Category Archives: [SDG17]

Science Diplomacy to support global implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)

Implementing the SDGs at global level requires ingenuity and willingness to cooperate on all sides of the multiple global divides: be that-rich/poor, developed/developing, northern/southern hemisphere, state-led/market-led economies, democracies/non-democracies, and high sciencetechnology/low technology/science countries.

Countries are embarking on a laudable and difficult journey. Sustainability – consisting of social, economic and environmental sustainable development- is expected to be implemented as a policy package. Successful implementation inevitably means aiming for maximum efficiency and effectiveness of current social and physical infrastructure conditions as well as searching for new technologies to make these ambitious but absolutely needed goals a reality for the benefit of global survival and constructive future global development.

Poor and under-developed countries will need transfer of technology from highly developed industrialised developed countries and all countries will be in need of new technologies to
make the SDGs become a sustained reality on a global level. Sharing technology for the benefit of humanity can be achieved through science diplomacy.

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The UNU-FLORES Nexus Observatory and the Post- 2015 Monitoring Agenda

Recent debates within the UN system, which are also reflected in the Prototype Sustainable Development Report, have called for policy-making that is supported by a strong evidence-base. Making research relevant, timely, accessible and instructive, thus, strengthening science-policy interfaces is one of the key challenges of the 21st century. As much as humans must adapt to a changing world and build resilience (in economic, political, social and environmental terms), transformation and innovation of methods and approaches that are suited to address current and future challenges need to form an integral part if sustainable outcomes are to be achieved. Scientists who have made important contributions towards articulating an analytical framework for sustainable management of environmental resources
have emphasized the role of property rights for resources, such as forests, rivers and livestock pasture (Ostrom, 1990). The literature on institutions has highlighted the challenge of fragmented decisionmaking processes and structures that lead to the creation of silos across disciplines, regions, government departments and ministries. This in turn hinders inclusive and comprehensive approaches
founded on improved understanding of trade-offs and synergies that is necessary for integrated management of environmental resources to occur.

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Towards sustainable development: Global targets for a sustainable use of natural resources

It is widely recognized, that the availability of natural resources as well as the absorption capacities of our planet are limited. At the same time, the issue of equal access for people and economies all over the world to resources is gaining growing attention. Worldwide sustainable development will be closely linked to our ability to limit the use of natural resources within natural boundaries of our planet. In many countries the contribution of natural resources extraction is crucial to progress in macroeconomic policies, such as monetary and external debt balances, as well as in social policies aiming at food security or poverty alleviation. But resource extractive and especially mining activities also led to an increasing number of social and environmental conflicts all over the world. The safe and fair use of natural resources on the global level will have to be essential part of a positive vision of our future as humanity (O´Brien et al 2014), a notion which is also being reflected in the ongoing negotiation process of the future Sustainable Development Goals. In this brief we argue for the elaboration of scientifically derived suggestions for global resource targets as an important building element for sustainable and resilient societies, discuss the need for further differentiations and highlight the main environmental, social, economic and political aspects and implications.

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Innovation Policy and Sustainable Development

In Joseph Schumpeter’s view, fundamental breakthroughs of technology are the essence of the process, and they affect the entire economy. Thus technology and innovation policy can also be linked to the three pillars of sustainable development namely economic growth, social equity and environmental protection. Existing production technology and consumer behaviour can produce positive outcomes only up to a point or a frontier; beyond which depleting natural capital has negative consequences for overall growth for the economy. According to OECD (2010), innovation – implying both the creation of new products, processes and technologies, as well as their diffusion and application – can push the frontier outward and help to decouple growth from the natural resource degradation.

A key feature of innovation that emerges from existing analysis is that it does not follow a linear path that begins with research, moves through the processes of development, design, engineering, production, and ends with the successful introduction of new products and processes into the market, rather, it is an interactive (and cumulative) process that
involves continuous feedback loops between the different stages. A second feature is that innovation is essentially the result of an interactive process between many actors,
including companies, universities and research institutes.

Recent notions surrounding innovation policy refer to innovations with a reduced impact on the environment (Schiederig et al., 2011). This brief highlights the recognition of the need for “innovation” and the role of “innovation policy” to help in realization of sustainable development goals for tackling the trade-offs between economy, society and environment.

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Measuring Progress on the SDGs: Multi-level Reporting

In September 2015, heads of state will adopt Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). The goals will chart out a universal holistic framework to help set the world on a path towards sustainable development, by addressing economic development, social inclusion, environmental sustainability, and good governance.

The agenda laid out by the Open Working Group on the SDGs (OWG) in July 2014 is the main basis for the Post-2015 intergovernmental process, which began on 19 January 2015. From now until the September summit, Member States will further review the goals and targets. They will also consider the means of implementation, the nature of a new Global Partnership, and a framework for monitoring and review of implementation.

As underscored by the OWG, the focus of reporting on the SDGs must be at the national level. Each country will choose the indicators that are best suited to track its own progress towards sustainable development. Yet, the Goals also describe a global agenda, including some global public goods that cannot be implemented by any country on its own. Success will require international coordination and collaboration, which in turn requires accountability and monitoring at global level. In addition, regional monitoring and accountability will play a critical role in fostering regional collaboration and coherence in strategies to pursue the SDGs. A fourth and critical level of monitoring occurs in each thematic or epistemic community.

The four levels of monitoring – national, regional, global, and thematic – are laid out in the Secretary-General’s synthesis report. The report calls for “a culture of shared responsibility, one based on agreed universal norms, global commitments, shared rules and evidence, collective action and benchmarking for progress.” This culture of accountability must be particularly strong at the national level, “building on existing national and local mechanisms and processes, with broad, multi-stakeholder participation.”

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Problem of the reliability of the evaluation of the sustainability of the countries

Despite more than 20-year experience of the sustainability indicators at the time is not developed a generally accepted standardized evaluation system, that could on the unified basis characterize the stability of countries and contribute to a global sustainability policy.

The existing systems of sustainability assessment include about 140 private indicators. Their calculation is based on extensive source material. They are generally sufficiently representative and objective, but the calculation is possible only for a limited number of countries where the system of collecting and maintaining of statistical data on various aspects of life (economic, social, environmental) exists.

However, when accessing the website of the UN Department of Statistics revealed that a number of countries with information “older” then 2006; sets of indicators of different countries vary considerably. The result is inability of cross-country analysis and trends identification. Creates complexity dimension of an array of hundreds of indicators (difficult to comply with the requirements of operability
and decomposability); hence there are mistakes in their interpretation.

Alternatively, as a basic tool to assess the sustainability of the countries developed Environmental Performance Index (EPI). It is calculated by Yale University (USA), according to world statistics, since 2000. It is based on two main groups of estimates (partial indicators) – environmental health and vitality of ecosystems (Environmental…, 2014). On the basis of the dynamics of the indicator groups for countries identified trends and track the transition of countries in categories of environmental health and vitality of ecosystems.

This evaluation system fully characterizes the dynamics of development. However, the analysis of more than 10-year-old use of EPI revealed the following main problem points and proposed solutions for improvement.

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Resilience Framework For Measuring Development

Policy makers and decision makers in the world today are facing critical and contradictory challenge to ensure development for all within the capacity of the environment and natural resource base. The “business as usual” development models are clearly showing incapability to face the challenges of the present systems. The future pathways to development must holistically vision for people and planetary well-being.

Emerging recognition is also of the fact that social, economic, environmental and governance systems cannot be treated in isolation. For the systems to be concurrently aligned in the development paradigm,
the first step is to develop a meta-metric framework that identifies indicators and their respective roles in the development processes. A clear comprehensive metric system that not just focuses on economic indicators but includes social, environmental and governance systems is a pre-requisite.

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Monitoring the Performance of Agriculture and Food Systems

The Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), targets,and indicators will define global, national, and local aspirations for improving human well-being. Without clear metrics to measure progress and accurate, consistent, and continuous data collection across both time and space, sustainable development will remain an amorphous goal. Metrics are needed to set baselines against which to measure progress; track and predict socioeconomic, nutritional, and ecological change; understand constraints to sustainable development; work successfully with public, private, and NGO partners; and identify appropriate policy measures.

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Fostering sustainable economic growth by redefining competitiveness and industrial policy: Towards a systemic policy approach aligned with beyond-GDP goals

Industrial policy is back on the agenda and the consensus is that it must be different ‘this time’ from the past. Following Aiginger et al. (2013) we redefine industrial policy for industrialised countries as a strategy to promote ‘high-road competitiveness’, understood as the ability of an economy to achieve ‘Beyond-GDP’ Goals. ‘Highroad strategies’ are based on advanced skills, innovation, supporting institutions, ecological ambition and an activating social policy. This ‘new industrial policy’ is systemic, working in alignment with other policy strands and supporting social and environmental goals; it affects the structure of the economy as the whole not only the manufacturing sector. Shortterm actions, such as protecting employment in unviable companies, low prices for fossil fuels, or reducing wages in high-income economies are counterproductive. To pursue an industrial policy that targets society’s ultimate goals without public micromanagement will be challenging. It could be achieved (i) by setting incentives, particularly those impacting on technical progress (e.g. to make it less labour-saving and more energy-saving), (ii) by the use of the important role governments have in the education and research sectors, (iii) by greater public awareness and (iv) if consumer preferences will call for socio-ecological transition.

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Sustainable Development and World Trade: The Contribution of Internaitonal Environmental Regulations to Trade

“Sustainable Development and open trade go hand in hand and the multilateral trading system helps to create the enabling environment for countries to realise the sustainable development and green economy vision. (World Trade Organisation 2011). Sustainable Development manifests itself into
economic, social and environmental issues to be solved by the countries by the following international environmental regulations. Trade and Sustainable Development is interlinked. Rio+20 (2012) conference seeks to promote it through open and equitable rulebased multilateral trading system which is nondiscriminatory and predictable and benefits all countries in the pursuit of Sustainable Development.

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Data sharing for sustainable development in less developed and developing countries

There is a clear and strong relationship between natural resources and development. This is more evident in developing countries. Decision makers more especially in developing countries have a challenge of implementing policies, laws and strategies which will promote the sustainable utilisation of the resources to realise sustainable development. A key area of decision-making concerns economic and environmental trade-offs, a highly political process (Bullock and Cosgrove, 2009). Developing countries more especially those less developed are not only faced with the challenge of insufficient and unreliable meteohydrologic observation networks but also with the challenge of sharing such data and information. Data and information management is also poor and disseminating data is still a challenge. “We might not have all the information we would like to have before acting, but we do know enough now to begin to take significant steps” (de Gooijer et al., 2009). These challenges have become a hindrance to sustainable development in many nations. These challenges have become a hindrance to sustainable development in many nations. Most developing countries rely on the natural resources for their development. Lives and livelihoods depend on the natural resources for development. Therefore, for this development to be sustainable, a rigorous management including monitoring of the resources is extremely important.

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基于熵值法的环渤海区域可持续发展评价 (Entropy Evaluation of Sustainable Development for Bohai Sea Region)

This brief is submitted in the Chinese language. The full brief could be accessed through the below link. Your comments could be in either English or Chinese.

摘 要
构建环渤海区域可持续发展指标体系,采用社会经济各相关部门的数据和资料,运用熵值法对环渤海区域 2001- 2010 年的可持续发展水平及其社会、经济、环境子系统的可持续发展状况进行定量分析。结果表明:基于熵值法确定的区域可持 续发展各评价指标的权重较符合实际;研究时段内环渤海区域可持续发展水平呈现逐步增长的趋势,年增长率为 31.08%;该区域 的可持续发展水平的上升主要源于经济子系统的变化,究其根本是依靠要素投入带来的经济规模的变化,这种发展是不可持续 的。研究结果可为环渤海经济圈的可持续发展研究奠定基础,也对类似区域有一定的借鉴意义。

探索生态城镇中生态功能区规划建设的新思路——以国家级生态镇泖港镇水源地生态规划功能区为例  (Exploring new eco-community building approaches in eco-towns: ecological planning in the water-source town of Maogang)

This brief is submitted in the Chinese language. The full brief could be accessed through the below link. Your comments could be in either English or Chinese.

摘 要
随着工业化进入后工业化发展阶段,可持续发展逐渐成为当前社会发展的主题。如何把可持续发展的基本理念和内涵 融入到城镇的建设中,发展新型“生态城镇”,成为当前城镇发展面临的重大课题。在这个背景下,本文以上海市松江区泖港镇水源 地生态规划功能区为例,在分析经济、社会和环境现状的基础上,对生态城镇中生态规划功能区的优势因素进行分析,提出适合当地 经济、社会和环境可持续发展的规划方案。这不仅对上海当地的发展具有重要的实践意义,而且对其它地区的生态治理与城镇化同步 发展具有很好的指导借鉴意义。

欧盟 EUA 和 sCER 碳期货市场的动态套利研究 (Dynamic arbitrage study on the EUA and sCER carbon markets)

This brief is submitted in the Chinese language. The full brief could be accessed through the below link. Your comments could be in either English or Chinese.

摘 要
欧盟碳排放交易体系(EU ETS)的碳排放配额(EUA)和清洁发展机制(CDM)下经核准的碳减排量二级市场(sCER)交 易已经成为国际典型碳期货市场。本文引入 GARCH 类模型研究它们之间的动态时变相关性,在此基础上考察各种套利策略的有效性。 结果表明,EUA 收益率和 sCER 收益率之间存在显著的时变相关性,而且,在样本区间内,除全球金融危机动荡期间之外,2009-2012 年大部分时期它们的相关程度保持在高位稳定水平。另外,基于 GARCH 类模型的套利策略虽然能够获取时变最优套利比率,但其有效 性未必总是优于静态的 OLS 模型。

How moving beyond GDP may help fight poverty in Africa

The gross domestic product (GDP) is the world’s most powerful statistical measure. Its underlying economic principles have contributed to splitting the planet into two worlds: the ‘developed’ and the ‘developing’ countries and/or the North and the South. Paradoxically, the GDP mantra was imposed on poorer
nations in spite of its creators’ conclusion that its approach should not be applied to countries largely dependent on informal economic structures, as these are not considered by income accounts, which are threatened by policies designed to increase GDP (Fioramonti 2013). The economist Simon Kuznets, one
of the architects of the GDP system, is also known for having demonstrated how income inequality rises in times of fast GDP growth. His famous ‘curve’ shows
how relative poverty is exacerbated, especially in under-industrialized countries, leading to a concentration of resources and income in the hands of
a few. This brief makes the argument that GDP is a highly inappropriate measure to gauge progress, especially in the so-called developing world. It will
therefore focus on Africa to show how moving beyond GDP may open up creative opportunities to fight poverty and achieve sustainable wellbeing.

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Reducing child poverty: the importance of measurement for getting it right

It is widely recognised that the reduction of child poverty is crucial for sustainable economic and social development (UNICEF 2014), and the Open Working Group (OWG) on Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) recognises that growth and development should particularly benefit children (§4). Child-specific
measurement is imperative for addressing poverty and reducing vulnerability (Ben-Arieh 2000) and for the first time newly proposed global goals for poverty reduction make specific reference to children.

Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 1, Target 2 reads: “By 2030, reduce at least by half the proportion of men, women and children of all ages living in poverty in all its dimensions according to national definitions” (OWG 2014; 7). This explicit mention of children constitutes an important step forward but also gives rise to questions about the use of indicators and measurement of child poverty. This science digest provides an overview of the academic debate
regarding the complexity of child poverty and the importance of comprehensive child-focused poverty measurement in supporting adequate and effective poverty reduction policies.

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Sustainable sea transport for the Pacific Islands: the obvious way forward

Sea transport is the lifeline of Pacific Island Countries (PICs) and communities, moving the vast majority of people, goods and resources. It is crucial for trade and economic development and impacts upon virtually every development initiative (UNCTAD, 2014). Yet for many PICs, existing maritime transport services are increasingly unaffordable and unsustainable (AusAID, 2008; Nuttall et al 2014a).

Ships are often old, poorly maintained and inefficient (ADB, 2007), and there is a vicious cycle of old ships being replaced with old ships(Nuttall et al, 2014a). Fossil fuel is often the largest single operating cost for shipping operators. Combined with narrow reef passages and small loads, many routes are unviable and uneconomic.

Predicted increases in both fuel and compliance costs means that this scenario is likely to get worse over time, meaning that governments and donors will be increasingly called upon to subsidise or service these routes (Nuttall et al,2014a).

However, a fast developing body of research identifies an alternative future pathway involving a structured transition to low carbon shipping. This brief outlines the main features of this emerging field and identifies the policy choices that must be made to enable a more sustainable Pacific islands sea transport future.

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Acceptabilité sociale et sécurité juridique

L’acceptabilité sociale est une expression qui a fait son apparence il y a quelques années et qui fait maintenant les manchettes à tous les jours. Né de la volonté de donner une voix aux populations marginalisées (disenfranchised) des pays du Tiers Monde, le concept a été introduit en Occident par des dirigeants de sociétés minières. Telle une espèce envahissante, il se propage via les médias sociaux et affaibli la démocratie représentative.

Dans ce récit, j’offre un éclairage d’avocate en droit de l’environnement sur le concept d’acceptabilité sociale ainsi que sur les inquiétudes qu’il suscite au niveau de la sécurité juridique et l’investissement en Occident….

Powerful International Science: Policy Interfaces for Sustainable Development

This contribution builds upon the experience of the Institute for Sustainable Development and International Relations (IDDRI) in supporting negotiations about the establishment of international science-policy interfaces like the Intergovernmental Science Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES), and on recent publications and workshops intending to take stock of the variety of science-policy interfaces having emerged for the international governance of the environment or other sustainable development objectives like food security….

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Beyond fair trade

Developing nations provide enormous natural resources to the global market, and yet production often occurs against a backdrop of social inequality and ecological degradation. Since the Brundtland Report and the Rio 1992 Earth Summit, programs that attempt to integrate conservation and development goals have gained popularity and international traction. Over twenty years into the legacy of the Brundtland commission, case studies in the global historical context have emerged that let us recognize and confront what may be hard choices or difficult trade-offs between conservation and development.

In today’s global market, there is a surging demand to safeguard the Earth’s capacity to provide natural resources while promoting inclusive economic growth and social development. Our investigation is in the financial options and integrative frameworks to meet this demand. One such framework—value chains—warrants special attention, because it holds the promise of promoting sustainable development goals, while at the same time answering the call for
governance in the global context of incomplete trade regulations. However, the potential of select options and frameworks to promote sustainable development goals must be assessed relative to the specific sectors
in which they operate. We illustrate this point in two briefs on distinct sectors—forestry and electronics—conceived under a common line of investigation….

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Beyond GDP indicators: to what end?

In 2009, the Stiglitz-Sen-Fitoussi Commission submitted a report to the French President on the new measures of societal progress (Stiglitz et al., 2009). Against a backdrop of financial crisis and the questioning of an unsustainable and unequal growth model, the critiques that for many years had been levelled against the gross domestic product (GDP) resonated anew (Van den Bergh and Harmen, 1999; Daly, 1977; Meadows, 1972). These critiques underline the inability of this key economic indicator to capture worrying developments such as widening income and wealth inequality or the degradation of the environment and public health.

Several countries, such as the U.K., Belgium or Bhutan, have developed new accounting frameworks and officially adopted new prosperity measures. Beyond-GDP indicators represent an opportunity on several counts for policy makers that know how to seize it. The current abundance of new indicators is helping to reshuffle the cards of political discourse, thus making it possible to legitimise new issues (Röckstrom et al. 2009). Beyond-GDP indicators in fact offer political actors the possibility of constructing an innovative narrative: faced with the exhaustion of our current growth model (Demailly et al., 2013), they can help to open up a new space for public action and breathe life back into the democratic debate in a context of indepth reconsideration of political action and discourse….

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Développement durable et approche par les capabilités

L’approche par les capabilités originellement développée par l’économiste A. Sen (1999) et la philosophe M. Nussbaum (2000) est de plus en plus utilisée ces dernières années pour refonder les analyses du développement durable (noté DD). Cette approche a radicalement redéfini le développement et sa pratique depuis le milieu des années 90. L’approche par les capabilités permet de re-conceptualiser non seulement l’évaluation du bien-être mais aussi les enjeux de la justice sociale dans la perspective du DD.

Towards sustainable tackling of emerging and re-emerging infectious diseases

The recent rate, spate and global dimension of emerging infectious diseases (EIDs) is quite alarming and presents the human race with abundant challenges, including the need to propose proportionate research, responses, strategies and policies. An understanding of the multifaceted social and ecological settings in which infectious diseases occur is also desirable. Over the years, the human race has been confronted with EIDs including Nipah virus, West Nile virus, acquired immune deficiency syndrome, severe acute respiratory syndrome, and dengue hemorrhagic fever (Weiss, 2008). In July 2003, the World Health Organization declared that the global outbreak of severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) had been contained; less than six months later, in December of 2003, an even greater threat–the avian influenza H5N1 virus–emerged (WHO, 2005). Recently came Middle Eastern respiratory syndrome (MERS), which has spread quite rapidly from the Middle East (Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates, Oman, Lebanon, Qatar, Jordan, Yemen, Kuwait and Iran) to North Africa (Egypt, Tunisia, and Algeria), Asia (Malaysia, Philippines), and Europe (United Kingdom, France, Netherlands, Greece, and Italy). The first case was diagnosed in the United States on May 2nd 2014 (Adeyemo, O.K. 2014). The ongoing Ebola virus disease which was first detected in March in West Africa is the latest in the epidemic of emerging and re-emerging infectious diseases.

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Humanity’s growing ecological footprint: sustainable development implications

The recently proposed sustainable development goals (SDGs) include promoting inclusive and sustainable economic growth as well as wellbeing for all. Economic activities ultimately depend on ecological assets and their capacity
for provisioning primary resources and lifesupporting ecological services (Costanza et al.,2014; Georgescu-Roegen, 1971); managing the latter is becoming a central issue for decision makers worldwide (CBD, 2010; UN et al., 2014).
Thus, living within the limits of the biosphere’s ecological assets is a necessary condition for global sustainability, which can be quantitatively measured and must be met to achieve SDGs. This brief highlights global and national ecological asset balances and discusses their implications for sustainable development.

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