Status quo is not an option says WWF

Posted on 23 April 2012  | 
World governments are meeting in New York this week for a final round of negotiations to decide the priorities for the Rio+20 Summit taking place in June this year.

The negotiations will be the best and last chance that we have to influence the agenda for Rio+20.

New text presented by the co-chairs to the Summit and released on April 23, will serve as a basis for the negotiators gathering in New York and will set the level of ambition for Rio.

The text will also be examined in parallel with the Zero Draft which was produced earlier this year. WWF welcomes some of the text’s forward-looking ideas for achieving sustainable development including the important inter-linkages made between economic, social and environmental dimensions and moving beyond GDP but believes the text lacks urgency and clear specific targets and timelines for actions.

Leaders must be more ambitious

With only 10 working days left for discussions before the text is presented to Rio, leaders need to be more ambitious about what they hope to achieve at this Summit.

“The negotiations this week in New York are crucial and the last chance for leaders to forge a strong outcome on sustainable development for the future. Rather than tinker around the edges of development we need leaders to embrace the urgency and provide clear commitments and targets which will help us achieve food, water and energy for all.” said Lasse Gustavsson, Executive Director of Conservation, WWF International.

“We are living beyond our means and are distributing the proceeds inequitably: the poorest who rely most on the resources bear a disproportionate share of growing global demand whilst industrialised nations reap most of the benefits” said Gustavsson.

“Rio will be an historic opportunity for leaders to launch a vision and a plan that catalyses fundamental change in our economies towards environmental stability and more social and economic equity”.

WWF is calling for political commitment:
  1. To ensure fair and equitable access to food, water and energy for all; and
  2. To deliver green economies that eradicate poverty and promote sustainable development.

Key factors for a Green Economy include:
  • The valuing of natural resources. Governments and policy leaders need to go beyond GDP and recognise the true value of natural wealth to “measure what we treasure”. The sustainable management of natural wealth requires that its value is properly reflected in national accounts (GDP) and in corporate balance sheets and reporting. WWF also calls for clear and comparable national indicators for environmental quality: the air we breathe, the water we drink and the forests we strive to conserve.
  • The elimination of perverse subsidies. Particularly in these times of economic crisis, we need to eliminate all subsidies that negatively impact the environment, particularly those underpinning fossil fuel use, unsustainable agriculture and fisheries. Appropriate measures should be taken to offset any regressive impact.
  • Sustainable Developmental Goals. Global leaders need to agree universally applicable, multi-dimensional and equitable sustainable goals that encompass the environmental, social and economical dimensions of sustainable development. These goals would complement the Millennium Development goals and would measure progress towards sustainable patterns of living. They would include indicators encompassing the environmental, social and economical dimensions of sustainable development.
Women cutting grass. The grasslands are managed by the Community Co-ordination Forest Committee (CFCC). The land was previously grazed on, leaving it barren and bereft of life. Through sustainable management the area has now been regenerated. The CFCC was established with the help of WWF and allows communities to manage their own forests/grasslands in a sustainable manner. Khata, Royal Bardia National Park buffer zone, western Terai, Nepal.
© © Simon De Trey-White / WWF-UK Enlarge

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