Bringing the Social to Rio+20: New film on Green Economy and Sustainable Development
Brasilia and Geneva, 15 February 2012 – The 20th anniversary of the Rio convention and Agenda 21 will be upon us in a few months. Twenty years ago, a global commitment signaled a fundamental change in development. An honest assessment suggests that while advances have been made and innovations have occurred, we have often failed to consolidate these into new macro-policy frameworks which fundamentally represent a shift from business as usual. Years later, environmental damage of USD 6.6 trillion was estimated for 2008 alone (UNEP, 2010) and a report by the International Energy Agency suggests that energy-related CO2 emissions in 2010 were the highest ever recorded. This year’s Rio +20 cannot be ‘business as usual’ ; there is a credibility gap which all countries must collectively own and take ownership of, despite differentiated responsibilities and capacities.
The United Nations Research Institute for Social Development (UNRISD) launched an insightful film on Green Economy and Sustainable Development: Bringing Back the Social as the first of the series “Bringing the Social to Rio+20“. The film,which is available below, uses footage from recordings and interviews from the 2011 UNRISD conference, “Green Economy and Sustainable Development: Bringing Back the Social Dimension“. It explores green economy’s potential as a path to inclusive, sustainable development and poverty eradication.
Rio+20: An opportunity to refocus on social sustainability
Rio+20 provides us with an opportunity to: (i) sustain the focus on people-centred development and to build on last year’s MDG Summit; (ii) undertake a critical review of what has worked and the cause of our failures; and (iii) bring inclusion and inclusiveness more centrally into the discussions. It is for this reason that the focus on institutional frameworks is as important as the green economy itself. Without strong and effective governance mechanisms, including formal and informal mechanisms, for negotiating across competing needs and interests, much of the efforts to “go green” will likely follow up the path of previous efforts.
Often treated as important but not priority or strategic entry points, poverty reduction and gender equality must now move squarely to the center of the agenda. We have often failed to appreciate the way in which poverty forces the poor to rely exclusively on environmental resources for livelihoods and survival or how engines of growth are reliant on the quality and quantity of natural resources. 96% of Sub-Saharan Africa’s population is dependent on rain-fed agriculture. At present, more than a billion persons still live on less than USD 1.25 a day, more than 2.6 billion lack access to safe and hygienic sanitation facilities (of these more than 300 million are Africans) and women in Africa spend quite substantial hours collecting water annually (ActionAid, 2009). In Sub-Saharan Africa alone about 140 million people live with the constant threat of droughts or floods.
How to advance the social sustainability agenda at Rio+20? Refer to the following IPC-IG and UNRISD resources and publications:
Green Economies with Social Futures [IPC-IG in the media]
The Dimensions of Inclusive Development [IPC-IG Poverty in Focus magazine]
Interview with Leisa Perch on Rio+20 [IPC-IG article]
Short URL: http://pressroom.ipc-undp.org/?p=8666