The impacts of Rio and its commitment to human rights
- The landscape of the new development goals for 2015
- What human rights activists should focus on
- Climate change
- Biodiversity loss
- The amount of nitrogen removed from the atmosphere.
Kate Raworth of Oxfam developed this approach saying that if there are plenary boundaries then there needs to also be a social foundation based on a human rights framework. This became known as the Oxfam doughnut which has as the outer part of the doughnut the planetary boundaries and the inner as the social foundation and the space between them becomes the safe and just operating space for humanity.
I want to take you back to in time only two years in 2011 sustainable development seemed dead as a global concept. We had seen President Mbeki of South Africa in 2006 declare that the Johannesburg Plan of Implementation was a forgotten piece of paper. The Commission on Sustainable Development in 2007 for the first time failed to agree any policy when dealing with energy and climate change. Brazil President Lula at the UN General Assembly showed considerable leadership when he called for a new Summit in 2012. Even he would not have predicated the failure of the Copenhagen UNFCCC meeting in 2009 and followed by the CSD again in 2011 this time over Sustainable Consumption and Production. Rio+20 it should be remembered preparatory meetings were held during the worst part of the possibly the worst financial crisis we have had.
Looking to the future we know that during the next 17 years upto 2030 we already know we will face:
These global impacts combined with climate change will mean:
- Global demand for energy will rise by 30-40% by 2030
- Agriculture production will need to increase by 30-50% by 2030 to meet global demand for food;
- Demand for water will exceed global availability by 40% by 2030.
So what did Rio+20 achieve and where were human rights reflected
- Strengthening the environment and sustainable institutions in the UN – UNEP and setting up a new High Level Political Forum which may deal with monitoring the new goals agree in 2015;
- It changed the whole conversation on what kind of goals would replace the MDGs in 2015. It put sustainable development at the center of that whole debate. Now 70 countries are developing a set of Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs);
- It set up an expert committee on sustainable development finance which will probably come forward with the financial architecture to deliver the new goals in 2015;
- Rio+20 also underlined a serious commitment to Human Rights unlike Johannesburg 10 years earlier. Rio+20:
- It called for the effective implementation of the Beijing Platform for Action and the Programme of action of the Conference on Population and Development and the outcomes from their review conferences, including the commitments leading to sexual and reproductive health and the promotion and protection of all human rights in this context
- Recognize that planet Earth and its ecosystems are our home and that “Mother Earth” is a common expression in a number of countries and regions, and we note that some countries recognize the rights of nature in the context of promotion of sustainable development.
- Rio+20 also had a number of critical meetings held around the Summit one of which was the one organized by Bakary Kante of UNEP on supreme judges helping them to understand how to address sustainable development in the area of the law -which may turn out to be one of the most important meetings.
Let us build a sustainable development global framework that is based on real action and not thin air or empty promises that time has gone.
So how can this happen?
The post 2015 development process has been again an open one for stakeholders with national consultations in over 100 countries and an EU consultation as well as 11 thematic consultations. So the space has been here for organizations to get involved. These have feed into a High Level Panel set up by the UN Secretary General
On the 31st May this panel chaired by the Presidents of Liberia and Indonesia and Prime Minister of the UK will publish its report. There will be two to three weeks for organizations to input to Amina Mohamed who ahs the responsibility for helping to draft the Secretary Generals response to the Panel report which will then go to the UN General Assembly in September.
Meanwhile the Sustainable Development Goals Open Working Group has been getting down to business. It is made up of 70 governments and has announced its schedule of meetings and themes. Each of these meetings needs to have an input from the human rights community. That should be through you national government and to the relevant stakeholder group that is representing you at the UN.
January 6-10th 2014: Seventh session SDG OWG– 5 days – (a) Sustainable cities and human settlements, sustainable transport (1.5 days); (b) Energy (1.5 days), - (c) sustainable consumption and production, climate change, and disaster risk reduction (2 days)
And then in March: