Information
  • Lead-organizer: Liechtenstein
  • 19:30 - 21:00
  • Date: 14 Jun 2012
  • Room: P3-6

National Sustainable Development Strategies-What's Their Future Role?

Organizing partners

Switzerland, Liechtenstein, European Sustainable Development Network (ESDN)

Introduction

The side-event focuses on the multidimensional challenges of national sustainable development strategies (NSDS). The side event?s objective is to evaluate the relation between NSDS (based on the examples and experiences of Switzerland, Liechtenstein, and further members of the European Sustainable Development Network ESDN) and newly emerging strategic approaches like green growth or green economy. Furthermore will success factors, opportunities and challenges of NSDS strategies, indicators and monitoring systems be analysed and discussed. Experiences that have been made in implementing these strategies and systems should be used and integrated when drafting a new generation of targets, indicators and monitoring systems, as for example sustainable development goals (SDGs).

Detailed programme

Thematic Focus
The Agenda 21, the Rio+5 Summit and the Johannesburg Plan of Implementation encouraged states to formulate national sustainable development strategies (NSDS). The Zero Draft of the Rio+20 outcome document again underlines, in chapter IV, section D (Regional, national, local, institutional framework for Sustainable Development) the need for continuing and deepening the efforts in this respect. Closely related to NSDS are also approaches for measuring and evaluating sustainable development in order to provide an evidence base for a sustainable development policy.

The sustainable development definition provided by the Brundtland Commission builds the basis for the NSDS strategy and indicator systems in Switzerland and Liechtenstein. As a NSDS strategy requires ongoing monitoring, Switzerland and Liechtenstein have established NSDS strategy-review-mechanisms to constantly monitor their NSDS strategy developments. Switzerland?s and Liechtenstein?s approaches are part of a broader movement in Europe, in particular, where all the relevant initiatives are shared and actors meet in the European Sustainable Development Network ESDN (www.sd-network.eu). The European Union?s sustainable development strategy builds a common reference framework.

As NSDS strategies must be as measurable as possible, Switzerland established the indicator system MONET (www.monet.admin.ch). Liechtenstein has adopted as well an indicator system to assess the progress and implementation gaps concerning sustainability. These indicator systems take a holistic approach to measure sustainable development, which includes quality of life for the present generation and an equitable distribution of costs and benefits across time. Therefore both indicator systems track whether or not the two countries are on the path to sustainable development and, if so, in which areas. Indicators are selected on the basis not of political targets, but of a methodical concept that is made up of a reference framework and a systemic structure. This approach ensures that these indicator systems are independent, transparent and comprehensive. Furthermore the two indicator systems enable a comparison with other countries (e.g. ESDN-countries).

Both NSDS and measurement systems face important challenges. Besides their adaptation to new economic, societal and political developments, like debt crises or aging societies, newly emerging concepts like green growth or green economy not only include new political approaches, but also for their measurement raise the question of how to position NSDS and sustainable development monitoring systems in the future in order to secure their role in shaping a sustainable development of nations.

The following questions will serve as a basis for discussion:
- What is the relation between NSDS and newly emerging strategic approaches like green growth or green economy?
- What are success factors, opportunities and challenges of NSDS strategies?
- What are success factors, opportunities and challenges of NSDS indicators and monitoring systems? How do they relate to newly emerging measurement approaches like for green growth or green economy?
- Experiences and lessons learned for Rio+20: for a new generation of indicators and of sustainable development goals (SDGs)

Contribution to the outcome of Rio+20
The side-event refers to chapter IV, section D (Regional, national local institutional framework for Sustainable Development) of the Zero Draft of the Rio+20 outcome document in connection with chapter III regarding green economy strategies, measures and indicators.

It contributes to an informed discussion, a clarification of the role of NSDS and sustainable development monitoring systems in comparison to approaches for green economy. The side event gives therefore an orientation for actors on the national and local level regarding the implementation of the Rio+20 outcomes on the ground.

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