Concrete Sustainable Development Goals the Only Recipe for Success

solar powered irrigation benin

How to Secure a Viable Future for All

By Stephen Leahy

RIO DE JANEIRO, Jun 16 (TerraViva)

Goals drive action, and that’s why establishing a set of Sustainable Development Goals is so important to put the world on a sustainable pathway, experts said Saturday under the tropical fig and palm forest that covers much of the ground at the Pontifical Catholic University of Rio de Janeiro.

“Building a consensus on a set of goals will give the world community clarity about what needs to be done and a way to measure progress,” said Saleemul Huq, a senior fellow in the Climate Change Group at the International Institute of Environment and Development (IIED).

Terms like “green economy” and “sustainability” have too many different meanings and too many different interpretations, Huq told TerraViva during a break at the two-day Fair Ideas conference organised by IIED and the Pontifical Catholic University.

The Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) have proven to be a useful tool even though some will not be achieved by the 2015 deadline, he said. The MDGs helped guide governments in setting their policies to try to meet the targets such as reducing poverty by half. The MDG target of having the number of people without access to safe drinking water was met early this year.

The MDGs have no environmental focus and they only applied to the developing world, Huq said.

Sustainable Development Goals would be much broader covering pollution, environment impacts and consumption and apply to all countries rich and poor but in different ways.”

Saleemul Huq, Senior Fellow, Climate Change Group at the International Institute of Environment and Development (IIED). Credit: Stephen Leahy/IPS

 

The governments of Colombia and Guatemala first proposed a framework for establishing Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) be one of the main outcomes at the Rio+20 Summit on Sustainable Development.

“The SDGs are not about the environment, they are about securing a viable future for all people,” said Paula Caballero, director of economic, social and environmental affairs, Ministerio de Relaciones Exteriores of Colombia.

“We need the public and policy makers to understand this,” Caballero told the conference. Continue reading

Colombian Forest Project Reaps Credits… and Criticism

Procuenca reforestation

By Stephen Leahy*

UXBRIDGE, Canada, May 6, 2010 (Tierramérica)

The “Procuenca Initiative” in the Andes region of western Colombia may be the first in the world to sell certified forest carbon credits with a biodiversity protection component. But alarms are sounding about the potential negative social and environmental consequences.

Under way since 2001, the programme will begin to operate in the international market next year, having received official registration Apr. 16 under the Clean Development Mechanism (CDM).

Part of the Kyoto Protocol on Climate Change, in force since 2005, the CDM allows industrialised countries to earn credits for reducing emissions of greenhouse gases by investing in projects in developing countries that expand their capacity to absorb the carbon emissions.

Procuenca is expected to auction credits for some 350,000 tonnes of carbon that has been sequestered since the project began, initiative director Francisco Ocampo told Tierramérica through a translator.

At the current market value of 20 dollars per tonne, the total would be 7 million dollars for a struggling community, one that is still suffering from the collapse of coffee prices more than a decade ago.

“This project demonstrates the international importance of these forests for carbon storage,” said Ocampo. Continue reading