CEEWEB

History of global environmentalism
First steps in a global cooperation
The environmental problems induced by the industrial revolution and the globalisation still did not revoke the establishment of an environmental organization at the time when the United Nations Organisation was founded in 1945. The Food Agricultural Organisation and the Economic and Social Council of the United Nations were assigned as responsible institutions. Neither was the purpose to cooperate in solving international environmental problems included in the Charter of the United Nations. The foundation of the International Union for the Protection of Nature (IUPN) (which later became the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN)) in 1948 however showed the need and willingness for global cooperation in conserving the Earth’s natural assets. IUCN has members presenting governments, institutions and associations, as well as international and non-governmental organizations, it played role in writing treaties such as CITES. The World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) was founded to raise fund for IUPN in 1961, but shortly thereafter, they it managing projects themselves and became separated. In the 60’s wealthy society gave birth to young people with awareness in environmental problems, which was also stimulated by books, such as “Silent Spring” authored by Rachel Carson (1962), which describes an imaginary environmental catastrophe. Besides oil tanker accidents, as well as the civil rights movement and antiwar movement also raised the environmental awareness. The report “Limits to Growth” published by the Club of Rome in 1972 predicts that if economic development continues with business-asusual, mankind will run out of non-renewable resources before the year 2072 with the most probable result being “a rather sudden and uncontrollable decline in both population and industrial capacity.” The evolvement of strong NGOs, such as the Friends of Earth (1971) and Greenpeace (1971) started in the 70’s.

Efforts under the auspices of the UN
The UN Conference on Human Environment was held in Stockholm in 1972, which recognized the failure of mankind to manage biosphere and called for the minimization of gaps between developed and developing countries. Since this conference, a large majority of countries introduced environmental issues in their agendas and many governmental and non-governmental environmental organizations were created. The Stockholm Conference also led to the establishment of the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), headquartered in Nairobi. It has the mandate to coordinate among UN institutions in order to promote environmental programmes. As global environmental problems have a profound impact on human development and vice versa, the United Nations Development Programme also has a focus on environmental issues. Through its network of regional and national offices UNDP helps countries strengthen their capacity to address these challenges at global, national and community levels. The World Commission on Environment and Development, also known as the Brundtland Commission was created and presented a special report to the UN called "Our Common Future" in 1987. The Brundtland Commission describes sustainable

1

development as "Development that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs." For this aim the Brundtland Commission called for more elaborate and responsible exploitation of natural resources, as well as the expansion of the world economy by a factor of five to ten, which however does not consider the limits to growth and has not adopted a change of paradigm.

The Earth Summit and the Rio Conventions
Besides the Brundtland Report "recommended that the world convene again for a global conference, but this time to focus on environment and development" thus initiated the United Nations Conference on Environment and Development, the Earth Summit in 1992. The Earth Summit in Rio de Janeiro was unprecedented for a UN conference, in terms of both its size and the scope of its concerns. It aimed to outline an agenda for future action on environmental and developmental issues, which would bring sustainable development closer through integrating and balancing environmental, social and economic concerns. Five multilateral agreements were signed at the Summit, two of which, the Convention on Biological Diversity and the Framework Convention on Climate Change are legally binding for all participating parties. The other three documents are non-binding statements: the Rio Declaration setting 27 principles to guide international action on the basis of global responsibility towards sustainable development, the Agenda 21 providing a broad-ranging programme of actions in various sectors and the Statement on Forest Principles with 15 principles for the protection and more sustainable use of global forest resources. Following the Earth Summit, four additional multilateral environmental agreements were adopted that can be regarded as Rio outcomes (Convention to Combat Desertification, Rotterdam Convention on Prior Informed Consent Procedure for Certain Hazardous Chemicals and Pesticides in International Trade, Convention on Persistent Organic Pollutants and the Straddling and Migratory Fish Stocks Agreement).

The Millennium Ecosystem Assessment
The Millennium Ecosystem Assessment (MA) launched in June 2001 is an international work program designed to meet the needs of decision makers and the public for scientific information concerning the consequences of ecosystem change for human well-being and options for responding to those changes. The MA focuses on ecosystem services, how changes in ecosystem services have affected in the past and may affect human wellbeing in the future, and response options that might be adopted at local, national, or global scales to improve ecosystem management. If the MA proves to be useful to its stakeholders, it is anticipated that an assessment process modelled on the MA will be repeated every 5–10 years and that ecosystem assessments will be regularly conducted at national or sub-national scales.

2

The Johannesburg Summit
The goal of the World Summit for Sustainable Development, according to UN General Assembly Resolution, was to hold a ten-year review of the 1992 Earth Summit to revive global commitment to sustainable development. If measured against the stated objectives, the WSSD produced both advances and setbacks. The WSSD negotiated and adopted two main documents: the Plan of Implementation and the Johannesburg Declaration on Sustainable Development The Plan of Implementation is designed as a framework for action to implement the commitments originally agreed at UNCED and includes eleven chapters: an introduction; poverty eradication; consumption and production; the natural resource base; globalization; health; small island developing States (SIDS); Africa; other regional initiatives; means of implementation; and institutional framework. It contains over thirty targets (many stemming from the Millennium Development Goals and other agreements), among others: • • • • • • • achievement by 2010 of a significant reduction in the current rate of biodiversity loss; using and producing chemicals by 2020 in ways that do not lead to significant adverse effects on human health and the environment; restoring fisheries to their maximum sustainable yields by 2015; establishing a representative network of marine protected areas by 2012; improving developing countries’ access to environmentally-sound alternatives to ozone depleting chemicals by 2010; undertaking initiatives by 2004 to implement the Global Programme of Action for the protection of the Marine Environment from Land Based Sources; halving the proportion of people without access to basic sanitation by 2015, etc.

The Johannesburg Declaration outlines the path taken from UNCED to the WSSD, highlights present challenges, expresses a commitment to sustainable development, underscores the importance of multilateralism and emphasizes the need for implementation. At the Summit the focus shifted to the social and development agenda, and more particularly poverty eradication, sanitation and health. The Plan of Implementation recognizes poverty as a running theme, linked to its multiple dimensions, from access to energy, water and sanitation, to the equitable sharing of the benefits of biodiversity. Modest commitments on measures to contribute to the recovery of fish stocks, action on chemicals and a potential benefit-sharing regime under the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) also identify areas where more effort is needed. Major areas of disagreement included: time-bound targets for renewable energy, energy subsidies, natural resource degradation; Rio Principles 7 (common but differentiated responsibilities) and 15 (precautionary approach); governance; trade, finance and globalization; and the Kyoto Protocol.

The 2010 targets
• • In 2001, EU Heads of State and Government made a commitment at the EU’s Spring Summit in Gothenburg to ‘halt the loss of biodiversity by 2010’. In spring 2002, the 6th Conference of the Parties (COP6) of the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) adopted a Strategic Plan for the CBD. In the Strategic Plan the “Parties commit themselves to a more effective and coherent

3

implementation of the three objectives of the Convention, to achieve by 2010 a significant reduction of the current rate of biodiversity loss at the global, regional and national level as a contribution to poverty alleviation and to the benefit of all life on earth”. • Later in 2002 world leaders agreed at the World Summit for Sustainable Development to ‘significantly reduce the current rate of loss of biodiversity by 2010’. In May 2003 Ministers of Environment set the goal to halt the loss of biodiversity by 2010 at the Pan-European Kyiv Ministerial Conference in the Kyiv Resolution on Biodiversity, along with other nine tangible targets.

LINKS
UN Department of Economic and Social Affairs – Division on Sustainable Development: http://www.un.org/esa/sustdev/ IUCN: http://www.iucn.org/ WWF: http://www.panda.org/ Brundtland Report: http://ods-ddsny.un.org/doc/UNDOC/GEN/N87/184/67/IMG/N8718467.pdf?OpenElement Convention on Biological Diversity: http://www.biodiv.org/ Framework Convention on Climate Change: http://unfccc.int/ Convention to Combat Desertification: http://www.unccd.org/ Straddling and Migratory Fish Stocks Agreement: http://untreaty.un.org/ENGLISH/bible/englishinternetbible/partI/chapterXXI/treaty9.asp Rio Declaration on Environment and Development: http://www.un.org/documents/ga/conf151/aconf15126-1annex1.htm Agenda 21: http://www.un.org/esa/sustdev/documents/agenda21/english/agenda21toc.htm Statement of principles for the Sustainable Management of Forests: http://www.un.org/documents/ga/conf151/aconf15126-3annex3.htm The Millennium Ecosystem Assessment: http://www.millenniumassessment.org/en/about.overview.aspx? Johannesburg Plan of Implementation: http://www.un.org/esa/sustdev/documents/WSSD_POI_PD/English/POIToc.htm Johannesburg Declaration on Sustainable Development: http://www.un.org/esa/sustdev/documents/WSSD_POI_PD/English/POI_PD.htm

4