Shaping post 2015 Agenda

Article Index

Prosperity: to grow a strong, inclusive and transformative economy

Economic growth should lead to shared prosperity. The strength of an economy must be measured by the degree to which it meets the needs of people, and by how sustainably and equitably it does so. We need inclusive growth, built on decent jobs, sustainable livelihoods and rising real incomes for all, measured in ways that go beyond GDP and account for human well-being, sustainability and equity. Ensuring that all people, including women, persons with disabilities, youth, the aged and migrants, have decent employment, social protection and access to financial services will be a hallmark of our economic success.

Innovation and investment in sustainable and resilient infrastructure, cities and human settlements, industrialization, small and medium-sized enterprises, energy and technology can both generate employment and remedy negative environmental trends. An enabled, properly regulated, responsible and profitable private sector is critical for employment, living wages, growth and revenues for public programmes. Transforming business models for creating shared value is vital for growing inclusive and sustainable economies.

The world’s richness of natural resources also provides a formidable economic opportunity, if it is translated not only into GDP growth but into shared prosperity. Sustainable approaches to landscape management (including agriculture and forests), industrialization (including manufacturing and productive capacities), access to energy and water and sanitation are key drivers of sustainable production and consumption and job creation, as well as sustainable and equitable growth. They drive the sustainable management of natural resources and tackle climate change.

Planet: to protect our ecosystems for all societies and our children

To respect our planetary boundaries we need to equitably address climate change, halt biodiversity loss and address desertification and unsustainable land use. We must protect wildlife, safeguard forests and mountains and reduce disaster risk and build resiliencies. We must protect our oceans, seas, rivers and atmosphere as our global heritage and achieve climate justice. We must promote sustainable agriculture, fisheries and food systems; foster sustainable management of water resources and of waste and chemicals; foster renewable and more efficient energy; decouple economic growth from environmental degradation; advance sustainable industrialization and resilient infrastructure; ensure sustainable consumption and production; and achieve sustainable management of marine and terrestrial ecosystems and land use.

Sustainable development is at risk, as evidence proves that warming of the climate system is now undeniable and human activities are its primary cause. We must limit global temperature rise to below 2 degrees Celsius if we are to avoid the worst effects of climate change. Carbon dioxide is the largest contributor to human-induced climate change. Fossil fuels usage and deforestation are its two main sources. Increasing warming will have severe, pervasive and irreversible impacts more likely. The longer we wait to take action towards sustainable production and consumption, the more it will cost to solve the problem and the greater the technological challenges will be. Adaptation can reduce some of the risks and impacts of climate change. Most urgently, we must adopt a meaningful, universal climate agreement by the end of 2015.

Justice: to promote safe and peaceful societies and strong institutions

Effective governance for sustainable development demands that public institutions in all countries and at all levels be inclusive, participatory and accountable to the people. Laws and institutions must protect human rights and fundamental freedoms. All must be free from fear and violence, without discrimination. We also know that participatory democracy and free, safe and peaceful societies are both enablers and outcomes of development.

Access to fair justice systems, accountable institutions of democratic governance, measures to combat corruption and curb illicit financial flows and safeguards to protect personal security are integral to sustainable development. An enabling environment under the rule of law must be secured for the free, active and meaningful engagement of civil society and of advocates, reflecting the voices of women, minorities, lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender groups, indigenous peoples, youth, adolescents and older persons. Press freedom and access to information, freedom of expression, assembly and association are enablers of sustainable development. The practice of child, early and forced marriage must be ended everywhere. The rule of law must be strengthened at the national and international level to secure justice for all.

We need to rebuild and reintegrate societies better after crises and conflicts. We must address State fragility, support internally displaced persons and contribute to the resilience of people and communities. Reconciliation, peacebuilding and Statebuilding are critical for countries to overcome fragility and develop cohesive societies and strong institutions. These investments are essential to retaining the gains of development and avoiding reversals in the future.