Significant Gaps in Implementing Sustainable Development Exist at All Levels, Under-Secretary-General Tells Economic and Social Council

30 June 2014
ECOSOC/6632

Significant Gaps in Implementing Sustainable Development Exist at All Levels, Under-Secretary-General Tells Economic and Social Council

30 June 2014
Economic and Social Council
ECOSOC/6632
Department of Public Information • News and Media Division • New York

Economic and Social Council

High-Level Political Forum

AM & PM Meetings


Significant Gaps in Implementing Sustainable Development Exist at All Levels,


Under-Secretary-General Tells Economic and Social Council

 


Implementing sustainable development at the national, regional and international levels faced significant challenges, a senior United Nations official said today as the Economic and Social Council convened a high-level political forum to take up the matter.


“We know what to do, but a major implementation gap exists at all levels,” said Wu Hongbo, Under-Secretary-General for Economic and Social Affairs, stressing the importance of cooperation among developing and developed countries, as well as the need to mobilize more resources and use them more effectively.  Today’s global gross domestic product was more than 10 times larger than in 1950.  Despite greater wealth and technology, 850 million went hungry daily, a number that had hardly changed over decades.


While celebrating the implementation of the Millennium Development Goals and crafting the post-2015 development agenda, the urgency of sustainable development should not be overlooked, he said.  “We must reconsider old development models,” he said, underscoring that the United Nations summit, which would adopt the new development agenda in September 2015, would mark a turning point for the future of the planet and its inhabitants.


Martin Sajdik (Austria), President of the Economic and Social Council, stressed the vital role played by civil society.  The 1992 Earth Summit opened the door to civil society through the major groups system (consisting of business and industry, children and youth, farmers, indigenous peoples, local authorities, non-governmental organizations, scientific and technological community, women, and workers and trade unions).  There was now an unprecedented level of civil society engagement, which must continue in the formulation of the sustainable development goals and the post-2015 development agenda.  The high-level political forum should serve as a mechanism for reviewing the implementation of the post-2015 development agenda, so that “we can hit the ground running” in 2016 following the adoption of the post-2015 development agenda.


Also addressing in the opening segment was Peter Davies, Wales Commissioner for Sustainable Futures, who represented three major groups — local authorities, business and industry and the scientific and technological community.  He said subnational governments were responsible for the practical delivery of the sustainable development solutions.  Together, they represented almost 15 per cent of global economic output and were judged on how effective their policies were.


Usman Mushtaq, Youth Commission on Global Governance for Health, representing the children and youth major group, said that ambitious goals were useless if not implemented.  The forum must not become a “talking shop”.  It must be accountable by tracking progress and monitoring implementation.  Non-State actors were critical partners, with farmers providing key local solutions, youth bringing passion and non-governmental organizations carrying out implementation.


Caroline Usikpedo, Founder and current National President of the Niger Delta Women’s Movement for Peace and Development, representing the major groups of indigenous peoples, women, and workers and trade unions, regretted that those actors had not been able to provide inputs during meetings or interventions in the setting up and review of the post-2015 development agenda.  States must commit to strong and transparent governance, and the establishment — with civil society participation — of accountability mechanisms.  Transformative change required the participation of women, indigenous peoples and trade workers.


Bolivia’s delegate, speaking on behalf of the “Group of 77” developing countries and China, said that the bloc looked forward to adopting a concise political declaration as an outcome.


The forum also featured four panel discussions, titled respectively, “From Rio+20 to post-2015:  towards an integrated and universal sustainable development agenda”; “Means of implementation for sustainable development”; “How could sustainable consumption and production contribute to sustainable development goals?”; and “Sustainable consumption and production in action:  the work of the Board of the 10-Year Framework of Programmes on Sustainable Consumption and Production Patterns”.


Opening Remarks


MARTIN SAJDIK ( Austria), President of the Economic and Social Council, said that today marked the start of implementation of one of the recommendations made at the 2012 Conference on Sustainable Development, known as Rio+20.  There were several key points to bear in mind.  Most notably, the international community was bracing for a final push for the implementation of the Millennium Development Goals before its 2015 deadline.  That process would provide insights into future processes.  This forum should review if the international community was on the right track as it elaborated on the sustainable development goals.  Expectations were high, so “we must act responsibly”.


He also stressed the vital role played by civil society.  The 1992 Earth Summit opened the door to civil society through the major groups system.  There was now an unprecedented level of involvement of civil society.  That must continue in the formulation of the sustainable development goals and the future development agenda.  The high-level political forum should serve as a mechanism of reviewing implementation of the post-2015 development agenda.  It should ensure that “we can hit the ground running” in 2016 following the adoption of the post-2015 development agenda.  Integration was among the core mandates given to the forum, where stakeholders could share their ideas.  Then, similar conversations would take place at the regional and national levels.


WU HONGBO, Under-Secretary-General for Economic and Social Affairs, said the forum would realize the vision of the Rio+20 Conference.  It would provide political leadership and guidance and recommendations on sustainable development by responding to new challenges, reviewing progress in implementing it, and providing a platform where country experiences and scientific evidence could be shared to support policymaking.  While celebrating the implementation of Millennium Development Goals and crafting the post-2015 development agenda, it was important that the urgency of sustainable development not be overlooked.  “We must reconsider old development models,” he said, underscoring that the United Nations summit which would adopt the new development agenda in September 2015 would mark a turning point for the future of people and the planet.


Hearing views of Governments and major groups of civil society would better equip the forum to complete the negotiations ahead, he said.  During the next few days, participants could discuss how to implement sustainable development at the national, regional and international levels.  “We know what to do, but a major implementation gap exists at all levels,” he said, stressing the importance of cooperation among developing and developed countries, as well as the need to mobilize more resources and use them better.  The world’s gross domestic product had increased more than 10-fold since the 1950s.  Despite the greater wealth and technology, 850 million went hungry today, a number that had hardly changed over decades.


PETER DAVIES, Wales Commissioner for Sustainable Futures, who represented three major groups, said subnational governments were responsible for the practical delivery of the sustainable development solutions.  Together, they represented almost 15 per cent of global economic output and were judged on how effective their policies were.  Solutions must be transformational, and the process of their attainment must reflect “change on the ground”.  For the post-2015 agenda, it was essential that businesses grew in a sustainable manner, as they would create jobs and provide the technical resources needed to face future challenges.  As such, he called for an overarching vision to eradicate poverty.  Sustainable development would require collaboration among businesses, Governments and civil society, and recognition that natural resources were finite.  Partnerships, the monitoring of sustainable development to include national implementation strategies, good governance, smart regulation, and the alignment and scaling up of corporate sustainability in labour, human rights and anti-corruption were needed.


USMAN MUSHTAQ, Youth Commission on Global Governance for Health, said that the international community was facing a moment of “exceptional possibility” for the future and a moment of “unprecedented threat” to the future.  Noting the collective ability to solve those global issues, the forum must not only look back at successes, but look ahead to tackle challenges.  Ambitious goals were useless if not implemented.  The forum must not become a “talking shop”.  It must be accountable by tracking progress and monitoring implementation.  Non-State actors were critical partners.  Farmers had key local solutions, youth could bring passion and non-governmental organizations were carrying out implementation as things were discussed here.  “Nothing about us without us,” he said.


CAROLINE USIKPEDO, Founder and current National President of the Niger Delta Women’s Movement for Peace and Development, representing indigenous peoples, trade workers and women, regretted that major groups had not been able to provide inputs during meetings or interventions during the setting up and review of the post-2015 development agenda.  She called for a human rights-based development agenda that addressed inequalities, resource distribution, poverty eradication, decent work and social protection.  States should respect the principle of “non-regression” of all human rights.  They must commit to strong and transparent governance, and the establishment — with civil society participation — of accountability mechanisms.  As a rural woman from an indigenous community that had not profited from Nigeria’s oil richness, she knew rural families whose water was undrinkable, soil unworkable and who had been awaiting compensation.  Transformative change required participation of women, indigenous peoples and trade workers.


MARCELO ZAMBRANA TORRELIO (Bolivia), speaking on behalf of the “Group of 77” developing countries and China, acknowledged that now was “a transitional time” from the Annual Ministerial Review to the high-level political forum, stressed the need for a seamless transition by 2016.  The mandate of the two mechanisms could be complementary but different, he said, underscoring the critical importance of the forum in sustainable development.  The Group expected a strong outcome from the forum and looked forward to adopting a concise political declaration.


Panel I


Manish Bapna, Executive Vice-President and Managing Director, World Resources Institute, moderated the first panel discussion, titled “From Rio+20 to post-2015:  towards an integrated and universal sustainable development agenda”.  Making presentations were:  Csaba Körösi, Permanent Representative of Hungary to the United Nations and Co-Chair, Open Working Group on Sustainable Development Goals; Bénédicte Frankinet, Permanent Representative of Belgium; Antonio de Aguiar Patriota, Permanent Representative of Brazil; and Debapriya Bhattacharya, Distinguished Fellow, Centre for Policy Dialogue ( Dhaka) and Chair, Southern Voice on Post-MDG International Development Goals.  Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka, Under-Secretary-General and Executive Director, United Nations Entity for Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women, was the lead discussant.


Mr. BAPNA said it was not an overstatement to say that today’s debate provided a “once in a decade” opportunity to help frame the next generation of global development goals, which if successful, would inspire Governments, businesses, and people everywhere to embrace a more inclusive, prosperous and sustainable future.  It was a pivotal moment, during which the “strands” of the post-2015 development process were converging.  The focus today was on the three defining characteristics of that process:  to achieve an integrated agenda, balanced on each of the three sustainable development dimensions; a universal agenda, whose goals applied to all countries while respecting the principle of common but differentiated responsibilities; and a transformative agenda, that addressed unacceptable levels of poverty and inequality within the planet’s carrying capacity.


Mr. KÖRÖSI said the goal was to achieve lasting qualitative changes.  “It’s a contract among generations and a political commitment among many stakeholders and countries”, he said, noting that 10 countries already had put in place institutional frameworks and legal arrangements to oversee that change.  There were three tasks to be implemented simultaneously:  the unfinished business of the Millennium Development Goals; emergency issues; and “healing” on the social, economic and environmental fronts.  He foresaw goals and targets that worked to address those dimensions, as well as a disciplined approach to timing and sequence.  The setting of goals, design of the implementation process and conduct of the implementation were stages that must be built on expertise and cooperation.  All stakeholders should have a fair chance to master the tasks at hand.  “We need to move away from traditional zero-sum games”, he said, stressing that the sequence of events in the process was essential.


Ms. FRANKINET said the contours of the sustainable development goals had been outlined in the Rio+20 outcome document, which had reaffirmed conditions necessary towards achieving them:  poverty eradication and a “re-setting” of unsustainable modes of consumption and production.  Such work must be done in an integrated manner.  At the national level, Governments must find ways to make policy decisions that involved all Government members, while the United Nations would need to work in close collaboration with other development partners.  The agenda must allow for more inclusive prosperity in line with the planet’s capacity.  It also must be founded on respect for human rights, justice, non-violence and good governance.  People must be empowered, and the agenda should be truly transformational on issues such as youth unemployment.  While all countries must participate in the agenda’s implementation, it would be up to each State to decide what policies to carry out towards that end.


Mr. PATRIOTA said the path to the new agenda was being gradually laid out by the Open Working Group on Sustainable Development Goals, the Committee of Experts on Financing for Sustainable Development, and the Structured Dialogues on a Technology Facilitation Mechanism.  “We should maintain a level of ambition commensurate with the Rio+20 agreement,” he said.  The Rio+20 outcome document remained the road map for the post-2015 agenda.  States were expected to agree on how to translate that road map into effective institutions, goals and policies at the national and international levels.  They must bridge institutional gaps and align policy concepts.  Only by including the means of implementations would the sustainable development goals be able to set out a convergence among processes.  The forum should oversee the universal scope of the post-2015 agenda, as well as the differentiated commitments by developed and developing countries.


Mr. BHATTACHARYA examined the meaning of an integrated and universal agenda, saying that integration meant economic, social and environmental integration.  Governance provided the “glue” that combined those issues.  “Universal” meant “everything for everybody” in pursuit of a common goal with differentiated responsibilities.  The meaning of “transformative” was being addressed, and each aspect must be brought to light.  It could not mean allowing the factors that had led to poverty eradication to keep emerging.  It must encompass access to land rights, labour markets, credit and natural resources.  “We must get the content right,” he said.  Further, “inclusivity” must be counted among the characteristics of the post-2015 agenda, with a close look at how balance among the pillars was to be achieved.  On the issue of finance, he urged looking beyond aid to more supportive avenues for change.  “We’re talking about creating global goods to ensure the delivery of the post-2015 agenda,” he said, citing a concluded Doha Round of World Trade Organization (WTO) negotiations, an outcome on a global financial architecture and development-oriented intellectual property rights.


Ms. MLAMBO-NGCUKA said the Rio+20 outcome document had underscored women’s vital role in achieving sustainable development.  They were both the enablers and beneficiaries of sustainable development, as well as agents of change for environmental sustainability.  Including women in all aspects of the process was essential.  In that context, States must link social, economic and environmental policies for better results — issues that must all address gender inequality.  Women handling household resources had different needs than men and boys.  They often spent a significant part of their time — four hours a day — doing unpaid household tasks, such as hauling wood and fetching water.  She highlighted six priority areas conducive to realizing gender equality, citing the elimination of discrimination in laws; combating all forms of violence against women; realizing women’s sexual and reproductive health and rights; redistributing unpaid domestic work among different actors; ensuring women’s equal rights to inheritance and control of both assets and productive resources; and, ensuring their participation in leadership and decision-making.


Italy’s delegate, in the ensuing interactive dialogue, stressed the importance of a rights-based, people-centred and plant-sensitive approach to shape development agendas.  Challenges facing all countries called for collective action.  “Universality is not an option, but a must”, he said; the right balance between universality and differentiation would provide a new model of development.


Nigeria’s delegate called on Member States to set up high-level national offices to implement sustainable development goals as her country did.


South Africa’s delegate, speaking on the upcoming intergovernmental negotiation on the post-2015 development agenda, cautioned that the process remain focused on development, including financing, and not renegotiate what had been agreed.  He also stressed the post-2015 agenda must be closely aligned with regional frameworks, including those for Africa.


Mr. PATRIOTA said that economic policy was one area that needed differentiated responsibility.


Ms. FRANKINET stressed the need to revisit a pattern of production and consumption.  Governments often contradicted themselves by carrying out inconsistent policies, such as agricultural subsidies to inefficient farmers.


Mr. KÖRÖSI said that the process of formulating sustainable development goals departed from the logic of Millennium Development Goals.  Sustainable development goals were a global aspiration with 193 different programmes of implementation.


Mr. BHATTACHARYA said studies showed that there was enough global savings to finance most of the needs.  But flows of financial and human resources were inadequate.  Such issues as transfer pricing, tax havens and illegal money flow must be addressed.


In their concluding remarks, panellists stressed that a new global development agenda was a “social contract” and roles of various stakeholders and expected outcomes from them must be clearly defined.  With the adoption of the post-2015 development agenda, the phase of “imagining” the future would end and the phase of “managing” the future would begin.


Mr. BAPNA rounded out the discussion by stressing the importance of changing the behaviour of all stakeholders for the new development agenda to be transformative.


Representatives of Colombia, Benin, Montenegro, Switzerland and Mexico, also participated in the discussion, as did those representing major groups of civil society.


Panel II


The second panel discussion, titled “Means of implementation for sustainable development”, was moderated by Raymond Saner, Professor in Organization and International Management, University of Basel, Switzerland, and member of faculty, Sciences Po, Paris.  Making presentations were:  Mansur Muhtar, Co-Chair, Intergovernmental Committee of Experts on Sustainable Development Financing; Claudio Rojas Rachel, Director for the Economic and Development Unit, Directorate-General for Multilateral and Global Affairs, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Chile; and Steve Waygood, Chief Responsible Investment Officer, Aviva Investor.


Louise Kantrow, Permanent Representative to the United Nations, International Chamber of Commerce, on behalf of the major group of business and industry, was the lead discussant.


Mr. MUHTAR said the Intergovernmental Committee had been established to propose options for sustainable development financing, with the starting point of conveying the magnitude of the challenges involved.  There was a need for a “quantum leap” in the resources to be used and where they would be channelled.  Ongoing development challenges included the unfinished business from the Millennium Development Goals and new ones related to employment and inequality.  A more holistic agenda was needed.  The first task ahead was to strengthen consensus and appreciate how the development landscape had changed by acknowledging the emergence of private sector flows and new, innovative financing sources.  There should be a focus on country ownership of national development strategies and exploiting synergies across the various dimensions of development.  A people-centred approach was essential.  Financing must be viewed in a holistic manner, underpinned by a focus on transparency.


Mr. Muhtar, to a question by Mr. Saner on how Africa’s resources could be used to finance the continent’s development, said domestic resource mobilization had been hampered by issues such as taxation, illicit financial flows and corruption.  The African Development Bank had helped to negotiate contract issues, notably related to the granting of concessions.  The inappropriate use of energy subsidies was another area that required attention.  If harnessed and used wisely, they could help meet financing needs.


Mr. ROJAS RACHEL explored the definition of “means of implementation”, saying that United Nations specialized agencies and countries alike had an important role to play.  In Chile, for example, challenges persisted in bringing together finance, socioeconomic and other ministers.  Dealing with those issues at the national level would help define the word “coherence”.  The international commitment related to official development assistance (ODA).  “We have to fulfil that obligation,” he said, urging that a new dynamic be established.  Lesser developed countries and small island developing States required focused assistance.  Countries in the South must share the burden, while civil society and the private sector could make a valuable contribution.  Middle-income countries must also be addressed.  Innovative financing — which included new resources — complemented traditional means.


Mr. Rojas Rachel, asked by Mr. Saner whether countries were responsible for debt accumulated by previous Governments, said countries must live up to their international commitments.  Argentina was ready to fulfil its international commitments, with 90 per cent of institutions ready to negotiate; however, a group of speculators wanted to take advantage of the situation.  Countries must have sound macroeconomic policies — and they should not be subject to extortion.


Mr. WAYGOOD was concerned that the structure of capital markets was unsustainable.  The company had published a road map for harnessing capital markets in order to promote sustainable development.  If a sustainable company was looking for capital but could not find it, for example, that was a market failure.  Conversely, unsustainable companies might be able to finance too much.  A new level of financial literacy was required to understand capital markets.  Brokers, fund managers and others must be aware of how capital and “ownership influence” was being deployed.  Such work was regulated by financial regulators at the national and international level, very few of which had a mandate to consider sustainable development.  Governments should establish national legislative frameworks requiring market participants to produce an integrated sustainability report, ensure national corporate governance codes, and promote capital market regulation that integrated sustainable development into the mandates of supervising agencies.


Mr. Waygood, to a question by Mr. Saner on innovations such as “dark pools”, responded that there was an opportunity to create minimum standards around responsible company ownership, which in turn, could be embedded in Government requests for proposals.  The “stewardship code” was a voluntary set of principles, for example, that could become a standard.  As for dark pools — trading platforms on which prices were not disclosed to market participants until trades had been executed — he cited the role of stock exchanges and Bloomberg terminals in providing disclosure and transparency.


Ms. KANTROW said the United Nations was uniquely positioned to deliver a transformative and inclusive development agenda for the post-2015 period.  What was needed was a “leap forward” in economic opportunities and a profound transformation to improve people’s lives.  There had been persistent calls for an active, engaged business community to ensure success.  The business case for development was based on the understanding that business and social values were inextricably linked.  Creating a global trading system that encouraged sustainable development was also important, as countries were increasingly driving development through trade, rather than ODA.  Private enterprise required an operating environment characterized by peace and stability, the rule of law, good governance, absence of corruption, adequate infrastructure and enforceable contracts.  The business sector supported the Global Partnership for Effective Development Cooperation as a complement in the implementation of the sustainable development goals.


Ms. Kantrow, to a question by Mr. Saner, looked forward to the report by the Sustainable Development Finance Committee, which would be important in terms of formulating the new development agenda.  She appreciated the comment about not being too concerned with the work of the Group of 20; the United Nations could create the proper global framework and moral dimensions of the agenda.


The representative of Morocco, in the ensuing discussion, asked about the private sector’s contribution to development.  That sector was driven by profit and perhaps there could be a win-win scenario with the country in which it operated.


Mr. MUHTAR, responding, urged looking beyond the altruistic motive and to find ways to incentivize the private sector to contribute positively to the agenda.  The question centred on finding entry points for such behaviour.


Mr. WAYGOOD responded that companies doing foreign direct investment must have good standards and responsible ownership.  Next, there was a need for transparency around company performance.  With sufficient transparency, it then became possible to rank performance.  There were several ways to capture company performance indicators.  That data must be used to create benchmarks that ranked how companies in different sectors and countries performed on various issues.


Mr. ROJAS RACHEL added that the loss of tax revenue would lead to a loss of social rights related to education, health care and pensions.  The current system of tax treaties was negotiated a century ago and it was time to examine that issue.


Mr. ROJAS RACHEL, to a question by the representative of Peru on whether innovative financing mechanisms should be predictable and stable, said that such financing must be sustainable.  In Chile, a law imposed a $2 tax on a person when he or she left the country.  That had not distorted the industry.  Rather, it had led to the creation of a fund to combat tuberculosis, HIV/AIDS and malaria.


Mr. WAYGOOD added that the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) “Inquiry into the Design of a Sustainable Financial System” or Principles for Sustainable Insurance and other initiatives could be asked to present reports and share their work in various forums.  In the longer term, there should be a Commission for Sustainable Finance at the United Nations.


Panel III


Oh Joon (Republic of Korea), Vice-President of the Economic and Social Council, introduced the panel.


Moderating the third panel discussion, titled “How could sustainable consumption and production contribute to sustainable development goals?”, was Peter Hazlewood, Director, Ecosystems and Development, World Resource Institute.  The panellists were Laszlo Borbely, Chair, Committee for Foreign Policy, Chamber of Deputies of the Parliament, Romania; Ulf Jaeckel, Head of Division, Sustainable Consumer Protection, Product-related Environmental Protection, Federal Ministry for Environment, Nature Conservation, Building and Nuclear Safety, Germany; and Cesar Barahona, President, Global Resource for Efficient and Cleaner Production Network, and Director, National Cleaner Production Centre, Nicaragua.  The lead discussants were Kaye Ceille, President, Zipcar; Christian Frutiger, Deputy Head, Public Affairs Department, Nestlé; and Didier Bergeret, Head, Global Social Compliance Programme.


Mr. BORBELY said the world was on the right path towards sustainable development, but the hardest work would continue through and beyond 2015 because humanity’s demands were exceeding nature’s supplies.  Advanced economies must reduce their consumption of scarce resources and developing countries must adopt a sustainable development mindset.  Romania was strongly engaged in the Open Working Group on the sustainable development agenda, with the overarching goal of promoting balanced growth.  Economic growth and resource use must be de-coupled, he said, adding that there was a need to look beyond gross domestic product (GDP) and examine environmental aspects of growth.  From Agenda 21 to Rio+20, the discussion on ensuring sustainable consumption and production was missing from the Millennium Development Goals, he said, declaring:  “Let us ensure that no one is left behind.”


Mr. JAECKEL said that sustainable consumption and production was not an abstract concept but a relevant one since most greenhouse gas production stemmed from consumption.  While it was good that the consumer classes were growing, shortfalls in natural resources were already being reported around the world.  The concept was about the cooperation needed to ensure food security and the balance between waste and hunger.  Addressing sustainable consumption and production was unavoidable, he said.


Mr. BARAHONA noted that the world’s population was growing daily, and industrial production was also set to increase so as to provide goods, jobs and services.  Demand on water would consequently increase.  The Global Resource Network for Efficient and Cleaner Production promoted approaches including the “greening” of some existing industries and creating new green ones.  As a result, companies, including small- and medium-sized enterprises, had achieved an average of 10 per cent in increased productivity, managed to save energy, and reduced their consumption by 30 per cent as well as 27 per cent of the waste.  A number of elements should be included in the goals, including access to information, clean technology, policy support for production practices, and the creation of financial mechanisms to serve small and medium-sized enterprises.


Ms. CEILLE said that Zipcar focused on simple and responsible urban living, offering car-sharing as a sustainable consumption model that was essential for changing consumer patterns.  Some 850,000 shared cars were in service today, allowing people the mobility they needed without owning a car.  Vehicle ownership could be a status symbol, but that was changing in the United States, with youth waiting longer to get driver’s licences and using alternative forms of transportation.  The era of ownership was becoming an era of access, she said, adding that innovation should be encouraged within cities in order to ensure the planet’s long-term sustainability.


Mr. FRUTIGER said “keep the private sector at the table” in the context of the post-2015 development agenda.  While Governments must take the lead, companies such as Nestlé were major actors in development, with local production operations worldwide.  As for reducing post-harvest losses and food waste, he pointed out that the current 30 to 40 per cent of losses were occurring at the farm level in developing countries and at the consumer level in developed countries.


Mr. BERGERET said buyers had developed requirements for suppliers, most in isolation and with different approaches and compliance strategies.  The system was confusing and inefficient, which was why the Global Social Compliance Programme felt that compliance issues should be assessed through common audit processes, with a common framework and approaches.  Buyers could work together and suppliers could work towards being market-ready.  Scaling up such a common approach would ensure positive impacts on multiple interests, including social and environmental ones.  All that was needed was for the United Nations to endorse the approach, alongside Governments, to ensure that business was not kept away from the table, and that it was included in common development efforts.


A representative of Benin said developing countries wanted industrialization, but also to ensure sustainability.  Developing and least-developed countries needed access to production technology and assurances that there no barriers would be erected against them.  Existing standards for new technologies must be altered to reflect a change in attitude towards production, he said, emphasizing that everyone should have access to a decent standard of living.


A representative of Finland said her country was involved in discussions on sustainable development while facing growing consumption patterns.  Finland had promoted the concept of sustainable consumption and production to demonstrate its benefits.


A representative of the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) said it was important to recognize the links between various sectors.  The current consumption and production processes must be transformed, he added, emphasizing the need to convince producers as well as consumers to take sustainable approaches.


A representative of Brazil said that due to the cross-cutting nature of sustainable consumption and production, the concept should be a stand-alone goal in the sustainable development goals.  He asked what the panellists thought about the concept of convergence, in terms of diverse levels of consumption per capita within countries balancing out consumption patterns.


A representative of the children and youth major group said that sustainable development education was needed to reach those who were expected to drive change.


A representative of Belgium said there was no one-size-fits-all approach; different approaches must be adapted to individual countries.  Consumption and production processes were at the root of economic growth, and sustainable growth could only be achieved alongside improved consumption and production.


A representative of the non-governmental organizations major group said sustainable growth would experience a transition period, and asked panellists what the “transition cost” would be.


A representative of Norway said her country’s efforts included an “eco-label” symbolized by a swan, which was now applied to a growing number of products.  Calling for sharing of best practices, the use of economic incentives and implementation of “green” taxation, she said that sustainable consumption and production patterns would ensure a “win-win” situation.


Mr. BORBELY, responding to questions, said that common guidelines should be created and put into practice, emphasizing the need for better leadership and greater political will in that regard.  Programmes should be introduced in schools to explain sustainable development concepts.


Mr. JAECKEL said consumer information was vital to enabling consumers to do something about their behaviour.  “People want to contribute, and we have to enable them to do so.”


Mr. BARAHONA said that people did not need goods and services, but the quality and standard of life with which such goods and services provided them.  There was much room for eco-innovation and for developing countries to gain access to opportunities, and his network included developing as well as developed countries that could work together to that end.


Dialogue


Peter Hazlewood, Director, Ecosystems and Development, World Resource Institute, moderated a dialogue with the Chair of the Board of the 10-Year Framework of Programmes on Sustainable Consumption and Production, titled:  “Sustainable consumption and production in action: the work of the Board of the 10-Year Framework of Programmes on Sustainable Consumption and Production Patterns”.


Making presentations were:  Balthasar Kambuaya, Minister for the Environment, Indonesia, and Vice-Chair of the Board of the 10-Year Framework of Programmes on Sustainable Consumption and Production; Sylvia del Carmen Treviño Medina, General Director of Industry, Ministry of Environmental and Natural Resources, Mexico, and Chair of the Board of the 10-Year Framework of Programmes on Sustainable Consumption and Production; Lisa Emelia Svensson, Ambassador for oceans, seas and fresh water, Sweden; and Lewis Akenji, Senior Policy Fellow, Institute for Global Environmental Strategies, on behalf of the major groups representatives, were the lead discussants.


Mr. KAMBUAYA said the Framework aimed to enhance international cooperation in order to accelerate the shift towards sustainable consumption and production in developed and developing countries.  Indonesia was focused on integrating those concepts into national development planning for the 2015-2019 period through “quick wins” such as eco-labelling and green tourism initiatives.  Since 1992, sustainable consumption and production had been an overarching objective of and essential requirement for sustainable development.  Challenges included identifying areas of cooperation in order to ensure a wider collective impact.  Other priority themes for the Framework must be identified and results in the areas of society, economy and environment showcased.  There were also opportunities to engage the private sector in creating a “push” in the market, as well as Governments and consumers to create a “pull”.


Ms. DEL CARMEN TREVIÑO described the organizational structure of the Framework, saying its membership consisted of 10 States.  There was a secretariat, served by the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), an inter-agency coordination group, a national focal point and stakeholder focal points.  In Mexico, there was a special programme on sustainable consumption and production that was part of the 2013-2018 national development plan.  It also focused on cooperation among countries, promoting integration of those concepts into national strategies.  Other challenges included ensuring more active participation of the private sector and financial institutions, as well as securing predictable financial contributions to the Framework’s trust fund.


Ms. SVENSSON said that since oceans made up two thirds of the world, they were an important topic in sustainable development discussions.  Equally important were related issues such as energy, tourism, transportation, aquaculture, food security, forced labour, food production subsidies and illegal and unregulated fishing.  Nature needed to be included when discussing sustainable production.  Concrete goals needed to be created for the entire 10-year Framework, as well as national focal points to provide and share data.  Private sector and multi-stakeholder involvement was essential.  Her country wanted to see more programmes on energy and sustainable cities, with concrete results and timetables.  For its part, Sweden had welcomed the sustainable lifestyles and education programmes.


Mr. AKENJI said encroaching on arable land in efforts to feed a growing population was a “perfect recipe for a storm”.  Over the years, discussions had evolved to recognize that the challenges were complex.  Approaches had been drafted, but what remained to be done was to find out how to implement them.  In that regard, objectives should be set, with Member States looking at the 10-year framework for guidance.  Often escaping discussions on changing consumption patterns were the preconditions for a successful framework, which included effective education, facilitators to guide businesses, advertising and infrastructure.  To ensure successful monitoring and reporting, he said quality of life needed to be addressed as a result of action on the ground.  Achieving the sustainable development goals strongly depended on achieving sustainable consumption and production.


When the floor opened for dialogue, a representative of UNEP said the 10-year framework’s adoption created an important momentum to shifts in the sustainable consumption and production process.  Now scaling up and delivering was needed.  Given that “huge” agenda, all stakeholders needed to communicate. 


Brazil’s representative asked for a schedule for the launching of the next programmes and the bottlenecks and challenges in doing so.


A representative of the Secretariat said that everything was arranged and would be launched by early 2015, with programmes on sustainable building in October, sustainable lifestyles and education in November, tourism before the end of 2014 and on food in January.


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For information media • not an official record
For information media. Not an official record.