Global development deal hinges on link between environment and development
Recommendations in the secretary-general’s Road to Dignity by 2030 include a call for countries to agree to a set of goals containing environmental themes including addressing climate change, promoting sustainable industrialization, and conserving biodiversity.
“These are the goals that we need in order to win a sustainable future for people and the planet. We congratulate the secretary-general and governments for providing us with such a strong package of measures to take forward,” said Marco Lambertini, Director General of WWF International.
A series of overarching topics – called 'elements' in the report – names the planet alongside people, dignity, prosperity, justice and partnership. The planet element specifically states the need to establish ecosystem protection for all societies and children.
“The environment can no longer be seen as a separate factor when discussing development and poverty. The secretary-general has made it clear that you cannot have true economic development that does not recognize the importance of the Earth’s natural systems. He has also made it clear that this should be a development deal that applies to all countries,” said Lambertini.
Earlier this year, negotiators agreed on a set of 17 Sustainable Development Goals and 169 measurable targets to guide global development over the next 15 years. The development package, known formerly as the post-2015 development agenda, will replace the Millennium Development Goals set to expire in 2015.
WWF has worked over the past three years to ensure that the next global development agenda includes the environment in both its top-level goals and as targets that lie within social and economic goals. The approach places sustainability at the centre of development and links poverty reduction, economic development and the management of natural resources.
“The secretary-general is pointing the way forward to agreement on an ambitious development agenda that provides for both human well being and environmental health,” said Lambertini. “We can move on from the conversation of how many goals to include and focus on the details of how to realize our new development vision in the years ahead.”
Governments will now turn concentration toward finalising the proposed development deal and how to implement it. WWF is asking that the package include the value of natural resources –like fresh water and healthy forests – among the measures used to judge how well countries are doing at achieving the new goals. The final deal should also promote a shift in investment toward sustainable development activities, and deemphasize distorting fiscal practices like fossil fuel subsidies.
The secretary-general's report sets the stage for the next rounds of negotiations concluding with the signing of a deal at a UN summit in September.