Newsletter of the
INTERNATIONAL ENVIRONMENT FORUM
Volume 15, Number 7 --- 15 July 2013
Article submission: firstname.lastname@example.org Deadline next issue 14 August 2013
Secretariat Email: email@example.com General Secretary Emily Firth
Postal address: 12B Chemin de Maisonneuve, CH-1219 Chatelaine, Geneva, Switzerland
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From the Editor, Request for information for upcoming newsletters
This newsletter is an opportunity for IEF members to share their experiences, activities, and initiatives that are taking place at the community level on climate change action. All members are welcome to contribute information about related activities, upcoming conferences, news from like-minded organizations, recommended websites, book reviews, etc. Please send information to firstname.lastname@example.org.
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Register Now for Barcelona IEF Conference
The 17th Annual Conference of the International Environment Forum will be held in Barcelona, Spain, on 3-6 October 2013, as a joint conference with ebbf, our partner Baha'i-inspired organization for values in business, on the theme "Co-creating sustainable wealth: how can we combine ecology and economy?". The conference, at the beautiful Gran Hotel Rey Don Jaime, Castelldefels, near the Barcelona airport, will explore positive solutions for transforming the economy and building a more sustainable society by empowering individuals, communities and corporations and other institutions. Registration is now open on the ebbf conference web site at http://www.makeitmeaningful.org/. The early bird conference registration fee for IEF/ebbf members is €95 until 31 July, when it goes up to €135 for members, €180 for non-members. You can also reserve your hotel room on the web site.
The need and thirst for new business models that are connected with the evolving needs of society has never been stronger. The question that must be answered to address this need is: How can we jointly create a business model that has a dynamic coherence between ecological and economic priorities, is ethically sound, and which creates wealth that is sustainable? The answer will involve shifting our lives towards not just sustainable actions but a sustainable attitude in everything we do. But how can we start the transition to a business model that embeds a sustainable attitude at its core?
At the ebbf-IEF 2013 annual conference we will attempt to uncover some of the underlying principles that can help us co-create this sustainable wealth. We will explore and learn from some of the innovative initiatives that are arising in local communities which are leading the way in developing new business models when economic or political systems fail, new ideas from industrial ecology, new services and products that are addressing the balance of ecology and economy and new ways of producing them. We will see innovations in the energy market: how not only new sources of energy but new financial models for sustainable energy are arising. We will look at other ways in which, as we reach the planetary limits of available material resources, we can prepare and develop the often untapped abundance of human resources and innovation. We will investigate new lean management processes that are helping individuals and organizations transition more effectively towards sustainable wealth. Ultimately we will try to come up with some practical ways in which we can transition to a new business model that produces sustainable wealth and brings hope to society.
As in every IEF and ebbf event we will open our minds through thought provoking ideas, deepen our understanding of those ideas through meaningful conversations, and be inspired by new thinking which will give us the courage and methods to implement new meaningful models of work in our workplaces. IEF members Victoria Thoresen and Arthur Dahl will be among the featured speakers.
The IEF Annual General Assembly will be held on Friday 4 October at 18:00 at the Gran Hotel Rey Don Jaime in Barcelona. Voting instructions for participating in the election of the IEF Governing Board will be sent our to all IEF members in advance.
UN Progress on Creating a High Level Political Forum
One critical outcome of the Rio+20 Conference was the decision to establish a universal intergovernmental high-level political forum. The forum is to follow up on the implementation of sustainable development. It is to build on the strengths, experiences, resources and inclusive participation modalities of the Commission on Sustainable Development, and subsequently replace the Commission. It is to avoid overlap with existing structures, bodies and entities.
The high-level forum should:
1. Provide political leadership, guidance and recommendations for sustainable development;
2. Enhance integration of the three dimensions of sustainable development in a holistic and cross-sectoral manner at all levels;
3. Provide a dynamic platform for regular dialogue and for stocktaking and agenda-setting to advance sustainable development;
4. Have a focused, dynamic and action-oriented agenda, ensuring the appropriate consideration of new and emerging sustainable development challenges;
5. Follow up and review progress in the implementation of sustainable development commitments contained in Agenda 21, the Johannesburg Plan of Implementation, the Barbados Programme of Action, the Mauritius Strategy and the outcome of the present Conference and, as appropriate, relevant outcomes of other United Nations summits and conferences, including the outcome of the Fourth United Nations Conference on the Least Developed Countries, as well as their respective means of implementation;
6. Encourage high-level system-wide participation of United Nations agencies, funds and programmes and invite to participate, as appropriate, other relevant multilateral financial and trade institutions and treaty bodies, within their respective mandates and in accordance with United Nations rules and provisions;
7. Improve cooperation and coordination within the United Nations system on sustainable development programmes and policies;
8. Promote transparency and implementation by further enhancing the consultative role and participation of major groups and other relevant stakeholders at the international level in order to better make use of their expertise, while retaining the intergovernmental nature of discussions;
9. Promote the sharing of best practices and experiences relating to the implementation of sustainable development and, on a voluntary basis, facilitate sharing of experiences, including successes, challenges and lessons learned;
10. Promote system-wide coherence and coordination of sustainable development policies;
11. Strengthen the science-policy interface through review of documentation, bringing together dispersed information and assessments, including in the form of a global sustainable development report, building on existing assessments;
12. Enhance evidence-based decision-making at all levels and contribute to strengthening ongoing capacitybuilding for data collection and analysis in developing countries.
The informal consultation at the UN on the format and organizational aspects of the high-level political forum was concluded successfully on 26 June 2013 with a consensus. On 9 July the General Assembly officially established the new High-level Political Forum, which will replace the UN Commission on Sustainable Development, to boost efforts to tackle global economic, social and environmental challenges. The inaugural meeting will take place on 23 September 2013.
IEF Comments on Post-2015 Reports to UN Secretary-General
The UN Non-Governmental Liaison Service facilitated a consultation up to 12 July to gather critical analysis from civil society on four post-2015 reports submitted to the Secretary-General:
1) High-level Panel of Eminent Persons on the Post-2015 Development Agenda (Post-2015 HLP)
2) UN Sustainable Development Solutions Network (SDSN)
3) UN Global Compact (UNGC)
4) UN Development Group (UNDG): The Global Conversation Begins
They specifically asked what civil society organizations agreed with or disagreed with in both the narrative sections of these reports and their proposed goals, targets and indicators. The reports all provided thoughtful analyses of the challenges post-2015, and largely converged on a proposed set of goals and targets. The International Environment Forum (IEF) therefore only made a few specific comments on some proposals in the reports.
AGREEMENT WITH NARRATIVE SECTIONS
HLP - http://www.worldwewant2015.org/node/352541#comment-57111
All the reports provide a good analysis of the post-2015 challenges and converge on a rather similar set of goals and targets.
In the 3rd para. on p.9, the HLP says that business wants a level playing field. This is essential, but in a global economy, it must be established at the planetary level. This will require a level of international governance that does not presently exist, and has for too long been opposed by governments. It should be part of post-2015 planning.
SDSN - http://www.worldwewant2015.org/node/353949#comment-57141
The SDSN makes an important point on p. 26, section V, para. 2, that the challenges are inherently integrated and the goals must be pursued in combination. We would go further and say that there will be significant trade-offs between goals that pull in different directions. For example, achieving goals 1 and 6 on ending poverty and improving agriculture, while simultaneously meeting goals 2, 8 and 9 on planetary limits, climate change and biodiversity, may only be possible with a significant redistribution of wealth and resources and a lower material standard of living in the developed countries. It is not evident that there are enough resources to go around, at least on a 15-year time scale, so poverty reduction will require wealth reduction if we are not to keep borrowing from the future. In adopting the goals, there needs to be an accompanying analysis of the resources required to implement them collectively, with a practical roadmap on how to assemble those resources over the 15-year time period. Otherwise, the result will be inevitable disappointment.
On p. 27, section V., para .8, we strongly support the central objective of social inclusion, and its reflection in disaggregated metrics. This is the only way to head off the destabilizing effects of rising inequity in the present system, especially for the young.
DISAGREEMENT WITH NARRATIVE SECTIONS
HLP - http://www.worldwewant2015.org/node/352542#comment-57125
The HLP includes a paragraph on young people (p. 17), but it does not go far enough. Transitions in the past have been led by wise statesmen. With new information technologies and social networks, the next transition will probably be led by young people, who are losing hope in the present system, and have the idealism and energy to put a new one in its place. The pressures from educated but frustrated youth are already rising in various parts of the world, and the post-2015 agenda should be their agenda. They should be more involved, and take ownership.
AGREEMENT WITH GOALS, TARGETS, INDICATORS
SDSN - http://www.worldwewant2015.org/node/353951#comment-57129
The SDSN Goals and Targets capture more scientific realism than the HLP goals, especially Goals 2, 8 and 9, and should be given priority in the final listing.
DISAGREEMENT WITH GOALS, TARGETS AND INDICATORS
SDSN - http://www.worldwewant2015.org/node/353953#comment-57145
Goal 10: transform governance, falls short of what is needed in terms of international governance to achieve goals 2, 8 and 9. The goal should call for governance mechanisms responsible to keep human impacts within planetary boundaries and to ensure sustainability of the biosphere.
GLOBAL COMPACT - http://www.worldwewant2015.org/node/355657#comment-57132
Goal 1 should be rephrased to "increase prosperity via an inclusive economy". Growth should not be mentioned, as growth in areas of poverty may need to be counterbalanced by reduced consumption and increased efficiency in wealthier areas to stay within sustainable planetary boundaries.
Publications from PERL
The Partnership for Education and research about Responsible Living (PERL), in which IEF is a member, has published a selection of peer-reviewed papers from its 2011 conference in Istanbul in book form. "Enabling Responsible Living", edited by Ulf Schrader, Vera Fricke, Declan Doyle and Victoria W. Thoresen, has been published by Springer Verlag, Berlin/Heidelberg, both in hardback and as an eBook. The book includes chapters by two IEF members: "1 + 1 = 5" by Victoria Thoresen and "A Multi-Level Framework and Values- Based Indicators to Enable Responsible Living" by Arthur Lyon Dahl. The different perspectives on how to enable responsible living show on the one hand side the complexity of the topic and on the other side that there are already projects and approaches in place to foster responsible living. Information about the book (including a product flyer) can be found at the Springer website for the book: http://www.springer.com/environment/sustainable+development/book/978-3-….
Another PERL output is "Sustainable Street 2030", a toolkit for collaborative scenario building, walking down the street of a sustainable city 20 years from now. Imagine walking for a short while on a street of a sustainable future society, experiencing a walkable neighbourhood with refurbished passive houses in a food-resilient city. Pulling ourselves out of our daily contexts and current mindsets to envision the future in an open and creative way is one of the bottlenecks in participative forward-looking activities. The toolkit consists of a series of 24 visual posters produced for each of the 3 topics of sustainable food, mobility and housing, as stimulating material to kick-off collaborative workshops between policy-makers and researchers or between other heterogeneous stakeholders using shared scenario building activities. With it you can build a presentation with snapshots of the future, posters and manifestos that would immerse participants in a projection exercise into a stimulating, controversial, slightly provoking environment to set the right mood for an open strategic conversation. You can download the iBook from Strategic Design Scenarios webpage (http://www.StrategicDesignScenarios.net/sustainable-street-2030/) where you'll find also an interactive pdf version.
IEF Participation in Global Ethics Forums
IEF was represented at the Third Global Ethics Forum "Equal in an Unequal World" held at the Ecumenical Centre in Geneva on 27 June 2013. This is the third time that IEF has participated in this annual event organized by Globethics Net (http://www.globethics.net/).
We also participated in the World Forum for Ethics in Business International Leadership Symposium, held at the Palais des Nations in Geneva on 1 July 2013 on the topic "Good Governance and Transparency Through Shared Values". The symposium was organized by the International Association for Human Values in partnership with the World Bank and the Global Partnerships Forum. It was address by, among others, HH Sri Sri Ravi Shankar, HE Dr. Boutros Boutros-Ghali, former Secretary-General of the UN, and leading political and business figures. In the closing session, IEF was able to raise with the President of ECOSOC the IEF proposals for an Office of Ethical Assessment in the UN Secretariat and a Permanent Forum of Ethics and Religion at the United Nations (see https://iefworld.org/iefRio20ethics).
Stakeholder Forum website “Sustainable Development Goals e-Inventory”
Stakeholder Forum has launched a new website, the Sustainable Development Goals e-Inventory (http://www.sdgseinventory.org/) to crowdsource proposals for post-2015 to feed into the intergovernmental process on Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). The SDG e-Inventory aims to provide all stakeholders with a means of inputting into the intergovernmental process, as well as help stakeholders become better informed about the wide range of proposals that currently exist for global goals.
Post-2015 Sustainable Development Goals: Towards a New Social Contract
Reims Sustainability Vision [download as pdf]
On 19-20 June 2013, the International Research Centre on Sustainability (http://sustainability-studies.org) at the University of Reims, France, organized the Third Rencontres Internationales de Reims on Sustainability Studies, with the theme of "Post-2015 Sustainable Development Goals: Towards a New Social Contract", under the patronage of the President of France. There were 15 speakers at the two-day meeting, including Nobel Laureate Carlo Rubbia (Scientific Director, Institute for Advanced Sustainability Studies, Potsdam), Carlos Lopes (Executive Secretary of the UN Economic Commission for Africa), Leena Srivastava (Vice-Chancellor of TERI University and Executive Director of The Energy and Resources Institute -TERI in New Delhi), well-known researchers on sustainability governance like Peter Haas (U. Massachusetts), Liliana Andronova (The Graduate Institute, Geneva) and Frank Biermann (VU Amsterdam), and two IEF members: Sylvia Karlsson-Vinkhuyzen of Wagenigen University in the Netherlands, and IEF President Arthur Dahl from Geneva, Switzerland. IEF member Jon Marco Church, an Assistant Professor at IRCS, was on the organizing committee and chaired one session.
Speakers Carlos Lopes, Leena Srivastava and Carlo Rubbia; afternoon panel chaired by Jon Marco Church, with Peter Haas, Liliana Andronova and Frank Biermann
Arthur Dahl's presentation was on "Putting the Individual at the Centre of Development: Indicators for a New Social Contract", and his written paper is available on the IEF web site at https://iefworld.org/ddahl13a. Sylvia's paper was on "Legitimacy of Global Energy Governance". The programme (1.2 mb) can be downloaded here, and most of the presentations can be downloaded from the IRCS web site at http://www.sustainability-studies.org/ircs/third_rencontres-program_int….
At the conclusion of the meeting, the participants adopted the following Reims Sustainability Vision as a summary of their deliberations.
REIMS SUSTAINABILITY VISION
Conclusions of the Third Rencontres Internationales de Reims on Sustainability Studies
about the Sustainable Development Goals and the post-2015 Development Agenda
Building on the Rio+20 United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development, its outcome document The Future We Want and the post-2015 Development Agenda, particularly regarding Sustainable Development Goals,
Seeking to contribute to the Open Working Group on Sustainable Development Goals,
Believing that the new social contract represented by the future Sustainable Develop-ment Goals should apply universally, regardless of a person’s citizenship or place of residence,
Emphasizing the importance that some basic ethical principles underlie this new so-cial contract,
Recognizing the need to support concrete means to facilitate social and economic justice, as declarations of ideals are not sufficient,
Recognizing the importance of facilitating local and regional adaptations of global sustainable development principles and goals,
Emphasizing the role of regional organizations, alongside global and national actors, in promoting and supporting the implementation of sustainable development goals,
Reminding the international community about the impact of globalization and the role of multinational corporations, as it will be impossible to get rid of poverty, address malnutrition, deal with greenhouse gas concentrations without significant changes to the international corporate space,
Reminding in particular about the role of large media corporations and about the importance of their accountability to make key sustainability issues visible to and understood by the larger public,
Reaffirming that the Sustainable Development Goals are not only about setting goals, but also about identifying legitimate processes to reach them and that aspects of these processes that need careful attention include (1) participation and dialogue (how can communities be engaged in a way that empowers them to identify their own goals and development pathways among and beyond the goals), (2) transparency and accountability (how governance process on issues such as energy that are traditionally confined to small groups of closed networks be opened up and made transparent and accountable towards those whose lives their decisions influence), (3) equity and fairness (how can gender equity be achieved in the governance processes around Sustainable Development Goals, particularly in areas where they are in considerable minority such as energy),
Considering that, while there must be room for a sectorial approach, integrated and overarching goals would go a long way in addressing the environmental challenges the world is facing, for example, (1) providing universal access to all such services that are essential for the survival and development of an individual, including water, energy, food and nutrition and health care, (2) protecting the rights of all vulnerable groups, especially women, children and minorities, through the development, for example, of an aspirational model rights framework, which should recognize issues of culture and national sovereignty, (3) moving towards maximizing resource efficiency,
Being aware of the importance of resilience of mountain, arctic, island, coastal and other particularly vulnerable regions to global environmental change such as global warming and, hence, the importance of paying special attention to fostering and monitoring sustainable development in these areas,
Recalling the focus on planning of the First Rencontres Internationales de Reims on Sustainability Studies in 2011 and the focus on governance of the Second Rencontres in 2012,
The participants in the Third Rencontres Internationales de Reims on Sustainability Studies, held in Reims on 19-21 June 2013, recommend decision-makers to
1. Develop goals that have a sound scientific base and strong inner consistency in order to ensure that they are truly sustainable and not just a random list of priorities for the international community;
2. Develop indicators of development that address the facilitating conditions for every person to rise out of poverty;
3. Adopt targets and indicators for sustainable lifestyles that respect planetary resource limits as well as infragenerational and intergenerational equity;
4. Promote access to information and justice, as well as transparency also in subsidy allocation, to ensure broad and meaningful public participation in decision-making;
5. Reinforce democratic and participatory institutions as key for advancing sustainable development integrating the social, economic and environmental dimension though a Sustainable Development Goal specifically dedicated to ensure good governance and effective institutions;
6. Reinforce development goals and augment them with targets and indicators of sustainability;
7. Restructure the energy sector in a manner that energy is provided sustainably in a manner that does not emit greenhouse gases;
8. Ensure that energy has a place of its own among Sustainable Development Goals through an overarching goal of sustainable energy for all, as recommended by many: while energy access and consumption is not an end in itself, it is a means to many ends, as many Millennium Development Goals in the field of poverty, health and environment are intimately linked to the way en-ergy is produced and consumed;
9. Ensure that a separate Sustainable Development Goal is dedicated to water, which is essential for life and has already been recognized as a human right, that the misunderstandings, which led water to be dropped from Millennium Development Goals and from the outcome document of Rio+20, are overcome using existing international legal instruments to go beyond these misunderstandings;
10. Ensure that education also has a strong presence in the framework, not only with quantitative goals, but also with qualitative ones, ensuring that education is built on values that unify rather than divide, that integrate rather than separate and that build capacities of individuals to serve their local and global community;
11. Ensure that a specific target on access to health services and a healthy environment is set because of its importance for sustainability;
12. Create mechanisms so that all corporate and private wealth and wealth creation around the world contribute their fair share to tax revenues to support public goods and collective services;
13. Require that all multinational corporations publish a sustainable development report integrated with their financial reports or explain why they are not doing so;
14. Valorize and compensate material and non-material ecosystem goods and services, particularly those originating in mountain, arctic, island, coastal and other environmentally valuable areas;
15. Enhance disaster risk reduction and preparedness in climate change-threatened upland, lowland and coastal areas and secure biodiversity corridors along altitudinal gradients;
16. Improve communication infrastructures, including access to broadband internet, in remote regions, especially mountain, islands and other remote and less inhabited areas to overcome the digital divide;
17. Envisagee goals for implementation at the community level through solidarity and empowerment;
18. Reinforce our thinking and dialogue on the content and substance of alternative long-term development goals for the long period, at the community, national and international level, as well as on new methods of planning aimed at translating broad objectives into practical, realistic and effective strategies;
19. Create an International Sustainability Panel to provide expertise for supporting the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals, to assess and identify urgent sustainability challenges and to help coordinate the multiple international science panels already providing valuable knowledge and epistemic support for ongoing efforts at environmental protection at the global level.
The following individuals contributed to the preparation of this document:
Liliana Andonova (Geneva, Switzerland), Frank Biermann (Amsterdam, Netherlands), Jörg Balsiger (Geneva, Switzerland), Jon Church (Rheims, France), Christian Comeliau (Geneva, Switzerland), Arthur Dahl (Geneva, Switzerland), Marc Dijk (Maastricht, Netherlands), Ladislau Dowbor (São Paulo, Brazil), Harris Gleckman (Boston, USA), Peter Haas (Amherst, USA), Sylvia Karlsson-Vinkhuyzen (Wagenigen, Netherlands), Carlos Lopes (Addis Ababa, Ethiopia), François Mancebo (Rheims, France), Alexander Mejia (Geneva, Switzerland), Thomas Perianu (Paris, France), Carlo Rubbia (Potsdam, Germany), Ignacy Sachs (Paris, France), Leena Srivastava (New Delhi, India)
Reims, 20 June 2013
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The Bhumi Project is an international Hindu response to the environmental challenges facing our planet. It is facilitated by the Oxford Centre for Hindu Studies in partnership with the Alliance of Religions and Conservation.
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Updated 17 July 2013