20 years of Experience in Sustainable Goals
Following the global consensus of the 2030 development agenda and the endorsement of the 17 sustainable goals, it is imperative that countries prepare themselves towards avhieving the SDGs
This entails formulating, developing and implementing numerous programs at the local, national and regional levels which would facilitate plans, programs and strategies towards building socio economic development, taking into account a balanced development of economics, social, and environmental considerations. We will develop from the ground level such as packages which tailors to the needs of individual countries, corporate sectors, and other organizations.
Why we need a sustainable development framework
The Story about Sustainable
IN the United Nations Environment Programme report released last Thursday, it says that the number of environmental laws has increased 38-fold globally since the Stockholm declaration on the human environment in 1972.
But there has been a lack of political will to implement these laws due to the potential impact on livelihoods, lands, properties and profits.
As the first-ever assessment of the global environmental rule of law, the report highlights the vast gaps between legislation and implementation for environmental laws and agencies.
This lack of political will has been a major obstacle in the mitigation of climate change, the reduction of pollution, and the prevention of widespread species and habitat loss, the report claims.
The report examines case studies on environmental rule of law and offers key recommendations. While laws and institutions addressing environmental issues have expanded, they are still maturing, the authors suggested.
Laws have best taken hold where countries have understood the linkages between the environment, economic growth, public health, social cohesion, and security.
Public and community groups need to be seen as critical stakeholders in environmental protection, with institutions and lawmakers engaging with them early and effectively to build trust, the report says.
Moving forward, there will be a need for a regular global assessment of the environmental rule of law and to track progress using consistent indicators, the report suggests.
Governments spend years negotiating environmental agreements, but then wilfully ignore them — it’s a dismal record.
This negative attitude and eventually its practice is nothing surprising to the global community. As far back as 2012, on the brink of the Rio plus 20 summit, an almost similar report by the UN suggests that we have never had so many environmental goals and objectives and we are still getting sustainable development disastrously wrong.
According to the report, we now have “treaty congestion”. World leaders have signed up to 500 internationally recognised agreements in the past 50 years.
The agreements range from eliminating substances in the air to protecting the ozone layer, to removing lead in petrol, sharing genetic resources, protecting the Antarctic ice, reducing over-fishing, curbing water pollution and giving people more access to food. UNEP examined 90 of the most important of these agreements for its annual Global Environmental Outlook report and came to some startling conclusions:
“Some” progress was shown in only 40 goals, including the expansion of protected areas such as national parks and efforts to reduce deforestation.
“LITTLE OR NO” progress was detected in 24 including climate change, fish stocks, and desertification and drought.
The question is, are all these agreements no more than vain promises by cynical governments which only want to wave a piece of paper in front of gullible electorates? Or is there something else going wrong in the system of environmental governance? There are many possibilities:
Firstly, many agreements on the environment fail to work because governments are also signing up to others on trade or the economy that consistently “trump” environment.
Secondly, rich countries have consistently promoted a global economic agenda that opens up poor countries to powerful corporations who are able to lobby, bully, cajole, or just ignore national and international environmental laws and agreements.
Thirdly, many countries sign agreements at international conferences like Rio with great fanfare, but then quietly fail to ratify them or pass them into domestic law.
Fourthly, some countries act with impunity. In the case of climate change, Canada ratified Kyoto but then ditched all promises to reduce emissions “in the national interest”. The failure of developed countries to join treaties or to ignore them undermines global environmental protection.
Lastly, some analysts argue there are too many bodies making too many agreements, and reform of the UN system is needed.
So, are more rules needed to force countries to comply, or fewer? Right now, the system is in semi chaos. There’s an industry in negotiating new agreements and it’s chaos out there. The trouble is, it’s not in the interests of most governments to change the status quo.
Malaysia is also party to agreements covering a wide range of subjects, including trade in endangered species, protection of important wetlands, biosafety, climate change, transboundary movement of hazardous wastes, haze and laws of the sea.
All in all, there are about 13 of these major treaties that we signed up for. These are huge responsibilities. To what extent we have been able to fulfil our obligations is still a matter of conjecture which merit serious studies which the government should consider undertaking.