Global Governance and Global Sustainability - The Goals of the Global Social Democracy
• The Socialist International supports the World Summit on Sustainable Development to be held from 26 August until 4 September 2002 in Johannesburg as it supported the United Nations Conference on Environment and Development, held in Rio de Janeiro in 1992, which provided the fundamental principles and the programme of action for achieving sustainable development. It appeals to political leaders to establish in Johannesburg a new global partnership encompassing economic, social and environmental considerations.
The Socialist International, as a non-governmental organisation with Category I consultative status with the United Nations Economic and Social Council, invites its member parties to nominate members to its delegation at the Summit.
• The Socialist International strongly reaffirms its commitment to the Rio principles and the full implementation of Agenda 21.
Sustainable development is development that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs. Sustainability hence does not only mean national and international environmental and development policies, but becomes the guiding principle of global governance and a new domestic world policy oriented towards lasting peace, justice, security, welfare, democracy and the promotion of cultural diversity. Commitments to implementing the three components - economic growth, social development and environmental protection - as mutually reinforcing pillars are imperative for meeting the goal of sustainable development.
The findings of the Brandt, Palme, Carlsson/Ramphal and Brundtlandt Commissions paved the way for the global political consensus that resulted in the concepts of global sustainability and global governance: all these were crucial contributions of social democracy for tackling the global challenges facing the world. UNCED 1992 in Rio set the stage for a new global agenda through a round of global conferences focusing on various aspects of global sustainability, the Population Conference (Cairo, 1994), the Social Summit (Copenhagen, 1995), the Women's Conference (Beijing, 1995), the Conference on Human Settlements (Istanbul, 1996), most recently followed by the Conference on Financing for Development (Monterrey, 2002). These processes can be characterised by a common desire to achieve equality, solidarity, respect for nature and shared responsibility in managing worldwide economic, social and environmental development.
• The Socialist International commits itself to achieving the internationally agreed development goals, the outcomes of the major UN Conferences and international agreements since 1992 and the results of the UN Millennium Assembly.
• The Socialist International adopted at its Council meeting in Maputo in November 2000 the "Platform for Global Progress" which emphasised the connection between the environment and development as the fundamental component in the process towards sustainable development. It also emphasised the need to create societies that could eradicate poverty and prosper within the limits that nature sets. Poverty eradication and changing unsustainable patterns of production and consumption are overarching objectives of sustainable development and an essential requirement for promoting environmental protection. Good governance within each country without exception and global governance at international level are essential for sustainable development. At domestic level, sound environmental, social and economic policies, democratic institutions responsive to the needs of the people, rule of law, anti-corruption measures, fighting against terrorism, gender equity and an enabling environment for investment are the basis for sustainable development. The gap between developed and developing countries point to the continued need for a dynamic and enabling international economic environment supportive of international cooperation, particularly in the field of finance, technology transfer, debt and trade, full and effective participation of developing countries in global decision-making, if the momentum for global progress towards sustainable development is to be maintained and increased. Peace, security, and stability are essential for achieving sustainable development and ensuring that sustainable development benefits all.
• The Socialist International reaffirms the conclusions of the SI Council in Lisbon, 29-30 June 2001, and of the meeting of Committee on the Economy, Social Cohesion and the Environment in New York, 15-16 February 2002. The Socialist International supports the propositions of the PES Working Group on Sustainable Development.
• The Socialist International wants to make its contribution to the successful outcome of the Johannesburg Summit. It is aware of, and welcomes, the work done by its member parties and organisations on sustainable development. The Socialist International calls on all its parties and its members in parliament and government to cooperate and move towards firm and innovative initiatives in order to promote sustainable development. The Socialist International expects from them concrete commitments to funding and implementing these initiatives.
A Social Democratic Vision for Sustainable Development
• The Socialist International underlines that the world continues to experience a widening of the gap between rich and poor, both within nations and throughout the different regions of the world; the emergence of new forms of social exclusion connected with technological evolution; a growing concentration of financial and economic power combined with vulnerability to fiscal crises; a crucial challenge to representative democratic values in the context of globalisation; continuing conflict, within as well as between nations; increasing degradation and depletion of natural resources. The greatest environmental challenges include: the climate changes caused by global warming; the hole in the ozone layer; the diminishing variety of species; the degradation of agricultural land and ground water; toxic pollution and excessive consumption, all of which threaten the very basis of life. That is the reason why there is a need to shape the globalisation process to be inclusive and create a world domestic policy with the aim of achieving sustainable development.
• As the Socialist International, we are the bearers of a social vision for sustainable development through the recognition of fundamental individual and collective rights. We are able to integrate the environmental and development agendas, that is, an agenda able to respond to the desire for justice without upsetting the biosphere, since equity can no longer be separated from ecology. Our vision is based on a social democratic model characterised by the goals of welfare for all, full and fair employment, international solidarity and a good living environment. In the new vision of the future, the environmental perspective, along with the economic and social angle, is fundamental to a society based on democracy, solidarity and justice.
• The Socialist International consists of political parties both in developed and developing countries, many of them presently in government. This makes it possible for the SI to play a key role as a forerunner and bridge builder in political processes. Bridging the gap between poor and richer societies is crucial in order to reach solutions to achieve progress towards sustainable development.
Meeting the Needs of Developing Countries
• The Socialist International emphasises that the commitments which resulted from the Rio Summit have not been sufficiently carried out, while efforts to do so have exacerbated the deep divisions between the developed countries and developing countries which fear that environmental restraints will only leave them further behind in the global race for economic development.
• The Socialist International understands that developing countries can enter the Rio+10 process with the view that developed countries have not delivered what they promised back in 1992. There has been an overall steady decline in developing aid over the past 10 years. Only a few countries - Denmark, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Norway and Sweden - are fulfilling the target of 0.7 percent of GDP. Development aid must be organised in a less bureaucratic way and must be focused on education, health and social programmes. On the other hand, FDI (foreign direct investment) has increased and is still not sufficient, and the overall majority of developing countries has not benefited. Africa, in particular, is lagging behind. The Socialist International considers this a significant political challenge.
• The Socialist International stresses the need for providing adequate means of implementation to developing countries in order for them to achieve the goals of sustainable development. The Johannesburg Summit should clearly identify the sources of finance and technology required and agree on time-bound targets in providing the means of implementation.
Poverty Eradication and Sustainable Development
• The Socialist International emphasises that eradicating poverty is the greatest global challenge facing the world today, the highest priority for developing countries and an indispensable requirement for sustainable development. As Indira Gandhi stated thirty years ago: "Poverty is the greatest polluter and the struggle against poverty is also a struggle for a better environment". Environmental degradation is an obstacle to sustainable livelihoods and has the greatest impact on the poor. It is therefore essential to integrate environmental issues into national poverty reduction strategies and processes.
• The Socialist International judges that poverty derives not only from deprivation of resources but also from a deficit of power. Stategies to eradicate poverty will have to be centred on the reinforcement of rights and opportunities. This is particularly true for women who, together with children, often bear the greatest burden of extreme poverty. The empowerment of women therefore constitutes a central element of strategies for the eradication of poverty. Women often do not have access to education and training and are the least qualified and skilled as a workforce, have the least opportunity for ownership of property and are often subjected to cultural customs and rules which expose them to exploitation. Therefore equality between the genders and a gender perspective is important for the Socialist International, which must also be reflected in the Rio+10 process.
• The Socialist International underlines that the realisation of the poverty- and hunger- related goals contained in the UN Millennium Declaration to halve by the year 2015 the proportion of the world's people whose income is less than one dollar a day, the proportion of people who suffer from hunger and who are unable to reach or to afford safe drinking water will require actions at all levels to:
- establish with new resources a World Solidarity Fund for Poverty Eradication and the Promotion of Human Development in the poorest regions of the World, in order to reach the UN Millennium Declaration goals and more fairly distribute Global Public Goods;
- ensure that development aid is focused on the least developed countries and the people most in need;
- decrease the debt of the less developed countries and write off that of the poorest;
- incorporate good governance policies such as respect for human rights, democracy, and the rule of law, as cornerstones of poverty reduction policies aimed at promoting empowerment of poor people;
- deliver basic health services for all and reduce environmental health threats with particular reference to the alarming spread of HIV/AIDS and other contagious diseases, taking into account the linkages between poverty, health and environment;
- ensure children everywhere, boys and girls alike, will be able to complete a full course of primary schooling and will have equal access to all levels of education;
- promote sustainable agriculture and rural development to eradicate poverty and achieve food security, diversification of rural economies and improved access to markets and market information for agricultural products, including reduction of subsidies which distort trade and the environment and other barriers to trade in developed countries, while respecting environmental and socio-economic concerns;
- stop the unsustainable exploitation of water resources by developing transparent, decentralised and democratically controlled water management strategies at local, regional and national levels and safeguarding its quality;
- devise an action programme for the promotion of renewable sources of energy and energy efficiency. This should be predominantly focused on developing countries, but not neglect the need for the developed countries to change their patterns of production and consumption;
- promote the integration into poverty eradication policies and programmes of measures to combat desertification, drought and floods;
- support developing countries to develop, adopt and implement policies, strategies and programmes on sustainable urbanisation and urban management as a means to eradicate both urban and rural poverty;
- the design of housing and buildings is closely connected with energy consumption. It is important to introduce environmentally friendly building material and the best available technology.
• The Socialist International strongly advocates the need to achieve the commitments of the 20/20 Initiative from the World Social Summit in Copenhagen in 1995 for developing and developed states to mutually engage themselves to spend an average of 20 per cent of their national budget and 20 per cent of their official development assistance, including their contributions to multilateral organisations and NGOs, for basic social services. These include basic health services including reproductive health, food security programmes, supply of drinking water and sewerage systems.
Changing Unsustainable Patterns of Consumption and Production
• The Socialist International underlines that the prosperity of the industrialised countries is largely based on an over-consumption of the world's finite natural resources. Fundamental changes in the way societies produce and consume are indispensable for achieving global sustainable development. The richest five per cent of the world's population is responsible for 86 per cent of the world's total consumption whereas the poorest twenty per cent is responsible for just 1.3 per cent. Global threats, such as climate change or extreme poverty, point to the need for change and the fact that the industrialised countries have a moral responsibility to play a leading role in driving through such change.
• Changing unsustainable patterns of consumption and production in particular requires:
- the development of a programme for improving resource efficiency in order to promote social and economic development within the carrying capacity of ecosystems, while reducing resource degradation;
- increasing investment in cleaner production and eco-efficiency in all countries through incentives and support schemes;
- the implementation of the recommendations and conclusions of the ninth session of the Commission for Sustainable Development on energy relevant to the respective domestic situations;
- the promotion of an integrated approach to policy making at national and regional levels for transport services and systems to promote sustainable development, including policies and planning for land use, infrastructure, public transport systems and goods delivery networks;
- preventing and minimising waste and maximising re-use and recycling, with participation of government, and all stakeholders, in order to improve resource-efficiency;
- a new commitment to sound management on the precautionary principle of chemicals throughout their life cycle for the protection of human health and the environment.
Protecting and Managing the Natural Resource Base of Economic and Social Development
• The Socialist International emphasises that environmental policies are not a burden, but a necessity for ensuring that economic and social development are sustainable. Nature and environmental resources are an indispensable basis for human welfare and advancement. Human activities are having an increasing impact on the integrity of ecosystems. Managing the natural resources base in a precautionary and integrated manner is essential for sustainable development. In this regard, it is necessary to implement strategies to protect all ecosystems and to achieve integrated management of land, water and living resources, while strengthening regional, national and local capacities. Natural resources must not be over consumed in order to create economic growth, and "eco-efficiency" must be an integrated part of every country's policy.
• The Socialist International firmly believes that in the long run a "green knowledge- based economy" and new technology can contribute to fairer and more environmentally friendly development.
• The Socialist International urges the mobilisation and financing of global public goods, which in general constitutes a tremendous challenge for the community of states that is growing ever closer together. It is therefore urgently required, for the promotion of development policies, to analyse all the proposals that have been submitted on how the maintenance and provision of GPGs can be financed in great detail. The Socialist International underlines the need for global taxation on international currency transactions, on the sources of global pollution and on the arms trade.
• The Socialist International emphasises that global warming is the greatest threat to life on the planet. Scientists are now more explicit than ever before; the climate is affected by human activities and results in changes in the climate. Poor countries suffer the most from global warming due to the fact that the consequences hit them the hardest and because they lack both the technology and the financial resources to meet the challenge. Industrialised countries have a particular responsibility to reduce emissions, but less developed and poorer countries must contribute to the effort as well. The commitments that countries have made today concerning emissions simply are not enough.
• The Socialist International advocates cooperation between both developed and developing countries on reducing emissions, with the wealthier countries contributing the necessary transfer of knowledge, technology and financial resources.
• The Socialist International advocates the rapid ratification of the Kyoto Protocol. All parties to the protocol have to complete their national ratification procedures in order to enable the protocol to enter into force before the World Summit on Sustainable Development. The Socialist International calls on the United States to join the fight against global warming.
Sustainable Development in a Globalising World
• The Socialist International emphasises the need to lay down good governance at national as well as international level as an underlying concept in Johannesburg. It requires precise agreements in order to be able to reach this objective. This holds true for environmental issues as such, as well as for the broader concept of governance for sustainable development. This entails that the existing international structures and institutions for governance be put to the test. Johannesburg should be used to also reach this stage. The establishment of a "World Commission for Sustainability and Globalisation" is an important proposal.
• The Socialist International underlines that globalisation has to work for sustainable development. This will mean modification to trade and development assistance policies that should be assessed based on their effects on sustainable development. Combating poverty and providing greater access to markets for the poorest countries are important components of a programme for sustainable development. Concrete steps are crucial regarding financing issues, the transfer of technology, the dismantling of subsidies that constitute a barrier to trade and the status of the environmental dimension in relation to trade policy. Regarding the financing issue, some progress - including the development of a bigger role for multinational companies in the financing of development - was made at the World Conference on Financing for Development in Monterrey (Mexico, 2002) but much more needs to be achieved.
• The Socialist International stresses that globalisation has been up to now limited to some sectors of the world economy, mainly in the spheres of transport, communication and finance, but has left out the majority of developing countries. There is a need to have, after Doha, a round of trade negotiations allowing better market access for developing countries, and especially for the least developed countries. The EU Everything but Arms initiative could serve as an example for the abolition of quotas and tariffs for the least developed nations. There is also a need for additional regional free-trade organisations. Developing countries would gain much from better access to each other`s markets. Most international trade is regional and not global.
• The Socialist International urges that all global and regional institutions, each responsible for particular aspects of economic and social life, have to improve their role in contributing to sustainable global development. Stronger political accountability, not least in securing consistent and coherent policies, is fundamental for change. The world needs an institutional framework for sustainable development that will provide for policy integration, knowledge-based decisions and participation.
• The Socialist International stresses that an important prerequisite of sustainable development is that the financial markets are based on economic, social and ecological concerns. International social and environmental agreements and the WTO must be accorded equal importance and must operate in a mutually supportive way. The social and environmental perspective must be strengthened during the forthcoming round of trade negotiations and the WTO should play its part in that process, as must the trade unions. All countries have to commit themselves to the Doha development agenda. World trade is growing continuously fast. For many parts of the world, this brings economic growth and prosperity. But at the same time new challenges are emerging. The rapid increase in movement of people, goods and finance, however, can also lead to new and serious problems. These need to be tackled effectively through appropriate regulations and controls which are properly implemented. Free trade means the increased transport of goods, which in itself is a challenge to the environment. The Socialist International will actively contribute to making real progress in the field of environmental globalisation. Trade has brought great benefits, but one important challenge now is to bring in consumer protection, safeguards to make globalisation safe and ensure producer protection so that citizens of poor countries and the poorest citizens in all countries do not suffer from exploitation. The key to sustainable development is that all countries, and in particular the richer countries, should be willing to participate in international governance, and to control the growing financial markets.
• The Socialist International urges all countries to participate in the process of creating sustainable development and a global partnership, built upon solidarity and equality between countries and continents.
Priorities for the World Summit on Sustainable Development:
- The Johannesburg Summit agreement should include an action plan in order to implement Agenda 21 and the UN Millennium Declaration. It needs to focus on deliverables and the need for resources such as public and private financing, capacity building and transfer of technology;
- The promotion of responsible usage of natural resources and thus making a clear separation between economic growth and consumption of the environment;
- The strengthening and further development of structures for sustainable global development;
- The global environmental platform has to be strengthened by developing UNEP financially and institutionally, with a long-term aim of creating a World Environment Organisation;
- A World Commission on Sustainability and Globalisation must be set up;
- To achieve a "global new deal" the Socialist International urges the creation of a UN Economic Security Council. This Economic Security Council would provide permanent leadership on global economic, social and environmental issues. The Council would monitor and co-ordinate the action of the various UN agencies such as the World Bank, the WTO, the ILO, the IMF and the regional development banks. It could also propose new resources for development and social and environmental protection;
- The promotion of gender equality and the empowerment of women must be included in the Rio+10 process; it must be given special attention in relation to strategies for poverty reduction;
- Full participation of women must be ensured in the process of taking of decisions on sustainable development in gender-sensitive environmental management;
- The fulfilment of the UN´s development assistance objective of 0.7 per cent of GDP by the developed countries based on concrete time schedules;
- The need for additional sources of funding for global welfare - apart from ODAs - which could include international tax resources, such as a tax on the weapons trade and on currency speculation;
- Education, vocational training, development of clean technologies and technological transfer as keys to global sustainability;
- The issue of world nutrition and agricultural production;
- The problem of scarce fresh water resources. Specific measures have to be taken in Johannesburg for the implementation of the findings of the International Fresh Water Conference (Bonn, December 2001);
- An action programme for the promotion of renewable sources of energy and energy efficiency;
- Developed countries' policies towards the world's poorest countries should give them greater access to the market and allow their debt to be written off, especially those who are pursuing internal poverty alleviation policies;
- An open and fair trade regime has to be developed where trade agreements should be assessed based on how they affect sustainable development;
- Agricultural and fishery subsidies that can both be seen as ecologically unsustainable and as trade barriers should be modified and ultimately phased out in a socially acceptable manner;
- International conventions, especially those of the ILO, relating to health, labour rights and the environment must be respected in the WTO´s regulatory framework;
- Access for developing countries to medicines at fair price levels in order to combat diseases such as HIV/AIDS, malaria and tuberculosis.
• The Socialist International calls for the strengthening of the global parliamentary dimension to the international decision-making process in the 21st century. International organisations of parties should have a special status in the United Nations System, different from that of the NGOs.
• The Socialist International recognises the importance of the local level and local authorities in promoting sustainability. For success we need innovative local solutions and supportive partnership of local people. The success of Agenda 21 was mainly due to the fact that the proposals and their implementation were based in the local community.
• The Socialist International is of the opinion that the Johannesburg Summit must be founded on the achievements and the experience of organisations of civil society
• This Summit must create spaces for regular dialogue among international institutions, governments, local authorities, NGOs and representatives of civil society.
• The Socialist International calls on the international community in all its forms - public, private and civic - to work towards a Rio+10 anniversary that culminates in a major global gathering, to ensure that the momentum of the international environmental effort can be maintained. The Johannesburg Summit must prove the "global partnership" between developed and developing countries. The developed countries must take on a stronger environmental and social responsibility. The developing countries must be prepared to work in new sustainable ways and to take on more responsibility to overcome global problems.