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8 Jul 2013 CAUN Strategy Call TitanPad archive – SDG Decisionmaking

UN High Level Panel SDG Decisionmaking
 
The following letter from Lisinka was sent to all New York based UN Ambassadors and Heads of State and Government by Members of the Commons Cluster to possibly inform their amendments to the High Level Panel Report for the UN's post-2015 agenda. The text is based on work done by members of the Commons Cluster. 
This text is now open for your input which we shall be finalizing at our stratgy meeting on July 8th and then be given a final edit and submitted to the UN by the July 1. You are cordially invited to attend. 
 
Our strategy meeting will be held on Monday, July 8th from 7:00-9:00 a.m. PDT, 10:00-12:00 EDT, 4:00-6:00 pm CETCall-in number +1 218 339 4600. Access Code 999518#
 
Please feel free to strike through and add to the text but please never delete anything written by another. Please save your revisions by going to Saved Revisions (top right-hand corner)
 
Here is the text for your amendments.
 
Your Excellency,
 
The United Nations is requesting feedback on the High Level Panel Report that will help to determine the global development agenda until 2030. A number of Members of the NGO Major Group Commons Cluster of ECOSOC-accredited NGOs are suggesting that an additional Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) be added:
 
All stakeholders Participate in Decision making at All Levels in the Area of Sustainable Development in a Manner that is Coherent and well Integrated.
 
This will 
  • Underscore that the gifts of nature      and society rightfully belong to all of us and should thus be developed      and used for the benefit of nature and all people;
  • Help humanity fulfill its agreements      made in the area of sustainability to date, implement our human rights;      eradicate poverty and foster a healthy environment;
  • Further encourage and inspire the      millions of people around the globe who are already helping to create a      more sustainable world; and coordinate their actions.
 
We respectfully submit the following to you for your consideration well in advance of the July 12th deadline for feedback regarding the Report of the High-Level Panel of Eminent Personalities. We encourage you to use it as you see fit. The Sustainable Development Goal we are recommending would help the implementation of the 5 shifts recommended in that Report:
Leave no-one behind;
Put sustainable development at the      core;
Transform economies for inclusive      growth;
Build peace and effective, open      accountable institutions for all;
Forge a new partnership.
 
It will also strengthen the following SDGs also mentioned in the Report:
Goal 1: Ending Poverty
Goal 9: Manage Natural Resource Assets Sustainably; or
Goal 11: Ensure Stable and Peaceful Societies.
 
What follows has been arranged under four headings:
Title for Proposed Goal;
Rationale
Some Targets and Indicators
Reflections on complexities and      implementation. 
 
Yours respectfully,
 
Dr. Lisinka Ulatowska
Coordinator of the NGO Major Group Commons Cluster and Representative of the Institute for Planetary Synthesis (a Founding Member of the Commons Cluster). 
 
Proposed Title
 
All stakeholders Participate in Decision making at All Levels in the Area of Sustainable Development in a Manner that is Coherent and well Integrated.
 
 
Rationale
 
a. Since our capacity to develop sustainably depends on the sum of all actions by all people, it is important that all stakeholders participate in making decisions about natural and social resources at all levels, as relevant.
 
b. Since all stakeholders are involved in sustainable development to some degree from local to global levels in the areas of the economy, society and the environment, their participation in decision making in the diverse contexts and at diverse levels that affect them will ensure an integration both of stakeholders and of the issues they are involved in. 
 
c. When people consciously manage those resources that they and their children depend on for their survival and well-being, they are prone to take good care of them.
 
 
Suggested Targets and Indicators
 
Target 1: All stakeholders participate in decision making at all levels with regard to the fruits of nature and society that they need to survive and thrive[i].
 
Indicator 1a
·         Proportion of all decisions made by direct stakeholders on matters relating to the management of natural and social resources needed by them for their well-being (with emphasis on the rights of Indigenous Peoples to make decisions about their traditional knowledge and forms of governance). The total number of decisions should include all those currently being made by the private and public sectors from local to global levels.
 
 Indicator 1b
·         Proportion of administrative regions in a country that provide citizens with opportunities to participate in discussion and decision making on matters relating to the management of natural and social resources needed by them for their well-being. The lands under the legal jurisdiction of Indigenous Peoples must be counted among these to ensure that no Governments deprives them of their rights to self-determination.
 
Indicator 1c
Ratio of decisions made by Indigenous Peoples regarding their lands; their people and their resources to those made by others about the territories under Indigenous jurisdiction.[ii] 
                                                                                                         
Target 2: All people in a country receive education that prepares them to make informed decisions, including on relevant human rights and other agreements .[iii]
 
Indicator 2 a
Proportion of people at and above school-going age (starting at 7 years old) who have access to the means of acquiring relevant information and to local, regional and global governance structures i.e. via mobile phones, computers in villages, etc. 
 
Target 3: All people have access to a means of voting without being coerced
 
Indicator 1.3a
·         Proportion of citizens who have access to a voting facility where according to their own views they can vote without being coerced.
          
Indicator 1.3b.
·         Ratio of number of polling stations where voting can be observed by impartial outside/foreign observers to those where voting is not accessible to impartial outside observers.
 
Target 4: All stakeholders have access to those social and natural goods that they need to survive and thrive and can be used by them within limits agreed to by all stakeholders in that resource.
 
Indicator 4a
Ratio of natural resources (lands, water, forests and biodiversity, etc.) within a country that are accessible to all stakeholders to those under private ownership that limits access.This indicator does not relate to Indigenous lands that are by rights under the jurisdiction of the Indigenous Peoples concerned.[iv]
 
Target 5:  Proportion of stakeholders who have the education needed to knowledgeably manage the natural and social resources needed by people in common. 
 
This might require access to and training via a global structure dealing with best practices worldwide.
 
Indicator 5 a
Proportion of people in a country engaged in ongoing consultations on sustainable management of natural and social goods.
 
 
Target 6: A Universal Charter of Human Responsibilities is adopted and implemented;
 
Indicator 6 a. Proportion of decisions made by stakeholders that are in keeping with the Universal Charter of Responsibilities.
 
For more information: www.commonsactionfortheUnitedNations.org.
 
Reflections on Complexities and Implementation
 
1. National Sustainable Development Councils (NSDCs) and National Strategies for Sustainable Development (NSSD) call for including all stakeholders in the consultations, design and implementation processes in matters relating to sustainable development.
 
SDG, Targets and Indicators, relating to All stakeholders participe in decision making at all levels could serve as a primary means for further developing the work of Sustainable Development Councils and Strategies, integrating this with all other governmental processes, and ensuring that all processes are integrated from the local to the global level, across all sectors and throughout the 3 pillars of sustainable development. They would also serve as a means to integrate citizens at all levels in the work of the Councils.
 
Such processes could moreover be established through the ongoing development and implementation of the 10 Year Framework of Programmes and the Local, Regional and National Action Plans on Sustainable Consumption and Production. If the SDG, All stakeholders participe in decision making at all levels, is fully implemented, it could provide the incentives and initiatives that are needed in order to transition to a truly sustainable economy. 
 
2. The need to involve people everywhere in decision making in the area of sustainable development is embedded in a multitude of International Agreements, including:
 
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.
 
The Universal Declaration of Human Rights: 
The Preamble states that it is the responsibility and privilege of "every individual and every organ of society, keeping this Declaration constantly in mind, to strive by teaching and education to promote respect for these rights and freedoms and by progressive measures, national and international, to secure their universal and effective recognition and observance…" 
Article 21 of the Universal Declaration states that "Everyone has the right to take part in the government of his country, directly or through freely chosen representatives; … and the will of the people shall be the basis of the authority of government….." 
 
It is put forward in the Rio Declaration as the fundamental goal of "establishing a new and equitable global partnership through the creation of new levels of cooperation among States, key sectors of societies and people, working towards international agreements which respect the interests of all and protect the integrity of the global environmental and developmental system." 
 
3. A Word of Caution: 
 
A long history of positive human goals and values is offset by a similar long history of great human incompetence in pursuing them. While mental and spiritual development can be pursued indefinitely without negative consequences, the pursuit of material development can result in exhausting and destabilizing the entire planet we live on, unless people feel directly responsible for safeguarding those fruits of nature on which their own and their children’s survival rests. This underscores the great importance of this SDG: All stakeholders participe in decision making at all levels
                               
4.An Expanded Approach to Education
 
The need to create a sustainable world with input from all stakeholders is driving us into uncharted territory. Yet the very fact that people are now communicating across geographical, linguistic and national boundaries (with the impressive support of the UN) provides an opportunity for us to tap the creativity and versatility of people who have had to find solutions to the most diverse challenges and can share their expertise with others. All have thus become potential teachers and all will have to become students.
 
It is important to note how merging traditional knowledge and university credibility can offer great opportunities for change and transformation. Especially Indigenous Peoples have developed in many cases an age-old understanding of the integral nature of the relationship between all people and of people to nature. They could initiate a fast track to transformation.  
 
People in every part of society including the very young have access to creativity and diverse forms of know-how and insight. All this must be tapped if we are to foster a sustainable global world. 
 
People throughout society who have something to offer could be identified and included into a Commons Best Practice Cooperative Implementation Initiative, perhaps as a part of the Commons Abundance Network (See www.commonsabundance.net)
 
The initiatives developed under the UN Decade on Education for Sustainable Development could also provide an excellent opportunity both to prepare citizens to engage in governmental planning and managerial decision making processes and also to provide them with much of the information needed to engage in sustainable development processes.
 
5. Environmental degradation is created by two interlinked causes: 
                    i.            The over-consumption of many of the wealthy and powerful people. This is often caused by spiritual poverty that can not be satiated through accumulation of material wealth that becomes an unending drain on natural resources which then become unavailable to other members of society. It is here (mostly in the Western World and the rich of the developing world) where much unlearning and re-education is needed. The daily habits and choices of those who over-consume are being financed by the poor both in developed and developing nations. This over-consumption leads to:
                  ii.            The escalating gap between rich and poor and an increase in marginalization. The poor then often see no alternative but to degrade the environment to meet their basic needs. The Global Ecovillage Network is teaching poor villagers to meet their needs without harming nature. 
 
6. Humanity must learn to identify with the sustainable livelihood of their ecological and environmental landscape and to recognize there are systems that support us whose intricacies we do not understand and which we disrupt nonetheless. This can be seen as a new, much needed form of literacy. 
 
It is important to learn what is best suited to be kept local; and what should be dealt with regionally and globally. Implementation can then proceed at international, regional, national, local levels and overseen by migrating teams of Indigenous and other learned and trained experts who know how to identify sustainable ecological and environment landscapes and can help us to establish best practices.
 
7. A three-step process to encompass nature more in how we conceived of the SDGs 
When we begin by looking at how nature and its ecosystems work, we get a much more realistic manner of seeing reality and the way we view the SDG, its targets and indicators. To this end, we have begun to adopt a 3-step process.
 
The first step is stating the ideal outcomes we might envision, for “the world we want”, and second to discuss the related environments, the complex social, economic and ecological conditions and active forces, and how different changes might cause them to react. At that point, our perspective can change and we were able, as a third step, to propose plausible interventions for advancing the ideal in the real environment.  The outcome tends to be totally different from proposals merely advocating the ideal. We are then able to introduce proposals for practical action that make the ideal more possible.
 
 8. Restoration of human values. Values must be identified for them to have relevance within the Rio Outcome Document. These could include: traditional knowledge values, respect for Mother Earth's natural resources (waters lakes, creeks, brooks, rivers, seas and oceans), environment and elements, animal life, vegetation, children, women, ete. 
 
There should be the capacity to measure real needs to offset the forces that manufacture wants that, in turn, are devoted to stimulating consumerism and a fascination with the superficial aspects of life. Here once more spiritual poverty leads to unsatiable appetite often for material possessions and thus material poverty.
 
There are two ways of getting to know our natural environment and our fellow human beings: 
i. By being mindful and truthful as well as 
ii. practical and economic.
Both are important.
 
9. More informed decision making processes could be fostered through: student directed inquiry; whole systems analysis; discouraging or eliminating things that cause the displacement of indigenous cultures and language. 
 
10.  Human Affect is an NGO participating in the Commons Cluster. Its "Policy In Action" has implemented an initiative that assists in training rural and indigenous peoples in how to collect data and then drop them into an internationally based portal for statistical ratio's which can then be utilized to better implement human rights learning "best practices"  while offering a healing mechanism.
 
 
[i] This would include ensuring that all people's basic human needs can be met in such a way that there is no further harm done to the natural environment; and that those social and natural goods that people need to survive and thrive are accessible to and used by them within limits agreed to by all stakeholders.
                           
Article 3: Indigenous peoples have the right to self-determination. By virtue of that right they freely determine their political status and freely pursue their economic, social and cultural development.
Article 5 http://www.un.org/esa/socdev/unpfii/documents/DRIPS_en.pdf  Indigenous Peoples have the right to maintain and strengthen their distinct political, legal, economic, social and cultural institutions, while retaining their right to participate fully, if they so choose, in the political, economic, social and cultural life of the State.
Article 6 Every indigenous individual has the right to a nationality.
 
[iii] Education must involve learning from one another. For instance, it is important to acknowledge the earth's economics and those indigenous societies who live intimately within the natural systems of the earth reaping enormous benefits in health, cooperation and longevity. Such communities can provide a guide for earth citizens elsewhere  and enable them to bring their local communities into alignment within the ecological regions they occupy. 
Note: many such cultures live in harsh climates. Imagine what we can learn.
Also these cultures by GDP standards have little value, yet they are not necessarily living in poverty at all. This is yet another indication that GDP alone is not the indicator that will bring forth the transformation needed across all domains of societal life. The measure of true value is the health and wellbeing of all life exhibited in that society and the health of the environment in which lives are interdependent.
 
[iv] In the Gambia, for instances, many villages are close to a center for  telecommunications. Such centers, where accessible and affordable could be important tools for the implementation of the SDG, All stakeholders participe in decision making at all levels
 
 

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