Civil Chamber of the Russian Federation
- Date submitted: 1 Nov 2011
- Stakeholder type: Major Group
- Submission Document: Download
- Additional Document: Mr. Velikhov letter to the UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon
INSTITUTE OF SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT: CHALLENGES AND PROSPECTS
RECOMMENDATIONS FOR ?RIO+20? Today the world faces new challenges. The modern world development results in a depletion of the natural resources, an increase of negative environmental impact, a deterioration of the biosphere balance. The consequences of the climate change have become perceptible everywhere in the world. It results in a worsening of social problems and sidelines further development. That is why the need to provide sustainable development is urgent. The core of this idea is the necessity to fit our constantly growing demands in the planet's natural capacity. The idea is not new; it will soon complete 20 years of official life in the world. Few political slogans have lived for so long. Yet its essence will never become outdated. It establishes the rules of the game and is a condition of survival. Meanwhile, lessons are becoming increasingly harder, and their consequences are increasingly expensive. They include the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico, the recent abnormal heat in Central Russia and many other cases of natural and man-triggered catastrophes. It is getting harder and harder to find certain persons responsible for or a cause of each disaster. It is rather consequence of our self-esteem, our attitude and our wrong behavior. Deep ?ecologization? of the economy on the basis of the key priority of modern development ? to increase the value of nature and natural resources, as well as of human life and health is a challenging task in the agenda. Implementation of the sustainable development tasks based on market economy means to ensure market demands on natural resources, ecosystem services and related characteristics of the goods, consumer demands (including by population and State). This measure will enable to stimulate the developed countries to diminish the negative environmental impact as well as to encourage the developing countries into defining ways of their development towards the green economy, preservation and augmentation of natural capital through its capitalization and receiving benefits from the global community. These are the directions that should determine today the priorities of aide in the combat against poverty. Urgent need to combine both - to fit the growing demands and to minimize the depletion of natural capital has been formulated today as a decoupling idea. It means to reduce energy intensity and resource intensity in economic growth, to widely use renewable energy sources, to modernize production on the basis of innovations. This is the direction that sets today?s priorities for growing economies and firstly for the BRICS nations. It is necessary to encourage modernization in a way of so-called double gain or win-win policy, which is related both to economic efficiency and to reduction of negative environmental impact by human-being. The world experience of such modernization of production shows that this approach not only leads to the improved economic indicators but also to significantly improved living conditions. It is necessary to support and disseminate this experience. This is the core task of modern innovative development. For such purpose it is necessary both to observe strict environmental standards and to encourage economic interest, including all possible instruments, besides to be aware of the importance of such modernization. In other words, modernization should be profitable. The key area for the global development is energy sector. It is necessary to ensure the safe use of traditional resources and energy efficiency. The use of huge potential to raise energy efficiency means to implement urgent measures to make consumers interested in energy saving at all levels from industries to households. Modernization should consider enormous potential in the use of renewable energy sources. This means to encourage energy production on the basis of renewable energy sources. The experience of developed countries shows that, with a minimum support necessary to launch this process, it develops further in a ?snowball? manner with accelerating speed. This way of development ensures national independence and gives prospects for further development. It is more pressing and promising to use renewable energy sources for domestic needs, including, firstly, energy supply to sparsely populated areas, commitment by the population to use renewable energy sources as additional sources of energy and to use renewable energy sources as auxiliary sources of energy supply in industry. Resolving the problem of economic modernization should also take into account the enormous potential in developing the system of compensation payments necessary to preserve and augment the natural ecosystems (including forests, wetlands, etc.). Good prospects may be seen in the development of the market of ecosystem services and environmental investments. It is necessary to carry out assessment of the natural services based on the priority to raise value of natural resources and to turn into goods things that have not been considered goods before, including a wide range of ecosystem services and to enter the international market to compensate for the efforts in preserving and augmentation of natural resources. The costs of non-use, protection and augmentation of certain natural resources and services should be included in such an assessment. The mechanism of compensation for ecosystem services should be based on the national commitment to environment protection and on the proper use of the funds allocated by the international community to preserve natural resources and to develop environmentally sound forms of the management of nature (including ecotourism, organic agriculture, renewable resources use). It is necessary to extend market mechanisms of trade of the greenhouse gases emission to all sorts of anthropogenic impact. This means to work out and pursue a new policy. The starting point in this regard should be that the ecology today is economy. That is why the mainstream development is determined as green economy. It is environmental standards that set directions of innovative development and modernization of production to ensure long-term successful economic development. The priority of economic policy to widely use natural resources and services should be complemented by the environmental policy priority to raise the value of nature and natural resources. Green and low-carbon economy has been tracked by the developed countries. Although a clear policy in this respect is important, it should not be pursued separately from the mainstream development pattern and should be incorporated into strategies, plans, programs and mechanisms of the national development. Environmental policy priorities, green economy standards should be included into general plans of development aimed at solving social and economic problems of everyone?s main concern. It is appropriate to include the implementation of environmental protection measures (organizing protected natural areas, biodiversity conservation, etc.) into foolproof market mechanisms, such as payments for ecosystem services. The top-priority measure to assess the situation and determine action priorities is to introduce a system of indicators of sustainable development. These are primarily indicators of the resource intensity and energy intensity in economic growth and specific indicators of pollution. Moreover, accumulated environmental damage, resource depletion, landscape degradation and the impact of pollution on human health should be taken into account. It is principally important, especially to determine prospects for development and to asses the use of renewable energy sources, to evaluate ecosystem services (including various ecosystems, biological resources, biodiversity and area of protected natural reserves). Progress in the dissemination of the ideas of sustainable development and active participation in this process means their adjustment to the specifics of each country. The concepts of sustainable development and the ways of its implementation are different in various countries and will undoubtedly keep changing further on. It is necessary to assess achievements and challenges on the way to sustainable development at the national level. The success of the implementation of the ideas of sustainable development depends on the pro-active position and awareness by the broader population. This requires educational and outreach activities, targeted work by the media and social advertising. Culture (including cinema, pop music and literature), natural and cultural heritage sites should play a special role to set sustainable development as a priority for the broader public. Civil society organizations, including both mass NGOs/NPOs and professional institutions of public policy should play a greater role in this regard. This means to develop a broad public movement to support sustainable development as a priority for civil society activities and to set this topic as a key area of support by the businesses and the governments. The mankind has started to realize that increased social and natural abnormalities are consequences of our wrong behavior and to be aware of the responsibility for the future of the planet. In order to determine priorities for joint action one should refer to the universally accepted rules of conduct, ethic code approved by the global community. An importance to adopt such a document has been underlined as early as in 1992 at the UN World Conference on Sustainable Development in Rio de Janeiro. The core of this document could constitute the elaborated by 2000 through joint efforts ?Earth Charter?, common view on principles of sustainable development, necessary to provide environmental integrity, social justice, democracy and peace. Today this document has gained a new dimension. A joint support by Russia and the US as the leading countries that initiated the elaboration of the International Ethical Code and a broader approval by other developed countries and the BRICS nations would favour the promotion of the document. Who should lead this process? Most likely, those for whom it is of special importance. This means to be aware of the necessity to follow such way of development and to have certain economic possibilities to implement it. A number of countries considered for many years as developed economies actively joined this process after the Rio Summit of 1992. We should admit that, although ideas of sustainable development are very pressing for all countries and require joint efforts by the international community, only developed economies are able to ensure serious advance in this direction. Other countries may join them as they grow economically and with an aide by the developed countries. The BRICS nations are probably these States for which this process is the most urgent. There are a several reasons for this: economic growth, abundant natural resources, search for an optimal way of development among them. Priorities for these countries in innovation policy, energy efficiency and economic modernization naturally determine their movement towards sustainable development. These nations are the ones that could become leaders in the movement towards sustainable development.