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Posted: Dec 13, 2013
Achieving sustainable development
(Nanowerk News) The UN Earth Summit in Rio of 1992 did not achieve its potential. An EU project set out to discover why.
The Rio de Janeiro Earth Summit of 1992 was a major United Nations (UN) gathering, essentially regarding the subject of sustainable development. Though the Summit did result in several treaties, these were non-binding.
Running for three years to 2012, SUBSTAINABLERIO consisted of four EU research–organisation partners. The project aimed to investigate two main issues – firstly, the difficulties presented regarding translation of sustainable development into sound policies in the context of globalisation. Furthermore, the reasons why decision-makers do not always guide national economies toward genuine sustainability.
SUSTAINABLERIO studied the issue at various levels, including national, EU-wide and global. Beyond saying that the concept of sustainable development is fundamentally flawed, the answer also lies in international conflict on priorities for the future, and the degree of openness to change.
SUSTAINABLERIO listed five separate key findings as project results. International conflicts will default to either the World Trade Organization (WTO) or the Dispute Settlement Body, both undesirable, unless a better mechanism is found. An effective governance solution would allow countries to experiment and learn from each other.
The project developed a set of criteria facilitating the mainstream integration of climate policies at the EU level. Team members also explored climate change orchestration, meaning to support private regulation through states and intergovernmental organisations. Finally, the project recommended integrating development goals with sustainability goals, focusing on merging people-based measures with big-picture solutions where individuals have little impact.
Other project results include dissemination of its activities via papers submitted to peer-reviewed journals, presentations at conferences, media interviews, and dissemination of papers via the IDDRI e-network. The project's work may lead to resolution of the conflicts, and help the world to achieve genuine sustainability.