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Environmental Sustainability vs. Economic Sustainability

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Presentation on theme: "Environmental Sustainability vs. Economic Sustainability"— Presentation transcript:

1 Environmental Sustainability vs. Economic Sustainability
Dr. Asanga Gunawansa Asst. Professor Department of Building School of Design and Environment National University of Singapore Associate Member, Executive Committee Asia Pacific Centre for Environmental Law

2 Issues Covered What is Sustainable Development?
Legal and Policy Aspects of Sustainable Development Understanding Policy and Law Making Sustainable Development Challenges Balancing the Competing Interests Dr. Asanga Gunawansa

3 What is Sustainable Development?
The standard definition of SD comes from the Brundtland Commission (Our Common Future, The UN Commission on Economic Development, 1987): “Development that meets the needs of the present, without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs.” Do you agree? Dr. Asanga Gunawansa

4 What is Sustainable Development?
The full definition of the Brundtland Commission, seldom quoted, continues: “It (SD) 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.” Dr. Asanga Gunawansa

5 What is Sustainable Development?
The United Nations 2005 World Summit Outcome Document refers to the "interdependent and mutually reinforcing pillars" of sustainable development as economic development, social development, and environmental protection. A 4th pillar? Dr. Asanga Gunawansa

6 What is Sustainable Development?
Indigenous peoples have argued, through various international forums such as the United Nations Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues and the Convention on Biological Diversity, that there are four pillars of sustainable development, the fourth being cultural. Dr. Asanga Gunawansa

7 What is Sustainable Development?
The Universal Declaration on Cultural Diversity (2001) further elaborates the concept by stating that "...cultural diversity is as necessary for humankind as biodiversity is for nature”; it becomes “one of the roots of development understood not simply in terms of economic growth, but also as a means to achieve a more satisfactory intellectual, emotional, moral and spiritual existence".

8 Economic Sustainability
Economics is the social science that studies the production, distribution, and consumption of goods and services. Economic sustainability is not just about achieving economic growth year on year. Economic growth is only sustainable if it simultaneously improves our quality of life and the environment. Dr. Asanga Gunawansa

9 Environmental Sustainability
Should be in harmony with economic development. Should be bearable and should not be over regulated. Dr. Asanga Gunawansa

10 Social Sustainability
A society which respects Human Rights, Labour Rights and Corporate Governance . Corporate governance is the set of processes, customs, policies, laws and institutions affecting corporate behaviour. In general, socially responsible investors favour corporate practices that promote environmental stewardship, consumer protection, human rights and labour rights. Dr. Asanga Gunawansa

11 Social Sustainability
… how individuals, communities and societies live with each other and set out to achieve the objectives of development models, which they have chosen for themselves taking also into account the physical boundaries of their places and planet earth as a whole… (Colantonio, 2009) Dr. Asanga Gunawansa

12 Social Sustainability Indicators
Numbers of people with jobs Poverty Opportunities for education and training Health and availability of medical services Human rights and equal opportunities Crime and social disorder levels Housing provisions and quality Dr. Asanga Gunawansa

13 What is Sustainable Development?
Dr. Asanga Gunawansa

14 An Ideal SD Model Dr. Asanga Gunawansa

15 An Ideal SD Model Dr. Asanga Gunawansa

16 Understanding Policy and Law Making
Public Policy - is a concept, whereby government s determine decisions, actions and other matters that will prove advantages to society in general. Law - could be defined as a rule of conduct or action prescribed or formally recognized as binding and enforced by a controlling authority.  Laws (including, regulations, rules and guidelines) are required for administration and implementation of policy. Dr. Asanga Gunawansa

17 Understanding Policy and Law Making
Developing Sustainable Cities Understanding Policy and Law Making Policies are not always consistent. Policies change with the changing needs and demands of society. Many factors influence the need for and the creation of policy: Political, economic, social, environmental factors Obligations under Multilateral/regional/bilateral agreements Pressure from lobby groups, political parties, single issue coalitions, industrial councils, unions and other pressure groups. Dr. Asanga Gunawansa

18 Understanding Policy and Law Making
Developing Sustainable Cities Understanding Policy and Law Making What are the challenges? Importance of public acceptance of policies and laws Unacceptable and unpopular policies and laws will result in change of authority in the government, especially in democratic systems Initiatives for development of sustainable cities need a sound policy and legal architecture, acceptable to the people. Dr. Asanga Gunawansa

19 Sustainable Development Law and Policy
There is no single international or national document that contains a comprehensive body of law relating to Sustainable Development. Various aspects of SD have been dealt with in different international, regional and bi-lateral agreements, and national laws and policy documents (fragmentation). Some examples: Charter of the United Nations Agreement of the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade; and WTO Convention on Biological Diversity UN Framework Convention on Climate Change RIO Declaration on Environment and Development UN Millennium Declaration Singapore Green Plan Dr. Asanga Gunawansa

20 Sustainable Development Law and Policy
In International Law, the concept of SD requires accommodation, reconciliation and integration between economic growth, social justice and environmental protection objectives for the benefit of both present and future generations. ‘Sustainable development law’ addresses the intersections between economic, environmental and social law, towards development that can last for the benefit of present and future generations. Dr. Asanga Gunawansa

21 Sustainable Development Law
In 2002, the Committee on the Legal Aspects of Sustainable Development of the International Law Association released the following 7 Principles of International Law Related to Sustainable Development (New Delhi Declaration): The duty of States to ensure sustainable use of natural resources The principle of equity and the eradication of poverty The principle of common but differentiated responsibilities The principle of the precautionary approach to human health, natural resources and ecosystems. The principle of public participation and access to information and justice. The principle of good governance. The principle of integration and interrelationship of social, economic and environmental objectives. Dr. Asanga Gunawansa

22 Sustainable Development Challenges
UN Conference on the Human Environment (Stockholm 1972) , sought to help Governments rethink economic development and find ways to halt the destruction of irreplaceable natural resources and pollution of the planet. The concept of SD started receiving a lot of attention after the United Nations Conference on Environment and Development (Earth Summit, Rio de Janeiro 1992). The World Summit on Sustainable Development which was held in Johannesburg in 2002 (Rio+10) identified several key aims for SD: Reducing the number of people without access to clean water from 1 billion to 500 million by 2015. To halve the number of people without proper sanitation to 1.2 billion. To increase the use of sustainable energy sources. Dr. Asanga Gunawansa

23 UN Millennium Development Goals (2001)

24 Sustainable Development Challenges
UN Millennium Development Goals (2001) Goal 1- Eradicate Extreme Poverty and Hunger Target 1A - Halve, between 1990 and 2015, the proportion of people whose income is less than one dollar a day. Target 1B - Achieve full and productive employment and decent work for all, including women and young people. Target 1C - Halve, between 1990 and 2015, the proportion of people who suffer from hunger. Dr. Asanga Gunawansa

25 Sustainable Development Challenges
Reality check - Some quick facts Approximately 1.4 billion people live on US$1.25 or less a day. Approximately 10 million die every year of hunger and hunger-related diseases. Rising food prices may push 100 million people deeper into poverty. However, fewer children below five are undernourished (down from 33% in 1990 to 26% in 2006). [Source: Dr. Asanga Gunawansa

26 Achieving Sustainable Development
According to the UN Millennium Development Goals Report (2008): The proportion of people living on less than $1per day is unlikely to be reduced by the target of one-half. About 1/4 of children in developing countries are considered to be underweight and …undernourished. More than 500,000 prospective mothers in developing countries die annually in childbirth… or pregnancy complications. 2.5 billion people (½ of the developing world’s population) live without improved sanitation. More than 1/3 of the growing urban population in developing countries live in slums. CO2 emissions have continued to increase despite mitigation efforts. Dr. Asanga Gunawansa

27 Sustainable Development Challenges
Three key challenges: 1. Overpopulation in the developing world. The developing world has 80% of the world's population and consumes 20% of its resources. 2. Overconsumption in the developed world. The developed world has 20% of the world's population and consumes 80% of its resources. 3. Striking a balance between competing challenges E.g. Conflict between dealing with Climate Change and Eradicating Poverty Dr. Asanga Gunawansa

28 Sustainable Development Challenges
Developing Sustainable Cities Sustainable Development Challenges Dr. Asanga Gunawansa

29 Population Growth and Scarce Resources
According to the UN World population that was 2.5 billion in 1950, and 4.4 billion in 1980, rose to 6 billion in 2000. World population is projected to grow to about 8 billion in 2025. In 2050, the projected world population is 9.3 – 11 billion in 2050. Almost all future population growth will occur in the developing world, mainly in Asia. This increased population, combined with higher standards of living, will pose enormous strains on land, water, energy and other natural resources. What actions are required? Dr. Asanga Gunawansa

30 Sustainable Development Challenges
Sustainable Development is not only about protecting the environment. It requires us to find solutions to other development needs of people. These include: Economic development Health and sanitation Education Equality Rights of Children Dr. Asanga Gunawansa

31 Sustainable Development Challenges - let us not loose focus
Developing Sustainable Cities Sustainable Development Challenges - let us not loose focus Climate change is real. We need to deal with it. It is perhaps the biggest (environmental) challenge the world is facing today, but not the only one. There are a number of other development issues that are more immediate: hunger and malnutrition Poverty Health local environmental issues Dr. Asanga Gunawansa

32 Sustainability means different things to different people…
Dr. Asanga Gunawansa

33 Sustainability means different things to different people…
Dr. Asanga Gunawansa

34 Sustainability means different things to different people…
Dr. Asanga Gunawansa

35 Singapore – SD Policy According to Singapore’s Sustainable Development Blueprint: “Sustainable development for Singapore means growing our city state in a way that: Is efficient: we develop with less resources and waste Is clean: we develop without polluting our environment Is green: we develop while preserving greenery, waterways and our natural heritage This way, we ensure that Singapore can enjoy both economic growth and a good living environment for ourselves, and for future generations.” Dr. Asanga Gunawansa

36 Everyone has a right to dream…
Dr. Asanga Gunawansa

37 What do we do with these? Dr. Asanga Gunawansa

38 Sustainable Development should be for all
Dr. Asanga Gunawansa

39 The Cost of Transition Urban Slums Green Apartments
Dr. Asanga Gunawansa

40 Let’s not forget them… Dr. Asanga Gunawansa

41 SD Governance Approaches
Development in all aspects of sustainable development Top down as well as bottom up approach is needed Common but differential responsibility Leave no room for forgotten communities Benchmarks Performance monitoring Regulations, laws, rules and guidelines to back policies Striking the right balance Dr. Asanga Gunawansa

42 What Should Countries Do?
Basic SD Principles Required Action The duty of States to ensure sustainable use of natural resources Responsible production and consumption. Respect for ecosystem support capacity. R&D of alternative sources. The principle of equity and the eradication of poverty Social equity and solidarity. Policies that caters to the needs of the present whilst saving the world for the future . The principle of common but differentiated responsibilities. Bilateral and regional partnerships and cooperation The principle of the precautionary approach Take precautions and avoid regrets.

43 What Should States Do? SD Principles Required Action Polluter pays
Establish laws and policies that promote environmental remediation. Public participation, access to information and to justice Enabling participation and commitment Enabling access to knowledge Balancing the often competing SD demands (e.g. economic development vs. environmental preservation) Establishing a legal and policy environment in which competing SD demands could be balanced. Some SD demands have no national borders (e.g. climate change) Accept responsibility and take necessary mitigatory measures and adaptation initiatives.

44 What Should States Do? promote economic, social, and environmental well-being of current and future generations. These three can complement each other through effective and efficient policy making. Dr. Asanga Gunawansa

45 The choices we make today will decide our future…
Developing Sustainable Cities The choices we make today will decide our future… Dr. Asanga Gunawansa

46 “yes We can” Dr. Asanga Gunawansa

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