The rationale for including environmental sustainability in a post-2015 framework
World leaders at the 2012 United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development (Rio+20) underscored the importance of balancing environmental, social and economic dimensions of sustainable development. Recognizing the interconnectedness of these issues, there is a consensus that this understanding of sustainable development should underpin the post-2015 agenda for the following reasons:
- A healthy environment is a prerequisite for social and economic development.
Agriculture, forestry and fisheries depend directly on healthy ecosystems and good biodiversity. Basic inputs for lives and for industry derive from our environment and human well-being is directly affected by environmental quality.
- Environmental degradation affects the economic security and prospects of everyone, but especially those of the poorest and most vulnerable groups.
Environmental degradation, including climate change impacts, affect lively hoods, reduce crop yields or water availability, result in the destruction of homes, and lead to increased food prices and food insecurity. Climate change and environmental destruction is impacting on economic development and long-term costs will be severe. According to the Stern Review, without action, the overall costs of climate change will be equivalent to losing at least 5% of global gross domestic product (GDP) each year, now and forever.
- How social and economic development happens matters for the environment.
Certain models may reduce poverty in the short-term but exacerbate long-term environmental problems. For example, reducing hunger can be achieved by greater output from modern agriculture accompanied by its requirements for water, synthetic chemical fertilizers, herbicides and intensive use of machinery. Agriculture accounts for 70% of freshwater withdrawals and contributes greatly to freshwater pollution. Environmental side effects include pesticide contamination of ecosystems, nitrate pollution of water, soil compaction, and emissions of greenhouse gas and air pollutants. Expansion of farmland to meet increased food demand has also contributed to deforestation and higher greenhouse gas emissions. These impacts can be substantially reduced by analyzing models of sustainable agriculture. Such models should enhance soil quality, use water sparingly and do not pollute it, restore biodiversity and ecosystems, and reduce the use of human-edible crops as animal feed.
- Responding to future trends
High levels of consumption and waste in rich countries coupled with the growing demand for resources in emerging and developing countries show that business as usual in not an option. The world is also running out of time to prevent dangerous climate change.
Adequately address all critical environmental issues, including climate change, by ensuring their adequate coverage and representation among the headline goals;
Prevent lose-lose outcomes by :
addressing issues such as environmental resilience of poorest communities and adaptation strategies in developing countries;
adopting the principle of common but differentiated responsibility (CBDR); by ensuring that where co-benefits are not possible, poor countries and communities are compensated for any losses incurred in the shift to sustainability.
Prevent win-lose outcomes by:
including targets to achieve minimum levels of human and economic development alongside targets to achieve minimum standards of environmental sustainability, including remaining within safe ecological limits;
Promote win-win outcomes by setting targets for actions that have benefits for environmental and other development outcomes, including cutting waste, increasing resource efficiency, technology transfer, research and development into new environmentally friendly technology, and growth of renewable energy. Addressing inequality can also be perceived as such a “win-win” strategy, since it has been shown to have benefits for poverty reduction, economic development, and environmental sustainability.
Based on these recommendations CDM Center of Excellence has developed a
CONCEPT OF SUSTAINABILITY in a POST 2015 Framework
Based on this concept CDM Center of Excellence will continue in 2015 to invest in new sustainability projects together with its international partners Alliance Energy Investment,
Asian Sustainability Investment Fund.
The projects will be part of the Sustainability concept and technology transfer, technical platform and CDM Center of Excellence will start a new round of international co operations and discuss and solve key challenges of Sustainability Implementation in the Chinese industry.
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