EU backs new approach to global sustainable development | WWF

EU backs new approach to global sustainable development

Posted on
29 May 2013

Brussels, Belgium: Following on from last year’s historic Rio+20 summit on global development, development Ministers meeting at the Foreign Affairs Council late last night agreed on a new approach towards global sustainable development after 2015 and endorsed the European Commission  proposal “A Decent Life for All: Ending poverty and giving the world a sustainable future”. [1]

Originally issued by the EU Commission in February, the communication sets out the European Union’s vision for the follow up to Rio +20 commitments and the successor to the 2015 Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). Instead of two agreements with a similar mandate, European leaders are looking at a single solution that puts environmental sustainability at the forefront of development and central to the eradication of global poverty. 

WWF welcomes the Council’s elaboration of a set of key principles for the global overarching sustainable development framework after 2015.  We are also looking to see how this is due to be financed which will partly show how serious Member States are in supporting the commitments.

Sally Nicholson, Manager of Development Policy & Finance at WWF European Policy Office said:
“The WWF welcomes the announcement but is aware that the success of this strategy, when finally agreed at the UN, will only be measured by results. Goals should not only include actions in developing countries but also at home. Right now, for example, the EU is deciding on a Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) and Biodiversity policy which falls short of any sustainable development model. On the CAP alone Ministers are happier to green wash policy rather than take the necessary and sometimes painful steps to a sustainable and healthy environment.”

“Member States now need to “walk the talk”. Over the last years the industrialised world has been consuming resources at a greater level than the world can afford to sustain. The ecological footprint of Europe is 2.7 times bigger than the earth can support. We would like to see the ambition and intentions proposed by the EU also translated into action at home as well as abroad, respecting planetary boundaries and reducing Europe’s global impacts on natural resources.”

“Even though we welcome the big step made by the European ministers last night, Member States will only show that they are serious with their pledges once they decide how this sustainable development framework will be financed. We need measurable results and resource mobilisation but also an EU financing plan.”
Editor’s note:
The conclusions will also be endorsed at the next Environment Council in Luxembourg (18 June) and adopted at the General Affairs Council (25 June). The final EU position on the formulation of a new global development framework will be taken in September to New York where the United Nations will carry out a further review of progress towards the MDGs and will start planning a global development framework post-2015.
WWF Position:
WWF calls on the Council to ensure an EU position to the UN that emphasises the following principles:
1. One single overarching post 2015 framework which integrates the follow up to the MDGs and the elaboration of Sustainable Development Goals.
2. The integration of the three pillars of sustainable development and the recognition of the need for all development to recognise planetary boundaries.  
3. The framework should address the drivers of poverty, environmental degradation and current unsustainable models of production and consumption and the need to decouple economic development from environmental degradation. 
4. The need for measures of development and wellbeing which are broader than GDP alone. 
5. These goals should be global in nature and have universal application while recognising different levels of development, differing national contexts and promoting national ownership.  
6. Policy coherence for development will be a critical component of the next development framework and is one of the enabling conditions to achieve long-lasting sustainable development.  
7. Recognition of the essential contribution that can be made to the future development framework through the full implementation of existing multilateral environmental agreements. 
[1] Communication from the Commission to the European Parliament, the European Economic and Social Committee and the Committee of the Regions: “Ending poverty and giving the world a sustainablefuture”
For further information:
Sally Nicholson
Manager, Development Policy & Finance
WWF European Policy Office
Phone: +32 2 740 09 37
Mobile: +32 492 591 401
Alba Màlaga Homs
Communication and Media 
WWF European Policy Office
Phone: +32 2 743 88 15
Mobile: +32 484 641 060
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