally actualized through establishment of a "democratic body to safeguard the basic needs and fundamental interests of future people" (Carrington, The Guardian, January 4, 2012).
The final document "The Future We Want" should contain a proposal to urge development of the WEC and establishment of the WEO as a means for implementation of the Rio-92 principles.
Today our collective endeavours should drive us beyond the usual reaffirmation of these principles. The time has come to transform the Rio-92 principles into legally binding norms of international environmental law through adoption of the World Environmental Constitution. Without the World Environmental Constitution, sustainable development and a global green economy will remain an unreachable dream.