For a good overview of what happened in the negotiations towards Rio+20 in New-York last week consult the summary coverage of IISD.
‘OUR STRUGGLE FOR GLOBAL SUSTAINABILITY WILL BE WON OR LOST IN CITIES,’ SAYS SECRETARY-GENERAL, AT NEW YORK EVENT
It is a pleasure to welcome you here today, along with my colleague Dr. Joan Clos, the Executive Director of UN-Habitat.
In less than two months, the world will be the guests of Mayor Paes and the citizens of Rio, gathered to chart a sustainable future for our planet.
“Rio+20” is a once-in-a-generation opportunity.
Globally, a profound demographic shift is under way.
The global increase in urban population by the year 2050 is forecast to be higher than what the total population of the world was in 1950.
Let there be no doubt: we live in an urbanized world.
Moreover, the greatest urban population growth is expected to take place in Africa, Asia and Latin America. And mega-cities are growing fastest of all.
Today, seven of every ten urban residents in the world live in developing countries.
The implications of this change are clear. Our struggle for global sustainability will be won or lost in cities.
As mayors and associations of local and regional authorities, your support has never been more crucial to delivering practical results that will defeat poverty, protect the natural environment and improve disaster risk reduction.
By prioritizing sustainable urbanization within a broader development framework, many critical development challenges can be addressed in tandem.
Energy, water, food, biodiversity, climate change adaptation, exposure to natural hazards, consumption and production patterns, social protection floors and jobs, especially for young people — these are all closely linked. Our challenge is to connect the dots, so that advances on one can generate progress on others.
It is vitally important that this approach be recognized and endorsed at Rio+20.
The weeks to come will be filled with complex discussions and long nights of negotiation.
I continue to press Member States to maintain a high level of ambition for the conference.
In the next twenty years, the world will need at least 50 per cent more food, 45 per cent more energy, 30 per cent more water, and many, many millions of new jobs.
We need an outcome from Rio+20 that is thus both practical and transformational.
We need to move beyond gross domestic product as our main measure of progress, and fashion a sustainable development index that puts people first.
We expect the conference to agree on the need to launch a process to elaborate sustainable development goals that build on the Millennium Development Goals.
We are also looking to Rio to reinforce a set of building blocks for sustainability, including through support for an oceans compact and for my Sustainable Energy for All initiative.
Our goal is a fundamental “reset” of the global development agenda. Hard but necessary choices lie ahead. Cities have a central role to play in making this paradigm shift a reality.
In the spirit of UN-Habitat’s “I’m a City Changer” campaign, I encourage you all to advocate for the importance of sound national urban strategies, balanced regional development policies, and strengthened urban economic and legal frameworks.
Sustainable cities are crucial to our future well-being.
Your contributions can not only ensure a successful outcome from Rio+20, but will also provide a cornerstone towards the realization of a “New Urban Agenda” at Habitat III in 2016.
I will count on you to ensure that the voices of cities are heard.
Thank you for your support and commitment and I wish us all every success with the work ahead.
UCCRN/UNISDR: From Sendai to Rio - Cultivating a Disaster-Resilient Society for Sustainable Development
Location: Columbia University, Morningside Campus, Low Memorial Library, The Rotunda
Contact: For further information regarding this event, please contact Somayya Ali, Center for Climate Systems Research, by sending email to email@example.com or by calling 212-678-5626.
Speakers: Jeffrey Sachs (Earth Institute), Adam Freed (City of New York), Helena Molin Valdes (UNISDR), Henrietta Elisabeth Thompson (Rio+20), Hon. Saber H. Chowdhury (MP, Govt. of Bangladesh), H.E. Mr. Jun Yamazaki (Japanese Mission to the UN), and John Mutter (Earth Institute), among others.
The Earth Institute Center for Climate Systems Research (CCSR) Urban Climate Change Research Network (UCCRN), the United Nations International Strategy for Disaster Reduction (UNISDR), the Permanent Mission of Japan to the United Nations, and the Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory present "From Sendai to Rio - Cultivating a Disaster-Resilient Society for Sustainable Development."
This dialogue is organized to discuss the significance of building climate and disaster resilience in coastal cities. It will feature experts from UN agencies, the Urban Climate Change Research Network (UCCRN), Columbia University, Japan, Bangladesh and New York City to share their knowledge and experience in the issue and discuss how these could influence the public and policy understanding on sustainable development, especially in the urban context. The dialogue will also serve as a platform to identify research questions and learning among cities from different regions in implementing disaster risk reduction initiatives at the local level.
Open to the public. Registration is required.
Reception to follow.
For more information on UCCRN visit www.uccrn.org
For more information on UNISDR visit www.unisdr.org
For more information on the Permanent Mission of Japan to the United Nations visit www.un/emb-japan.go.jp
Directions and Map for Low Library Rotunda
Achieving effective outcomes in local public administration has become increasingly challenging due to ever more complex and unpredictable environment in which governments operate, often with insufficient resources. The focus of the eleventh annual session of the Committee of Experts on Public Administration (CEPA) will be on local government strategies for more results-oriented public governance.
The goal of this session is to assist stakeholders developing public service capacity building for local-level development, as well as increase transparency, accountability and citizens’ engagement. In the second year of its multi-year agenda of “Public Governance for Results”, the theme of this session is “Local public governance and administration for results”. It will be held from 16-20 April 2012.
Intergovernmental Governance and Regimes
What must be met in order to make the most of representative democracy at the local level? A report by Jan Ziekow, a member of CEPA, indicates that “the position of representative democracy at the local level is, in this respect, more difficult than representation at the national level. At such higher levels, interconnections and interdependencies are not as closely knit as for local representatives. The status given to representative democracy at the local level in a particular national context depends very much on culture, tradition, values, social structure, and legal and administration systems and thus it varies greatly.”
The report suggests that a careful balance of the competencies of local authorities and administrations together with a carefully balanced decoupling of local councils from state institutions grants legitimacy, financial power and autonomous self-government to municipalities. It also suggests that a representative democracy that relies solely on institutions legitimized by elections is under constant pressure of proving its legitimacy.
Public Service Capacity Building for Local-level Development
A case study of the Singapore Public Service reveals that “Singapore faced dire economic challenges at its birth as an independent State. The city-State lacked a hinterland it could exploit, and its historical role as an entrepôt was being threatened by its neighbours’ nationalistic economic policies. The country needed to create jobs. Given those challenges, it is understandable that the foremost priority of the Singapore Public Service was to pursue economic growth for the nation.
The Public Service indubitably achieved its mission. Per capita income trebled between 1965 and 1977. By the mid-1970s, the problem of high unemployment had transformed into the challenge of full employment. Singapore is, today, globally renowned for being a wealthy city-State with an excellent public education system, efficient public transport, safe streets and a highly capable and honest bureaucracy.”
Singapore managed to do this by basing their approach to governance on six principles: pragmatism, the avoidance of welfarism, constant re-evaluation, holistic approach to government, honesty, and development of human capital in the public sector.
Transparency, Accountability, and Citizens’ Engagement
Economics is no longer the sole factor to be considered in measuring progress towards development: “This twenty-first century has seen something that is genuinely new: the globalization of values. There is a growing awareness that the problems are global and that on issues such as drinking water, environment, non-renewable resources, endemic diseases, climate change, biotechnologies and health and food security, all countries are affected and the solutions require new forms of worldwide coordination,” argues Ms. Oyhanarte in her report.
“Major development assistance decisions are still based primarily on macroeconomics, but national per capita production is no longer the sole factor to be considered in measuring progress towards development.”
Citizen’s engagement – orderly, concerted action by individuals and organizations – is considered to be one of the best local development management tools. However, to be effective, transparency and access to information have to be in place.
The knowledge of good practices in transparency and citizen’s engagement can be used as a model for the development of joint management and multi-stakeholder partnerships. This creates a network of stakeholders and has a positive impact on the drafting of a public agenda that gives priority to the MDG’s post 2015.
The World Federation of United Nations Organisations (WFUNA) will be holding a webinar on April 3rd at 9 am EST on the Green Economy (Go to: wfuna.adobeconnect.com/rio20)
Oliver Greenfield, Convenor of the Green Economy Coalition, will speak on the ‘why’, ‘what’, and ‘how’ of a green economy, and provide an update on the negotiations.
Participants will be able to ask questions and dialogue.
If you would like to attend email to firstname.lastname@example.org giving your name and organisation -Please use subject line: “SD Webinar RSVP”