Sustainable Development

"Sustainable development is development that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs"

In this field not many binding MEAs have been adopted by the International Community. Neverthless the succession of several international meeting on environmental issues and development has facilitate the establishement of the sustainable development principle and itS adoption in all the international, regionals and national agendas.

The principal meetings and outputs for the development of PICs committments on sustainable development are:

United Nations Conference on the Human Environment (UNCHE)
Stockholm, 1972

The UNCHE or Stockholm Conference, held at Stockholm from June 5th to 6th, was the UN’s first major conference on international environmental issues. Attended by representatives of 113 countries, it is widely recognized as the beginning of modern political and public awareness of global environmental problems.Stockholm represented a first taking stock of the global human impact on the environment, an attempt at forging a basic common outlook on how to address the challenge of preserving and enhancing the human environment.
The main output of the Conference is the adoption of the:

The Declaration contains 26 principles to inspire and guide the countries of the World in the preservation and enhancement  of the human environment. It espouses mostly broad environmental policy goals and objectives rather than detailed normative positions.


United Nations Conference on Environment and Development (UNCED)
Rio Earth Summit, Rio de Janeiro, 1992

The United Nations Conference on Environment and Development (UNCED), also known as the Earth or Rio Summit, was held in Rio de Janeiro from June 3th t0 14th. It has been attended by 172 countries. The central focus was the question of how to relieve the global environmental pressure and  poverty  through the introduction to the paradigm of sustainable development. This concept emphasizes that economic and social progress depend critically on the preservation of the natural resource base with effective measures to prevent environmental degradation.  
The main outputs of the UNCED included: the Rio Declaration, enunciating 27 principles of environment and development, Agenda 21, and a Statement of principles for the Sustainable Management of Forests. The last were all adopted by consensus by the conference.
The institutional innovation resulting from the conference included an agreement on the operating rules for the Global Environmental Facility (GEF) and the establishment of the United Nations Commission on Sustainable Development (CSD) on the basis of an Agenda 21 recommendation.

United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC)

, the

United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD)

 and the

United Nations Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD)

, products of independent, but concurrent, negotiating processes, were opened for signatures at UNCED.

a) Rio Declaration on Environment and Development
The Rio Declaration on Environment and Development is a set of 27 legally non-binding principles designed to commit governments to ensure environmental protection and responsible development.The Declaration includes many progressive approaches such as the polluter pays principle (the polluter bears the costs of pollution) and the precautionary approach (Principle 15. "where there are threats of serious or irreversible damage, lack of full scientific certainty shall not be used as a reason for postponing cost-effective measures to prevent environmental degradation").This Declaration has promoted the development of an international environmental legislation and the progressive definition of customary international environmental laws. 

b) Agenda 21 
Agenda 21 is a programme of implementation for sustainable development, it created the global environmental agenda for the next 20 years. It encompasses 40 chapters, divided into four main sections: Social and Economic Dimensions, Conservation and Management of Resources for Development, Strengthening the Role of Major Groups, Means of Implementation.

  • Chapter 17 endorses Small Island Developing States (SIDS) and its coastal areas as a special case.

Agenda 21: 17.124. "Small island developing States, and islands supporting small communities are a special case both for environment and development. They are ecologically fragile and vulnerable. Their small size, limited resources, geographic dispersion and isolation from markets, place them at a disadvantage economically and prevent economies of scale". .

  • Agenda 21 also called for a global conference on the sustainable development of SIDS.

c) Capacity 2015 
Capacity 2015: Building capacity to benefit from globalization and realize the Millennium Development Goals while achieving sustainable developmentis a broad-based partnership at the local, national, regional and global level. It is built upon experience gained during the ten years since UNCED to help countries to move from strategic planning for sustainable development to effective implementation.  It  helps countries to reap the benefits of globalization;  ensure that processes of sustainable development put in place during the 1990s are utilized to face the challenges of the 21st century; Strengthen the capacities needed to achieve or exceed the Millennium Development Goals.

Global Conference on the Sustainable Development of SIDS
Barbados, 1994

UN Global Conference on the Sustainable Development of Small Island Developing States, was established by the UN GA Res.47/189 and  was held in Barbados from 25 April to 6 May 1994.
The Barbados Global Conference was the first conference to translate Agenda 21 into a Programme of action (BPOA) for SIDS. 125 States and territories participated in the conference, 46 of which were Small Island Developing States and territories.
Main output of the Conference has been the adoption of the Barbados Declaration, a statement of political will underpinning the commitments contained in the BPOA.  

a) Declaration of Barbados
The Barbados Declaration is a statement of political will underpinning the agreements contained in the BPOA.

b) Programme of Action for the Sustainable Development of Small Island Developing States
The Barbados Programme of Action (BPOA) translated Agenda 21 into specific actions and measures to enable SIDS to achieve sustainable development. The comprehensive structure of the BPOA elaborates principles and sets out specific strategies at national, regional and international levels over the short, medium and long terms in support of the sustainable development of SIDS.
It lists 14 priority areas for specific action since special challenges are faced by SIDS: i) climate change and sea- level rise; ii) natural and environmental disasters; iii)management of wastes; iv) coastal and marine resources; v) freshwater resources; vi) land resources; vii) energy resources; viii) tourism resources; ix) biodiversity resources; x) national institutions and administrative capacity;  xi) regional institutions and technical cooperation; xii)transport and communication; xiii) science and technology; xiv) human resource development.
The BPOA highlights the special challenges and constraints that cause major set-backs to the socio-economic development of SIDS, some of which had already been addressed in Agenda 21, including small size and geographic isolation that prevent economies of scale. In addition, the BPOA underlines the excessive dependence of SIDS on international trade; high population density, which increases the pressure on already limited resources; overuse of resources and premature depletion; relatively small watersheds and threatened supplies of fresh water; costly public administration and infrastructure; and limited institutional capacities and domestic markets.

Millennium Summit
New York, 2000

At the Millennium Summit, held from the 6 to 8 September 2000, world leaders adopted the UN Millennium Declaration and in doing so, resolved to address the special needs of SIDS by implementing the BPOA.
The main document, unanimously adopted, was the Millennium Declaration.

a) Millennium Declaration
The Declaration contains  a statement of values, principles and objectives for the international agenda for the twenty-first century. It also set deadlines for many collective actions.The document also asserts that every individual has the right to dignity, freedom, equality, a basic standard of living that includes freedom from hunger and violence, and encourages tolerance and solidarity.

b) Millennium Development Goals
The eight Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) – which range from halving extreme poverty rates to halting the spread of HIV/AIDS and providing universal primary education, all by the target date of 2015 – form a blueprint agreed to by all the world’s countries and all the world’s leading development institutions.
The Millennium Development Goals are to: (1) eradicate extreme poverty and hunger; (2) achieve universal primary education; (3) promote gender equality and empower women; (4) reduce child mortality; (5) improve maternal health; (6) combat HIV/AIDS, malaria and other diseases; (7) ensure environmental sustainability; and (8) develop a global partenership for development.

World Summit on Sustainable Development (WSSD)
Johannesburg 2002

The WSSD recognized sustainable development as an overarching goal for institutions at the national, regional and international levels. The concept of sustainable development has be based on the idea that economic development, social development and environmental protection are three strongly related elements that need to be considered jointly.
Major outcomes of the Summit are:  the adoption of the Declaration on Sustainable development and the Plan of Implementaiton; the confirmation of SIDS as a special case; the creation of on-negotiated partnerships for sustainable development, also known as Type II partnerships (which in the Pacific comprise the CROP Working Groups).

a) Johannesburg Declaration on Sustainable Development
The Johannesburg Declaration is an agreement to focus particularly on "the worldwide conditions that pose severe threats to the sustainable development  of our people, which include: chronic hunger; malnutrition; foreign occupation; armed conflict; illicit drug problems; organized crime; corruption; natural disasters; illicit arms trafficking; trafficking in persons; terrorism; intolerance and incitement to racial, ethnic, religious and other hatreds; xenophobia; and endemic, communicable and chronic diseases, in particular HIV/AIDS, malaria and tuberculosis. This threats impede also to foster the objective of environmental protection".

b) Plan of Implementation of the World Summit on Sustainable Development (JPOI)
The JPOI is the more action oriented document adopted by the Summit. It reaffirmed the commitment to sustainable development, assuming a collective responsibility to advance and strengthen the interdependent and mutually reinforcing pillars of sustainable development - economic development, social development and environmental protection - at the local, national, regional and global levels. Similarly to the Agenda 21(Rio 1992) the Plan of Implementation is divided into several chapters, covering the various aspects of sustainable development. For each broad topic, there are several dozen recommendations.One chapter is dedicated to the sustainable development of SIDS, which identified a set of priority actions and called for a full and comprehensive review of the BPOA in 2004.

Mauritius Int. Meeting to undertake the 10 year Review of the Implementation of the Programme of Action for the Sustainable Development of SIDS
Mauritius 2005

The Mauritius Meeting was the culmination of a 10-year comprehensive review for the BPOA for the sustainable development of SIDS.

The meeting recognized that there were still constraints in fulfilling the activities of the BPOA.

a) Mauritius Declaration
The Mauritius Declaration is a political declaration to support the adoption of the Mauritius Strategy. It recognizes that particular attention should be given to building resilience in small island developing States, including through technology transfer and development, capacity-building and human resource development. It further recognizes that international trade is important for building resilience and sustainable development and, therefore, calls upon international financial institutions to pay appropriate attention to the structural disadvantages and vulnerabilities of small island.

b) Mauritius Strategy for the Further Implementation of the Programme of Action for the Sustainable Development of Small Island Developing States
The MSI outlines further implementation of the BPOA. It sets out actions and strategies in 19 priority areas, building on the original 14 themes of the BPOA, all of which are intended to support SIDS in achieving internationally agreed targets and goals, such as the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). In line with the MDGs, the MSI framework puts in place measures to build resilience in SIDS.

United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development (Rio+20)
Rio de Janeiro, 2012

The UNCSD marked the 20th
 anniversary of the Earth Summit, with participation from 192 UN member states. Progress towards the goals set out in Agenda 21 was reviewed, identifying implementation gaps and discussing new and emerging issues. Political commitment for sustainable development was renewed. The conference focus was on two themes: the green economy in the context of sustainable development, and the institutional framework for sustainable development.

a) The Future We Want
This is a non-binding document, reaffirming political commitment to sustainable development and the promotion of a sustainable future, reaffirming Agenda 21 and other previous action plans.

b) Sustainable Development Goals
One of the main outcomes of the Rio+20 Conference was the agreement by member States to launch a process to develop a set of Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), which will build upon the Millennium Development Goals and converge with the post 2015 development agenda 

c) Pacific Plan 2005
The Pacific Plan is the master strategy for regional integration and coordination in the Pacific. It is a high-level framework that guides the work of national governments, regional agencies and development partners and was endorsed by Leaders in Port Moresby in October 2005.

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