Show Sidebar Log in

8 Jul 2013 CAUN Strategy Call TitanPad archive – Comments on Reports

Main discussion on CAUN Comments for UN SDG Progress Reports 
(below discussions on Whole Systems Approach, 

Archived Sidebar Notes
June 28, 2013
10:05MyraCan you busy ones join our call?
10:05MyraJessie and Rob…
12:04Patricksorry, my line droped, have to leave also, will help with SDG water doc, and was great hearing you again, looking forward working more with you on the commons approach
12:04PatrickMay Peace Prevail on Earth
12:43Soraia Taipa: My skye crashed too…

July 8, 2013
9:12RobLisinka, I think that you have got our basic submission and approach to our materials backwards. First, our submission is going to NGLS and not the UN Secretariat. Second, We need to first list the main comments and recommendations that we wish to make in summary form. Then we can refer to the 4 titan pads with additional information. I started thus started my summary draft with the 6? (or however many) key recommendations that we want to make.
11:15Jessie Henshaw: My 4YG dashboard model ishttp://www.synapse9.com/4YG/DashboardDoc1.htm
11:27Akiwa Gizzel: are we here at this moment
12:07Akwa Gizzel: the 12 of August is best for me

 

 

Upcoming 

July 15 discussion and talk by Myra on Bhutan: 10 AM EST, 4 PM CET
 
Next Strategy Meeting: July 30,, 10 AM EST, 4 PM CET
 
Whole Systems Approach
In Reference to the Economic discussion I just presented, the "transformative" economic/finance thinking necessary the article I referred to is on Pg. 68 of August 2013 Psychology Today on Professor Hitendra Wadhwa of Columbia University who "teaches CEOs to be masters of themselves instead of masters of the universe".  This critical deconstruction on worldviews, privilege and one's taught "ways of seeing" and what they narrow or enlarge to is my argument for the "deepest" piece to deconstruct to then open, explicitly and clearly this "values" discussion that get to the root ethics or values the rest of your argument flows from.  This is one of the best attempts to deconstruct these spiritual/internal-cultural values issues that I have yet found by anyone focusing on the intersect of these key issues.  (One to add Charles Eisenstein's work on 'Sacred Economics' and I know there are others.  Could we start raising them and their ideas as an explicit counter to the current "Growth without limits or integration to the Whole" that is the current dominant economic system by all metrics and analysis.
 
June's first very rough attempt (Please help with your response/input like Jessie is doing below) Soraia?:
 
Wholistic, integrated and "whole systems" approach to understanding and developing the processes and mind/brain and heart "sets" to understand on all these interconnected levels of Earth and nature "stewardship", including old (historical?) models more aligned to this type of thinking particularly in indigenous or more stewardship-based cultures or models.
 
Examples specifically to illustrate such an approach — Katheleen's example of whole systems approach to an obvious whole systems model that of Climate Change — an example of "the extreme of imbalance" (Lisinka)  
 
Another example is my own natural systems research scientific method, for studying the evolution and behaviros of whole systems, as they occurr naturally in our environment, as they progress through their life cycles through phases of growth, maturation, breakdown and decay.  The key to enabling the study of the hidden internal world of individually whole systems is to recognize their boundary and interface with their environment.  
 
The external boundary of a whole system is what locates the bundle of internal relationships by which any whole system develops and changes.  http://synapse9.com is not a great introduction, but my archive of 30 years work on things like why every event in nature needs to begin with a burst of self organization, and how to identify and study them, as well as on why the burst of self-organization we call "growth" is exceedingly dangerous to define as the permanent objective of any whole system. (and that that means we need to stop expecting money to keep increasing by %'s as our financing scheme for nearly everything)
 
It seems one of the big hurdles is distinguishing between mental systems and natural systems, as in nature the things our mental systems see as "feedbacks" are actually complex organizational development processes, not numeric relationships at all.  The problem being that the workings of numeric systems and conceptual models describing controlled relationships, are not very similar at all to those of self-organizing systems composed of independently behaving parts. 
 
Great ideas above Jessie.  Another aspect I definitely would like to incorporate is actual "systems analysis" thinking.  Unfortunately, to date this (and I have an inside track on this model due to my husband) "systems thinking" came directly out of engineering models, themselves quite limited in direction of linear-thinking but also including some great concepts of "Feedback loops" within a system — "positive" "negative" and "forward" loops that have very definite effects on that system.  These concepts are the premise of how "systems analysis" on ANY system could be deconstructed to decide which feedbacks in the system have which positive or negative effects.  Examples would definitely be needed here.
 
 
INTERSESSIONALS:
 
The dates proposed so far – but not confirmed – are either 9 October (piggy backing on the Financing for  Development High Level Dialogue (so far on 7-8 October) or the weekend of 7-8 December between the week of the Second Financing for Sustainable Development committee meeting and the Sixth session of the OWG.
 
The UN's civil society "Major Groups" have been invited to suggest new ways for the UN community to discuss Sustainable Development Goals (SDG's) for the earth, to address the planetary development crises and the persistence of global poverty.

 

 
JESSIE'S 3STEP SDG Learning Process for implementing IDEALS through a process of recognizing opportunities and CONSTRAINTS, in the environment of the ideals we propose, that show us how, ETC 
 
Here's one I submitted, aimed at employing the ideals people would like, to draw them into learning how the systems of their cultural/economic environment work.  Seeing how things work will help make their interventions more practical, and treat the world as the commons we need to share it really is.   PDF copy
_________
Here’s a “modality” idea I’ve been working on for a new type of SDG working session.
It’s easy for people to talk about the ideals they’d like to see in the world, and talk endlessly about them.    Ideals don’t tell you much about how to change the world to bring out your ideals, though.   So I designed a very simple way to draw people into exploring the working parts of their own cultural/economic environments, that their ideals will need to work with, to help suggest practical interventions designed to “work with nature” to bring out their ideals.
Drawing out each other's observations on how things work
I call it the “3Step” process, and am writing more of a guide for it, prompted by Ambassador Korosi having showed some interest already.   It’s only when people are drawn into thinking about how the complexly connecting parts of their environments work that they can then think about how to work with them, turning their ideals (SDG goals) into practical ways to get involved (SDI interventions) to bring out their ideals in their real environment.
3Steps – Meeting in a diverse work-group, led by a guide,
Spend 15-20 minutes each, separately explore:
1)      The features of some ideal for the world you want,
2)      What’s going on in the cultural/economic environments that matter,
3)      Possible ways to intervene and bring out that ideal, working with those environments.
Note: While others are talking try to both listen carefully and take quick notes on thoughts that come up as they speak.   Ask the guide to suggest other things to look for if the flow of ideas lags.  Don’t be sidetracked to dwell on any one subject.
During and after the discussion collect everyone’s notes on a common note page, like a TitanPad, a chalk board, a Wiki etc., to solidify the rich variety of ideas discussed, understood as valuably interconnected starting points to think over in further study.
The process both brings people with different viewpoints together to see how useful the different things they’re aware of about how their environments work can be when combined, and also to draw people into exploring just how much they already know themselves, freed to explore with interest what they've observed about how things work, without preconception for how the information will be used.
I tried using it in a Commons Cluster conference call a couple months ago.  It worked splendidly to draw out very productive ranging observations, up to a point.    As soon as they understood it was a scientifically designed method for learning how to work with your natural environment, they lost interest.
They seemed to prefer going back to what was more familiar, just talking about their own thoughts and feelings, rather than about how their world works as a scientist or designer would…   So it needs more supports of some kind to have it stick as a way to discover how to bring out your ideals in your real environment.
JLH
 
Describing the theory behind the 3Step Process for SDG's for working with nature
moving from goals to interventions that work with the cultural/economic environment.
 
Glad you’re thinking about it.   I’ve been hoping to get feedback each time I offered the basic idea of the 3Step SDG design process, using our ideals for the “world we want” to help us explore the real “world we have”, to see what we have to work with.   It’s like going to “design school”, where the big task for an artist learning how to draw is first learning “how to see”.   To change a particular environment, a designer needs to first learn to discover what’s in the environment to work with, and like anything, it takes learning new habits.
 
It does help to have a vague idea what you’re looking for, like the ideal statement of an SDG, but having any other preconception of what you’re looking for will blind you to what’s really there.   As one instructor put it once, “every design should begin with reading book zero”.   It’s usually the most important step in a design, and leads to getting the best kinds of results, just getting to know what there is to work with, in its own right.   
 
In that way it’s not so different from how anyone goes about designing a child’s Halloween costume.  There may be some vague image to begin with, but the real work begins with looking through the materials available, and then trying out this and that till you find a way to make something wonderful.     I’m sure you can think of lots of times where someone has only the vaguest idea of what they’re planning on making until they’ve rummaged through all the things that they might use.    
 
That’s the idea, anyway, to just get people to rummage through their cultural and economic environments, as if seeing and exploring them as if for the first time, learning about what they’ll either have or need to work with to advance the ideal they want to design for.   It’s critically important to get the steps in the right order, and explore the materials of the environment you’d need to work with before making a plan for what to do.   
 
Only after that exploration can a designer have in mind the raw material for developing the several independent experiments at a design that start the design process, the phase called “conceptual design”.   That first series of design experiments are what really begins the work of seeing how the materials available might work together.   That’s also the early phase when nearly any “discarded idea” may turn out to be highly valuable later, so you take care to just put them aside, and not really discard them…   
 
 
 SDGs e-Inventory: Initial stocktaking analysis of visions for future global goals
 
Stakeholder Forum has produced an initial stock-taking analysis of the future goals proposals housed within the Sustainable Development Goals e-Inventory. The analysis provides a breakdown of the thematic areas that the proposals address, as well as a snapshot of the individuals and organisations that have put forward recommendations for global goals.
 
With support from partners in all global regions, the SDGs e-Inventory provides all stakeholders with a platform to outline what they think future universal goals for sustainable development should look like.
 
The online tool is available in three languages (English, Spanish and French), and also provides a searchable database to help stakeholders – including governments and intergovernmental organisations – keep track of the wide range of recommendations being developed on SDGs, and other global goals being proposed as part of the Post-2015 Development Agenda.
 
 View the web based analysis or download the PDF
 
Whether you are working on a particular theme, or looking at a range of issues which span the Post-2015 Development Agenda, we want to know your vision for the new global goals framework.
 
 
——————————–

 

 
Draft CAUN comments on UN SDG Proress Reports
To the UN Secretariat:Your Excellencies, Associates, UN Representatives, and friends,
 
The  United Nations has requested feedback on the High Level Panel's and the  other 3 reports for the Post 2015 process. The Commons Cluster, from  the NGO Major Group, has been reading and discussing these reports and  has participated actively in the Rio+20 and Post 2015 processes. We are  writing to make the following suggestions and observations.We would ask  you to include a few of the key points (at the beginning and in bold)  that you support in your submissions to NGLS, the Secretariat, and  United Nations. 
 
Thank you,
 
Rob Wheeler, Lisinka Ulatowska, and associates
The Commons Cluster and Commons Action for the United Nations
robwheeler22@gmail.com
Organizations that would like to sign the document below, please sign here
All-Wn Network
—————————–
 
SUGGESTIONS FROM THE COMMONS CLUSTER ON POST 2015
AND RESPONSES TO THE 4 REPORTS
 
2 July 2013
 
 
PRIMARY RECOMMENDATIONS
 
Lisinka, I think that you have got our basic submission and approach to our materials backwards. First, our submission is going to NGLS and not the UN Secretariat. Second, We need to first list the main comments and recommendations that we wish to make in summary form. Then we can refer to the 4 titan pads with additional information. I thus started my summary draft with the 6? (or however many) key recommendations that we might want to make. NGLS has to consider all of civil society's input, thus if we start with just a limited # of main points they are much more likely to include at least several of them. They need to first clearly understand the main things we would like them to include in their report to the UN and governments. 
 
MOST OF THE FOLLOWING HAS ALREADY BEEN MENTIONED ON THE TITANPAD ON DECISION MAKING. PERHAPS WE COULD TAKE ANY POINTS THAT HAVE NOT BEEN MADE THERE FROM THIS FIRST PART AND ADD THEM TO THAT TITANPAD. So let us merge line 20-70 wth what has been written on the decisionmaking titanpad.
We  agree with the High Level Panel that, "Each priority area identified in  the post-2015 agenda should be supported by dynamic partnerships; This can best be done by ensuring that all communities and all individuals within communities should be a part of a local to global decisionmaking process. With all as stakeholders in  the various aspects of sustainable development people will take greater care of the resources since they are accutely aware that thy depend on them for their and their family's well being.The Commons CLuster has worked out an SDG on inclusion of all stakeholders in decision making and this contains a list of relevant targets with the relevant indicators." and  suggest that a specific overarching Target, along with accompanying  Indicators, should thus be put in place to ensure that this happens. 
 
I suggest that the following be added to the material on the titanpad on decision making or to integration with nature.
One  of the targets and indicators should be to strive for an absolute  reduction in the use and depletion of land and natural resources,  including and counting all impacts, while restoring the natural  environment so as to be able to live within the carrying capacity of the  earth. 
 
A  specific target and indicators are needed to ensure that much more  support, partnership initiatives, and perhaps even a global program are  established to support sustainable rural development and to encourage  the development of business opportunities, jobs and innovation in rural  communities and impoverished urban areas. 
 
(Comment: we already will be submitting this on the decision making titanpad: We  need to develop much more inclusive, participatory and collective  decision making processes at all levels of government and throughout  society. This ought to be one of the primary Goals of the SDGs,  accompanied with a full set of targets and indicators. See the attached  file for more specifics on what this could include. 
 
Comment: I have added the financing document at the end of this document. It goes into more specific detail. We can either send it in as a separate submission or else at the end of this one. The  Commons Cluster suggests that we need to go well beyond mobilizing  private capital and develop a whole range of new and innovative means to  finance sustainable development, including a specific Target and  Indicators on transitioning away from unsustainable subsidies and to  incentives for sustainable practices and the green tax policies that  were called for in the Rio+20 outcome document.
 
Lisinka, I am not sure that you are understanding the main point that I am making here. The UN/governments need to establish a fully developed framework for the whole review process that will run throughout the full period, and not focus on yearly or 5 year review cycles, etc. 
A  full framework needs to be developed for the full review of all aspects of sustainable development which would enableand established foa yearly the review  process. This review process should look at the advances and challenges of the global community and the UN, as well as , with specific agreements around what should be done each year  to ensure that all governments are on track from the local to the global  level so that sufficient progress is made on the Post 2015 agenda and  SDG goals. Governments might be asked to write annual reports and there could be a central network that lists best practices to which stakeholders worldwide can contribute: governments, civil society organizations, and individuals.
 
In  addition, all stakeholders and the general public must be fully  included in the development, priority setting, implementation and review  processes – with a process included for scaling up the means and  mechanisms for implementation, based on the assessment and review  processes, as we go along. 
 
 
THE RATIONALE
 
FORGING A NEW GLOBAL PARTNERSHIP
 
We  support the High Level Panel's profound statement and findings that  "Perhaps the most important transformative shift is towards a new spirit  of solidarity, cooperation, and mutual accountability that must  underpin the post-2015 agenda." 
 
We  agree that, "This partnership should involve governments but also  include others: people living in poverty, those with disabilities,  women, civil society and indigenous and local communities, traditionally  marginalised groups…." etc. 
 
 
Comment:The following has also been mentioned on the titanpad on decision making. It is more complete and mentions all stakeholders:
 The Future We Want states in para 43: 
We underscore that broad public participation and access to information and
judicial and administrative proceedings are essential to the promotion of sustainable
development. Sustainable development requires the meaningful involvement and
active participation of regional, national and subnational legislatures and judiciaries,
and all major groups: women, children and youth, indigenous peoples,
non-governmental organizations, local authorities, workers and trade unions,
business and industry, the scientific and technological community, and farmers, as
well as other stakeholders, including local communities, volunteer groups and
foundations, migrants and families as well as older persons and persons with
disabilities. In this regard, we agree to work more closely with the major groups and
other stakeholders and encourage their active participation, as appropriate, in
processes that contribute to decision-making, planning and implementation of
policies and programmes for sustainable development at all levels.
 
 However, in addition, such  partnerships should be developed in a fully inclusive and participatory  manner so that all stakeholders are fully engaged, to the extent to  which they are interested, in the management and decision making  processes. 
 
We also agree that, "Each  priority area identified in the post-2015 agenda should be supported by  dynamic partnerships;" and suggest that a specific overarching Target,  along with accompanying Indicators, should thus be put in place to  ensure that this happens. 
 
As  the High Level Panel (HLP) says, "since this partnership is built on  principles of common humanity and mutual respect, it must also have a  new spirit and be completely transparent. Everyone involved must be  fully accountable." 
 
A  Universal Charter on Human Responsibilities could be established as a  Third Pillar at the UN, accompanying the Universal Declaration of Human  Rights and the UN Charter, to encourage the development of such respect,  transparency, and mutual accountability. See: www.charter-human-responsibilities.net and http://sustainabilitytreaties.org/draft-treaties/charter-of-universal-responsibility
 
 
COUPLING ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT WITH REDUCTIONS IN THE USE AND DEPLETION OF NATURAL RESOURCES
 
We  agree with the High Level Panel's call for a "quantum leap forward in  economic opportunities and a profound economic transformation to end  extreme poverty and improve livelihoods," based upon making "a rapid  shift to sustainable patterns of consumption and production…." 
 
To prevent this from creating an undesirable impact on the environment we suggest the following actions:
1. A cap is placed on the use of depleteable resources. This is reassessed every year. This must be strictly enforced.
2. Permits to use the natural resources that are available beyond the cap can be auctioned at source and used for the production of goods. The cost of which will reflect the cost of the permit purchased by the manufacterer. Thus the cost of the permits will be spread out among all those who use the resulting products.
3. Monies from permits are used to restore the natural resource and to reimburse the communities that are affected by the use of the resource. (In the case of Indigenous Peoples they have sole say about what happens to the resources on the lands under their jurisdiction)
 
The advantage of the above system is that the resources do not become depleted while the cost of the use of resources is spread among those that use them, while communities affected byt the use of resources are reimbursed and negative impacts on the environment are corrected.
 
In tandem with the above measure, Pigouvian Taxes can be instituted. These are levied on all actions that degrade or deplete the environment. These tax measures tax very highly any degradation of the environment. In addition the polluter/degrader of the environment is obliged to bring it back to its original state. Through such taxes products that pollute or degrade become uneconomical and business will be inclined to steer away from them. However we wish to point out that one  of the primary problems with increasing economic growth, while striving  to create a more sustainable world, is that humanity tends to dismiss  impacts that are not easily seen. Increasing the level of development  also increases the amount of goods produced and consumed and thus  humanity's overall impact on the natural environment. 
Targets and Indicators that could accompany the above measures.
 
Target 1: Zero degradation or depeletion of the environment
     Indicator 1 a: Percentage of land within a country that is not built upon;
     nature within each country where degradation, depletion or pollution is taking place
    Indicator Ib: Percentage of land that has not been built upon that is thriving without 
    stressing the environment.
    Indicator Ic: Rate of recovery of the land judging by the diversity of species that inhabit 
    the land and/or the resilience/health of the crops that are being grown there.(percentage of 
    crops affected by infestation)
All  of the impacts of any economic growth, including both increases in  employment and the money supply, must thus be counted when making  sustainability decisions. 
 
One  of the targets and indicators must thus be to strive for an absolute  reduction in the use and depletion of land and natural resources,  including and counting all impacts, while restoring the natural  environment so as to be able to live within the carrying capacity of the  earth. 
 
 
BUSINESS AND JOB OPPORTUNITIES ARE NEEDED FOR SUSTAINABLE RURAL DEVELOPMENT TOO
 
The  High Level Panel also states that, "We can do more to take advantage of  rapid urbanisation: cities are the world’s engines for business and  innovation. With good management they can provide jobs, hope and growth,  while building sustainability." 
 
Large cities often breed isolation, alienation, crime, disease and gaps between rich and poor. In smaller communities people are often more encompassed by the community.  We ask, "Why shouldn't rural villages  and communities be developed so as to be able to offer just as many good  opportunities for business, jobs and innovation?" 
 
Indeed  the Global Ecovillage Network, Millennium Villages, Small Grants  Program, Equator Initiative, etc. show how multi-sectoral, integrated  community based approaches to sustainable rural development can provide  such innovations and job opportunities and ought to be scaled up. 
 
Target 1: To create settlements that provide all citizens with their immediate needs. 
 
    Indicator 1a: Percentage of people in settlements where needs are met within easy 
    reach.Such needs would include food, water, fresh air, waste management, schools, 
    libraries, community and cultural centers, sports fields, etc.
Indeed  we need a specific target and indicators to ensure that much more  support, partnership initiatives, and perhaps even a global program are  established to encourage the further development of such opportunities  and to support sustainable rural and impoverished urban development. 
 
 
The following is already covered on the titanpad on decision makingCREATING TARGETS AND A GOAL ON INCLUSIVE AND PARTICIPATORY GOVERNANCE
 
We applaud the HLP for its recognition that, "People  the world over expect their governments to be honest, accountable, and  responsive to their needs." And that, "Responsive and legitimate  institutions should encourage the rule of law, property rights, freedom  of speech and the media, open political choice, access to justice, and  accountable government and public institutions." Indeed, "We do need a  transparency revolution, so citizens can see exactly where and how  taxes, aid and revenues from extractive industries are spent." 
 
However  efforts to create such transparency and good governance may not be  enough. In order to fulfill the principles of the Universal Declaration  of Human Rights and the Rio Declaration, etc. we also need to develop  much more inclusive, participatory and collective decision making  processes at all levels of government and throughout society.
 
Indeed this ought to be one of the primary  Goals of the SDGs, accompanied with a full set of targets and  indicators, such as are being suggested by the Commons Cluster and  Commons Action for the UN. (See Attached)
 
 
FINANCING STRATEGIES
 
The  High Level Panel reported that, "We asked where the money would come  from to finance the massive investments that will be needed for  infrastructure in developing countries, and concluded that we need to  find new ways of using aid and other public funds to mobilize private  capital."  
 
The  Commons Cluster suggests that we need to go well beyond mobilizing  private capital and develop a whole range of new and innovative means to  finance sustainable development. For example, we should include a  specific Target and Indicators on transitioning away from unsustainable  subsidies and to subsidies for sustainable practices, as was mentioned  in the Global Compact business and other reports.
 
And we  should include the innovative means of financing and green tax policies  that were called for in the Rio+20 outcome document in the Post 2015  Targets and Indicators. We are thus attaching a paper that we circulated  during the Rio+20 Preparatory Process on Measures for Financing  Sustainable Development. Rob, can you attach Alanna's paper? Or perhaps a summary of it so that the main points stand out.? I have attached below our paper on financing
 
In  addition, because new monies for development are often allocated with  little concern for the well-being of the Commons, they can often cause  as much or more harm than good. Investing for the well being of the  commons and the general public is an entirely different concept from  investing for profit, the former relieves conflict and the latter  escalates it. 
 
The following is already covered above and also below: With the addition of new means of financing we  thus need to ensure that increasing economic growth will not lead to  further environmental degradation. This will require reducing rates of  consumption, adoption of more sustainable practices, and including all  increases in resource consumption that comes from further development in  ecosystem and economic accounting, etc. 
 
 
CREATING A FULL FRAMEWORK FOR THE REVIEW PROCESS, ASSESSMENTS, AND BETTER MEANS OF IMPLEMENTATION
 
We  also agree entirely with the business community that, "Targets need to  be: specific, measurable, attainable, realistic and time-bound." And  while we do not disagree that "Targets should be set for a 15-year  period beginning in 2015, with check points every five years, and benchmarked to 2010," we believe that a  full framework needs to be developed and established for the review  process, with specific agreements around what should be done each year  to ensure that all governments are on track from the local to the global  level so that sufficient progress is made on the Post 2015 agenda and  SDG goals. 
 
In  addition, all stakeholders and the general public must be fully  included in the development, priority setting, implementation and review  processes – with a process included for scaling up the means and  mechanisms for implementation, based on the assessment and review  processes, as we go along. 
 
 
BUSINESS AND CORPORATE RESPONSIBILITY
 
The  Global Compact Business Report states that the core of a post-2015  agenda should include an effort to end extreme poverty and make a strong  start on extending prosperity to the majority of the world’s people.  The report says that the hallmarks of such a campaign should be  sustained economic growth that is inclusive and more equitable; more and  better jobs; and access to credit and entrepreneurship opportunities,  especially among the poor. 
 
We  suggest that both the business and international community must  recognize that this cannot be achieved without ensuring that there will  be no further degradation nor depletion of the natural environment. (See our suggestions above)
 
The  business report is also missing references to many areas on the global  sustainability agenda that have a direct impact on and by business and  that would probably be welcomed by the sustainability community and  governments at large.For instance the Commons Cluster suggests that  the following topics should be included in the Post 2015 and SDG  framework and processes:
 
  • Corporate Responsibility
  • Capacity Development though involving all stakeholders in taking responisibility for the resources they need to survive and thrive
  • Technology Transfer both among nations but also among citizens worldwide via the Internet and people's networks
  • Protect  and restore the natural environment and ensure that the natural capital  that all businesses need to survive and thrive are well sustained for  both this and future generations. See methods suggested above
  • References to the need to live within the carrying capacity of the Earth and ensure that we do not exceed planetary boundaries. See methods described above.
  • Intergenerational Solidarity by encouraging people to live in smaller communities that can function more humanely and inclusively.
 
We  also need to focus on achieving the pre-requisites for full  sustainability: ie creating a circular economy in which all governments,  businesses, and other stakeholders strive together to achieve zero  waste, extended producer responsibility, phase out toxic chemicals,  transitioning to 100% renewable energy, restoring the natural  environment, etc.See above Pigouvian taxes. Rob, have I spelled this correctly?
 
Under  the topic of engaging business and investors towards sustainable  development goals we should also include the provision that the  business-led sustainability networks that are called for at the country  level be integrated and coherent with local, national, regional and  global sustainable development strategies and planning processes; and  are sufficient to meet all of the international agreements and  commitments, MEAs, SDGs, and Targets and Indicators that have been set.
 
The  recognition that "transformative solutions by business exist with the  ability to have profound impacts on areas including energy and climate,  water, agriculture and food, corruption and gender equality" should also  include such issue areas as wastes, production processes, environmental  restoration, phasing out and cleaning up of toxic chemicals, etc.
(See our suggested solutions above and also below)
Along  with the suggestion that "the post-2015 agenda should finish the job of  the MDGs in social priority areas of health, women’s empowerment and  education, while expanding the environmental goals and placing new  emphasis on enabling environment," we should also add a focus on  Sustainable Consumption and Production and Corporate Responsibility,  etc.
 
Unfortunately,  the survey mentioned in the business report didn't include or ask about  either humanity's impact on the natural environment nor businesses'  impact on the natural environment as a whole. The business community  needs to understand and recognize that it's overall impact is  dramatically undermining the health of both humans and the natural  environment, which is part of the reason why it is crucially important  that Targets and Indicators be included to achieve the complete phase  out of toxic chemicals, quit polluting the natural environment and  depleting the natural resource base, biologically treat human and animal  wastes, and to fully protect and restore the natural heritage of the  Earth, etc.
 
Means  that are needed to achieve such targets ought to include such things as  dramatically increasing the use of grey water, water conservation and  efficiency efforts in agriculture, energy production, and the built  environment. 
 
As  the report states, "the scale of physical infrastructure that will need  to be built or replaced in the next few decades is staggering.  Corporations and investment institutions are needed to design green  technologies, facilitate public-private partnerships and mobilize  long-term finance geared to sustainability criteria." This presents a  huge opportunity to invest in sustainable infrastructure that must be  capitalized on as we transition to a 100% green economy and Sustainable  Consumption and Production practices. 
 
As  the business report recognizes, "while companies use goal-setting as an  effective tool to drive motivation and performance in areas such as  production and sales, only a minority of the most committed and advanced  corporations apply the same practice to sustainability commitments.  Such goal-setting will help to translate implementation of sustainable  development goals into long-term business priorities, subject to  management approval and board oversight."
 
In  addition, we applaud the business community for the development of and  its participation in Global issue platforms; Industry sector  initiatives; implementation mechanisms and networks that facilitate  partnerships and collective action; and business-led sustainability  networks at the community, regional, and country level. However efforts  are now needed to scale up these innovative networks and practices; and  targets and indicators are needed to ensure that they are established  throughout the world and economy. 
 
And the business community is certainly right, "There  should be no trade-offs; constructive action on one issue does not  compensate for harmful action on another. Businesses must, importantly,  be accountable to their stakeholders for taking action on corporate  sustainability. This is best organized through annual disclosure  guided by sustainability reporting initiatives and robust standards,  including the framework provided by the Global Reporting Initiative."
 
A  paradigm shift is needed in our understanding as to who is a  shareholder. It should include not only those that invest financially in  a company but also all of those that live on earth and indeed the whole  of nature itself. We need to look at shareholder value as including the  long term profitability of the economy and as being based upon the  health and well-being of the commons of the Earth. 
 
Investing  in short term profits is now accumulating vast liabilities for the  future; and the business community has a collective responsibility to  care for both the ecological, social and economic environment that  provides the natural capital, sustains all enterprise, and creates real  shareholder value. 
 
As the business report states, "Governments  should ask companies to enhance accountability and transparency through  publicly disclosing sustainability practices – especially in an  integrated fashion that recognizes financial, natural and social capital  – and through frameworks such as the Global Reporting Initiative." This  could perhaps best be done through adopting a global Convention on  Corporate Responsibility, introducing legislation on Extended Producer  Responsibility, and the establishment of a Universal Charter on Human  Responsibilities, etc.(See our submission on Decision making)
 
 
Unifying Global Goals with National Plans for Development
 
Finally,  we wish to support the High Level Panel's observations and  recommendations: "The post-2015 agenda must enable every nation to  realise its own hopes and plans. We learned from the MDGs that global  targets are only effectively executed when they are locally-owned –  embedded in national plans as national targets – and this is an  important lesson for the new agenda." 
 
"Through their national planning processes each government  could choose an appropriate level of ambition for each target, taking  account of its starting point, its capacity and the resources it can  expect to command. They could receive input on what is realistic and  achievable in each target area from citizens, officials, businesses and  civil society in villages, towns, cities, provinces and communities.  This is an opportunity for governments to ensure access of citizens to  public information that can be used as the basis of national strategies  and plans." (The above point has been worked out in more detail in the decision making document.)
 
Here is our Commons CLuster Financing Document. Perhaps we can use this much more detailed form instead of the brief remark above. 
 
Measures to Finance the Shift to a Commons-Based Economy
 
Suggestions from Commons Action for the United Nations and the Major Group Commons Cluster at the UN-a network of ECOSOC-accredited CSOs. Both networks are interested in showing the intrinsic relevance of a commons approach to sustainable development
 
It is urgent that we shift from an economy that is destroying the very means of human survival to a commons-based approach that is capable of ensuring the well-being of all people and nature. For people and nature are the very basis upon which all economies rest.
Previous briefs describe in more detail what a commons-based approach involves, why it is indispensable to a sustainable economy; and its other advantages. These are: Measures to Shift to a Sustainable Commons-Based Economy; Measures to Eradicate Poverty, Using a Commons-Based Approach; and Measures Commoners Are Taking to Empower the Public and Private Sectors. Related information is given in UN documents E/2010/NGO/29 and E/2011/NGO/126. These documents can be obtained by writing to the email address below.
Here we shall outline commons-based financing mechanisms that can help to fund the shift. 
 
We are calling on Governments to create an international (High Level or UN) Panel of Experts to develop a step-by-step plan for the creation of a worldwide commons-based economy and global community. This panel would consult with Governments, and relevant IGOs, CSOs, Major Groups and other stakeholders.
 
Measures to Finance the Shift to a Commons-Based Global Economy
 
Here are 4 ways to help restore, protect, and replenish natural resources and fund the shift to
a commons-based global economy.
 
I. Establish an Effective Institutional Framework to Shift to a Commons Based
Economy and Manage and Equitably Share in the Use of the Commons
 
Under a Commons Approach to Sustainable Development all people must have access to
those gifts of nature and society that they need to survive and prosper. These would be
designated as commons goods. They can then be used to finance the shift to a commons
based economy and be managed and equitably shared among all people, as follows:
• A strictly enforced cap could be placed on the use of depletable commons goods and
resources;
• Trusts would then be established to oversee the caps and manage the resource. The
amount of each cap would be determined and set by the stakeholders of each
resource. These trusts could be located either within a state or be trans-border,
depending on the extent of both the resource and the community of interest;
• Permits for the use of what is available once the cap has been put in place can then be
auctioned at source enabling the cost to be spread among all subsequent users and
avoiding the complex task of pricing each depletable resource;
• Income from these commons resources can then be used to protect and restore the
resource; reimburse those negatively affected by the use of these resources with a
small percentage going to the government for provision of the public goods; to invest in
transitioning to a sustainable future; to a global trust to restore any damage to the
global commons (air, water, land); and/or to provide a basic income for all people.
Broadly speaking, the assessment of commons rent by trusts around the world would require
three significant changes:
• Governments could shift their primary emphasis away from issuing corporate charters
and licensing the private sector and towards approving social charters and open
licenses for resource preservation and social and cultural production processes
through commons trusts managed by those who cultivate and protect commonly held
gifts.
• Commons trusts would exercise a fiduciary duty to preserve natural, genetic and
material commons and to protect, create or regenerate solar, social, cultural and
intellectual commons, yet may also decide to rent a proportion of these resource rights
to businesses.
• Businesses can then rent the rights to extract and produce a resource from a
commons trust, thus creating profits and positive externalities through innovation,
competitive products and services, and adjustment of the market to the actual costs of
resources. However consent to the use of a Commons should first have to be granted
by those that are protecting and/or whose lives depend upon a Commons resource.
 
Management of the Commons at the Global Level
Commons management funds could also be generated at the global level. A rental fee to
finance multilateral programs and institutions could be placed on the development or use of
many transborder commons, including:
• carbon emissions
• international corporate products
• international investment
• foreign exchange transactions
• international trade
• international airline tickets
• maritime freight transport
• ocean fishing
• sea-bed mining
• offshore oil and gas
• international oil trading
• satellite parking spaces
• electromagnetic spectrum use
• internet
• information flows
• military spending and arms exports
• toxic wastes
• energy consumption
 
II. Global Atmosphere Commons Trust
This type of a trust could be established based on
ideas from the Alaska Permanent Fund for sharing the oil commons with all Alaskans and the
thirty-plus years of commons resource management research.
 
Feasta Sky Trust. A specific proposal has already been developed for establishing a Feasta
Sky Trust. See: www.feasta.org One of the largest commons on the planet, our global
atmosphere, could serve as the fulcrum to turn our unsustainable and unjust ecological,
economic and political situation in a better direction for us all. Emissions permits could be
used to provide a right to use of the atmosphere – a resource which would then receive a
scarcity value based on the carbon price. Current schemes like the Emissions Trading
System (ETS) assume the carbon scarcity rent should go to polluters or governments – but
really it should be used to provide for the well-being of all of humanity.
 
III. Applying a Commons Management Scheme to Regulate and Equitably Share in the
Use of the Global Commons
 
Elinor Ostrom recently won the Nobel Prize for her studies of commons management
practices around the world and how they support sustainability and justice. She has
developed a set of principles or rules which ought to be included and addressed in managing
the commons. 
These could be applied to the idea of establishing global and subsidiary commons institutions
— with cooperating climate trusts in each nation — run by the people's trustees and supported
by governments for enforcement of the carbon cap and distribution of the shares and are thus
described as such below. These principles are applicable to a commons approach to financing the shift to a commons based global economy. They also apply to the implementation of
most other Commons Applications as well. Applying these principles thus requires:
 
1. Clearly defined boundaries (in this case, targeted and precise measurements of upstream carbon units that can be effectively monitored)
2. Effective exclusion of external un-entitled parties [or illegitimate use] ("leaks" in the carbon measurements must be identified and primary producers of fossil fuels brought into compliance)
3. Rules regarding the use of common resources are adapted to local conditions(each national climate commons institution would decide how much to pay out as dividends to citizens, for poverty alleviation for example, and how much to invest in transition projects and infrastructure)
4. Collective-choice arrangements allow most resource users to participate in the
decision-making process (a deliberative charter process with engagement by many citizens would set rules and governance for subsidiary in each nation, including collaboration on a global atmosphere institution)
5. Effective monitoring by monitors who are part of or accountable to users (some of the global revenues would go towards monitoring and enforcement of the global cap on emissions)
6. There is a scale of graduated sanctions for resource users who violate community rules (funding would be cut to national level institutions that were not adhering to the by-laws of their charters; for example companies could be fined for emitting GHG's without the needed pollution permits)
7. Mechanisms of conflict resolution are cheap and of easy access (devised in the
charter processes for local, national and global scales)
8. The self-determination of the community is recognized by higher-level authorities(Nation States and the UN must uphold the rules set by such a global atmosphere institution and the subsidiaries in each nation… the process could begin with a few progressive countries leading the way)
 
IV. Placing a User Fee on the Use of and Access to Commons Resources
 
The commons exist and must be recognized on all scales and levels, the micro to the macro.
The macro scale concerns the resources which sustain our broader ecosystem such as water,
air and soil. These are interdependent and provide the tripod upon which all of life is
sustained. Such resources need to be held in common as the rights of all humans.
Water quality equals quality of life.
Water and air cannot be for sale, but a graduated use fee established by the cultivators of
these commonly held goods could be collected. This fee for equitably sharing in the use of
and access to this commons resource should be applied instead of outright "sale" of water
and air through cash or "credits". Part of the funds from this can go to ensuring the quantity
and quality of the shared resource; with part going to reimburse the stakeholding community
and to help provide a basic income for all people.
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 that is essential for the full enjoyment of
life and all human rights. It is therefore:
• imperative that water sources, springs, head waters and aquifers be held in common
by those cultivating and protecting them and
• we connect water quality to industry, access, and land stewardship to ensure that all
water is kept clean and available
We urgently recommend that the same status be accorded to all other commons goods as
well, without which people cannot survive and thrive.
 
The UN, along with government at all levels, must provide the means, mechanisms, funding
and implementation needed to fully achieve all UN sustainable development agreements and
ensure that our basic human right to essential goods and services is provided for all people
as well. This will require strong governance, via the adoption and full implementation of
specific conventions, programs of action, time bound and enforceable targets, and on-going
periodic review processes — which must be included in the Rio +20 Outcome Documents.

 

Discussion (0)

There are no comments for this doc yet.

Comment posting has been disabled on this doc.

Skip to toolbar