Papers submitted by INES for the preparation of the Johannesburg-2002 Summit
World Summit 2002 Johannesburg
To participate in the preparation and the evaluation of the World Summit in Johannesburg in 2002, INES presents proposals for a Summit agreement about:
Science and technology,
Environmental sustainability / Climate change
Separately, in Part 2 the subject
Peace and sustainability
will be discussed.
The proposals are based partly on Agenda 21 concerns that have not been fulfilled 10 years after UNCED, partly on concerns that have arisen since 1992. The implementation of the principles of Agenda 21 which have been neglected up till now, must be a major effort for the future. We do not believe a new discussion about definitions and the pros and cons of sustainability would be useful, but intend to point out which demands have to be made at the start of the new millennium. From our point of view, particular importance must be given to overcome the ideological, economic, and institutional obstacles that have hindered the realisation of fundamental results of Rio from 1992 up to now.
Our point of departure is the basic ethical demand for social justice, environmental stewardship, economic fairness and for the accountability and responsibility of decision-makers. Together these principles define an operational framework for sustainability, resulting in social minimum requirements as well as environmental limits to economic activities and a call for participatory democracy and gender equity. Social justice, economic fairness and a healthy environment are fundamental to achieving peace and stability.
Since the Rio Summit in 1992 much of the hope for a determined policy taking the common but differentiated responsibility for the Earth’s future seriously has faded away. The overall thrust of our economic systems, social structures and science and technology is working against sustainability. Neoliberal globalisation as an economic framework giving absolute priority to free trade has taken over the policy agenda of national governments and betrayed sustainability. Instead of reaping the "peace dividend" for the benefit of mankind, many of the problems already identified 10 years ago have got worse and the hope for progress in sustainable development has been limited. A number of challenges neglected 10 years ago have remained virulent or increased in intensity (e.g. armed conflicts and some of the effects of globalisation), while others emerged only more recently (e.g. the digital divide or the need to radically reconsider the way the global financial markets are regulated). The Earth Summit in 2002 must achieve commitment by all the parties to addressing the major problems facing mankind or it will miss what may be the last opportunity to make use of a historic window of opportunity, to turn the tide on social and environmental challenges. Otherwise the huge range of existing problems are likely to develop into a global crisis.
Science and technology
Sustainability problems are essentially political problems. Science can provide much of the necessary information for decision making and technological innovation. Technology can offer major improvements, e.g. in alternative energy sources, resource use efficiency (thus reducing mining) or new concepts for mobility reducing transport volumes. However, science and technology alone, without the political will, cannot effect the necessary changes in the current patterns of production and consumption, particularly in the North. Nor can technology transfer and diffusion, as highlighted in Rio, eliminate the need for changing consumption patterns of the rich elites which are seen as role models, and provide the pertinent solutions to many local problems of the South.
Science and technology can be used for opposing and contradictory forces in society and is subject to social, economic and political pressures. It will only contribute to the benefit of mankind in an institutional framework (including legal provisions, funding priorities, people’s preferences and the economic system) which is oriented towards sustainable development.
The chapters in Agenda 21, dealing with science and engineering present clear principles and concepts for the structure of science and engineering and the duties of scientists and engineers to reach sustainable development. They contain instructions for the national governments to implement this structure, very little of which has been followed up in the last ten years.
Scientific research on issues vital to sustainability must be open. The social framework should allow and oblige scientists to present their results irrespective of possible disagreement with established interests. In order to protect society and the environment, scientists, engineers and other members of society must have the duty to make potential dangers or violation of established rules known to the authorities and the public.
Education in matters of sustainability and environmental protection at all educational levels is vital in achieving a real understanding of the issues facing the World and in generating commitment and ability among people to resolving these issues. The participation of organised civil society and NGOs in sustainable development is essential.
Scientists should participate in the development of industrial and economic products and procedures, beginning in the design phase, in order to prevent products and methods from coming into existence that are a risk for society and environment. Assessment should be made in fair balance between wisdom and precaution.
The scientific community ideally is based on global co-operation, and this global partnership must be put to work for the sake of sustainable development. Research and its application must be carried out with due respect for the local knowledge base of the different cultures around the World and for the natural resources that have been vital for the development of these cultures. The skills and knowledge of people in the South regarding ways of living which are well adapted to their environment are frequently better than those prevalent in the North and should be recognised by the scientific community.
The specific problems of developing countries should be recognised since undue exploitation of resources (e.g. in Latin America and Africa) or lack of water (e.g. in Africa, the Middle East or South Asia) may lead to severe conflicts in the near future. Developing countries must not be burdened with problems largely generated by rich countries (e.g. in unfair greenhouse gas emissions trading regimes, dumping of dangerous waste and by neglecting the ecological debt of the North).
In Johannesburg, governments should pledge to prioritise
The development and transfer of technologies enhancing the efficiency of resource use and minimising other environmental impacts, especially those that can reduce greenhouse gas emissions;
providing funding not only for this research and technology development and transfer, but as well support new technologies overcoming market entry barriers;
research into institutional, social and technical innovations needed to adapt to the already inevitable level of climate change;
developing methods of food production which are suitable in environments affected by climate change should be funded under the UNFCCC;
promoting the research for developing or further developing industrial and agricultural production methods that make optimal use of the local resources and serve the local needs for the various ethnic and environmental regions of the world;
establishing legal protection of whistleblowers and the guarantee for freedom of speech, once deviations from the sustainability policy have been reported;
promoting the education in sustainability matters at all educational levels, including the training and retraining of engineers and specialists.
Resources are required to bring technologies for renewable energy and resource efficiency to a stage of economic exploitation. In some cases underwriting a market for large-scale production of products (e.g. photovoltaic cells) could bring the price down significantly, allowing their widespread use in both developed and developing countries.
Direct foreign investment should be obliged by international agreement to meet the latest technology standards regarding resource efficiency in energy and material consumption and land use.
Cultures and lifestyles achieving a decent standard of living, in particular based on a high level of social interactions at low resource consumption levels provide inspiring examples of social and technical innovations to learn from. This requires new systems of knowledge exchange, including South-North know-how transfer.
Re-focusing of bioscience funding is necessary to serve sustainable development:
Medical science should be developed in order to meet the threat of newly emerging diseases like AIDS and the return of old diseases such as tuberculosis and malaria that are becoming resistant to present treatments. Sanitary conditions should be greatly improved as part of social sustainability, and medication should be made available to poorer countries at affordable prices.
It is important to improve, promote and spread appropriate agricultural methods, in particular where introduction of industrialised methods of farming have lead to health disasters, destruction of natural biodiversity and traditional sustainable agricultural practices and the impoverishment of rural populations.
The manipulation of human, animal and plant DNA must be treated with the greatest caution. Such developments are irreversible, and scientific methods may fail to predict all the consequences and side effects. The patenting of life forms and the privatisation of the knowledge of indigenous people must be prevented.
The spectrum of economic schools of thought to be heard in decision making processes and being taught in schools and universities must be widened.
Neo-classical economics, for all its merits, is unable to grasp important aspects of sustainable development. In many instances, it is more a part of the problem than of the solution. Other economic schools of thought provide insights that are essential for any policy towards sustainability and these should be properly valued. An important resource scarcity of the future could be the brainpower of heterodox economists.
Environmental Sustainability / Climate Change
Probably the most important environmental concern is climate change, in that if unchecked, it could lead to irreversible damage to global life support systems. Although there remains some uncertainty in the extent of climate change that may result from any particular level of emissions over a given time scale, the overwhelming evidence is that man-made emissions are having an effect on climate, and the uncertainties are not a reason for delaying action. Reversing current trends requires a major reduction in the dependence of the world's economic system on fossil fuels. Any framework for limiting greenhouse gas emissions must be equable between countries. A principle of "Contract and Converge" should operate where the per-capita emissions of all countries converge to a level which would give total global emissions that would avoid a significant risk of catastrophic climate change. Any flexibility mechanisms or emissions trading should operate within such a framework.
The effects of climate change in rising sea levels, loss of fresh water supplies and desertification could lead to conflicts over diminishing resources. Increasingly intense storms, rising sea levels, floods and droughts are likely to impact most on poorer countries (particularly in the tropics) and poorer people, while the greatest emissions come from the industrialised countries. This represents a debt which should be recognised in supporting development in poorer countries.
In Johannesburg, governments should
pledge to develop and implement effective climate policies on the national scale,
agree to work towards a regime for limiting greenhouse gas emissions where the global total of emissions limits the risk of irreversible consequences and which recognises the equal right of every person to share the atmosphere's carrying capacity,
commit to enforcing laws preventing illegal logging and timber importing countries should refuse to import hardwoods from non-sustainable sources,
by promoting international co-operation based on the common but different responsibilities. Absence of participation by some governments in the international framework of agreed greenhouse gas reductions must not be used as a reason to further delay the necessary structural change in all economic sectors. In particular, international aviation is currently not included in the UN framework convention on climate change. Because of the rapid growth in this sector and the particular problems of emission at high altitudes, it is essential that this be addressed.
Governments should agree to co-operate in strengthening the regimes for prevention of desertification, the protection of biodiversity (including the prevention of bio-piracy), for controlling environmentally harmful operation by TNCs (often where there is limited national influence on their operations e.g. in mining), and toxic waste shipments to the South.
The protection of existing forests (particularly in the tropics) and the expansion of forest where this is done in a way which enhances bio-diversity should be priorities.
Poverty alleviation and reducing income disparities in and between countries had been identified as a key sustainability challenge already in Rio. Nonetheless, the situation has got worse over the last 10 years and urgent action is required on this, if the commitment to sustainable development is to maintain any credibility. Economic, social and cultural rights need to be emphasized as a cornerstone of sustainable development.
Other aspects of social sustainability need to be emphasized, such as:
Providing equal opportunities to education, career and a self determined lifestyle without discrimination by sex, race, religion and so forth;
strengthening human rights;
promoting transparency of decisions and the accountability of decision makers;
safeguarding an effective and efficient public sector in particular for health, education and public transport. The GATS negotiations must not undermine the existence of public services;
appropriate health protection in the workplace and in the society as a whole;
building workplace democracy.
In Johannesburg, governments should pledge… and agree…
To reducing poverty, inequity, unemployment and social exclusion;
that WTO rules must not allow a drive for unrestricted free trade to over-rule justifiable environmental controls, social, employment and local skills and capacity building policies;
to set up environmental and social rights frameworks for all free trade areas established or under preparation, as well as for the World economy as a whole;
to scrutinise the existing governance structure as to its impact on gender equity and to reform it accordingly;
to strengthen the compliance with codified human rights norms, including the social rights;
to start developing a mechanism to tax the speculative money flows and use the revenues for financing sustainable development in particular in the poorest countries;
to start developing a mechanism to tax information flows earmarking the revenues for bridging the digital divide competence building and hardware provision.
The challenges for humanity / Beyond Rio
Global governance is not something to be called for, it is a tangible fact of life. However, so far the framework for governance is not there for humanity as a whole, but has been dominated by corporate interests: WTO, IMF and the World Bank dominate global governance and must assume their share of responsibility for growing inequality and misery, whereas UNEP, CSD and ILO do not carry any comparable weight. Thus the international regimes are dominated by business interests, most notably by large multinationals ands investment funds, not by workers, consumers and other citizens. On the national level these big players have the power to determine governments' tax and social policies, by pressure (in particular given the enduring debt crisis through Structural Adjustment Programmes) or by corruption. Global organisations are in urgent need of more transparency and participation opportunities for civil society representatives including trade unions and NGOs. These considerations also apply to the business sector as a whole. Whereas workers' participation can be a driving for improved working and health conditions, it can also be a source of innovations towards a more sustainable corporate performance.
For a sustainable future, ethical values must be implemented into the global governance architecture, securing the respect for human and labour rights, empowerment of women, social and environmental minimum standards. For this behalf, the international trade regime must be made compatible with and supportive to environmental agreements and social standards including labour rights. In the human-focused economy of a sustainable future World, international solidarity must prevail over global profits.
The ethical principle of equity is even more demanding: it calls for equitable sharing the Earth’s richness, the common heritage of mankind. Markets can guarantee allocative efficiency, but neither social justice nor precautionary environmental policy or gender equity. As the market alone will not deliver social, environmental and gender justice, all markets are in urgent need of a political framework like the ones they have on the national level. Consequently, any agreement on free a trade area must go together with the establishment of proper participatory social and environmental regulatory frameworks on the same level of decision-making, or it should not go on at all. Social standards, environmental regulations and equity policies plus more democracy inside and outside the corporate sector are essential precondition if a regional market is to become a force for sustainable development.
Technology and legislation alone will not solve the problems facing the World. Changes in lifestyle, consumption and production patterns will be needed, especially in the richer countries, with recognition that quality of life is not identical to GDP per head. Demonstration by rich countries in the North and elites in the South that a good quality of life is possible without high levels of resource consumption is needed to gain general acceptance of an economic and lifestyle model compatible with sustainable development. Given a suitable framework, we believe that a good quality of life for all people is possible. In this process, globalisation must be hindered to press for uniformity; a sustainable World will celebrate human, linguistic and cultural diversity, providing opportunities to further develop these assets. No market will deliver this issue; it will need committed politics to come to life.
The challenges are huge, but people can grow and be fulfilled when faced by challenges.
World Summit 2002 Johannesburg
Peace and Sustainability
Rio Declaration on Environment and Development
The United Nations Conference on Environment and Development
Having met at Rio de Janeiro from 3rd to 14th June 1992,
Reaffirming the Declaration of the United Nations Conference on the Human
Environment, adopted at Stockholm on 16th June 1972 and seeking to build upon it,
With the goal of establishing a new and equitable global partnership through the creation of new levels of cooperation among states, key sectors of societies and people,
Working towards international agreements which respect the interests of all and protect the integrity of the global environmental and developmental system,
Recognizing the integral and interdependent nature of the Earth, our home,
Peace, development and environmental protection are interdependent and indivisible.
Statement on Sustainable Development for the Johannesburg World Summit in 2002
Sustainable development is unthinkable without peace. Peace is a prerequisite and component of sustainable development, and for a sustainable society that solves fundamental global social and ecological problems and strives for worldwide justice, peace is more than the absence of structural force. In the Rio documents of 1992 this principle is acknowledged at various places, but no mention is made of the terrible consequences of war and no tools are recommended for the banning of war and the establishment of peace. In particular, the problem circle: peace–disarmament–conflict prevention has not been under discussion.
Therefore a passage about peace and sustainability should be included in the documents of Johannesburg both in the governmental documents and in the documents of the NGO’s.
A Sustainable Society requires Peace,
Peace requires Sustainable Development.
When aiming for conflict prevention and peaceful solutions, we again have to put emphasis on disarmament.
Armament already kills in times of peace. The huge sums spent on armaments (in 2000 approx. 750 billions US$) divert resources away from solving many of the worlds real problems, intensify poverty and lead to further restrictions of social welfare benefits. Peaceful conflict resolution and proactive policies based on democracy and equity must take the place of military intervention and armed internal conflicts.
Weapons of mass destruction (above all, nuclear weapons), in addition to the risk to humanity, also pose major risks to the biosphere. Treaties for the reduction and elimination of such weapons are in a serious crisis. The military use of space must be prevented as it can lead to the destruction of the arms control systems built up painstakingly over decades.
Armament kills daily in the 49 wars taking place in 2001, by the worldwide export of armaments, by mines and small arms. Military interventions aggravate the already violent situations in regional conflicts and civil wars.
Lasting peace is secured by the promotion of sustainable development rather than the development of ever more sophisticated weapons systems and is basic to achieving long term stability and security of individuals and nations.
The abominable international violence of 11th September 2001 gives a new dimension to terrorism and warfare that in the age of globalization reaches all of us. It makes new demands on politics and societies worldwide, to take on new responsibilities, combining common sense, ethical principles and special expertise, in order to find answers to the questions of conflict and crisis.
A solution of the problems will only be achieved if the roots of war and terrorism are attacked. These include:
worldwide power and prosperity differences:
cultural and religious differences; and
the growing readiness of many persons to put their own lives into the service of terrorist organizations.
The formulation of an effective international response to terrorism that takes into account the policies that lead to hatred will be essential to achieving peace in the world.
In Johannesburg, governments should:
include the issues of conflict prevention and resolution, peace and disarmament in the future sustainability agenda;
develop more effective and adequately resourced UN systems for conflict prevention, humanitarian intervention and peace-making;
pledge to divert a significant proportion of the large R&D effort and financial and other resources devoted to military purposes of researching, developing and implementing measures aimed at achieving sustainable development;
and agree to:
a 10 year plan to decrease armament expenditures in every country by at least 5% each year, and provide the financial means for peace policy, the support of the developing countries and of worldwide sustainability projects;
use this process to scale down the weapons industry and support the conversion to non-military products;
a global ban or strict controls on the export of armaments to be signed by the industrialized countries by the year 2005;
strengthen the international regimes for conflict prevention by signing and ratifying without further delay, irrespective of some governments not yet participating:
the convention on small arms trade,
the biological weapons verification protocol,
the convention on the international criminal court,
a convention for the abolition of nuclear weapons,
an extended ban on the production of and trade in land mines,
a recommitment to the 1967 "Outer Space Treaty," and a new treaty banning the weaponization of space.