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Laura Hildebrandt
on Tue, September 25, 2012 at 10.17 pm


Now Closed.

We invite you, as a group or individual, to get actively involved in the discussions by posting your ideas and work, on topics that you think should be a priority for the dialogue on environmental sustainability in the post-2015 agenda.  Discussion papers should aim to stimulate creative thinking and dialogue around the role environmental sustainability should play within both the broad post-2015 development framework as well as the specific development goals that will be developed to support this.   Therefore, participants are encouraged to propose topics that:

  • build on MDG7 experiences and lessons and/or
  • bring forward new and emerging thinking and experiences related to integrated approaches that link economic, social and environmental sustainability and touch on cross-cutting issues such as gender equality, human rights, young people, inequalities and the partnerships necessary to make progress.

 Discussion papers should include the following components:

  1. Brief outline and rationale for a proposed specific topic for discussion
  2. Brief presentation of existing findings from completed policy and field research or on-going work that provides an evidence base and conceptual frame for the discussion. Contributors can upload or link to the complete papers and existing think pieces referenced in the discussion paper.
  3. A proposed set of questions that could frame an online discussion on the topic during Phase 2 of the consultation.


Click here to add your discussion note. (please first register/login above)

 Papers should be posted in English, French or Spanish and be a maximum 1500 words in length. 

A few suggestions for posting:

Cut and paste your text into the template and provide a title which captures the core idea you are proposing. 

Click on "Advanced" in the form if you wish to attach/upload files. 

If you experience any difficulty in logging in, papers can also be posted as a reply directly below this message. 


Next Steps: Review of Discussion Notes

The discussion notes posted here will provide a key input into the Leadership Meeting which will be held in January 2013. This meeting will convene approximately 40 leading and emerging thinkers to develop a framework for Phase 2 of the environmental sustainability consultation that provides a focused range of topics selected from the submitted discussion notes.  A facilitation team will also be established to facilitate the Phase 2 online discussion and to develop a series of final papers on each of the selected topics based on the results of the online consultation. 

The discussion notes will therefore be made available to the participants of the Leadership Meeting.  In addition, papers will be reviewed and synthesized by the process co-leads and members of inter-agency Steering Group ahead of the Leadership Meeting. Some of the authors of the submitted discussion notes may be invited to participate in the Leadership Meeting and to be a part of the facilitation team for Phase 2 of the consultation.

Please or to post a comment.
Anonymous from
Wed, January 16, 2013 at 01.29 pm

Dear all

Sorry for posting only now. Thank you for putting the GEO-5 as a background paper. I would like to draw your attention also to the specialized product of GEO-5 "Measuring Progress: Environmental Goals & Gaps": http://www.unep.org/geo/pdfs/geo5/Measuring_progress.pdf

Anonymous from
Wed, January 16, 2013 at 07.34 am

Hi, Sorry missed the deadline hope this makes it through. I think developing the SDG on environmental sustainability has to be a process with a bottom-up approach, with education as a core ingredient:

1)      Countries should take a year to set up environmental cells at the village level. The cells would comprise community members (including equal number of people from both genders) and local authority representatives. The process would include educating people about the need to protect water sources, conserve forests etc

2)      The cells will identify environmental sustainability goals for the village – which could be clean drinking water, proetcting the water source, a decent forest cover, a 100 percent employment rate (which could be environment protection jobs) within a certain period of time.

3)      Countries could set  percentage of villages (aiming for 100 percent coverage as the ultimate) that have managed to achieve their environment sustainability goals within a certain period of time as their national target






Anonymous from
Wed, January 16, 2013 at 02.28 pm

Dear Jaspreet and Friends,


Thank you for sharing your wonderful idea about villages setting up environmental learning and education cells. I think the idea that countries should monitor and set goals for the number of villages that strive to and achieve environmental sustainability and 100% employment is a really great idea. 


You may already know that the Universal Declaration on Human Rights declares that everyone has the right to employment (along with healthcare, education, food and shelter, etc) and a sufficient income to be able to provide well for their family and that Article 28 says that we are all entitled to an International and Social Order sufficient to provide and honor these rights. So we should be insisting, as mandated in the UDHR's Preamble (which proclaims that every individual and organ of society shall take progressive measures both national and international to secure these rights), that these things be done. 


In addition, the UN Member States have all agreed to develop and implement Local Agenda 21 or Sustainable Community Plans along with Local and National Action Plans on Sustainable Consumption and Production. These things could be done at the same time as they/we work on and fulfill your suggestion and through the same or similar processes. And this could be done as well through the country activities and partnerships developed through the UN Decade on Education for Sustainable Development. 


At least half of the world's countries have developed and are implementing some type of a National Sustainability Strategy; others are establishing National Action Plans on SCP; most developing countries have PRSPs; and many have National ESD programs and initiatives. All of these could provide good means through which your recommendation could be implemented. 


But in addition a global framework and support mechanism is needed, that should be provided through and by the UN, to assist all countries and regions in implementing, monitoring and assessing these basic and foundational agreements. And if some countries still resist fulfilling and carrying out these agreements; then funds and assistance should be provided to civil society organizations that are willing to take the lead on achieving these things. 


Thanks again for your great idea. I really hope that it will be supported by various governments and UN agencies.


Rob Wheeler

Global Ecovillage Network and Commons Action for the UN

robwheeler22  at  gmail.com




Jaspreet Kindra

6 hours ago

Hi, Sorry missed the deadline hope this makes it through. I think developing the SDG on environmental sustainability has to be a process with a bottom-up approach, with education as a core ingredient:


1)      Countries should take a year to set up environmental cells at the village level. The cells would comprise community members (including equal number of people from both genders) and local authority representatives. The process would include educating people about the need to protect water sources, conserve forests etc


2)      The cells will identify environmental sustainability goals for the village – which could be clean drinking water, proetcting the water source, a decent forest cover, a 100 percent employment rate (which could be environment protection jobs) within a certain period of time.


3)      Countries could set  percentage of villages (aiming for 100 percent coverage as the ultimate) that have managed to achieve their environment sustainability goals within a certain period of time as their national target


Anonymous from
Tue, January 15, 2013 at 11.01 pm

Gender and the Environment Nexus[1]

In recent years, a number of development experts have attempted to analyze the linkages between gender and environment, as well as identify how men and women play distinct roles and are affected by and interact differently with the environment. However, most studies and publications on these issues have not drawn a clear distinction between the interaction of the natural environment and diverse social groupings, such as women, men and urban and rural populations.[2]  As such, this thought piece aims at generating a meaningful and substantive discussion on the interplay between gender and the environment within the framework of sustainable development.

In this vein, some events and existing accounts on the subject matter of gender and environment are worth mentioning.  Since the 1970’s, various scholars[3] have drawn attention to the fact that there are differences between men and women in regard to their interaction with the environment. Similarly, during this time, the international community began acknowledging and integrating some gender dynamics vis-à-vis the environment, within their work and policies. For instance, the 1985 Fourth International Women’s Conference and the 1992 United Nations Conference on Environment and Development (the Earth Summit) in Rio de Janeiro made efforts to recognize and incorporate gender perspectives into their environment and sustainable development deliberations.[4]

These and related efforts have increased the understanding of the interplay between gender and the environment within the framework of sustainable development. However, gender equality and women’s empowerment aspects still seem to occupy marginal spaces in the implementation of environment policy and programming. For example, the much referred to 1987 report of the UN World Commission on Environment and Development (the Brundtland Commission), Our Common Future, debates vital themes, such as equity, growth-redistribution, poverty, essential human needs and conserving and enhancing the resource base, but does not delve much into issues pertaining to women’s rights and gender equality. Rather, the report mostly contextualizes the interplay between gender and environment in terms of lowering fertility rates of women.[5]

In recent years, gender equality and women’s empowerment concepts have steadily gained more recognition as being critical links in addressing environmental conservation and achieving sustainable development.  For instance, in the follow up to the 1992 Earth Summit, governments, international institutions, the private sector, NGOs and other large groups came together in Rio de Janeiro in June 2012 (commonly known as Rio+20) to discuss a global way forward in reducing poverty, advancing social equity and ensuring environmental protection. Here, governments brought into focus and explicitly recognized the leadership role of women and the need to promote gender equality, emphasizing that “gender equality and women’s empowerment are important for sustainable development and our common future”.[6]  

Nevertheless, persistent gender inequalities throughout the world still exist on the ground and seriously limit women’s participation in decision-making, restrict their access to financial, technical and environmental resources, and prevent them from contributing to or benefitting from strategies which respond to the challenges associated with climate change and ecosystem degradation.

To exacerbate these issues, the impact of environmental shocks is gendered. A study conducted by Plan International in 2011 showed that not only adult women but also adolescent girls, in Ethiopia and Bangladesh, were disproportionately affected by natural disasters and climate change effects due to factors such as age, and socio-economic issues as defined by access to economic resources and information, education levels and ability to exercise personal freedom of choice, among others. Likewise, the 2005 report by Oxfam, The Impacts of the Tsunami on Women, revealed that more women than men died in Indonesia, India and Sri Lanka during the 2004 tsunami. The reasons for the gender disproportionate death toll were, in part, the result of women staying behind to look for their children and elderly relatives, women’s lack of knowledge of life-saving skills, as well as the fact that women were on shore waiting for the early morning catch when the tsunami hit.[7]   

These types of vulnerabilities are often the result of the different roles men and women are ascribed to within the communities they operate. For example, poor women in developing countries are often responsible for managing small-scale agricultural tasks and providing water, firewood and other energy supplies. They are likely to have differentiated needs, priorities, and power over resources compared to men when it comes to the environment and environmental protection.

To note, as primary caretakers of families, communities and natural resources, women have acquired specific knowledge about local conditions and ecological resources. They are strong agents of change whose skills could help find solutions to environmental challenges. As highlighted by the 2011 UNDP Human Development Report, women often show more concern for the environment and vote for pro-environment policies and leaders; hence their increased involvement in politics and decision making is critical in promoting environmental sustainability.  To illustrate, “women in areas of northern India in which traditional agriculture is practiced, are adopting sustainable agriculture strategies and practices such as conserving local seed varieties that add to resistance to weather fluctuations”.[8]

This demonstrates the critical linkages between gender equality and the environment as well as the intrinsic value and need of addressing gender inequality issues when developing environmental protection and climate change responses. By meaningfully engaging women in decision-making processes and acknowledging gender equality as a driver for transformational change, gains in social, economic and environmental transformation for sustainable development can be achieved.  Building on the preceding discussion above, a number of key questions emerge which warrant further dialogue. 

First, with what success have gender dynamics been integrated in policy frameworks of environment management? And under what conditions?

Second, what are the socio-cultural, political and economic factors that impact the formulation and implementation of gender-responsive environment policy within the framework of sustainable development?

Third, what mechanisms can development organizations, governments and other institutions adopt to bridge the theoretical knowledge of the interplay between gender and the environment with empirical realities, especially in the developing world? In this context, how can such mechanisms also address gender inequalities, women’s empowerment and environmental sustainability in an integrated way?



Dankelman, I. (2012). On The Road To Sustainable Development: Promoting Gender Equality and Addressing Climate Change. In UNDP, Powerful Synergies: Gender Equality, Economic Development and Environmental Sustainability (pp. 25-35). New York: UNDP.

United Nations. (1987). Report of the World Commission on Environment and Development: Our Common Future . United Nations.

United Nations General Assembly. (2012). The future we want. Resolution 66/288. Retrieved 14 January 2013 from http://daccess-dds-ny.un.org/doc/UNDOC/GEN/N11/476/10/PDF/N1147610.pdf?O...

United Nations Development Programme. (2011). Human Development Report 2011 - Sustainability and Equity: A Better Future for All. New York: United Nations Development Programme.

Oxfam International. (2005). The Tsunami’s Impact on Women. Retrieved 11 January 2013 from http://www.oxfam.org/sites/www.oxfam.org/files/women.pdf

Plan International. (2011). Weathering the Storm: Adolescent Girls and Climate Change. Surrey: Plan International.

[1] Authors Mary Mbabazi, Elizabeth Eggerts and Lucy Wanjiru, with input from Irene Dankelman

[2] Dankelman 2012: 26

[3] Scholars include Esther Boserup (1970, 1989), Carolyn Merchant (1980), Dankelman and Davidson (1988) and Shiva (1988)

[4] Dankelman 2012: 26-7

[5] Dankelman 2012: 26

[6] United Nations General Assembly 2012: 6-9

[7] Oxfam 2005

[8]Dankelman 2012: 30

Consultation Team from
Wed, January 16, 2013 at 06.44 pm

Dear Lucy,

Thank you for submitting your paper on both lists. Your discussion note is added on the list.

Consultation Team

Anonymous from
Wed, January 16, 2013 at 04.56 am

Kudos! I too believe that "Gender and the Environment Nexus" is a very critical component of any discussion of true environmental sustainability or as you put it so well, "In recent years, gender equality and women’s empowerment concepts have steadily gained more recognition as being critical links in addressing environmental conservation and achieving sustainable development."

I heartily endorse this perspective and would love to hear more about your group or organization promoting it, as your post (like mine on the importance of "value deconstruction and transformative education") posted as "anonymous" even when I had meant to post my name with it, for any follow up queries.

As I would love to get in touch with you to hear more about this topic, as I do think it is so critical to any true transformation towards environmental sustainability.

Thank you for raising it so clearly.

Alina Bezhenar from
Tue, January 15, 2013 at 10.29 pm

Here is my short brief input.

Alina Bezhenar 

Consultation Team from
Wed, January 16, 2013 at 06.50 pm

Dear Alina,

We added your discussion note to the list. You can also find your submission by visiting:http://www.worldwewant2015.org/node/301154

Consultation Team

Anonymous from
Tue, January 15, 2013 at 07.55 pm

In developing the post 2015 agenda on environmental sustainability it is essential to include the affects mining has on land, ecosystems, and water. There is no question of the profound impacts mining has on both the biotic and abiotic factors of an ecosystem. From contamination to the complete leveling of landscapes, mining inflicts scars on the earth that are in many instances irreparable. Mining has a disastrous effect on biodiversity. With the current rate of extinction estimated between 100 and 1000 times the normal rate of extinction, we must pay special attention to the effect mining has on our fragile natural systems, not only from the destruction of land but also due to mining practices’ dependence on water.[1] Ecosystems must compete for use of water and fight a losing battle, being left with nothing but polluted and acidified lakes and streams. While we recognize that the resources extracted through mining are an important part of national and international economies and the functioning of daily life, the Precautionary Principle should be considered when establishing the costs of mining operations to ensure that undue harm is not inflicted on ecosystems and communities. How will the post 2015 agenda incorporate the impacts of mining industries to ensure that ecosystems and water be protected and allocated to meet the basic needs of humans and ecosystems?

Sally Dunne
NGO UN Representative
Loretto Community

[1] “Extinction Rate Across the Globe Reaches Historical Proportions” Science Daily (2002)

 < http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2002/01/020109074801.htm

Rob Wheeler from
Tue, January 15, 2013 at 07.58 pm






Submitted by the Global Ecovillage Network and 

the EcoEarth Alliance UN Partnership Initiative






One of the topics of the Environmental Sustainability Consultation ought to focus on the need to adopt an integrated, multi-sectoral community based approach to sustainable rural and impoverished urban development. It has been shown in thousands of EcoVillages around the world that this approach can add substantially to the ability to eradicate poverty and invest wisely in capacity development. Ecovillages provide one of the best examples of how we can meet all people's basic human rights and needs; restore the natural environment; and ensure environmental sustainability. 


It is now commonly understood that accessing public goods and providing basic services are dependent upon the sustainable well being of the natural environment. The ecovillage model demonstrates how we can invest in human development and protect and restore the natural environment at the same time. 


There are many examples that demonstrate the successes of an integrated, multi-sectoral community based approach to development. For example, the Millennium Villages developed in cooperation with Millennium Promise (www.millenniumvillages.org); the Green Productivity - Integrated Community Development program developed and implemented in Vietnam with the assistance of the Asian Productivity Organization (www.apo-tokyo.org/gp/45icd.htm); and the Global Ecovillage Network (www.ecovillage.org) have worked in thousands of villages and local communities demonstrating how such an integrated, multi-sectoral approach, that is owned and managed by the local community, can provide dramatic improvements in sustainability, resilience, and the ability to meet basic human needs while living in harmony with nature. 


Indeed ecovillages are probably among the most sustainable communities on earth -- specifically because they use a multi-sectoral community based approach and embrace community owned and driven planning processes. Ecovillage design processes are perhaps as close as a small community can come to developing and implementing what could be called a Local Agenda 21 sustainable community plan - which all agreed in Rio that every community should develop.


Following the Johannesburg Summit Conference, thirteen villages associated with the Global Ecovillage Network in Senegal received funding from the GEF Small Grants Program to implement an integrated, multi-sectoral community based approach to sustainable rural development linked with a training program and development processes. These villages were so successful that Senegal has created the first National Ecovillage Agency in the world and is intending and planning to use this model in all 28,000 rural villages throughout Senegal (www.ecovillages-sn.org).


Indeed, this approach provides an excellent model to ensure that all people's basic human needs  can and will finally be met, particularly in rural and impoverished urban communities. The EcoEarth Alliance UN Partnership Initiative has thus developed a proposal calling for a global network of resource and service centers to be established in various regions around the world to support the development of this approach. Each resource and service center would work with some fifty villages in the region and provide access to knowledge, information, technologies, best practices, basic supplies, equipment, and training programs. 


We call on the UN to establish such a global network of grassroots support organizations, resource and service centers, and training programs to develop local capacity building and assist villages and rural communities in eradicating poverty and meeting basic human needs. There is a great need to stem the flow of rural to urban migration, while investing in environmental sustainability. The Global Ecovillage Network, along with many others, have already demonstrated how this can fairly easily be accomplished if sufficient resources are provided to invest in sustainable rural and impoverished urban development. 





70% of those facing dire poverty live in rural areas. There is thus an urgent need to improve access in rural communities to energy, water, sanitation, healthcare, transport, etc. and to do so in a sustainable manner. As UNDP says, "Poor people everywhere depend critically on environmental assets and energy resources for their livelihoods and well-being. Mainstreaming environment and sustainable development in national development planning and implementation is essential."


The Earth Policy Institute suggests that, "In this new food era, ensuring future food security depends on elevating responsibility for it from the minister of agriculture’s office to that of the head of state. The minister of agriculture, no matter how competent, can no longer be expected to secure food supplies. Policies in the ministry of energy may affect food security more than those in the ministry of agriculture. Efforts by the minister of health and family planning to accelerate the shift to smaller families may have a greater effect on food security than efforts in the ministry of agriculture to raise crop yields."


Similarly, "If ministries of energy cannot quickly cut carbon emissions, the world will face crop-shrinking heat waves that can massively and unpredictably reduce harvests. A hotter world will mean melting ice sheets, rising sea level, and the inundation of the highly productive rice-growing river deltas of Asia. And if ministries of water resources cannot quickly raise water productivity and arrest the depletion of aquifers, grain harvests will shrink not only in smaller countries like Saudi Arabia and Yemen but also in larger countries, such as India and China."


"And, if the ministries of forestry and agriculture cannot work together to restore tree cover and reduce floods and soil erosion, then we face a situation where grain harvests will also shrink" and climatic disasters will intensify. "Thus in our overpopulated, climate-changing, water-scarce world, food security is a matter for the entire society and for all government ministries. And since hunger is almost always the result of poverty, eradicating hunger depends on eradicating poverty as well." 


Indeed it is time we all realize that we must address all of our primary global challenges at the same time and in an integrated manner, from the local to the global level, and as an urgent priority. 


In rural communities interlinkages are perhaps more apparent and important than anywhere; and yet approaches to development often if not usually address just one sector at a time. In contrast agricultural productivity is usually linked with energy usage, which is then linked with the built environment and green building practices. It is also linked closely with waste management and access to clean water, along with ecosystem services and restoration. All of the above are then linked with education for sustainable development, recreational and cultural activities, small scale entrepreneurship, and access to financial services such as micro-credit. And if it is not yet apparent all of these are directly dependent upon and can contribute to Sustainable Consumption and Production, environmental sustainability, and creating a Green Economy. 


The pledge by the UN to increase the "involvement of all stakeholders" in implementation has to include those living in rural and impoverished urban communities; and support is seriously and urgently needed for "implementation, technology transfer, and capacity building."


More than one third of the growing urban population in the developing world now live in slums. It well past time that we develop programs to ensure that these people's basic human needs can also be met. More than one and a half billion people have gained access to clean drinking water since 1990 – but due to stress on fresh water resources nearly three billion people now live in regions facing water scarcity. And almost half of the developing world population still lack improved sanitation facilities. Again, it is high time that we address all of these problems and challenges at once. 





The EcoEarth Alliance provides, promotes and engages in the development of training programs and resource materials that support an integrated, multi-sectoral community based approach to sustainable rural development. This model of development has perhaps best been demonstrated through the thousands of local villages and communities that are participating in the Global Ecovillage Network and our other partner organizations, including Village Earth, the Institute for Integrated Rural Development, Earth Rights Institute, etc. 


Each ecovillage community tends to develop its own plan and process for adopting sustainable consumption and production processes. Using an integrated, multi-sectoral approach they probably come as close to demonstrating how one can live sustainably as anyone on the planet. They typically engage in organic agriculture and produce as much of their own food as possible; use eco-friendly building practices; eliminate waste through reuse, recycling, and composting; rely on renewable energy; share resources and assist and learn from each other; restore the natural environment; engage in water harvesting; preserve social, ethnic, and community mores and traditions; and celebrate life; etc. A great deal of research, experimentation, and implementation has been done within the ecovillage movement on solar, wind, and wave development. 


The Global Ecovillage Network and our other partner organizations have also developed training courses and materials to assist local communities in planning processes that support the community in becoming as sustainable as possible in regards to social, environmental, economic, and cultural activities. They probably come as close to fulfilling the mandate that all communities develop and implement Local Agenda 21 plans, in small rural communities, as possible. And there is a great deal of exchange and peer-peer experience sharing among the participating communities with conferences and training programs held yearly, and Living and Learning Centers, on most of the continents. See: http://gen.ecovillage.org/education/livinglearningcenters


Gaia Education programmes based on our flagship curriculum,  Ecovillage Design Education (EDE), has been conducted in 32 countries in partnership with communities, ecovillages, universities, municipalities, NGOs and the United Nations. Students of all ages learn the appropriate skills and analytic abilities to design communities which use energy and materials with great efficiency, distribute wealth fairly within and between generations and eliminate the concept of waste. See: www.gaiaeducation.org


Key success factors include multi-sectoral planning processes to determine priorities, needs, and program components for each community based on regional considerations; training of trainers in capacity development, implementation, facilitation and coordination skills; use of consultants to share best practices and train village participants; access to appropriate technologies and needed equipment; community enrollment in the planning and implementation process; participation of interns in village projects; linkage with a coordinating development organization; funding when possible for capital investment and development activities; etc.


Many, if not most, ecovillage communities engage in environmental restoration projects. Waste and water management systems are usually biologically based and result in full cycle and replenishment processes. Many areas around ecovillages have either been reforested or restored to intensive agro-ecology practices and farming. The village community is designed and/or further developed using permaculture design principles that lead to diminishing use of natural resources, increased production, and restoration of the natural environment.


This approach also provides both an excellent means to prevent as well as to respond to natural disasters and other calamities and to greatly increase resiliency.  For example, the Sarvodaya communities in Sri Lanka and the Auroville ecovillage in India assisted villages throughout the region in rebuilding in an integrated multi-sectoral ecologically based manner following the Tsunami, while also restoring the natural environment and increasing resiliency. 





A) Why do we persist in focusing primarily on urban development when 70% of those facing dire poverty live in rural communities and most of the rest probably live in impoverished urban communities that often lack access to municipal services? 


B) How can an integrated, multi-sectoral community based approach to sustainable rural or impoverished urban development promote environmental sustainability; restore our right relationship with the earth and others; and how can it be embraced and shared with the world?


C) What examples exist of how such an integrated, multi-sectoral community based approach to sustainable rural or impoverished urban development either depends upon or can lead to environmental sustainability? What can the experiences of the Global Ecovillage Network and others within the EcoEarth Alliance UN Partnership Initiative tell us about this?


Rob Wheeler

Chairperson, EcoEarth Alliance UN Partnership Initiative

UN Representative, Global Ecovillage Network





Consultation Team from
Wed, January 16, 2013 at 07.54 pm

Dear Rob,

Thank you for your submission.

Consultation Team

Anonymous from
Tue, January 15, 2013 at 01.06 pm

Importance of education in promoting environmental sustainability

There are diverse viewpoints that need to be considered when defining or evaluating environmental sustainability. However, what must be stressed is that humans and nature are interdependent. To realize a sustainable world, there needs to be a change in people’s awareness of this relationship and a corresponding change in their behavior. We believe education for sustainable development (ESD) plays a key role in raising and transforming public awareness.

When we look at the state of our global environment, we can see a pattern where unpredictable events pose severe challenges to both people and the environment. What is required is flexibility and resilience to cope with and adapt to unexpected changes. Environmental issues and solutions vary according to local needs and realities. Often, the daunting scale of the tasks leads people either feeling powerless or in denial. The kind of ESD that we need today must not only raise awareness but empower individuals to become change agents and exercise leadership in their local communities to address the environmental issues that need to be resolved.

The following concepts need to be considered when promoting effective ESD.

1. Learn

Everything starts from grasping basic facts: the amount of the world’s forests that have been lost, the degree of pollution of the air, water and soil, the overall impact on the global ecosystem, etc. We also need to understand the causes and social structures driving environmental destruction. And beyond that, we need to learn to understand and appreciate the realities of those who suffer, embracing their pain as our own and becoming conscious of our interconnectedness. Such an effort will give birth to renewed awareness and determination to act.

2. Reflect

Together with the provision of accurate information, it is crucial that the ethical values we share are clarified. This is particularly important in the case of environmental issues, which can be so vast and complex that information and knowledge alone can leave people wondering what this all means to them and without a clear sense of what concrete steps they can take. To counter such feelings of powerlessness and disconnect, education should encourage understanding of the ways that environmental problems intimately connect to our daily lives. Education must also inspire the faith that each of us has both the capacity and the responsibility to effect positive change on a global scale.

3. Empower

It is for this reason that environmental ethics must be felt as a deeply personal vow and pledge, the fulfillment of which provides us with an inexhaustible sense of purpose and joy. Going through these steps, people will be able to take meaningful and effective action.

4. Leadership

The key challenge is to foster individuals capable of being change agents, spreading hope wherever they go throughout their lives. In order to cultivate such leadership, education needs to be in line with the realities of the individual’s local community and the goals that are set need to be appropriate for that community.

Education is not restricted to classroom education: non-formal education for all can inspire a wide range of people throughout the world. Soka Gakkai International, with a global reach at the grassroots level, has worked to advance ESD using non-formal education tools such as videos and exhibitions. Our ESD exhibitions “Seeds of Change” and “Seeds of Hope” have been shown in different parts of the world to raise public awareness on issues of the environment, economic disparities and social inclusion. Visitors are often encouraged to post their own thoughts and determinations. We strongly believe that ESD oriented to create change agents in society can make a difference in reality.

We feel this aspect of human development needs to be considered when incorporating environmental sustainability into post-MDG discussions.

Hui-Chi Goh from
Tue, January 15, 2013 at 08.31 am


Please find attached a discussion paper which explores what exactly we mean by an environmentally sustainable post-2015 future, and how future sustainability goals should be designed. 


Best wishes, 


Rob Wheeler from
Tue, January 15, 2013 at 05.20 am

Commons Action for the United Nations and the Commons Cluster

UN Consultation on Environmental Sustainability


Global Commons Based Approach to Sustainable Development

We urge the United Nations to adopt a “commons approach” at all levels of government and throughout society to achieve MDG 7. Such a Commons Based Approach would focus on environmental sustainability; link economic, social and environmental sustainability; address cross cutting issues; honor the Rio Principles and Declaration; and ought to be included as a Topic of Discussion in this consultation.

Core Ecological Principles of the Commons Approach

A commons is a community of independent interests that prosper by collaboration, like people with different talents that make a business thrive or species that occupy different niches making an ecology thrive. The responsiveness of each interest to others, whether intentionally in a thriving nation or co-op or naturally as in a culture or economy, is what creates “a whole far greater than the sum of the parts”.

A commons approach would steer the new development goals toward our common self-interests, to create communities that collaborate and work together to create environmental, along with social and economic, sustainability.

Innovative methods for linking the needs and abilities of diverse groups of stakeholders can enable them to solve their problems for mutual advantage with less "rule making", and more listening to each other and to the science, This is a development plan from nature that can really work.

Global commons-based solutions exist wherever groups or networks of people produce, manage or steward natural or social resources in an inclusive, democratic manner to benefit all stakeholders without harming others or nature. Commons also exist as ecologies, where unrelated communities form strong partnerships by seeking their own interests in being responsive to each other.

Commons resources can be natural, social or cultural resources that are produced or managed collectively because of their intrinsic importance to all stakeholders--those most motivated to restore and sustain them.

As the UNDG Thematic Paper on Environmental Sustainability states, "the international community has not committed the necessary investments to achieve MDG7 while the ecosystemʼs capacity to sustain human development is increasingly compromised.” To remedy this a Commons Approach to Environmental Sustainability and a Green Economy is urgently needed:

A) Global Public Goods, ranging from watersheds and forests to the atmosphere and oceans must be protected and restored for the well-being of humanity and nature using a commons approach from local to global levels. Local stakeholders need a say in the use of local resources.

B) Major Groups should be fully and actively included in all UN decision making processes and their role in the new High Level Forum on Sustainable Development strengthened, returning to what it was earlier in the CSD process.

C) Green Tax Policies are urgently needed to get the incentives right to transition to a green economy; protect and restore the natural environment; allocate the proceeds from commons resources equitably and sustainably while developing smart markets that protect the commons; and to fund and achieve all of the multi- national goals and agreements.

A popular way is to shift taxes off of labor and productive capital and onto land and natural resource rents. Thus, municipalities can collect the surface land rents within their jurisdiction. Regional governing bodies the resource rents from forest lands, minerals, and water resources. And a Global Resource Agency should be established to collect user fees on such transnational commons as satellite geostationary orbits, minerals mined or fish caught in international waters, and the electromagnetic spectrum, etc.

D) The Sustainable Development Goals, Targets and Indicators need to be human centered, scientifically based, comprehensive in scope, focus on making a complete transition to full sustainability, and measure aspects that may not be immediately visible in order to fully implement MDG 7.

World standards for Comprehensive Sustainability Reporting (CSR) and Economic Liability Assessments (ELA) would give businesses, consumers, governments and investors solid information on what their choices would cost the future, environmentally and financially, thus helping to make global sustainability self-regulating and more profitable.

E) All Local and National Sustainability Strategies; Action Plans; and the 10 YFPs on Sustainable Consumption and Production should be integrated with the efforts developed under the UN Decade on Education for Sustainable Development and be based on a Commons Approach - thus including all stakeholders in development, management and implementation.

F) A commons approach is needed to implement Rio Principle 10 and to adopt the Access Initiative. Significantly more funds are needed to include civil society as a primary actor in implementation; and rather than halving poverty all people's basic human rights and needs should be fully met.

G) Our global atmosphere is one of the largest commons on the planet. Under a proposal for a Feasta Sky Trust emissions permits would provide the right to use of the atmosphere. Current schemes like the Emissions Trading System (ETS) assume carbon scarcity rent should go to polluters or governments – but it should provide for the well-being of all of humanity instead. See: www.feasta.org

H) UN General Assembly resolution 64/292 of 28 July 2010 "recognizes the right to safe and clean drinking water and sanitation as a human right essential for the full enjoyment of life and all human rights." It is therefore imperative that:

! water sources, springs, headwaters and aquifers be held in common by those cultivating and protecting them;

! we connect water quality to industry, access, and land stewardship to ensure that all water is kept clean and available; and

! the same status be urgently accorded all other commons goods as well, so people can survive and prosper.


Commons communities bring people together to discuss, negotiate, design and implement solutions to community problems. Commoners take personal care and responsibility for their natural and social resources, thus better managing and sustaining them.

Commons are ubiquitous. Their value has been stressed by Elinor Ostrom recipient of the 2009 Nobel Prize in Economic Sciences. They include intentional commons like Wikipedia, geocities, ecovillages, transitions towns, cooperatives, indigenous communities, open source software, and the multi-stakeholder resource partnerships arising from the environmental movement.

Naturally occurring and intentionally organized commons follow many of the same principles: interdependence and equivalence of the individual parts fostering collective creativity in relation to one another and the whole. A collective sense of responsibility toward the commons can end warring over these life giving basics, eradicate poverty, and unleash the creative potential of a mature human species.

UN sponsorship of the study of commons and implementation of the principles of commoning will ensure that the creative potential of world citizens is utilized to address local to global problems. In 2025, the majority of voters globally will be 25 and under. A visible change is already underway at the grassroots level, a great turning is being fueled by young people already skilled as “social entrepreneurs” making collaborative choices in work, learning and social relations.

The people are not waiting for governments to resolve their challenges. However the UN's leadership is crucially important and a commons approach needed to support collective creativity and decision making.


Adopting a global Commons Based Approach to environmental sustainability would build on much that is already in place: One billion people are members of cooperatives -- most of which are thriving during the economic downturn while the traditional global economy is failing.

The Danish agricultural sector; Norwegian Pension Fund; Alaskan Permanent Fund; Raiffeisen and other Banks and credit unions; insurance companies; farmers markets and forest management in Nepal use commons approaches.

In 2008, Ecuador incorporated the rights of nature in their new constitution. Rather than treating nature as property, these laws affirm that nature has the right to exist, persist, maintain and regenerate its vital cycles. And the citizens have the legal authority to enforce these rights and protect these commons resources. Electricity revenues pay for watershed management; and in Colombia taxes on petroleum and charcoal support activities of the National Environmental System.

Ethiopia and Barbuda have thousands of small agricultural commons or village clusters that increase market products and food production and lift rural people out of abject poverty.

Many Hawaiian communities still rely on the ancient Ahupua'a system, an early sustainable model of permaculture. Each community holds an interest in the natural resources and gives its people access to sources of food production. Their interests are held in common and the bounty is shared by the stakeholders.

With a commons approach natural and other resources are collectively managed to benefit all people and are sustained in a healthy manner. Water resources can thus be priced to sustain the resource while ensuring it equitably benefits and is easily available to all.

In the developing world 90% of waste water flows back into the watershed untreated. Many examples show how we can collectively manage water and wastes using biological methods; clean up our water bodies; and use waste resources in a circular manner providing much needed nutrients for agriculture.

With green tax policies we can raise the revenues needed to invest in infrastructure development. We can then set a target that is not to halve the proportion without but to ensure that all people have access to the basic services mandated under the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, HR Conventions, Rio Principles and UN Charter.

Even the 370 million Indigenous People, many living in marginalized conditions, have much to teach us about how the governance structures of commons can work well.

In addition a Commons Abundance Network (CAN) is being set up to help commons communities and networks learn from one another and form stronger unity in diversity. CAN has the potential to enable a commons-based economy to form bottom up and top down, will encourage natural alliances to form, and support the development of public/private/civil society partnerships.

4. SUGGESTED QUESTIONS A. Why do we persist in maintaining the inequities that lead to the degradation of

the environment and the destruction of life?

B. How does a commons approach promote environmental sustainability, restore our right relationship with the earth and others; and how can it be embraced and shared with the world?

C. How widespread are commons and what types of commons exist? How can they help us achieve the new Sustainable Development Goals?



Authoring Team: Rob Wheeler; Myra Jackson, Jessie Henshaw, Helene Finidori, and Lisinka Ulatowska

Contact: lisinka.ulatowska@gmail.com

Jessie Lydia Henshaw from
Tue, January 15, 2013 at 12.03 pm

The reference paper "Models of Commons Interests.pdf" is a review of 3 Rio+20 Proposals, now titled:  "New Institutions for a Global Commonsnatural design for a human ecology with self-regulating sustainable development and finance"

In the attached "CAUN:Commons Post2015 List of Reference Papers.pdf",  it corresponds to paper #4, though the title was not updated. 


Anonymous from
Tue, January 15, 2013 at 01.09 am

The Value Deconstruction Necessary for True, "Transformative Education" for Global Sustainability and a Viable World 

Brief Outline and Rational:

Words matter.  In such a political and ideological topic as "Education for Environmental Sustainability", words and what they illuminate or obfuscate about the underlying values and foci of those proposing any type of education become important in understanding what that education will then generate or create in any environment or culture.  

Even when translating across languages and cultures, ideas and contexts are “framed” by the words one chooses, especially when discussing social/political and even philosophical ideas.  This is a basic tenet of epistemology or “The branch of philosophy that studies the nature of knowledge, its presuppositions and foundations, and its extent and validity.”  

This issue becomes critical then in deconstructing the definitions and proponents of those definitions of education; particularly in this case the proposed dominant models of education exported worldwide as "Education for Sustainability" or "Education for Sustainable Development" or the more popularly preferred term of US-based multi-national Corporations working to impact these ideas with the less ‘controversial’ term of  "Environmental Education".  

It’s time to think critically about these terms we use and discuss. The current Western/Enlightenment model of "intellectual elite education" and the science, technology, engineering and math (“STEM”) it emphasizes and promotes worldwide without a value deconstruction underlying those terms, is the educational model predominantly discussed, promoted and exported, even within most current “sustainable education” models. This is essentially the same model and worldview that got us to the current technologically-dominated unsustainable models worldwide undermining in many cases older, more community and common-values based interdependency paradigms.

This is not to say that the science and technology focused educational models haven’t achieved some great advances, for all peoples.  But what must be understood is how these dominating subject areas became so easily separated from the underlying value systems of human sustainability, respect and even love for nature, greater not lesser human rights and pursuit of true, sustainable social good rather than higher concentration of elitist profits for a privileged few at the expense of the planet and humanity as a whole. True educational transformation is therefore needed, in more than just the words.

The argument of greatest interest then for any truly “transformative” model or paradigm of global sustainability education would be one willing to deconstruct and question these very hidden value systems, prejudices and constrictive premises of the old, unsustainable model.  No matter the trendy and popular words now used to “sell” it as a new model of “sustainable education”, without examining these mindsets or raising these underlying definitions and premises, it is unlikely it will be an educational model that would actually achieve any significantly different results and outcomes, especially in terms of human rights, gender or social equity or economic parity. Truly “Transformative Education” and its 12 Principles argued for by the International Transformative Education Forum (TEF) held in Geneva, Switzerland (2010), Monterey, California (2011) and Bangalore, India (2012) centered on beginning the educational conversation with these very critical value issues, to truly transform the learning/educational and sustainability results for all children and peoples. 

Brief presentation of existing findings and link to the complete papers and existing think pieces referenced:

Principles of Transformative Education, TEF Principles

"International Sustainability Education for the 21st Century" by June Gorman and Kristen von Hoffman

UN Chronicle: "Bringing Human Passion into Sustainability Education and Bridging Cultures", Volume XLIX Number 3 2012 (28.09.2012)









"Emotional Intelligence and Instructional Technology"  

Proposed Set of Questions:

What outcomes and results do we want to achieve from any educational model for true sustainability that are different from current outcomes?

What values and value systems implicitly underline current educational models and resulted in unsustainable outcomes?

What would be the critical ideological, political, economic values to make explicit in any new and truly sustainable education model and how does claims for science, technology, engineering and math with claims of objectivity and neutrality disguise those value systems currently?

What are the human rights issues hidden by those same "only scientific" knowledge based educational models that create social inequity in these educational outcomes?








Ross Bailey from
Fri, January 11, 2013 at 05.03 pm

Post-2015 consultation on environmental sustainability


Submission by WaterAid


Why we must focus on core blockages and not the details of specific environmental issues

Rather than attempt to cover every single environmental issue in depth, the consultation could more usefully focus on the core factors underpinning the lack of progress to date. In particular, the second phase of the consultation should focus on several fundamental issues relating to environmental sustainability that have not been resolved.

The toxic political context

The process and outcomes of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) negotiations, Rio+20 and even the relatively uncontroversial Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) have demonstrated that the political context for multilateral sustainability issues is still deeply toxic.

Multilateral agreements on environmental sustainability are perceived as a restriction on economic growth and freedom. This perception leads governments around the world to see global agreements on environmental sustainability as a cost and a negative factor for their international competitiveness. The Economics of Ecosystems and Biodiversity (TEEB) and the subsequent Wealth Accounting and the Valuation of Ecosystem Services (WAVES) initiative go some way to valuing ecosystems, but more than 20 years after the Brundtland Report, the economic case for sustainability has still not been won at a political level.

Ending the divide between environment and development

We talk of sustainable development as linking environment, economy and people, yet environmental sustainability is still very much divided from economic and social development in practice. Even this very thematic consultation has a split between environmental sustainability and the rest of development.

Combined with the toxicity of the multilateral sustainability debate, there is a risk of environment being pushed aside in the post-2015 framework. The framework needs to show environment and development as an indivisible whole and an opportunity for positive change.


Water as an example of a holistic approach to environment and development

Using WaterAid’s experience, this discussion note outlines a possible approach for water. This approach is equally applicable to other issues such as energy or food.

People around the world attach different values to water – social, cultural, environmental and economic. These different values shape the way that we talk about water and frame the policy issues.

As a development issue
Water is the foundation of social and economic development and, along with food and shelter, is one of the most basic human needs. Yet 783 million people lack access to safe drinking water[1] and diarrhoeal disease is the second leading cause of under-5 mortality globally, causing more under-5 deaths than AIDS, malaria and measles combined[2]. People also use water to grow crops, water livestock and produce goods and services, underpinning livelihoods, economic and social development.

For those without water in the home, the burden of collecting water falls mainly on women and children, who spend up to eight hours a day collecting water[3]. This is time that could be used for attending school, earning a living or recreation.

As a security and stability issue
Water is also a strategic issue with implications for national security. The prospect of ‘water wars’ is unlikely – violence over water does not seem strategically rational, hydrographically effective, or economically viable[4]. However, poor water management combined with wider factors such as poverty or social tensions can pose significant risks to state stability and integrity.

“During the next ten years, many countries important to the United States will experience water problems... that will risk instability and state failure, increase regional tensions, and distract them from working with the United States on important policy objectives… Water problems will hinder the ability of key countries to produce food and generate energy, posing a risk to global food markets and hobbling economic growth.”
US Intelligence Community Assessment on Global Water Security, 2012

As an economic issue
Water is a key economic input to many industries, such as food and beverage, and the extractives industries. Poor management of water can directly affect business operations as well as pose reputational risks and threats to social licence to operate at a company level[5].

At a macro-economic scale, rainfall variability can have a direct impact on GDP if the economy depends on sectors that are exposed to climatic vulnerability and lack the storage to buffer variability[6].

Water scarcity can hinder energy production and therefore growth. The Chinese Academy of Science estimates that the 16 coal-fired power stations planned in the 12th Five Year Plan will require 10bn cubic metres annually, driving annual water consumption in four provinces to or beyond total industrial water supply capacity (reaching 94 to 141% of supply)[7].

Finally, water-related disasters can severely compromise growth. The 2010 floods in Pakistan caused an estimated US$9.5bn[8] worth of damages and were forecast to depress GDP growth from 4% prior to the floods to -2% to -5% after.

As an ecological issue
Freshwater ecosystems provide and maintain the supply of water for many of the above uses – the water cycle is responsible for transportation and purification of water. Water provides important cultural services such as spiritual, recreational and aesthetic benefits. Water also underpins other ecosystem services, playing an essential role in other vital ecosystems.[9] The Nakivubo Swamp near Kampala was estimated to have an annual value of US$1m - 1.75m for purifying the city’s waste waters and retaining nutrients.[10]

Yet, there is no framing of ‘water’ that recognises these multiple views and values. Despite a plethora of initiatives and activity, there has been limited progress – and what progress has been made is in silos. Water initiatives are often not connected and it is hard to see if they have truly delivered systemic change. It’s clear that there is both energy and expertise on water, but there’s an obvious lack of recognition of multiple viewpoints.

To move closer to a more coherent approach that takes these different values into account, there are three ‘functions’ that the post-2015 framework needs to deliver to make progress on water (that are also applicable to other resource issues):

  • Reduce inequity – everyone should have access to sufficient water for drinking, sanitation and hygiene, with poor and disadvantaged groups a first priority.[11]
  • Fairly share benefits – water needs to be used more efficiently to maximise the overall benefits obtained from its use, within resource thresholds. These benefits need to be fairly shared across users.
  • Minimise risks and build resilience – the post-2015 framework needs to protect economy and society from water-related shocks (eg droughts, floods), including protecting ecosystem services and environmental buffers.

Proposed set of questions

Changing the politics

  • How can we improve the dynamic in multilateral sustainability discussions?
    In order to agree a post-2015 framework that includes environmental sustainability, the underlying multilateral dynamics need to be addressed head on. This is a core challenge that has to be tackled if any progress is to be made.
  • Can other approaches complement multilateral processes?
    There are good examples of where responsible businesses have recognised the business case for environmental sustainability. Can we use practical business examples to win the economic case?

Making progress on water

  • What needs to change in the multilateral system to deliver these three proposed functions?
  • What needs to change at the national level?
  • What is the role of goals in driving change?
  • What could a global water goal look like?

[1] WHO/UNICEF Joint Monitoring Programme (2012) Progress on Drinking Water and Sanitation.

[2] WHO/UNICEF Child Health Epidemiology Reference Group (2012).

[3] Dessalegn, M et al (2012) Voices from the Source: Struggles with local water security in Ethiopia. ODI/WaterAid.

[4] Wolf, A.T. (2006) Conflict and Co-operation over Transboundary Water. UNDR 2006 Background Papers. Available at http://hdr.undp.org/en/reports/global/hdr2006/papers/Wolf_Aaron.pdf

[5] Pegram, G., Orr, S. and Williams, C (2009) Investigating Shared Risk in Water: Corporate Engagement with the Public Policy Process. WWF.

[6] D. Grey and C.W. Sadoff (2007) Sink or swim? Water security for growth and development, Water Policy 9, no. 6: 545–571.

[7] Greenpeace China (2012) Thirsty Coal: A water crisis exacerbated by China’s new mega coal power bases. Greenpeace China/Chinese National Academy of Sciences.

[8] Guha-Sapir D, Vos F, Below R, with Ponserre S. (2011) Annual Disaster Statistical Review 2010: The Numbers and Trends. Brussels: CRED. p16.

[9] TEEB (2010) The Economics of Ecosystems and Biodiversity: Mainstreaming the Economics of Nature: A synthesis of the approach, conclusions and recommendations of TEEB.

[10] Emerton, L., Iyango, L., Luwum, P. and Malinga, A. (1999) The present economic value of Nakivubo urban wetland, Uganda, IUCN, Eastern Africa Regional Office, Nairobi and National Wetlands Programme, Wetlands Inspectorate Division, Ministry of Water, Land and Environment, Kampala.

[11] See JMP website (www.wssinfo.org) for latest thinking on the goals targets and indicators to achieve this.

Consultation Team from
Fri, January 11, 2013 at 08.37 pm

Dear Ross,

Thank you for your submission. It has been added to the list.

Best Regards,
Maria Cristina Gallegos

Anonymous from
Fri, January 11, 2013 at 04.19 am

to  laura.hildebrandt@undp.or

Dear Ms. Hildebrandt,

Got your circular and as well the one for the preparations for the panel of emininent persons. As such I would like to submit a general idea that I believe was a main outcome of the Rio+20 meeting.

 I am a representative to the UN of WAFUNIF - The World Association of Former UN Interns and Fellows - a group of people that have invested in the UN time and effort, and are as such very much interested in the success of the UN. I have received your e-mail requesting input and wish to comply.

Having watched the proceedings at Rio+20, and being interested in Sustainable Development going back to the times the idea was conceived in the run-up to the Brundtland Commission and the Rio 1992 conference, I am deeply aware that the concept of SUSTAINABILITY involves the building of a bridge to future generations while at the same time effecting the Development Process right now. At Rio+20 it seemed that the decision to create the High-level Panel was in recognition that the Commission on Sustainable Development had difficulty in following that original idea, and the Panel is thus called on to reformulate the connection between SUSTAINABILITY defined as above and DEVELOPMENT. Further, Rio+20 has also backed the Secretary-General's SE4All effort with the understanding that Sustainability is rooted in developing Sustainable Energy as the means to reach true Sustainable Development. Mr. Maurice Strong, the head of the Stockholm 1972 and the Rio 1992 Conferences, and a member of the Brundtland Commission, put this at Rio+20 in the words he uses now for the goal of the UN in "DEVELOPING SUSTAINABILITY" on the way to true Sustainable Development.

As such - the question I would like to pose before the Panel of Eminent Persons that I feel could be a generic litmus test for Sustainable Development is:

Does the item being discussed support the Bridge to Future Generations? Does this item allow for a decent life for those that come after us, or do we rob them in order to support ourselves only?

Obviously, I suggest the same litmus test to any deliberations on development and sustainability - before and after 2015.

Sincerely yours,

Pincas Jawetz
Main WAFUNIF representative to the UN offices in Vienna.

Anonymous from
Thu, January 10, 2013 at 06.53 am

Peace greetings from India!  From over a decade of experience we have concluded that sustainable change to our environment comes from 'peoples participation in local governance'.  The saying "think global but act local" is so very true.

Anonymous from
Thu, January 10, 2013 at 06.48 am

Peace greetings from India! We have learnt through our efforsts and experiences in the last one decade that 'public participation in local governance' has brought us change and better living. The saying "think global but act local" is certainly true.

Anonymous from
Fri, January 11, 2013 at 07.16 am

 I agree with the sentence above.
Global thinking is very important. But these ideas  need to apply locally.

Pradeep Mahapatra from
Fri, January 11, 2013 at 01.23 pm

Yes, I endorse  it  for global advocacy and local action. It is important that there should be very much strategic  and smart investment especially environment finance  domain.

Juliana Dixon from
Wed, January 9, 2013 at 10.40 pm

Dear Consultation Team,

I am writing this proposal to you with the passionate hope that you will consider my topic for this discussion.  I have seen a methodology work  - one that engages a range of people to be part of the solution, not just the educated and monetarily elite.  This methodology led, and politicians have come to ask questions.   

I tried to upload my proposal via the website but could not get access for some reason though I was logged in.  I've attached it here.

Thank you for your consideration,

   Juliana Dixon

Consultation Team from
Fri, January 11, 2013 at 08.47 pm

Dear Juliana,

Thank you for your submission. We added your proposal to the list.

Consultation Team

Anonymous from
Mon, January 7, 2013 at 05.07 pm

Land and Linkages – Land like Education requires a multifaceted and inter-sector planning approach- and when put both together (in addition the the rest)  you get sustainable human development

Land degradation, biodiversity, international waters, climate change and POPs.
Land degradation involves soil loss; loss of biodiversity and productivity of the area
(including agricultural and forest); loss of vegetation cover, and thus of carbon
stocks, as well as a reduction in the carbon sequestration capacity of the land;
disruption of the hydrological cycle, including increased surface run-off which can
carry POPs and other pollutants, cause damage to investments in the watersheds
and downstream areas; and changes in the micro-climate. Restoration of degraded
lands, for example through afforestation, reforestation, agroforestry and related
projects, can have appreciable benefits. It can reduce land degradation, have a
positive influence on the condition of international waters, the biodiversity and the
livelihoods of the regions (both within and beyond the project areas), and would also
be beneficial for climate change mitigation and adaptation. Sustainable management
of watersheds can be beneficial to both surface and groundwater resources in
transboundary areas.


Incorporation of interlinkages and inter-sectoral planning  in projects in the GEF  Land Degradation focal area

Prior to October 2002, when land degradation was designated as a GEF focal area, land degradation issues were not directly addressed as the primary focus of intervention of GEF projects, but were only indirectly included in programs, as they affected other focal areas of Biodiversity, International Waters and Climate Change. Berry and Olson (2001) reviewed 103 projects that had linkages with land degradation and found that only 39 of these projects had strong land degradation linkages. Of these, 27 (69%) were in the Biodiversity focal area, 6 were in International Waters focal area, and 6 in the Climate Change focal area. However, further analysis of these projects revealed that the linkages that provided the raison d’être for these projects did not reflect the full range of possible links between land degradation and the other focal  areas, and that, in some cases, the linkages were not consistently established because:

• Project activities were mainly based on focal area priorities, rather than on linkage activities that explore the relationships between land degradation and the other focal areas. For instance, of the 27 projects with land degradation linkages in the Biodiversity focal area, 77% were located in or near protected areas where land degradation is not usually a major concern, leading to project activities of importance to biodiversity, but not necessarily addressing significant land degradation problems. Similarly, the primary focus of most of projects in the International Waters focal area was on institutional and water pollution issues, rather than on land degradation mitigation through flood
and catchment management activities.
• There were problems in defining an appropriate baseline against which to measure the incremental costs of land degradation control activities, due to the multiple benefits — at local and global levels — that such activities generate. These problems also hampered the establishment of strong linkages in projects. The issue of how to estimate the incremental costs of projects involving many interlinkages remains an important topic that needs to be examined. Overall, linkages between land degradation and the other focal areas were strongest in those projects where land degradation was identified as a central part of the problem early in the design phase.
Conversely, when land degradation was not initially perceived as a threat to the focal areas, the land degradation linkages were poorly addressed.


Guy Hutton from
Fri, January 4, 2013 at 01.28 pm

There is a separate Thematic Consultation on Water, but given that water and sanitation are part of MDG 7, I would like to share with you a document that was prepared for a Consultation in the Hague during December 2012. The document (plus annexes) details the post-2015 WASH targets, definitions and indicators proposed by working groups initiated under the WHO/UNICEF Joint Monitoring Programme. Further consultations are ongoing. As well as on the Worldwewant platform, comments can still be made online at the JMP website- see right side at the following link: http://www.wssinfo.org/post-2015-monitoring/overview/

The minutes of the Hague consultation will be available on the above site by early-February 2013.


Guy Hutton, Coordinator of the JMP Post-2015 Process,
World Health Organization and UNICEF
Consultation Team from
Fri, December 28, 2012 at 11.02 pm

We would like to thank everyone who submitted discussion notes. We received several requests from those who were not able to submit due to the holidays. We have decided to extend the deadline for submission to 15 January, 2013.

Have a wonderful holiday season!

Best regards,
Consultation Team

Anonymous from
Fri, December 28, 2012 at 11.36 pm

Thank you for doing this. I am sure that many people and organizations will appreciate the extension. However, it would have been nice if you had made this decision last week, so that those of us that spent much of our holidays working on our submissions could have spent more time with our families instead. Still it is nice to have our submissions pretty much done. 

Again, I am glad that you decided to include another extension. 

Rob Wheeler

Diane Husic from
Fri, December 28, 2012 at 05.17 pm

I was just reading through the comments that have been posted and there are many rich ideas.  What I don’t see mentioned are the increasing problems of resource extraction (at any social, health, or environmental cost), land grabs that could eventually lead to complete privatization of water and food resources and huge disparities between the wealthy and poor (and thus increasing global and regional conflict), the over-arching concerns related to climate change on almost all of the MDGs, and the importance of linking environmental and cultural sustainability – including indigenous cultures, traditional knowledge, lessons learned from adaptation, etc.

The growing body of evidence linking nature to human well-being suggests that environmental sustainability is central to not only the prosperity of the human race, but our continued existence as happy and healthy people – regardless of our socio-economic status.

Sylvia Karlsson-Vinkhuyzen from
Thu, December 27, 2012 at 08.27 pm
Values and education for responsible, sustainable living A discussion note from the International Environment Forum (IEF) and The Partnership for Education and Research about Responsible Living (PERL)Sustainable lifestyles are central to overcoming poverty and conserving and protecting the natural resource base for all. Sustainable methods of production are also needed; use of resources needs to be minimized; and pollution and waste reduced. To achieve sustainable lifestyles and environmentally friendly production in the current state of multiple global crisis, it is necessary to foster a harmonious dynamic between the material and non-material (or moral) aspects of production and consumption. Such a dynamic must be based on a reexamination of our concepts of human nature, development and the nature of progress and prosperity. It must be founded on rational scientific enquiry while retaining respect for the values underlying cultures around the world. Thus, by focusing on the values and ethical principles motivating choices and by stimulating innovation in education, people will be better able to understand the problems they are currently facing, and to react differently. A process of value-based social learning needs to become more firmly embedded in communities in order to give rise to solutions to the many complex and constantly evolving challenges of the present and the future.Rationale
Education, and particularly education that includes value-based learning about our dependence on ecosystem services in all their diverse forms, is one of the key cross-cutting isues for environmental sustainability. This is a prerequisiet for our ability to generate well-educated, creative societies that can overcome the integrated sustainability challenges we face. Thus, education is inextricably linked to well-balanced development that takes into consideration the ethical, social, environmental and economic dimensions of an improved quality of life for present and future generations. The global financial and economic crisis together with other crises linked to climate change, food and energy, have demonstrated the need for viable, long-term solutions. A system of production and consumption imposing significantly lower pressures on natural resource stocks and the environment while improving the quality of life and social well-being for all, is now widely recognised as necessary in order to move to sustainable development. This has given new relevance to debates on how education should respond to changing realities and contribute to a better future.Education should not be understood in a narrow sense so that it simply means learning to consume and produce less or different (more sustainably). Instead, such education should serve to empower consumers by making them aware of the principles guiding their choices, their rights and responsibilities as well as the needs of individuals throughout the world. It should equip them with critical thinking skills to be conscious consumers and active, compassionate citizens. Education for sustainable development should train people to support business practices and government policies that are ethically sound, seek eco-efficiency, provide a wide range of choices and alternatives, and supply reliable information to consumers. Changing unsustainable patterns of consumption and production requires changes in attitudes and behaviours on a massive scale. Such education needs to be based on multi-stakeholder partnerships, research and activities which support sustainable lifestyles innovation in both developed and developing countries.Regulations, new technology and material incentives alone cannot bring about significant attitude and behavior changes. Education cannot do this alone either. Together, education, regulations and material incentives/new technology can provide the necessary knowledge, frameworks and motivation for constructive change to sustainable living. Together they can provide the foundations for the transitions needed to achieve a more equitable and sustainable economy. Present findings:
There exist much research and discourse on the issues of values and sustainable development as well as on education and sustainable development. Below is just a small selection of references:
-World Happiness Report; (2012). ed. John Helliwell, Richard Layard and Jeffrey Sachs.
-Prosperity without Growth? (2009)Tim Jackson, University of Surrey.
-The Empathic Civilization; (2009) Jeremy Rifkin; publ:The Penguin Group.
-Rethinking Prosperity; (2011) Baha’i International Community.
-Creating Our Common Future, Educating for Unity in Diversity; (2001) ed. Jack Campbell, UNESCO publ.
-The Eco Principle; (1996) Arthur Lyon Dahl; George Ronald Publ.
-Education and Climate Change, Living and Learning in Interesting Times; (2010) ed. Fumiyo Kagawa and David Selby.
-What’s Mine is Yours; (2010) Rachel Botsman and Roo Rogers; Collins publ.Relevant questions:• How can countries and communities be encouraged to include a comprehensive program of value-based, holistic, interdisciplinary and practical education for sustainable living in their curricula, teacher training, school activities and informal education?
• What should a 10-year framework of programs on sustainable consumption and production contain to support the development of education for sustainable living in formal and informal educational systems in all countries as well as dissemination of good practices, learning kits, guidelines and material?
• How can such a framework of programs build upon the work of the UN Decade of Education for Sustainable Development?
• How can we ensure focus on life skills and creative social learning processes?
• Where can the resources for carrying out the above-mentioned programs be acquired?
• How can broader partnerships for this kind of education be stimulated, partnerships that go beyond the formal educational institutions and that include governmental agencies, private actors (in marketing etc.) and academic actors? Links: www.iefworld.org and www.perlprojects.org
Sylvia Karlsson-Vinkhuyzen from
Thu, December 27, 2012 at 08.19 pm
“Let’s collaborate for a global sustainable energy system”
A discussion note from the International Environment ForumOutline and rationale
Few would question the need for universal multilateral agreements and global cooperation in general on climate change mitigation and adaptation as an essential part of addressing environmental sustainability. The UNFCCC is the primary forum where this is discussed and many would probably be reluctant to set specific climate goals as part of the environmental SDGs for this reason. This does not mean that the future SDGs do not provide plentiful opportunities to address climate change in a sustainable development context. These opportunities lie in addressing some of the underlying causes of the problem. Such causes we can find in our unsustainable consumption and production patterns, our institutional framework and our value and education systems that support these.
This discussion note proposes that the deliberations on the post2015 goals and strategies on environmental sustainability includes the topic of energy and how we go about this issue as an international community of states and as one human family. We propose that a crucial challenge is the transforming our system of producing and consuming energy from one that is largely based on a few non-renewable resources that contribute to climate change and that is not reaching many of the poor of society, into a sustainable system with low or no-carbon intensity and that at the same time ensure availability of affordable energy sources for those currently deprived of modern energy services and for future generations. We also propose that an important way to address this challenge is a change in the mindset and approach of states (in particular) and other actors towards energy. The change in mindset is one of moving from one of looking at energy as a national security issue for which countries are in competition with each other to one of looking at a global sustainable energy system as a global public good. This change in mindset would in turn enable a change in approach towards global collaboration for sustainable energy. Presentation of exisiting findings
Public goods are resources that are non-rival and non-excludable. This means that there can be no exclusion of those who refuse to pay for the good or service to enjoy the benefits, and that its use by one person does not impact on another’s use. Because of their character, public goods – and particularly global public goods – risk being under-provided. The example of a stable global climate system, which is clearly a global public good, is in extreme underprovision as we all know. In a recently published paper in ‘Ecological Economics’ Karlsson-Vinkhuyzen et al (2012) argued that that there are good reasons, both normative and analytical, to view the sustainability of the global energy system as a global public good. For the individual consumer, energy is of course both excludable and rival. They could therefore only argue this by taking a global systems perspective. A parallel for this can be found in the stability of the global financial system. Once financial stability has been achieved, everyone benefits from it and no one can be excluded. The same goes for a global energy system that is efficient and has low or no carbon intensity. Once it is established it would be a global public good for at least two reasons. Firstly, it would give the non-excludable and non-rival benefits of a less dangerous degree of climate change and reduced air pollution. Secondly, such an energy system would mean that more people would have access to modern energy services in the future, when current energy sources become scarcer and more expensive. Access to modern energy services is a pre-requisite for economic and social development. The possibilities for multilateral win-win cooperation around energy have been neglected for decades. An illustration of this is the fragmented and ad hoc approach to develop both norms and action around energy for sustainable development, especially within the UN System (Karlsson-Vinkhuyzen 2010). For example, the Rio+20 Outcome Document has five paragraphs dedicated to energy using the most general and non-committal language, including: “We…recognise the importance of promoting incentives in favour of, and removing disincentives to, energy efficiency and the diversification of the energy mix, including promoting research and development in all countries, including developing countries.” (para 128). This language is even weaker than the soft goal of the 2002 World Summit on Sustainable Development where countries agreed with “a sense of urgency, [to] substantially increase the global share of renewable energy sources with the objective of increasing its contribution to total energy supply…” (para 20). It is society’s choice to change the mind-set from looking at energy as – for example, a national security issue where countries consider each other as competitors – to looking at the sustainability of the global energy system as a global public good. If we did so, then the issue of global collaboration on energy would become less sensitive and more open to discussion about the types of global collaboration on sustainable energy that would make sense. Karlsson-Vinkhuyzen suggest, based on the subsidiarity principle, that multilateral collaboration sustainable energy becomes desirable when it is effective and necessary. For example, this can be achieved by strengthening the capacity and motivation of countries to take action, addressing barriers in the international system and targetting the global public good properties of global sustainable energy collaboration, including knowledge creation and diffusion, and international standards and targets. Questions for discussion
• What is the role of global collaboration for creating a sustainable energy system?
• What particular areas of collaboration could bring most benefit in the short term (considering the haste to reduce greenhouse gas emissions)?
• How can civil society become more engaged in the energy policy making at different levels (considering the technical character of the sector etc.)
• What type of SDGs could be adopted and serve a transition to a sustainable energy system (considering either numerical targets in energy efficiency, renewable energy etc. or targets in global knowledge sharing, regulation etc.)References:
Karlsson-Vinkhuyzen, S.I., Jollands, N., Staudt, L., 2012. Global governance for sustainable energy: The contribution of a global public goods approach. Ecological Economics 83, pp.11-18.Karlsson-Vinkhuyzen, S.I., 2010. The United Nations and global energy governance: past challenges, future choices. Global Change, Peace and Security 22, 175–195.
Anonymous from
Thu, December 27, 2012 at 06.12 pm

Comprendre la durabilité du développement (2)

D’une manière générale, ce qu’il faut, c’est investir en quelque sorte ce qu’on a, c'est-à-dire, redonner systématiquement à la nature les possibilités de reconstituer ce qui lui est pris au jour le jour, protéger et cultiver ce qui lui sera pris plus tard :

Dans le cas des ressources renouvelables, le problème est globalement simple, en théorie : garantir et améliorer leur renouvellement ou leur reconstitution : par exemple, si on prélève la ressource ‘fertilité de sol’, qu’on le renouvelle in situ ou qu’on le reconstitue ex situ, au moins à concurrence de ce qui a été prélevé. Pour cela, la possibilité et la faisabilité de ce renouvellement/reconstitution doivent être « ficelés » avant que le prélèvement ne s’autorise, ne s’effectue.

En pratique, c’est plutôt complexe, d’où les études d’impacts sur l’environnement des projets qui sont censées évaluer et dire, en termes de méthodologies et d’opérations éprouvées par des pratiques et des controverses (scientifiques) publiques, comment le réussir ?

Dans le cas des ressources non renouvelables, on peut envisager une préservation différentielle en ne prélevant que juste ce dont on a besoin pour assurer une équité intra générationnelle contemporaine. Si cela peut être valable pour des pays comme la Norvège, suffisamment développée selon les modèles actuels, il est impensable pour un pays comme le nôtre, pratiquement tenu de se précipiter pour exploiter tout ce qu’il découvre. Et ce, pour assurer un minimum d’être ou de mieux-être aux générations actuelles.

En matière de ressources minières, des approches sont développées pour compenser la disparition définitive des ressources. Il s’agirait de reconstituer virtuellement les capacités de la nature à produire et à reproduire des fonctions écologiques, sociales et économiques compensatrices. Mais le caractère ultérieur de cette restauration introduit inévitablement une incertitude, un doute quant aux résultats. Ce qui doit être affirmé sans ambigüité, c’est le fait que les revenus d’une activité doivent réparer, sous une forme ou une autre, les dégâts environnementaux et sociaux de ladite activité. Autrement, l’activité est non durable et ne saurait s’inscrire dans une perspective de développement dans la durée. Evidemment, c’est plus facile à dire qu’à faire mais c’est compréhensible et comme tendance, pratiquement accessible. C’est ce à quoi il faut conjuguer les intelligences, toutes les intelligences qui, en principe, n’ont ni bord, ni parti politique.

En conclusion, En matière de préservation de l’environnement et de tutelle des générations futures, il s’agit au moins :

  • d’optimiser la valorisation des prélèvements effectués, ce qui les réduirait pour le même résultat escompté ;

  • d’améliorer la productivité moyenne du patrimoine environnemental pour augmenter sa capacité à répondre à des besoins humains, expansifs[1] ; et

  • de « cultiver » ce qui n’est pas prélevé aujourd’hui, et qui le sera forcement demain.

[1] Ce versant du problème n’est pas traité ici.

Arthur Lyon Dahl from
Thu, December 27, 2012 at 04.53 pm

When I tried to post content, I received a notice "access denied, so my discussion note is below, and a supporting paper attached:



Arthur Lyon Dahl

International Environment Forum

Geneva, Switzerland




The ultimate purpose of sustainable development should be to increase human well-being, now and it the future, while respecting the planet's environmental constraints and potentials. Yet present indicators of development remain narrow and focused largely in economic and materialistic terms, when we know that development includes important psychological, social, cultural and spiritual dimensions. New indicators of human well-being at the individual level could be linked to sustainable development goals and would integrate all the dimensions of sustainable development, guiding action towards a more sustainable future.




The UNDP Human Development Report and Index (http://hdr.undp.org/en/) looks at national averages, often hiding disparities within countries. The debate on indicators of development beyond GDP (Stiglitz 2009) has now been acknowledged by governments at the United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development (Rio+20) in June 2012 (UN 2012, para. 38).


The recognition of the inadequacy of purely economic indicators has led to a number of initiatives to measure human values, well-being and happiness. These are now producing methodologies that make it possible to consider indicators of these higher dimensions of human well-being.


Bhutan was the first country to assess its development in a culturally-relevant way through Gross National Happiness (Ura et al. 2012a, 2012b, http://www.gnhc.gov.bt/). Other countries and international organizations are also working on standard measures of well-being and happiness. The first World Happiness Report (Helliwell et al. 2012) used global surveys to assess subjective well-being or happiness. A recent European research project on values-based indicators of education for sustainable development (Harder et al. in press; http://www.esdinds.eu) has demonstrated the practicality of indicators of values at the individual level (Dahl 2012b). For a more complete discussion of individual human well-being, see Dahl (2012c).


This work now makes it possible to consider indicators of development at the level of each human being, and the post-2015 process would be a logical place to take this work forward.




It is first necessary to agree on a much broader definition of human development at the personal level. The ultimate purpose of development should be to improve the prosperity and well-being of each individual on this planet. What is lacking is a set of indicators to operationalize this concept (Dahl 2012a). Ideally, the best measure of successful development would be that it enables every human being to fulfil his or her potential in life both in cultivating individual qualities, personality and capacities and in contributing to the advancement of society.


Addressing the concept of well-being requires an exploration at the deepest levels of human nature and purpose. This can range from a materialist view of us as social animals with only physical and social needs, through a humanist addition of an ethical dimension of responsibility for our fellow humans and the environment, to the view that human experience is rooted in an inner spiritual reality that we all share in common. Each of these emphasizes different levels of prosperity and well-being. A multicultural perspective should cover all these levels in an inclusive hierarchy to be relevant to all states.


To achieve environmental sustainability, we must overcome the intractable conflict between endless individual consumption and humanity's collective need for equitable access to resources. It can be argued that well-being for everyone necessitates a more just and sustainable social order replacing current patterns of unsustainable consumption and production, in which the well-being of a few is attained at the expense of the many (BIC 2010). The economic development context within which an individual is born and lives will condition many aspects of both the possibilities for and results of individual development and well-being. How well-being is achieved and perceived will be very different at each level of national development.


There are many different ways to look at human development and well-being, from the viewpoints of various academic disciplines (psychology, sociology, education, anthropology, philosophy), or as defined in the many cultures and religious/spiritual traditions of the world. The Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UN 1948) and other UN documents provide another source. The Millennium Development Goals (UN 2010) also identify dimensions of basic needs that are requirements for well-being. Every life lost to poverty or disease is a complete failure to achieve well-being.


Psychological research has identified what Maslow (1943) termed a hierarchy of needs: physiological, safety, love and belonging, esteem, and self-actualization. A similar perspective comes from recognizing four fundamental characteristics of a human being: a biological organism, a social organism, a thinking and reasoning being; and with a spiritual dimension as the highest realization of human purpose.


Well-being is not a static concept, but is expressed at multiple levels and in different ways throughout a lifetime. It is also relative both in comparison with others and in relation to previous experience. Identifying the multiple dimensions of well-being and developing indicators to measure them can provide the basis for more comprehensive measures of individual human development and allow states to assess their performance with respect to each individual citizen.




Combining all these approaches and extracting a synthesis has produced the following dimensions of human well-being in a more-or-less hierarchical arrangement from physical and environmental through economic and social to the more intangible.


Physical growth/health

Including food security, living standards, health care; access to energy, shelter, a clean and unpolluted environment; rest and recreation; assistance with disabilities and handicaps, care for the elderly.


Security and safety

Assuring life, liberty and security of person, home and family; protection from slavery, torture, arbitrary detention, domestic violence; safety from disasters, unsafe conditions; freedom from crime, corruption; security from military action, violent repression, terrorism.



Providing literacy, access to knowledge; formal, informal and continuing education; access to and participation in science and technology; access to information and communications technologies.



Including right to work, employment, entrepreneurship; just and favorable remuneration, ability to meet own needs and provide for family; favorable work conditions and hours, protection against unemployment; access to extension services, technical, legal and business management advice; effective process for litigation, dispute settlement.


Financial security

Protecting real value of income, savings, capital and pensions from inflation; access to financial services: payments, savings, credit and insurance; reliable money supply, means of exchange, convertibility; protection from banking failures, fraud, undisclosed risks; security from theft, identity theft, unlawful dispossession, kidnapping, piracy, extortion.


Justice and fairness

Including recognition before the law, equal protection, effective legal remedy, fair and public hearing, presumption of innocence; low level of income inequality, fair distribution of wealth; fair taxation, equitable share of responsibility.


Human rights and freedoms

Protecting personal freedom and initiative, equality in dignity and rights; freedom of speech, right to hold and express opinions, to receive and impart information and ideas through all media regardless of frontiers; right to peaceful assembly and association; freedom of thought, conscience and religion, and to change religion/belief; right to privacy of person, family, home, correspondence; protection of reputation; right to own property; free movement and choice of place of residence; right to a nationality, and to change nationality; protection from all sorts of discrimination; equal access to public services, right to social security; right to take part in government, to vote, to participate in political life.


Place in the community

Assuring personal status and dignity, social networks; marriage and family, procreation and raising children, united family circle, protection of family, divorce; a community respecting public order and morality, community trust, reciprocity, resilience, participation and empowerment; mobility, public transport, access to markets; security during incapacity, sickness, disability, widowhood, old age or other unavoidable lack of livelihood.


Cultural and spiritual identity

Providing the right to a cultural identity, heritage and cultural diversity; having a value system, beliefs, ethics and morals, a vision and purpose in life, hope for a better life, a better world; ability to develop the potential in human consciousness; participation in culture and the arts; access to beauty, to nature, overall evaluative well-being or life satisfaction.




When sustainable development is considered in the wider context of human purpose and well-being, its economic, social and environmental dimensions are fully integrated. This emphasis on the social, cultural, ethical and spiritual aspects of well-being can also motivate changes in human behaviour and drive a bottom-up transformation in human society. The focus on the individual makes sustainable development immediately relevant. While global environmental problems and failures in economic and political systems may seem remote from individual concerns and possibilities of action, everyone can start to act to bring improvements in their relations with others within their local community and work-place, and to experience the self-reinforcing effect of visible results in improved well-being.




The following questions could provide the basis for an on-line discussion in phase 2.

What would be a universally-accepted definition of human purpose?

What are the multiple dimensions of human well-being that should be included in defining the purpose of sustainable development?

How can measuring development and well-being at the individual level help to redirect society in the years ahead?

How can indicators help to operationalize the concept of individual well-being?





Bahá'í International Community. 2010. Rethinking Prosperity: Forging Alternatives to a Culture of Consumerism. Bahá'í International Community’s Contribution to the 18th Session of the United Nations Commission on Sustainable Development, 3 May 2010. http://bic.org/statements-and-reports/bic-statements/10-0503.htm


Dahl, Arthur Lyon. 2012a. Achievements and gaps in indicators for sustainability. Ecological Indicators, vol. 17, p. 14-19. June 2012. http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.ecolind.2011.04.032


Dahl, Arthur Lyon. 2012b. Ethical sustainability footprint for individual motivation. Presented at the Planet Under Pressure 2012 Conference, London, UK, 26-29 March 2012. http://iefworld.org/ddahl12d


Dahl, Arthur Lyon. 2012c. Human development: a vision of well-being. International Environment Forum. http://iefworld.org/ddahl12m


Harder, Marie K, Gemma Burford, et al. (in press). Can values be measured? Significant contributions from a small civil society organisation through action research. Action Research Journal.


Helliwell, John, Richard Layard and Jeffrey Sachs. 2012. World Happiness Report. Earth Institute, Columbia University. http://www.earth.columbia.edu/articles/view/2960


Maslow, A.H. 1943. A Theory of Human Motivation. Psychological Review 50: 370-396. http://psychclassics.yorku.ca/Maslow/motivation.htm


Stiglitz, Joseph E., Amartya Sen and Jean-Paul Fitoussi. (2009). Report by the Commission on the Measurement of Economic Performance and Social Progress. http://www.stiglitz-sen-fitoussi.fr


United Nations. 1948. The Universal Declaration of Human Rights. http://www.un.org/en/documents/udhr/


United Nations. 2010. The Millennium Development Goals Report 2010. New York: United Nations.


United Nations. 2012. The future we want. A/RES/66/288.


Ura, Karma, Sabina Alkire, Tshoki Zangmo and Karma Wangdi. 2012a. A Short Guide to Gross National Happiness Index. Thimphu, Bhutan: Centre for Bhutan Studies. 96 p. Available from Bhutan Gross National Happiness Commission. http://www.gnhc.gov.bt/


Ura, Karma, Sabina Alkire, Tshoki Zangmo and Karma Wangdi. 2012b. An Extensive Analysis of GNH Index. May 2012. Thimphu, Bhutan: Centre for Bhutan Studies. 213 p. Available from Bhutan Gross National Happiness Commission. http://www.gnhc.gov.bt/


Consultation Team from
Fri, January 11, 2013 at 08.58 pm

Dear Arthur,

Thank you for your submission. It has been added to our list.

Consultation Team

Anonymous from
Wed, January 2, 2013 at 11.31 am

People Parliament Movement

T5, Sathya Apartments, No.1, Dr.Thomas Road, T. Nagar, Chennai. 600 017

Phone: 04424363040,  Mobile: 9444141032,  Email: copeforcp@yahoo.com




                                            Neighborhood Parliament



            A new socio political order is the most urgent need of the hour. Present day social challenges like social injustices, inequalities, poverty, hunger, corruption, war, conflicts, extremism, terrorism, unemployment, disease, casteism, communalism, environmental hazards, global warming and atrocities against women, children and socially and economically weak and so on are the direct result of lack of people’s (at individual level) active participation in governance and a lack of such a platform to come together to have deliberations.  Governance here means, direct power  in the whole process of identifying their own problems and needs, discussing them, taking decision to set them right, charting out suitable action plans for the same, implementing the action plans and evaluating the implementation and so on.

            Towards this, we promote the importance of people’s participation in self-governance and in the above whole processes by educating, organizing, empowering them through a programme called “Neighborhood Parliaments”.


Why Neighborhood Parliaments?


        First of all, let us understand that the root causes for all the above stated social challenges are,

  1. 1.      Selfishness, 2.  Helplessness (Powerlessness)

And if we can find a permanent solution to get people out of these two causes we can definitely eradicate all the above stated social challenges permanently.


          First let us find a practical approach to get people out of selfishness or to make people less selfish.

After a lot of experiments we have come to the conclusion that building relationships among people make them automatically less selfish and in many cases selfless. This healthy ongoing regular relationship among them changes their selfish mindset and thus resulting in making them more socially responsible and more socially approachable. They automatically become ready to sacrifice for others, ready to share with others and ready to give in for a common cause. And if everyone has an opportunity to build this healthy ongoing relationship and sustain it, it is possible that selfishness in people can be successfully addressed. So, creating such platforms for people to build this relationship and sustain is essential to make people selfless or less selfish.


          Secondly, people’s helplessness or powerlessness can be addressed successfully by empowering them. Power means whatever one says has to happen or has to matter. So, to say which happens or matters is power. So, if one has to have power he has to say or speak.  First of all he has to have a platform to speak and that platform has to be so small so that even the smallest man in the group can speak. When we say  ‘speak’ it means to discuss, to put forward his views and opinions, to give suggestions, to express his needs, to take part in the decision making process and so on.


 If this opportunity is given surely even the last man becomes not only empowered but also becomes active and successful part of governance.




           As we have seen in the above two paragraphs, we come to the conclusion that people need 

Platforms to come together to build relationships

Platforms to speak, or in other words to govern

And these platforms have to be so small so that it can accommodate and include even the smallest man and so that it can be handled and convened at any given time even if the smallest man needs. The practical way of creating these platforms could only be in the neighborhoods as neighborhood is the only immediate society.

          Moreover, the whole world is made of neighborhoods and all the social challenges emanate from the neighborhoods and the successful and permanent solutions for the same challenges can be brought from the neighborhoods only. So we propose to create these neighborhood platforms all over the world and these neighborhood platforms are called Neighborhood Parliaments.


Why the name “Neighborhood Parliament”?


          As all are well aware, the word Parliament comes from the Latin word Parlare which in English means to speak and thus parliament means the place to speak. Parliament is the highest decision making body in any democracy but people do not have any accessibility to these parliaments and their processes and they do not have an assertive say in anything which is directly related to them and to their welfare and development and they are left high and dry powerless and helpless at the mercy of their “elected representatives”. Hence, we propose to bring this parliament to the streets where people live as neighborhood parliaments where everyone even the last man on the street gets equal opportunity to  have a strong assertive say and where everyone has active participation in the whole process of governance  and where everyone has an opportunity to build relationships with his immediate society.


Functioning of Neighborhood Parliament:


           Neighborhood Parliament is a people’s movement with deliberations, interventions and actions at neighborhood level of 25 to 30 families. All the people in these families are equal members of this parliament irrespective of their caste, community, race, social and economical status or their educational status. Every person in the particular neighborhood is an equal member of the said Parliament with equal rights and equal responsibilities.

          Each parliament elects its prime minister and other ministers for like home, finance, education, health, medical facilities, food, housing, electricity, safety and security, trade and occupation, employment, environment, law, defense and protection, communication, public distribution, road and transport, women welfare, children welfare, elders welfare and public works and so on, as the need may be through sociocratical election process which is called a consent based and objection less election process.  Here someone is not first elected and then given the portfolio, but the most suitable person for a particular portfolio is elected. Thus each member is a minister and becomes responsible for something some way or other. Each minister will have a specific role to play.


Role and responsibility of the ministers


Prime Minister

         He ensures the welfare, development, safety, dignity and security and fullness of life of all the members of his own parliament. He leads the parliament and its ministry successfully so that his own immediate society and every section of the society at large enjoy peaceful, joyful life with all its fullness without any discrimination. He is fully responsible for any action or inaction in his parliament. He helps and guides all the ministers to perform their duties to the best satisfaction of all the members



Home Minister

          He convenes the meetings of that parliament, records the minutes, resolutions, action plans and evaluations and so on which are deliberated at the meetings. He takes care of the above records. He helps every minister to perform their responsibilities successfully.


Finance minister

         He ensures that all the people enjoy enough economical income and resource so that poverty can be eliminated and eradicated permanently. He will be responsible to reach all the financial welfare schemes of the government to all the deserving families. He also will be responsible to encourage every member in small saving and insurance activities. He will be responsible to prepare the budget of his own level and on behalf of the lower level on the advice of the lower level and present it to the higher level. He also plans for micro financial activities including micro credit facilities and so on. He also helps the members to avail the bank loans (education loan) and ensure the borrowers repay the availed loan in time.

        He is responsible to raise, maintain fund for his own level parliament and to meet the expenses with the consent of his own parliament.

       He has to submit the annual financial statement of his level parliament to the immediate upper level parliament to get it audited and approved by it and submit it to his own parliament once in a year.



      He is responsible to ensure everyone in the neighborhood is educated so that 100% of literacy is ensured. He has to ensure that all the schools and colleges in his area function with all the facilities with enough talented committed teachers and faculties and according to the norms given by the government time to time. He is also responsible to ensure all the educational related welfare schemes and programs like Sarva Siksha Abhiyan and other helps of the govt. reach the deserving. He is also responsible to build trust and confidence of the members towards the teachers and build child friendly atmosphere in every school. He also will be responsible to influence the govt. in planning suitable policies so that everyone gets and enjoys quality education and benefits the maximum out of it. He also creates awareness on RTE to the local community and the school staff.


Health and Hygiene

       He ensures his area and surroundings are always clean without any open sewerage, rain water flooding, scattered and carelessly thrown garbage and so on. He will be responsible to eradicate all the causes for ill health so that everyone enjoys the maximum physical, mental, emotional and psychological health.

       He is also responsible to reach the health related welfare schemes of the government to all the people. He will encourage people to avoid foods and food habits which will cause ill health and promote healthy food habits with natural nutritious foods so that everyone is ensured of complete healthy life.



        He is responsible to ensure that everyone gets the maximum quality and cost effective medicines and medical facilities with affordable means and to ensure that all the medical related welfare schemes and other immunization and special measures of the government reach all the people and specially to the deserving people. He regularly visits the PHCs and sub centers and monitors their functioning. He helps the govt. agencies to ensure successful implementation of NRHM programs and monitors the same. He also takes special care of sick persons who are affected by contagious or incurable diseases and encourages the members to visit the sick of their group.

        He advices and helps everyone to have medical insurance policies which will be useful in times of need.

        He also promotes the uses of natural herbal, traditional and other effective and easy means of medication so that everyone enjoys complete physical, mental, emotional and psychological health.


Environment and Pollution Control

         He is responsible to safeguard and to improve the environment and all the natural resources like water, sand, mineral, forest and so on and to eradicate all the factors damaging and looting the natural environment and natural resources.  He identifies the sources and causes of pollution and does all the needful to stop them completely. He will prepare policies and do the needful to influence the government to prepare suitable action plans to save the environment and ecology. He takes every step to create awareness to the members about the Global warming and its causes along with its impacts and damages and encourage the members to avoid such type of life style and activities which cause global warming and to encourage the practices which will decrease the same. He encourages all the members to plant maximum number of trees and to avoid usage of plastic products.


Law and order and Human Rights

         He is responsible to ensure that everyone enjoys their rights fully and to help the government law enforcing agencies to eradicate mafia network, rowdism, goondaism and other anti social elements and anti human activities so that everyone enjoys the fullness of life. He also will give enough awareness to people about their civic duties, rights and responsibilities in order to make everyone practice them.


Child welfare

        He is responsible to do all the needful so that each child enjoys fully his or her right to life, development, protection and participation without any difficulties whatsoever. He will do all the needful to stop any violation of child right like child abuse, child marriage, child trafficking, child labor or any other factor affecting the life of fullness of any child taking up the issue with concerned officials. He also creates awareness about child rights and its importance to the local community.

        He also does all the needful to train and educate and ensure that every child grows and lives with good habits, characters and values, so that every child develops positive social attitude and approach. He will reach all the child welfare measures of the government to every child. He also will do the needful to influence the govt. on child welfare policies and the concerns of the children.


Youth Welfare

         He is responsible to do all the needful so that each youth enjoys fully his or her right to life, development, protection and participation without any difficulties whatsoever. He will do all the needful to eradicate any violation of youth rights or any other factor affecting the life of fullness of any youth.

        He also will do all the needful to train and educate and ensure that every youth grows and lives with good habits characters and values, so that every youth develops positive social attitude and approach. He will reach all the youth welfare measures of the government to every youth. He also will do the needful to influence the govt. on youth welfare policies.


Women Welfare:

         He is responsible to ensure the welfare, safety and security, multifaceted development, participation and right to life of every woman in his area. He ensures that there is no violation any right of any women what so ever in families, working places, or in the larger society. He takes every step to ensure that no domestic violence takes place in any family in his neighbourhood. He takes all the steps needed to permanently stop gender discrimination in his area. He takes special care of pregnant woman and ensures they get all the govt. welfare schemes meant for them.  He also is responsible to reach the benefits of govt. welfare schemes related to women and takes a lead role in influencing the government to design policies for the welfare of women and does the needful to ensure gender equality.


Elders Care

       He is responsible to ensure happy life of every elder in his area and ensures required helps, care and entertainment to all the elders of his area. He ensures that the deserving elders get the benefits of government welfare schemes and so on and does the needful to influence the policies of government on elders care. He gives awareness to the members about the importance of proper care giving to elders. He also helps the elders get their pensions and other payments and dues.


Agriculture / fishery

          He is responsible to ensure that every farmer and fisherman is helped to get the maximum benefit out of his occupation using natural and modern technologies. He is responsible for all the land related issues and ensures that no farmer is deprived of his land rights and every fisher man enjoys his traditional fishing rights and so on. He also ensures that every farmer or fisherman gets the benefits of government welfare scheme meant for them. He also does the needful to influence the government to come out with beneficial policies for these sections. He also promotes the concept of community (natural) farming and community fishing with joint efforts.


Industry, Trade and employment

         He is responsible to ensure that every individual in his area either to be suitably employed or self employed. He does everything needed to provide required occupational and employability training and other means to have a decent income. He helps the govt. agencies to ensure successful implementation of MGNREGA schemes and monitors the same. He also helps the members to start and run successfully micro industries and small scale industries so that they can use their indigenous resources for better income and living. He helps people to formulate suitable policies in these areas to sensitize the govt. on people’s opinions and needs.


Road and Transport

         He is responsible to ensure that his area has good roads and transport facilities and connectivity to other areas. He ensures the government’s infrastructural programs in this concern are implemented properly and monitor them.



        He is responsible to ensure that everyone gets uninterrupted electricity. He also gives awareness to people in saving the electricity by using other natural and traditional resources and other nonconventional energy sources for various utility purposes and even to produce electricity for home uses using cheap micro level non conventional energy sources.




Food and Water

          He is responsible to ensure each and every person of his area gets good food and clean drinking water and gives awareness to people about the importance of healthy food habits and developing and maintaining all water sources. He takes every step to eradicate malnutrition in his area. He also ensures that Right to Food programs are implemented properly and monitor them. He creates awareness programs among members about judicious usage of drinking water and the importance of Water Harvesting.


Marketing and public distribution

         He is responsible to ensure that local produces are marketed directly without the middle men as to ensure the maximum benefits to the producers. He promotes the concept of neighbourhood marketing which helps in utilizing the local human resource with adequate local employment opportunity and thus increasing the local economy. He also is responsible to monitor and take care that the government Public distribution outlets sell quality and quantity products to people in a fair manner. He also ensures that the free distribution schemes of the government reach the deserving people without being discriminated or cheated.


Communication and media

          He takes care of all the communication works of his parliament. He promotes the wall writing practices in his locality. He also encourages the members to get trained in film making and to get involved as young reporters to high light the problems and the needs of the locals. He gives awareness to people about scrutinizing the various media so that they can take in all the good and positive elements and to avoid and leave out all the negative and bad outputs. He ensures that all the people get the latest communication facilities and use it for the benefit of everyone. He encourages members to utilize the available media houses to make their opinions on various issues known to others. He also ensures that the members make use of E-Governance system. He is also responsible to create awareness to the members to use Right to Information and Social Auditing to ensure their rightful part in governance. He is responsible to ensure that every Parliament has an Email ID and use the Social networking sites usefully to address their needs and to create awareness.


Arts / culture and entertainment

          He is responsible to ensure that indigenous arts and cultures of the people are safeguarded and does the needful to stop all the cultural degradations within legal frame of the country. He is also responsible to give awareness about the good and bad customs of the people so that the people can avoid the bad destructive and superstitious customs. He also takes responsibility to provide various entertainment facilities to the people. He helps the members to learn and practice indigenous art forms of any kind and to maintain the good elements of their culture.


Human relationship and Team Building

          He is responsible to ensure that everyone in his parliament builds and maintains good and cordial relationship with everyone without any disparities of caste, religion, race, language and so on. He takes care that every one lives as one family with tolerance, unity and they celebrate together all the religious or non religious festivals so that a strong harmony is built among them. He also has to identify any divisive forces and get rid of them in the beginning itself so that everyone enjoys peaceful, harmonious and joyful lives.




Destitute and Persons with Disability

         He is responsible to take care of destitute and other people of special concern like alternatively talented. He also helps them to get all the benefits of government welfare schemes meant for them. He also finds the special talents of the alternatively talented and helps them to develop them and use them. He does all the needful to bring these people to the mainstream of the society in all aspects so that they too enjoy the fullness of life like others and be part of the main society and not excluded. He does the needful to influence the government to design required policies for these sections. He also ensures proper implementation of the govt. schemes for these people and monitors the implementation.

          He also sensitizes the local community about the need of physical, psychological and emotional well being of the children and persons with disabilities and the supportive systems needed for the same.


Labour and traditional artisans

          He ensures the welfare of labourers of both organized and unorganized sectors and traditional artisans. He works to ensure that the labourers get adequate wages and other benefits like PF, medical facilities, insurance and others as fixed by the govt. time to time. He works to solve any labour disputes and ensures maximum benefits to the labouring class. He also ensures that the traditional artisans get maximum benefit from their traditional occupations and help them to get all the benefits of the govt. welfare schemes meant for them.


Talent Development and training


         He helps to identify special talents of the members and does all the needful to help them to develop and to use them. He organises special trainings and performances of the said talents.


Housing and Infrastructure Minister

          He ensures that every family in his parliament gets its own house and other infrastructural facilities. He also helps them to get the benefits of the govt. schemes on housing facilities. He is responsible to ensure that his neighbourhood gets all the infrastructural facilities like community hall, community Market, Library, Park and Play ground and so on.


Prohibition and Prevention of alcohol and drug uses

         He ensures that all the nefarious activities of producing, marketing and usage of alcohol, illicit arrack and other drug substances are completely stopped so that the members and their families enjoy healthy and wealthy life without spending money on this. He also helps the affected people to come out of the habits by special medical and psychological counseling care and provides enough awareness programs to stop or avoid these habits.


Prevention of terrorism, corruption and hatred

         He works to eradicate any violence, hatred, revenge, fundamentalism and terrorism which may divide and affect the people, their lives, their belongings and their dignity. He identifies any divisive and destructive forces and any other suspicious and subversive forces and does all the needful to inform the same to the concerned officials. He works with all the law enforcing govt. agencies to ensure the safety and security of all the members and their belongings and dignity. He ensures no castist and communal or any other anti social elements have space in the neighborhood and ensures communal harmony and everyone’s joyous, peaceful and harmonious life. More importantly he identifies govt. officials, departments and other elected political persons at various levels who take bribes for their works from the public and takes all the necessary steps to stop and eradicate the culture of bribing and corruption at every level.

Animal Husbandry

         He ensures that all the cattle and pet animals of the members are taken care of adequately. He encourages members to rear cattle of their choice for their own benefits and ensures the healthy life and reproduction of these cattle so that their owners enjoy the maximum benefits. He also arranges medical facilities to the cattle and pets.


Reconciliation and Peace building

         He ensures that no disputes and conflicts take place among members. If there is any conflict or dispute arising among the members or among the family members of the members he helps them to sort it out positively based on truth the justice and non partisan approaches. He takes every step and means to bring reconciliation between the concerned parties and executes special programs to rejuvenate mutual trust, mutual friendship and mutual acceptance. He also helps the members to build good basic human relations always with positive thinking, positive attitudes and tolerance, so that people understand, accept each other and live and coexist by truth and justice.      


Neighbourhood Parliaments; The gateway for developments                                                   

         As already stated, all the social challenges are the direct result of powerlessness and helplessness of people, lack of awareness among the people, lack of selfless mindset, lack of active participation of each individual in the whole process of self-governance and lack of proper forum for participation.

         Neighborhood Parliaments play the pivotal role of removing these above lacking. First, they are the much needed participatory platform of the immediate local society. Their regular and systematic coming together for deliberations often creates an atmosphere of belongingness. They create an awareness among people about all the social ills and their causes and the role they should play to eradicate them. They create the right mindset of selflessness, the mindset to realize their individual and collective responsibilities and actions and the mindset to approach a problem as a problem of the whole society however personal or family related it is.  The participants become open and concerned to other’s needs more than their own. And more importantly besides broadening their social outlook and social approach and a new social order and healthy human relationships with a new mindset of love, sharing, brotherhood, trust, tolerance, equality, peace and justice blossoms.

         They create an opportunity for each and every individual to actively participate however small and marginalized he or she is, in the process of self-governance.

         Finally they become the basic foundations and the basic platforms where everyone participates and sustains power and builds mutual trust and relationships and thus paving a way for a society sans challenges.


Neighborhood Parliaments will ensure:

  1. An empowered society of people; committed band of citizens involved in active and constructive socio politics, a community of people with no communal, caste or race, colour disparities or its hangovers.
  2. People pursuing their responsibilities with sharpened clarity and self confidence
    1. People understanding socio-economic, political conditions of their society and the world and their role to bring a change for better.
    2. Eradication of illiteracy, school dropouts and child labour
    3. Eradication of child abuse, child trafficking and child marriages
    4. Eradication of  female infanticides and feticides and gender disparities
    5. Eradication of all the causes for children at risk
    6. Eradication of causes for uncared elders and destitute women
    7. Eradication of dowry and sati systems
    8. Eradication of suicides and superstitions
    9. Eradication of conflicts, fights, violence and war
    10. Eradication of extremism and terrorism
    11. Eradication of exploitation and corruption
    12. Eradication of hunger and poverty
    13. Eradication of every health hazard
    14. Eradication of forest and environmental destruction and degradations
    15. Decrease of pollution and global warming
    16. People ensuring transparency in their governance
    17. People exercising their rights and power in self-governance
    18. Even the smallest person discovering his identity, dignity, strength and the power of success
      1. People identifying the causes for all the social challenges and finding the methods to eradicate them
      2. People experiencing the importance of participation, deliberations and dialogue.
      3. Even the last person making his presence felt and his view points heard
      4. People ensuring their own security, welfare and development
      5. People experiencing the value of basic human relationships and the sense of  belongingness


Neighborhood Parliaments and a new national social order

        Through these Neighborhood Parliaments, the participants are molded in their positive, constructive and social mindset so that they out rightly reject any type of differences including racism, castism and communalism and important global challenges like terrorism, hunger, disease and so on as they grow and this mindset is immunized against any kinds of disparities practiced or left unconcerned earlier. Thus a new social approach and a new outlook of treating everyone equal and important will be the order of the day and a new social order of equality, peace and justice will be established.

        As these participants become aware of their rights, they easily identify the violation of their rights and the causes, people and circumstances responsible for the said violations and they take the necessary steps to ensure once and for all the eradication of these violations permanently through their active and constructive participatory process of identifying, discussing, decision making, charting out the required action plans, implementing the taken action plans and evaluating the results.

        As these participants realize that their economical well being is their right, they device their own accommodative and constructive participatory courses through which they as a group ensure their economical development which results in a common self sufficient and self reliant society.

         These neighborhood parliaments imbue a new culture of social, political, economical and humane responsibility in the minds of the participants so that they live to be responsible citizens building the future society sans evils and thus establishing a new inclusive, accommodative and responsible social order.

        And finally, as these participants become aware of the importance of participation, healthy dialogue and discussion a new selfless mindset and a new culture of sharing, tolerance, equality, justice and human relationship and mutuality is inculcated in their minds, so that ultimately the future nation blossoms into a transformed selfless nation of love, brotherhood, sharing, peace, equality, justice, tolerance, transparency, co-existence and so on.


Trainings to be given to each Neighbourhood Parliament


  1. 1.      Functional Training, 2. Life skill Training, 3. Value clarification exercises


Functional Training

  • Conducting systematic meeting
  • Election and swearing in of the ministers
  • Duties and responsibilities of the ministers
  • Identifying the problems and the violation of their rights
  • Prioritizing the problems
  • PLA,  SWOT analysis and social mapping
  • Seasonal mapping and data collection about the history of their village
  • Healthy discussions
  • Taking decisions and Passing resolutions
  • Preparing action plans
  • Whom to approach and How to approach
  •  Monitoring and Evaluation
  • Human Rights and Children Rights
  • Right To Information
  • Right To Education
  • Right To Employment
  • Media matters, film making and report writing
  • Govt. agencies, departments and commissions with their contact details.
  • Govt. schemes and policies and the concerned departments
  •  Social Auditing


Life Skill Training

  • Personality development
  • Understanding self (both physical and emotional)
  • Identifying one’s own fullness, Health, capacities and talents
  • Positive thinking
  • Building healthy relationships
  • Self esteem
  • Goal Setting
  • Leadership qualities
  • Group dynamism
  • Communication skills (both individual and mass)
  • Transactional Analysis
  • Time management
  • Anger management
  • Conflict management (both internal and external)
  • Stress management
  • Finance management
  • Coping with fear
  • Coping with shyness
  • Coping with discouragements
  • Coping with failure and others as the need may be


Value Clarification Exercises

            The following topics are taught as exercises to be practiced, experienced and cultivated on regular basis as these become their habits and part of their life so that these qualities become the culture of the whole society.


  • Love without any inhibition           
  • Brotherhood
  • Equality
  • Inner Joy
  • Inner Peace 
  • Natural Human Justice
  • Passing Judgment
  • Honesty  
  • Sharing
  • Forgiveness
  • Humanness
  • Achievements
  • Gratefulness
  • Humility    
  • Simplicity   
  • Patience
  • Tolerance
  • Acceptance and so on.


Records required to be maintained by each Parliament


-          Minutes Book

-          Resolution Book

-          Accounts Note

-          Finance record Note

-          Attendance Note

-          File for outgoing Mails

-          File for incoming Mails

-          File for every minister

-          Donation receipt book

-          Letter Pad

-          Rubber Stamp

-          IDs for each minister signed by the Swearing in Officer


                                                            Election of the Ministers


            Each level parliament has to conduct a proper election to elect their ministers. The election method is based on "consent based and objectionless election process" as explained below. All the members have to be elected as ministers for some concern or other and thus making every member responsible for some work or other. None can be just as ordinary member without any responsibility at any level parliament.


Election Rules


-          Election for all the ministers at every parliament at all levels has to follow the method of "consent based and objection less election process”.

-          All the members including the nominated members at any level parliament are voters at that level and all the voters at that level are candidates.

-          Election is conducted for the particular post unlike the present election system where the candidate who wins gets the post after being elected.

-          This is an open ballot system where both the names of the voter and to be voted have to be registered.

-          The voters have to explain to the house the reasons for electing a particular person

-          No place for duplicate votes or invalid votes in this process and 100% voting is ensured.

-          One of the members elected by that particular parliament will be the election officer.


Election method and process


  •  First, the parliament which conducts the election has to discuss and become fully aware of
  • the roles and responsibilities of the minister for whom the election is conducted.
  • The parliament which conducts the election has to discuss and become aware of the qualities,         abilities, capacities and talents required for the person to be elected to that post in order to discharge his duties to the maximum satisfaction of the members.
  • Each voter has to register his or her own name as voter and the name of the one to be voted in the respective columns
  • The person to be voted has to be compulsorily a member of that parliament for which

      the election is conducted.

  • The election officer will count the votes and declare the number of votes received by various persons who are voted.
  • Each member has to explain to the whole parliament the reasons why he or she voted for that    particular person.
  • After each member explains the reasons for their choice, a second chance will be given to members and if any of the member wants to change his vote in favour of somebody else than whom he had voted earlier can do so and has to give the reasons for changing the vote.
  • After the change of votes if any, the election officer will ask every member if there is any valid objection by any one in electing the person who has got the most number of votes to that particular post as the minister for that post.
  • If there is no any objection by any one in electing the most voted person as minister, and even that voted person does not have any objection to become the minister he or she will be declared as the minister.
  • If there is any valid objection raised by any member, that objection will be discussed by the whole house to ascertain the objection of its validity and seriousness. And if all agree unanimously that the raised objections are true, valid and serious in nature so that these factors will be a hindrance for that person to carry on the duties up to the maximum satisfaction and welfare of all the members, then the chance of becoming minister will go to the second most voted person subject to condition that there is no any objection by any one in he becoming the minister.
  • If the raised objection is rejected unanimously by all the members, then the raised objection need not be considered by the house



                                                                                                                     S. Joseph Rathinam


                                                                                                             People Parliament Movement  



Consultation Team from
Thu, December 27, 2012 at 05.20 pm

Dear Arthur,

Thank you for submitting your discussion note and supporting paper. We will ensure that this discussion note is included in the list. We apologize for the technical glitch.

Best regards,
Consultation Team

Dennis Kateregga from
Thu, December 27, 2012 at 03.23 pm

As we are trying to find a way forward on environmentally sustainability on several international fora's esp COPs. Where countries have failed to realize the financing commitment of USD 100 billion a year by 2020 made in Copenhagen still has not been clarified, however. The language in Doha provides no trajectory for the urgently needed scaling up of climate finance and no finance targets to be reached between 2012 and 2020.  Ultimately, these funds are supposed to come from public, private, and “alternative” sources. We need to find away how these commitments can be meet sooner than later

Rob Wheeler from
Thu, December 27, 2012 at 02.26 pm

Dear Ms. Hildebrandt,

I am writing on behalf of the Commons Action for the United Nations and the Commons Cluster. We have been working ardently on our submission; however our current draft is somewhat longer than the 1500 words. It has been quite difficult for us to reduce it to this length. We have sent you an email with the current draft. Please reply to the email or let us know here if you have not received it. We are hoping that you will be able to accept our draft without further edits, in which case we will post it here. Thank you,

Rob Wheeler  

robwheeler22  @  gmail.com

Anonymous from
Thu, December 27, 2012 at 09.28 am

P. O. Box 176 Mugumu; Email. sederec@gmail.com; Tel. 0784 831388.


‘‘Bees for the planet”

Submitted by:
Mwajuma Bhosa N. (Bachelor Degree Environmental Planning and Management)
SEDEREC- Programme Officer (Environment)
Phone No:- +255783841430
Email: sederec@gmail.com; bosaney@gmail.com

December, 2012


1.1 Vision of SEDEREC: 1
1.2 SEDEREC Mission: 1
2.1 Introduction 1
2.1.1 Why do we need sustainable environment? 2
2.1.2 Constraints which hinder sustainable environmental conservation 2
2.2 Existing findings; 3
2.2.1 Contribution of Beekeeping to Sustainable environmental conservation. 3 Socio- economic development, 3 Environment and conservation 4
2.3 Proposed Questions 6

SEDEREC (Serengeti Development Research and Environmental Conservation Centre) is an NGO established on August 2005 and registered on 7th November 2005 with Registration Certification No. 10NGO/0512 to operate in Tanzania. The purpose of establishment of SEDEREC is to promote and support community based initiatives that lead to poverty alleviation and environmental conservation for sustainable development in Tanzania.

1.1 Vision of SEDEREC:
A healthy community where environmental problems as well as poverty are minimal.

1.2 SEDEREC Mission:
To ensuring equitable human and natural resources development within sustainable environment,
• Improved human capacity in managing natural resources and environmental challenges targeting to poverty reduction.
• Increased contribution of natural resources to national economic growth, poverty reduction and peoples’ livelihoods.
• Ensuring that natural resources and environmental issues are dealt in sustainable basis through more democratic, open and transparent governance.

2.1 Introduction
In recent years, environmental problems is becoming more serious on a global scale, thus, threatens the global society’s well being. Increased populations as well as natural disasters leads to increased dependence on nature and therefore exploits concept of sustainable environment conservation
Contribution of beekeeping in the social framework can be realized in areas of producing honey which is food and medicine, improving conservation of environment through pollination and generating income for the people through sale of honey, beeswax and pollination services (colony rental fees). The income generated from beekeeping activities can be used to pay for social services such as education, health, transport, etc and housing (to build own house).
However, the beekeeping programmes are not well emphasized and put in sustainable environmental conservation agendas globally. Through the planned discussion, members will come up with the best interventions to promote beekeeping (as Environment watchdogs) in most areas in the world with vulnerable practices to environmental conservation like refugees’ camps, villages bordering mining, pastoralists communities same to mention.
It is only when people can satisfy their needs, have control of the resource base as well as have secure land tenure that long-term objectives of environment protection can be satisfied.
2.1.1 Why do we need sustainable environment?
a) To ensure sustainable and equitable use of resources for meeting the basic needs of the present and future generations. As it is stated in the third principle of sustainable development that is the right to development must be fulfilled so as to equitably meet developmental and environmental needs of present and future generations (Rio Declaration, 1992).
b) To prevent and control degradation of land, water, vegetation and air which constitute our life support systems.
c) To conserve and enhance our natural and man made heritage, including the biological diversity of the unique ecosystems of the global.
2.1.2 Constraints which hinder sustainable environmental conservation
• Poverty – There is a clear cause-and – effect relationship between poverty and environmental degradation: environmental degradation leads to widespread poverty and poverty is a habitual cause of environmental degradation. Beekeeping checks and balances both poverty and environmental conservation.
• Land clearing for agriculture
• Industrial activities
• Logging and charcoal production
• Bush fires
• Overgrazing; increased livestock population that cause over exploitation of natural resources; soil erosion, deforestation, destruction of water sources and environmental pollution.
• Unconsolidated, harmonized and standardized policies and legislations on sustainable environmental conservation.

2.2 Existing findings;
2.2.1 Contribution of Beekeeping to Sustainable environmental conservation.
Conservation and management of honey bees and bee fodder plants in village and private bee reserves will ensure high level of participation among Beekeepers, farmers and local communities; private sector, local government, international community, NGOs and other institutions socially, economically and ecologically towards sustainable environmental conservation: Socio- economic development,
• Generating income for the people through sales of honey, beeswax. Thus the income generated from beekeeping activities can be used to pay for social services such as education, health, transport and housing.(Tanzania National Beekeeping Policy, 1998 - that development and management of indigenous honeybees help the indigenous men and women to generate income and reduce poverty)
• Improve food security; Honeybees are excellent pollinators of a wide range of sizes of flowers and suitable for pollinating crops; where bees as pollinators increases crop yields. This responds to MDG on efforts to eliminate hunger and improved health of people.
• Eco- tourism promotion; Eco- tourism services and facilities such as observation hives, package comb-honey, package-bees promote eco-tourism in villages adjacent to tourism facilities.
• Medicine, honey can be used as medicine to cure diseases; this will make people to be healthier.
• Provide food i.e. honey, pollen and brood.
• Provide raw materials for various industries i.e. beeswax candles, cosmetics, textiles, lubricants industries.
• Provide employment for youth, men and women through beekeeping projects.
• Improve technology on making bee equipment i.e. carpentry for beehives, bee smokers, overalls thick materials, honey press, bee veil, gloves to youth, men and women. Environment and conservation
• Improving conservation of environment; The Tanzania natural resource frame works recognize beekeeping as agent of environment conservation. For example, National Forest Policy, 1998 states that beekeeping help in the management and conservation of forest; and Tanzania National Water Policy, 2002 states that beekeeping help in conservation of water resources.
• Through the concept of Participatory Forest Management (PFM) whereby tangible benefits for people living in the vicinity of the forest land are considered and incorporated in the joint management agreement, incorporating apiary (Bee farms) management groups will enhance people’s participation in managing and utilizing the forest resource in the country sustainably.
• Bees as watchdog help to protect forests from encroachment for grazing, logging and charcoal making. Bees can sting encroachers and therefore used to protect forest.
• It promotes tree planting programmes, fore example, “Planting for bees” where enrichment planting with melliferous plant species which produce nectar and pollen for bees are encouraged.
• Promotes wildlife conservation; Beekeepers participate in conserving wildlife resource through giving information about existence and the location of poachers and themselves refraining from poaching.
• Improves community based natural resources management (CBNRM) where in some tribes set aside trees and forest lands for traditional functions such as beekeeping, worshipping, collecting water, collection of medicines, etc. Experience has shown that such community based conservation is effective and sustainable.
• Beehives fences stop elephants from crop raiding; thus reduces human wildlife conflict and support co-existence of both human development and conservation.
• Mitigation for climate change; in the face of climate change, beekeeping is taken as an opportunity that will contribute to the efforts towards ecosystem management and poverty reduction through sound forest management.
2.2.2 Constraints
Though beekeeping activities help in improving socio-economic and conservation of the environment it faces some constraints. The following are constraints which Beekeeping faces:-
• Lack of coordinated statistical information to guide environmental experts/planners worldwide to link and operationalize beekeeping programmes for poverty reduction and sustainable environmental conservation.
• Lack of harmonized beekeeping policy and law; the absences of these laws and policies hinder importation and exportation, lack of competition in international market for bee products (honey and beeswax).
• Lack of coordinated Beekeeping Extension Services and programmes as cross-cutting aspects for income generating/service delivery, food security, employments, gender consideration and sustainable conservation.
Through management of bee and bee fodder resources will sustainably maximize the economic status of the people while at the same time enhancing environmental conservation and the aftermath of beekeeping development will increase focus on education, health, gender balance and conservation of environment and these aspects are enshrined in the Millenium Development Goals (MDGs).

2.3 Proposed Questions
1. How climate change is linked to beekeeping initiatives and sustainable environment?
2. What are the world initiatives for beekeeping development as a way to make the environment sustainable?
3. Do we have statistical information that is used to attract and give confidence to potential investors and guide the preparation of bankable beekeeping programme worldwide?

Hui-Chi Goh from
Thu, December 27, 2012 at 07.05 am

Dear Laura, 

I would like to submit a discussion note for this consultation but will be unable to meet the deadline due to last-minute Christmas work assignments. Is it at all possible to obtain an extension? 


With many thanks, 


Consultation Team from
Fri, December 28, 2012 at 11.18 pm

Dear Hui-Chi,

We have decided to extend the deadline for submission of discussion notes to 15 January, 2013. We look forward to your submission!

Best regards,

Consultation Team

Anonymous from
Wed, December 26, 2012 at 11.07 pm

Post 2015 Environmental Sustainability should highlight conservation, restoration, protection and promotion of Habitat for ALL Living Species.

Better habitat depends on better soil condition, better water qquality, better air qqquality, and overall better ecosystem.

How can we expect these quality elements if our consumption pattern depletes alll natural resource base and our industrial demand eats up all precious biodiversity and pollute the water sources?

Let's put our head together to find a sustainable solution to  save our mother planet with environmental sustainability.




Aminul Islam

UNDP, Bangladesh


Anonymous from
Wed, December 26, 2012 at 05.34 pm

Que faire pour inscrire nos actions dans la durée ? dans le développement durable :

Il faut un outil puissant pour agir : afin d'offrir en héritage un monde prospère, solidaire et respectueux de l'environnement aux générations actuelles et futures .

Nous proposons le MAPEX " Management de projets d'excellence " qui  permet d'ajouter aux projets :

* la dimension de paix

* la justice

* l'amour

*le bon sens

*les valeurs

* l'inclusion pour tous

* la prospérité pour tous

- le respect de l'environnement

le premier tome MAPEX est disponible : les basesà l'adresse suivante : contact.perfectunion@gmail.com

Plus qu'une méthode projets, une démarche ancrant nos actions dans la developpement durable pour tous

Jean-philippe pancrate




Anonymous from
Fri, December 28, 2012 at 08.55 am

Je pense que le respect de l'environnement est la chose plus importante en tout le monde, parce que les autre chose ce sont partout en maniere separable; Merci.

Nuvelle Anne

Anonymous from
Wed, December 26, 2012 at 04.54 pm

Salut à tous

Comprendre la durabilité du développement (1)

La question du développement, quelle que soit l’option, est fondamentale pour les pays africains. Son déficit chronique, son incapacité actuelle à emmener la grande masse vers un mieux être, pousse des citoyens à tenter de s’en sortir par des chemins individualistes, y compris en se riant allègrement des prescriptions, recommandations et interdits environnementaux. Ces chemins individuels passent presque tous par l’utilisation des ressources environnementales, qu’elles soient abondantes ou rares, renouvelables ou non. Tant et si bien qu’en réalité, on ne peut pas faire grand-chose sans entamer la qualité ou la quantité des patrimoines environnementaux nationaux.

En matière de préservation, ce dont il s’agit, c’est comment organiser, contrôler et maîtriser les mouvements de ressources environnementales (à commencer par leurs prélèvements). Il s’agirait de les rendre durablement disponibles, et rendre possible la durabilité du développement, ou durables les possibilités de développement. C’est dans cela que les générations futures trouveront leur compte sans que nous ne puissions en fixer le contenu précis, à partir de nos connaissances et modèles actuels.

Fondamentalement, c’est une question d’équité, en l’occurrence, entre les générations : nous sommes et devons nous comporter comme des tuteurs pour les générations futures, garder et protéger leur « part ». Mais autant nous sommes tuteurs des générations futures, autant nous le sommes pour nos contemporains. Alors, comment promouvoir et mettre en œuvre cette nécessaire tutelle, cette équité entre générations présentes et futures quand on n’arrive pas à le faire à l’intérieur des générations présentes ? Ou encore, comment faire accepter et partager cette exigence de tutelle par des présents qui, eux-mêmes, n’ont pas souvent le minimum pour vivre dignement ?

En réalité, cette « part » à garder et à protéger a aussi une dimension virtuelle et, de ce fait n’est pas toujours sur l’instant identifiable et « affectable ». Si les générations actuelles veulent constituer de façon matériellement visible les possibilités de développement des générations futures, on ne peut pas éviter les inéquités sociales. On briserait précocement un pied du développement durable. En effet, les possibilités actuelles sont d’ores et déjà inéquitables et court-termistes, basées sur une pression compétitive sur les ressources environnementales. Elles sont différentes d’un pays à un autre et d’un individu à un autre. Si les riches, pays[1] ou individus, pensent et espèrent pouvoir assurer les possibilités de développement de leurs générations futures, il n’en va pas de même pour la majorité des pays et des humains. En clair, une telle compréhension entretiendrait et perpétuerait, à longueur de générations, les inéquités actuelles, entre pays et entre citoyens du monde !

Alors, que faire ?

A suivre.

[1] Comme la Norvège qui place une partie de sa manne pétrolière pour ses générations futures.

Anonymous from
Sun, December 23, 2012 at 03.41 pm

Anonymous from
Sun, December 23, 2012 at 03.39 pm

Sustainable Development

Resources meeting human needs



Sustainable development refers to a form of development in which the use of resources meets human needs while preserving the environment so that these needs can be met not only in the present, but also for generations to come. In the sustainability definition the sustainable development ties together concern for the carrying capacity of natural systems with the challenges human societies and addresses environmental issues. The concept of sustainable development has in the past most often been broken out into three constituent parts: environmental sustainability (environmental management), economic sustainability and sociopolitical sustainability. More recently, it has been suggested that a more consistent analytical breakdown is to distinguish four domains of economic, ecological, political and cultural sustainability.

What is sustainability?
Quite a lot of things can be sustainable. Whoever is interested in sustainable living wants to use sustainable products with sustainable materials and sustainable design, and wants to live in a sustainable community or sustainable city with a sustainable environment in a sustainable building or a sustainable house. And sustainable living of course means to use sustainable energy and to eat products from a sustainable agriculture. But there is still more like sustainable tourism, sustainable architecture, sustainable business, sustainable management, sustainability policy and so on. Let us define important terms related to sustainability.

Renewable energy sources, renewable energy or alternative energy fuels are typically referred to as the energy sources that are available to people (within time frames) and which are practically available inexhaustibly, or rather “replaced” soon. So they set themselves apart from fossil fuels, although they also regenerate from solar energy, which takes a period of Millions of years. Renewable energy sources (hereinafter also referred to ‘RE’ abbreviated) are therefore considered sustainable usable energy resources, including, in particular hydropower, wind energy, solar radiation, geothermal and renewable resources count. The use of the RE does not contribute practically to the exhaustion of their cause (such as nuclear fusion in the sun or of planetary motion) which however, can at times be the ground-based buffer (exhausted biomass). The term renewable energy sources cannot be understood in the physical sense, because energy can be determined by the conservation of energy created or destroyed, but only in different transferred forms. Derived from RE, secondary energy carriers such as electricity, heat, and fuel are often referred to as EE, which is imprecise. Electricity gained from renewable energy is often referred to as green-power and eco-power.

Renewable energy along with energy efficiency is the concept of sustainable energy or sustainable energy is based on the two pillars of renewable energies and energy efficiency and aim at environmental sustainability.

For centuries, the use of water power has been very important. Hydropower therefore is as old as renewable energy means. Since the 1990s, in particular, the use of wind, solar energy and biomass energy has become strong all over the world. The beginning of the industrial age has gone hand in hand with the increased mining of hard coal (and in some countries lignite) in the industrialized countries. Until today industrialized countries obtain their main energy use from fossil fuels such as petroleum, coal and natural gas, from which electrical power, heat, fuels and raw materials for the chemical industry as well as kinetic energy is produced to provide energy for machines and engines. The reserves of fossil fuels are finite, many reservoirs are already depleted and its end is foreseeable. Renewable energies in comparison are considered infinite. Nuclear energy (obtained by nuclear fission) is not designated as renewable energy, since uranium is no renewable raw material. Whether nuclear fusion (ITER-Project), which has been in development since the 1960’s will be available in the foreseeable future is uncertain. Facilities for the use of renewable energies will be built on the following grounds:

• due to the foreseeable depletion of fossil fuels
• to protect the environment and climate
• to reduce the dependence on energy imports
• because it is economical to build and operate such facilities (often encouraged by subsidies)

The current energy supply is mainly based on fossil fuels. Their deposits have a limited range and are exhausted. The reason is that the rate at which fossil fuels are consumed exceeds the rate at which they are newly formed (more than a 100.000 times). The basis for RE consists of three energy sources, which are fusion of the sun, tidal force due to the planetary motion and geothermal energy of the core. The most abundant by far is the form of solar energy, followed by geothermal energy and the gravitational supplies. Several factors make a major expansion of renewable energies necessary. Important factors are the limited range of currently used mainly fossil fuels and the mitigation efforts, as well as other environmental concerns and reducing dependence on energy exporters. The degree of expansion depends on many technical, political, economic and other factors.

The incident solar radiation on earth provides roughly ten thousand times the current human energy needs. Geothermal and tidal power provides much lower, but compared to the human need rather large contributions. Physically seen, there’s more energy available (theoretical potential), as will be needed for the foreseeable future. The International Energy Agency (IEA) estimates that globally, by 2030 more than a quarter of the energy consumption can be covered by renewable energies.

Studies by Greenpeace and the Scientific Advisory Board of the German government for Global Change (WBGU), forecast that sustainable business in form of renewable energies will provide half the world-wide energy supply. According to the IPCC, 77% of global energy consumption comes from renewable sources in 2050. Scientists at the Universities of Stanford and Davis have a plan for an emissions-free world by 2030. Many projects around the world have been started to determine how renewable energy can provide and supply our future energy needs. Since the petroleum industry has entered the game, there’s hope for a sustainable future.

Urban planning (also city or town planning) is a political and technical process concerned with the development of the city and with the spatial and social structures in the city. It is concerned with the use of land and the eco friendly design of the environment of a city, including transportation networks and sustainable energy. On this basis urban planning develops conceptual plans, ideally with due consideration of all public and private interests with the aim of minimizing conflicts. It maps both the public and private construction activity, and controls the spatial development of infrastructure in the city. City planning controls, in the framework of development planning is essentially the use of land in the municipality.

The urban planning experts (mostly urban planners, geographers, architects, engineers, landscape and regional planners) are referred to as city planners. City planners are working for the most part in the public administration of local authorities and in open plan offices for urban city planning, but partly also in architecture, landscape planning and engineering offices, intermediary institutions and the relevant departments of the universities and colleges. Urban planning is a discipline that is taught at several universities as a separate subject or as part of a closely-related training such as architecture, geography, engineering or planning.

Task of urban planning is to achieve sustainable urban development of cities and municipalities and their subdivisions. Here, the social, economic and environmental problems and environmental jobs are to be reconciled into harmony. One of the good of the community serving socially equitable land use must be guaranteed.
Urban planning should help to ensure a decent environment and protect the natural resources and to develop, even in the general responsibility for climate change and is therefore the basic discipline for the development of sustainable future cities. In addition, the urban form and the local building culture and landscape are preserved and developed. Green space and landscaping are receiving an increasing importance in the context of urban and rural planning and urban redevelopment.

Until now there are only naked steel skeletons reaching into the sky everywhere, and most asphalt trails lead to nowhere. But in six years from now, only an hour’s drive from Seoul, pulsating life is to be expected in a new future city.

An American real estate company wants to build the perfect “city of cities” New Songdo. With an opera house, as impressive as the one in Sydney, with canals, as picturesque as those in Venice, and a Central Park, as extensive as in New York. The company has invested more than 25 billion dollars, in a modern Utopia. The South Korean giant project fits into our time, in the era of the big cities or the “urban millennium”, as mentioned by the former UN Secretary General Kofi Annan.
Humanity has reached a decision: against life on the countryside and for the city. Meanwhile, more than half the world’s population lives in urban areas and by 2050 it is expected to be more than two-thirds. And there is no evidence that the pull of the cities could subside. Neither in the poor countries of the South, where they attract armies of fortuneless with the promise of a better future, nor in Europe, where people start to remember the amenities of “Mega Cities” and are learning to appreciate their high tempo again.

The cottage in the countryside becomes old fashioned. Rediscovering duplex apartment provides fast falling rents in the affluent suburbs – and makes the ongoing debate about the commuter tax in Germany appear overhauled. It is unlikely, however, that the pleasure in city life can be allayed by cities that were built, like “New Songdo” completely from scratch. Of course it is exciting to live in a perfectly planned building that consumes little energy and gains its power from solar panels on the façade or roof. Even the glossy brochures that promise excellent schools, the international hospital, the giant aquarium and the golf pro-constructed 18-hole course sound promising.

But what makes a city really appealing cannot be planned, nor created overnight. It is their unique, over decades, often centuries-ripened character: the cityscape cast history, we met in Berlin and Vienna on every corner, the ethnic diversity that vibrates in London’s East End or the tension between tradition and modernity, as it can be felt in the old Beijing. Not perfection makes a place livable, but authenticity. Even a prototype of a future city has to develop is character over time.
Therefore it seems to be a rather clumsy post modern attempt by New Songdo’s builders to steal or plagiarize the best elements of major cities around the world. After all, it is based on one correct assumption: the ideal future city needs to look beyond its boundaries and learn from others. Only then she copes with the challenges of the future. And they will be huge. Many big cities face social disruption. This is true not only for the booming mega-cities in Africa, Asia and South America, whose slums proliferate uncontrollably.

Even the rich cities in Europe must be careful not to fall into a bright center and a periphery, which only provides no perspectives. If you grow up on the edges of Paris and Rotterdam today, you already have a reduced chance to receive a decent education, a good job and it is also easier to become a victim of crime. A similar challenge is to ensure that the infrastructure of a city keeps pace with the needs of their citizens. It needs to become more flexible and functional otherwise it will reduce quality of life. In means of traffic for example: An average German commutes an hour and a half per day to and from work. At the end of the year he has spent 14 days in a car, on the bus or train.

New mobility and urban mobility concepts are needed to accelerate these ways by combining different offers such as rental bikes, express aerial railways and electric cars. There is also the question of how much mobility is needed at all in a modern city? Isn’t it possible to bring live and work closer to each other? Finally, cities can cause massive environmental problems. They sometimes creep into their region like greedy organism, while devouring their water resources and food supplies, polluting the air and producing large amounts of waste. Above all, their citizens produce four-fifths of the main greenhouse gas culprit in global warming. The bad news for city dwellers is that they are particularly hard hit by the effects of climate change. Extreme weather events such as storms or droughts make it much harder. The good news is that they can also do a great deal of measures to curb global warming. Wherever many people live together closely, CO 2 and other greenhouse gases can be avoided easily. Reports over mega cities like Mexico City, Tokyo and Shanghai with more than ten million people may indeed currently attract much attention. The future of humanity will not be there though. The greater part of the world’s population will live in urban areas in 2050 with up to five million inhabitants. The German capital of Berlin shows how an ideal city of that size can look like.the capital and its 3.4 million inhabitants have the best conditions, to take the lead or set an example. Berlin’s tremendous versatility makes it a magnet for creative people from all over the world today. Streets in Friedrichshain, Mitte and Kreuzberg are changing their appearance, often within months so that they are barely recognizable. On the other hand, Berlin also has enormous problems. Some are typical for communities of its size: like aging infrastructure, the less sustainable energy supply, the annoying traffic. Some are also in Berlin-specific: it still shows in places, that the city grew out of two halves, which have evolved independently for a half-century. And while the population is growing elsewhere, it has aged in Berlin in particular. The euphoria of reunification is long gone, the expected onslaught of companies and people never occurred. Since 1995 about 1.5 million people have moved there, but in the same time just as many people have left the city.

Since cities are the center of life and are the engine of the economy urban mobility is a key factor. The vast majority of European citizens e.g. live in cities, and about 85% of the gross domestic product of the European Union (EU) is generated there. Urban mobility especially sustainable mobility in the city that allows people to move freely and safely, while taking the environment into consideration at the same time, is of great importance to our quality of life, health and our economy. Europe’s cities and towns however have seen a number of challenges such as traffic congestion, greenhouse gas emissions, air pollution, noise and safety. All European Member States actually have these challenges in common, and their impact is often felt beyond national borders. These challenges must be mastered at European level if we want to achieve a lasting urban mobility to all European citizens. In most cases local authorities are well equipped to take appropriate measures, but the EU can jointly find solutions to the development of a new culture of urban mobility in Europe and provide support. The increasing traffic volume in cities causes traffic jams that affect both the transport of persons as well as that of goods. The associated negative economic, social and ecological consequences total almost 1% of the EU’s gross domestic product. To reduce traffic congestion in urban areas, alternatives such as running and cycling should become more attractive and safe.

A good combination of different modes of transport, convenient parking facilities outside city centers, the Introduction of road pricing, a better traffic management and better traffic information, Carpooling and car sharing and efficiently transport of freight could help to reduce traffic jams. Transport involves considerable amounts of Carbon dioxide emissions, air pollutants and noise that harm the environment and human health. The development of clean energy efficient transport technologies and the establishment of “green zones” (with pedestrian zones, Access restrictions and speed limits) are only a few of the options for cities to become environmentally friendly. Energy efficient driving and an environmentally conscious procurement could also help to overcome these challenges. Cities are confronted with a constant increase in transportation volume (for people as well as for goods), while the opportunities to develop the necessary infrastructure decreases by the lack of space and environmental requirements. Part of the problem could be fixed, however, by an “intelligent” transport. Intelligent Transport Systems (ITS) and good Traffic management can help to increase efficiency through smart charging, smart ticketing for public transport and better Passenger information. Another challenge is to make public transport more accessible to all citizens. Society is changing. It is aging and expects flexible, affordable and convenient solutions for mobility. We want to have seamless secure and an efficient urban mobility solutions for goods and for people. This requires good links between the various transport modes and also between the transport networks of the inner cities and those in the suburbs for example by establishing park and ride locations outside the cities. People should be as low risk as they move through the cities. However, the number road traffic accidents in urban areas continue to be far too high. In order to achieve remedy in this context, we need to explore questions regarding mobile behavior, vehicle technology and infrastructural requirements. Consistent enforcement of traffic regulations is essential in this context. Moreover, the fact that citizens do not feel safe while using public transportation, which in turn can prevent a decline in privately used vehicle’s, cities need to work on safety requirements to protect people from criminal or terrorist acts while using public transportation. Facing these challenges also means that we have to change our behavior and create a new culture of mobility, in which all possible parties are involved in the process.

Now it needs to be discussed on how these challenges can be achieved and what additional value it will bring to our European cities. A mayor game plan needs to be drawn to achieve these goals.

The term urban ecology describes a number of different approaches to identify the urban area of conflict.
1. The study of urban living with the approach and method of ecological research. Urban ecology, in this context, means the study of habitats and habitat types that occur in specific cities, especially the urban spontaneous flora and fauna and vegetation. Humans and human activities are associated with prior specific location factors, but are not themselves subject of research. Applications are made in terms of green planning and design in cities, to learn and experience nature and nature conservation in urban habitats.

2. The study of cities as ecosystems i.e. the viewing of entire cities with the approach and method of community ecology and ecosystem research. In particular, the context of ecosystem research, the identification of energy and material flows and balances of entire cities. Popular concept to illustrate this approach is the “ecological footprint” of a city.

3. As part of the City Planning and Development: The objective of an “ecological” or “sustainable” city, particularly to reduce the area and energy consumption and the creation of livable neighborhoods. Urban ecology in this sense is an applied social science that seeks ecologically-defined goals, with the methods and research programs in ecology (as a biological sub-discipline), but has nothing to do with it directly.

4. An early influential research direction within sociology (the “Chicago School”), the ecological research method has directly applied to the study of sociological phenomena in cities (“social ecology”). Related and overlapping fields of research are landscape ecology, human ecology and ecological civilization.

Most cities, compared to their surrounding areas, feature a number of characteristics in living conditions, e.g. climate (cf. urban climate). These do not only influence living conditions of flora and fauna in general, but also for the people living here. The global radiation is reduced due to increased turbidity in urban air. Selectively filtered short wavelengths (particularly strong: UV) result in the Hubble effect (red shift). Even though radiation reflection is reinforced, due to turbidity in air and multiple reflections from buildings, irradiation is increased, despite the lower global radiation. Construction materials generally have a lower Albedo than vegetation (averaging. 0,15 and therefore approximately 10% lower in short wavelength) and can therefore heat up more heavily upon irradiation. Stones have a high heat capacity. That’s why buildings in cities heat up slowly in the morning and need a rather long time to cool off in the evening. The anthropogenic heat generated by combustion processes can at least reach the same magnitude as the winter sun. Within cities, the impact of particulate matter is many times higher than in the surrounding area. This will change not only the direct consequences of radiation (over the air turbidity) and water balance (through the influence of condensation nuclei). Many pollutants such as cadmium are elevated as part of the dust pollution in cities. They significantly increase (after deposition) the contents in the topsoil. On the contrary, the level of ozone is low, because it is build only by atmospheric chemical reaction and away from the emitted. The content of carbon dioxide in urban air is greatly increased. Due to the low vegetation cover within cities, which eliminates perspiration, a much smaller proportion of precipitation evaporates than in the surrounding area. Most of the water is passed over the large footprint of buildings, roads and other paved surfaces in the sewer system, thus strengthening the runoff into the waters in which they initiate. Most of the water is passed over the large footprint of buildings, roads and other paved surfaces into the sewer system, thus strengthening the runoff into the waters in which they initiate. The groundwater recharge remains sealed in moderately urban areas firstly almost unaffected. The water table in urban areas is usually lowered by the influence of the sewer system (which acts as a drainage area). Although humidity is lowered, due to lower evaporation, the contamination with dusts (which act as condensation nuclei), often form haze. The complex interplay of these factors lead, among others, to the following impacts: The average temperature in dense cities is higher than the surrounding areas by an average of 0.5 to 1.5 ° C (urban heat island). Cities generate a small local area of low pressure, caused by rising heated air, the high buildings and the high upward deflected wind fields (updrafts). Precipitation is usually higher within cities and cloud building is up 5-10% compared to the surrounding areas. The average wind speed is lowered inside cities, due to the effect of buildings. Unlike inside forests for example, turbulences are encountered more often for the same reason. Despite the increased rainfall, the cities soils are much dryer. Nature in the city owns next to its independent value and features for people who live here, the term “ecosystem services”. Especially important is the function of plants, especially trees. For this meaning spontaneously raised and planted crops are basically equivalent.Listed as essential functions are

• Changes in microclimate mainly reduce heat loss by wind
• Filtration of aerosols and dust
• Soundproofing
• The effect of recreation and well-being.
• The impact of parks, forests and wooded areas depends on its extent.
• Individual trees and small green spaces improve the situation locally.
• Extensive forest-like stocks can also affect the local climate in adjacent neighborhoods.

Renewable energy sources, renewable energy or alternative energy fuels are typically referred to as the energy sources that are available to people (within time frames) and which are practically available inexhaustibly, or rather “replaced” soon. So they set themselves apart from fossil fuels, although they also regenerate from solar energy, which takes a period of Millions of years. Renewable energy sources (hereinafter also referred to ‘RE’ abbreviated) are therefore considered sustainable usable energy resources, including, in particular hydropower, wind energy, solar radiation, geothermal and renewable resources count. The use of the RE does not contribute practically to the exhaustion of their cause (such as nuclear fusion in the sun or of planetary motion) which however, can at times be the ground-based buffer (exhausted biomass). The term renewable energy sources cannot be understood in the physical sense, because energy can be determined by the conservation of energy created or destroyed, but only in different transferred forms. Derived from RE, secondary energy carriers such as electricity, heat, and fuel are often referred to as EE, which is imprecise. Electricity gained from renewable energy is often referred to as green-power and eco-power.

Renewable energy along with energy efficiency is the concept of sustainable energy or sustainable energy is based on the two pillars of renewable energies and Energy efficiency and aim at environmental sustainability.

For centuries, the use of water power has been very important. Hydropower is, therefore is as old as renewable energy means. Since the 1990s, in particular, the use of wind, solar energy and biomass energy has become strong all over the world. The beginning of the industrial age has gone hand in hand with the increased mining of hard coal (and in some countries lignite) in the industrialized countries. Until today industrialized countries obtain their main energy use from fossil fuels such as petroleum, coal and natural gas, from which electrical power, heat, fuels and raw materials for the chemical industry as well as kinetic energy is produced to provide energy for machines and engines. The reserves of fossil fuels are finite, many reservoirs are already depleted and its end is foreseeable. Renewable energies in comparison are considered infinite. Nuclear energy (obtained by nuclear fission) is not designated as renewable energy, since uranium is no renewable raw material. Whether nuclear fusion (ITER-Project), which has been in development since the 1960’s will be available in the foreseeable future is uncertain. Facilities for the use of renewable energies will be built on the following grounds:

• due to the foreseeable depletion of fossil fuels
• to protect the environment and climate
• to reduce the dependence on energy imports
• because it is economical to build and operate such facilities (often encouraged by subsidies)

The current energy supply is mainly based on fossil fuels. Their deposits have a limited range and are exhausted. The reason is that the rate at which fossil fuels are consumed exceeds the rate at which they are newly formed (more than a 100.000 times). The basis for RE consists of three energy sources, which are fusion of the sun, tidal force due to the planetary motion and geothermal energy of the core. The most abundant by far is the form of solar energy, followed by geothermal energy and the gravitational supplies. Several factors make a major expansion of renewable energies necessary. Important factors are the limited range of currently used mainly fossil fuels and the mitigation efforts, as well as other environmental concerns and reducing dependence on energy exporters. The degree of expansion depends on many technical, political, economic and other factors.

The incident solar radiation on earth provides roughly ten thousand times the current human energy needs. Geothermal and tidal power provides much lower, but compared to the human need rather large contributions. Physically seen, there’s more energy available (theoretical potential), as will be needed for the foreseeable future. The International Energy Agency (IEA) estimates that globally, by 2030 more than a quarter of the energy consumption can be covered by renewable energies.
Studies by Greenpeace and the Scientific Advisory Board of the German government for Global Change (WBGU), forecast that renewable energies will provide half the world-wide energy supply. According to the IPCC, 77% of global energy consumption comes from renewable sources in 2050. Scientists at the Universities of Stanford and Davis have a plan for an emissions-free world by 2030. Many projects around the world have been started to determine how renewable energy can provide and supply our future energy needs. Since the petroleum industry has entered the game, there’s hope for a sustainable future.

Urban design is a cumulative term that describes the process of drafting and forming major or minor cities and villages. Urban design lays it emphasis on designing attractive, functional and sustainable clusters of buildings, streets, neighborhoods and complete cities, as where architecture mainly focuses on individual buildings. Urban design combines the built environment professions such as urban planning, landscape architecture, architecture, civil and municipal engineering as an inter-disciplinary subject. Therefore usually most professionals in these disciplines get to deal with urban design because they’re involved in all these different strands. Meanwhile, different strands of urban design, like for instance landscape urbanism have emerged. Urban designers require a great amount of understanding for a broad field of subjects such as the development real estate, social science, physical geography, urban economics and political economy. Ideally urban design connects places and people, motion and urban shape, nature and built construction.

Urban design pulls various strings together such as environmental stewardship, place making, social fairness and economic feasibility, into the building of places with pronounced loveliness and sameness. Since urban design primarily deals with the management and design of public space and the way community places are used and experienced, it has become an important factor for shaping our modern cities and making them a better place to live. While the separate fields of urban design and urban planning are closely spaced they do differ in their main focus.

Urban design concentrates on the proactive design of urban areas, while urban planning engages in guidance of private development through established and regulated planning methods and programs, such as government institutions and similar public agencies. A mayor issue in shaping public spaces is the fact of overlapping management responsibilities of multiple public authorities or agencies and more often the interests of immediate property owners, as well as the interest of the diverse present or future users. Therefore the management, construction and design of public spaces usually requires agreements across a wide spread variety of sectors.

Unlike architects, urban designers hardly experience artistic freedom or control in their projects. A lot of urban design work is carried out by architects, landscape architects and urban planners, but a significant amount of professionals who considers themselves urban designers only. An increasing number of university programs such as architecture, landscape or planning programs offer incorporated urban design theory and design subjects into their post graduate level curricula, in order for their students to receive degrees in urban design.

Automobiles were the core influence on the design of urban development in Europe and the U.S., ever since they emerged at the beginning of the past century. In Europe (especially Germany) streets were broadened, districts were ripped apart, houses and public parks were torn down and inner-city highways were built, to meet the needs of a growing fleet of automobiles, that conquered mayor cities after the 1940’s. Automotive mobility as a form of freedom was the main theme during the 1950’s and 60’s. With an increasing amount of air pollution and environmental noise ratio’s climbing, the public demand for a more humane city environment grew and made way for the rise of urban design as a reaction to the hostile impact of automotive use and car orientated designs.

One comment

amaglo collins eli on December 2, 2012 at 12:49




Anonymous from
Fri, December 21, 2012 at 12.25 pm

RESO-Femmes international experienced trouble uploading their discussion note, please find it attached below. Let us know how we can upload it properly.


Consultation Team from
Fri, January 11, 2013 at 09.13 pm

Dear RESO-Femmes,

We tried opening your document, but unfortunately the link takes you to the rio+20dialogues page and we can't find your discussion note. Could you please send it again? The new deadline is January 15, 2013.

Thank you,
Consultation Team

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