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Entries tagged with ‘United Nations’

The Belgrade Process on International Environmental Governance

The Belgrade Process towards International Environmental Governance involved a first meeting of the Consultative Group of Ministers or High-level Representatives in Belgrade, 27 – 28 June 2009.

The premise of the process is the complex, fragmented and inadequately coordinated institutional context for international environmental governance of growing environmental challenges affecting societies and ecosystems at all scales from local to global.

To date, there are more than 500 multilateral environmental agreements in existence, dozens of agencies mandated to comply with and implement these agreements and address a multitude of other environmental aims and needs, with still fairly limited and dispersed funding sources.

In the last couple years, the persistent debate on how to reform international environmental governance (IEG) has grown and ‘gained significant momentum through processes put into place by the UNEP Governing Council, statements made by Heads of State, as well as through initiatives taken by intergovernmental bodies such as the Commonwealth, and by civil society such as the Global Environmental Governance Project’.

The Consultative Group of the Belgrade Process began by identifying the ‘possible core objectives and underlying functions of the system’ with the aim to find a form for IEG that effectively fits its function. This identification represents a critical step towards defining a pathway for improving IEG, and was a first. It also shows a growing recognition that only when there is a clear analysis of what is needed of the IEG system, followed by an assessment of what exists, can the international community embark upon an effective reform of the system. (UNEP, 2009)

Summary of the Consultative Group activities:
1. The Belgrade Meeting, June 2009 – Output: Roadmap
2. The Rome Meeting, October 2009 – Output: Set of Options for Improving IEG
3. The Bali Meeting, March 2010 – Output: Nusa Dua Declaration (Climate change, sustainable development, Green economy Biodiversity and ecosystems)

UNEP aims to coordinate the development of a ‘functioning IEG system that provides the international framework to support governments in successfully addressing environmental challenges and meeting their commitments at the national level’ and is, ‘in many cases, a precondition for UNEP to carry out other activities effectively’. (UNEP, 2009)

Timeline entry contributed by Biljana Ledenican

Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC)

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) is a scientific intergovernmental body tasked with reviewing and assessing the most recent scientific, technical and socio-economic information produced worldwide relevant to the understanding of climate change. It provides the world with a clear scientific view on the current state of climate change and its potential environmental and socio-economic consequences, notably the risk of climate change caused by human activity.

The panel was established in 1988 by the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) and the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), two organizations of the United Nations. This was the first intergovernmental panel to investigate the shared international challenge of global climate change, representing a particular model for science policy decision-making.

Among other types of reports, the IPCC has provided periodic Assessment Reports of the state of knowledge on climate change, in 1990, 1995, 2001 and 2007. As of January 2011, the Fifth Assessment Report is in preparation.

In 2007, the IPCC was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize.

Timeline entry contributed by Theodosis Kalogeropoulos

“Our Common Future” UN Brundtland Commission Report

The first internationally commissioned document to declare issues of environmental concern and human development as an ‘interlocking crises’.

Following from the UN Conference on the Human Environment, the report highlighted the need to recognise the interdependence of nations and the need for a multilateral approach in solving global development issues.

The concept of ‘sustainable development’ was defined famously as:

“Sustainable development is development that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs. It contains within it two key concepts:

• the concept of ‘needs’, in particular the essential needs of the world’s poor, to which overriding priority should be given; and

• the idea of limitations imposed by the state of technology and social organization on the environment’s ability to meet present and future needs.”

This definition has been under close scrutiny since the report’s publication, providing the basis for political and environmental discourse to this day.

Entry submitted by Gyto Pugh

Background paper / Manifesting Utopia: History and Philosophy of UN Debates on Science and Technology for Sustainable Development

By Esha Shah

This paper revisits a series of key moments in the last 50 years of UN debates on science and technology for sustainable development. It reflects on the genealogy of tropes of development and the ways in which these have been equated with science, technology, and innovation.

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UNCTAD established & UNCTAD-I Geneva

The United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) was established as a subsidiary organ of the United Nations General Assembly to promote the integration of developing countries into the world economy in order to accelerate their development.  At the first conference, UNCTAD-I, in Geneva in 1964, the developing countries established the Group of 77 to voice their concerns (today, the G77 has 131 members).   At the time, many developing countries were only recently independent from colonial rule, and made historic challenges to developed countries demanding economic and political independence. 

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UN Vienna Conference on S&T for Development

The United Nations Conference on Science and Technology for Development (UNCSTD) held in Vienna involved years of preparation, regional meetings and significant participation by NGOs, and resulted in several new commitments and institutions. The conference recognised the complexity of directing science and technology toward development goals, and followed growing tensions between the G77 and Group B on negotiating terms of trade, technology transfer, and the broader efforts toward a ‘New International Economic Order’ – highlighting concerns of equity in international relations. 

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