RIO+20 UN Conference on Sustainable Development

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Transcript RIO+20 UN Conference on Sustainable Development

UN Conference on
Sustainable Development
Michael Ewing,
Coordinator of the Environmental Pillar.
16 July 2015
• Introduction
• What is really meant by
Sustainable Development?
• What Ireland should bring to the
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Introduction 1
Our society is entirely dependent on a clean and
healthy environment. Our economic system, which
is an invention of our society, must reflect this fact.
We can adapt our economic system and our society
model, but if we push the environment much
further it will be unable to provide us with the
many services that we need for our survival: clean
waters; a stable atmosphere; productive soils; and a
healthy biodiversity.
All of these natural services are in decline globally.
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Introduction 2
Add to this is the following:
• The capacity to produce oil peaked in 2006 whilst
demand for energy continues to grow.
(International Energy Agency April 2011.)
• Food prices are rising rapidly, driven by the price
of oil and the impact of climate change (Tom Arnold
- Concern Worldwide, June 2011)
• The oceans are rapidly being depleted. (UNEP
• Industry is fast running out of raw materials (Neil
O’Leary - Ion Equity June 2011)
• Fresh-water supply world-wide is in crisis (Tom
Arnold - Concern Worldwide, June2011)
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Species on the verge of mass extinction
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“The continuing success of human society depends
fundamentally on the preservation of the overall productivity,
health and long term sustainability of the eco-systems and
environmental services that underpin and
supply many of the most basic
components of human welfare
such as healthy soils,
flourishing biodiversity,
clean waters and
a stable atmosphere
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The Three Pillars of Sustainable
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We are part of the environment
"The economy is, in the first instance, a
subsystem of human society ... which is itself, in
the second instance, a subsystem of the totality
of life on Earth (the biosphere). And no
subsystem can expand beyond the capacity of
the total system of which it is a part". For this
reason the next diagram, known as the Russian
Doll model, shows economy as a component of
society, both bounded by, and dependent upon,
the environment.
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The Real Picture
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“ No subsystem can expand
beyond the capacity of
the total system of which
it is a part”
- Jonathon Porritt
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Agenda 21
 There are 40 chapters in the Agenda 21, divided into four main sections.
 Section I: Social and Economic Dimensions
 which deals with combating poverty, changing consumption patterns,
promoting health, change population and sustainable settlement
 Section II: Conservation and Management of Resources for Development
 Includes Atmospheric protection combating deforestation, protecting
fragile environments, conservation of biological diversity (biodiversity)
and control of pollution
 Section III: Strengthening the Role of Major Groups
 Includes the roles of children and youth, women, NGOs, local authorities,
business and workers.
 Section IV: Means of Implementation
 Implementation includes science, technology transfer, education,
international institutions and financial mechanisms.
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Making choices while we still can!
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‘THE BELIEF that private financial
markets can solve all our problems is
the witchcraft of our age.”
The bill for ignoring nature’s services may not be
affordable if we don’t start paying now, says
‘total capitalist’ and environmentalist Pavan
Sukhdev, a leading figure in the formulation of
Deutsche Bank’s global markets strategy in Asia
from the 1990s. (August 2011)
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Green Economy
• A green economy can be seen as one which is low
carbon, resource efficient and socially inclusive. Our
existing economic model and our current focus on it
will not deliver a green economy.
• The definition of a green economy proposed by the
UNEP and supported by the European Commission
does not represent a significant departure from the
current economic model which is driven by the overconsumption of scarce natural resources.
• In a green economy market prices must adequately
reflect environmental costs, and fiscal policy must shift
taxation from work to resource consumption.
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Green Economy
• A truly sustainable ‘green economy’ functions
within the limits of the planet, and ensures a fair
distribution of resources among all countries and
social groups - as well as between men and
• We need an economy that provides incentives for
zero-waste, low-carbon economies that enhance
and restore the natural environment, while also
providing new ‘green’ livelihoods, employment
and entrepreneurial opportunities for women as
well as men.
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Essential Parts of a Green Economy
New Indicators for well-being
Internalisation of external costs
Planetary boundaries
Sufficiency Instruments (caps on resource use)
Precautionary Principle
Independent Technology Assessment
Financial Transaction Tax
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Governance For Sustainability
• Establishment of a UN ombudsman for future
• International Court for the Environment
• International Sustainable Development Council
• Strengthening of UNEP
• Reform of International Monetary Fund and
World Bank, regional development banks, and
other bodies such as the World Trade
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Principle 10 (P.10), of the ‘Rio
Declaration on Environment and
Development, 1992’, states:
“Environmental issues are best handled with the
participation of all concerned citizens, at the relevant
level. At the national level, each individual shall have
appropriate access to information concerning the
environment that is held by public authorities, including
information on hazardous materials and activities in their
communities, and the opportunity to participate in
decision-making processes. States shall facilitate and
encourage public awareness and participation by making
information widely available. Effective access to judicial
and administrative proceedings, including redress and
remedy, shall be provided”.
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Ridder, Mostert, Wolters, (2005) Harmonising Collaborative Planning (HarmoniCOP);
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Access to Justice
“The law, in its majestic equality,
forbids the rich, as well as the
poor, to sleep under the bridges,
to beg in the streets, and to steal
bread”. Anatole France (18441924)
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Governance in Ireland
• Ratify and fully implement the Aarhus
• Climate Change Act with legally enforceable
• Amend the Constitution to provide for the
right to a clean and healthy environment
• Incorporate the principles of SD into the
National Reform Programme ( implementing
the Europe 2020 Strategy)
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Governance in Ireland II
• Amended NESDO Act to rename the National
Economic and Social Council (NESC) as the
National Sustainable Development Council
• An inclusive, visionary National Sustainable
Development Strategy with measurable
targets for all Government Departments
• Support for the Development of SD Indicators
• Enforcement of Environmental Law
• Citizen Monitoring and Enforcement
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Governance in Ireland III
• Support for the Biodiversity Forum
• Ramsar Committee - Wetlands
• Local Agenda 21
– CDBs
– Community Forums
– Local Agenda 21 Plans
– Local Agenda 21 Officers
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Thank You
Go Raibh Maith Agaibh
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