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Food for Thought - Governance

Food for Thought


By Felix Dodds

With the failure of the General Assembly process on International Environmental Governance under Ambassador It is now the chance of UNEP to pick up the leadership role. The decision of UNEP Governing Council to set up a Working Group of 20 Ministers to try and move forward International Environmental Governance is to be very much welcomed. Framed in Nairobi by the very impressive speech by the South African Minister of the Environment.... who said:

With a target date of 2012 set, it looks very much like the chance for some movement on IEG will be possible. Heads of State will not want to attend a Summit in 2012 without a resolution of this issue which has been going on since the first Rio Earth Summit.

But what is the role of this discussion in the context of sustainable development.  I remember meeting Ambassador..... and asking him the same question in early 2008 and he said if they had been asked to look at sustainable development governance the outcomes of their work would have been totally different. The same can be said for the French work around a World Environment Organisation. In the

 Is the CSD as it is presently constructed the right body to address the sustainable development challenges of the future? How can it be sensible to think that a work programme set up in 2003 is relevant to issues that need to be addressed in 2010 to 2015? Where in the UN system can you address emerging and critical issues such as energy and climate security, food security, water security, the real impacts of growth of urbanisation? 

Might a reformed CSD as a Sustainable Development Council of the General Assembly to deal with these kinds of issues be a better place? Maurice Strong did advocate in rio and afterwards the transformation of the Trusteeship Council into a Ecological Security Council. Might Rio+20 be a chance to relook at these kinds of ideas? This brings me back to reform of UNEP. One fo the ideas in the papers distributed to governments for the governing council mentioned the merging of UNEP and UNDP. If one ws to extend that to include UN Habitat then we might have a world sustainable development organisation that could address the role of the UN in countries in a real coordinated way. Is this too radical idea for Rio+20? I hope it adds to your food for thought today.

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