Environmental Sustainability in Post-2015 Development Agenda

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On March 18, more than 100 participants from around the world attended a conference in San Jose, Costa Rica to address the role of environmental sustainability in the future development agenda, referred to as the ‘Post-2015 Development Agenda.’

The initiative consisted of almost 100 national consultations in member states; 11 consultations on issues like food security, poverty reduction, and access too water.

The general public was able to contribute their ideas to the discussions through the World We Want 2015 website, and the MY World Survey, through which people were able to vote for the top six out of the total 16 priorities for the Post-2015 Development Agenda.

Carlos Roverssi, the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Costa Rica noted the necessity of global guidelines that have are flexible, so that countries, regions, and communities are able to implement development plans that work for their areas.

“However, it is also necessary to provide a set of global guiding principles, based upon international agreements that will help those communities engage in a sustainable development deeply rooted on continuous improvement and conservation of their stock of natural capital,” added Roverssi.

Helen Clark, Administrator of the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) contended that these global guiding principles must focus on growth, poverty and environment, rather than only one of these aims. She noted that economic and social progress cannot be sustained if the environment is ruined.

Environmental protection is frequently viewed as a barrier to economic growth, but growth that harms ecosystems is unsustainable and harms the world’s poorest the most. For instance, in Malawi, the loss of wealth is directly contributable to the unsustainable use of natural resources that costs approximately 5.3 percent of annual GDP, which is more than any African country allocated for health and education in 2009.

Costa Rica, on the other hand, is perceived as the leader in sustainable development with its ecotourism, reforestation, payment system for environmental services, as well as its aim to rely solely on renewable energy sources.

Incorporating human development goals with sustainable management of natural resources could mean the inclusion of aims within the Post-2015 Development Agenda.Sustainable management appears through increased access to efficient sources of energy, the linkage of food and nutrition security with sustainable food production, reduction of waste, and access to uncontaminated sources of water.

“The (ecological) crisis should not drive people apart, nor make them more unequal. A new and shared vision of mankind shall help us meet this challenge…The French President, my government and my country are fully committed to helping you succeed,” said Nicolas Hulot, Special Envoy of the French President for the Protection of the Planet.

Findings from this conference will be given to the UN Secretary-General and world leaders.

– Kasey Beduhn

Source: United Nations Development Programme, United Nations Development Programme
Photo: Flickr

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