Road to Rio +20: two new reports on future stewardship and challenges PDF Print E-mail
In brief
Written by Albert Norström   
Saturday, 25 February 2012 21:45

We're in the final stretch before the Rio +20 conference. With 116 days left, every week is seeing the release of important summary reports to be used as background material and "negotiation muscle" by different organizations and fora during the conference in Brazil. A month ago saw the UN Secretary-General's High-level Panel on Global Sustainability publish its final report 'Resilient People, Resilient Planet: A Future Worth Choosing'. The report is highly influenced by the talks during the 3rd Nobel Laureate Symposium on Global Sustainability and the scientific work behind it.

The report is proof of how high resilience theory has permeated the ranks of policy-makers. It contains an entire section on "building resilience" and urges governments to develop and implement policies to “manage the economic and social impacts of transition and enhance resilience — in particular through targeted social protection programmes and policies and by scaling up humanitarian capacities to deal with increasing environmental stress and potential shocks". It repeatedly refers to the Stockholm symposium and research on planetary boundaries, and calls for better interchange between scientists and policymakers.

"We must define, through science, what scientists refer to as 'planetary boundaries', 'environmental thresholds' and 'tipping points'" the report said

This week also saw the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) hold its 12th special session in Nairobi, Kenya. One of the outputs was the report 'Environment and Development Challenges: The Imperative to Act', prepared by laureates of the Blue Planet Prize, known unofficially as the Nobel prize for the environment.

One of the key messages of the report was a call to replace gross domestic product (GDP) as a sole measure of a nation's economic wealth with more inclusive indicators that would consider the impact of economic growth on human wellbeing and environmental condition.

"Governments should recognise the serious limitations of GDP as a measure of economic growth and complement it with measures of the five forms of capital, built (produced); natural; human; social; and institutional/financial capital. One challenge facing many countries is how to manage natural resources in order to contribute to poverty alleviation while maintaining the ecological life support system." the report said.


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