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Chapter 4

ENV310H5 Chapter Notes - Chapter 4: Millennium Development Goals, Earth Summit, Sustainable Development Goals

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Barbara Murck

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Chapter 4: Government Responses to the Sustainability Challenge
The Implementation Gap
o Sustainable development has remained at the discourse level and little effective implementation
has taken place
o The implementation that is taking place is limited
o According to the MDG Monitor website, data are insufficient and cannot be properly tracked,
and in no country are all of the development goals on course to be met by the deadline
o The MDGs serve as another indicator of slow and inconsistent global progress toward sustainable
o Investments are not being made
o The UNDESA report shows that the efficiency and efficacy of international funding sources for
sustainability efforts must be strengthened if sustainable development is to be successful
International Commitments to Sustainable Development
o Rio and Agenda 21
Frist major UN meeting for the discussion of environmental development was held in
Rio Earth Summit had discussions within the United Nations on poverty, environmental
degradation, and inequities between developed and undeveloped nations
Agenda 21 laid out an international plan of action that was meant to be implemented
globally, nationally, and locally
Common themes of the Rio declaration include the human centered nature of the
sustainable development aim, an obligation to future generations, integration of the
development processes, the prioritization of least developed nations, and the
responsibility of national governments to take on the sustainable development mission
Each of these guidelines echoes the Brundtland Reports views on sustainable
The Brundtland Report notes the need of nations to anticipate and prevent
environmental degradation
The report is indicating that nations should adopt the precautionary principle as a tool
for decision making
The precautionary principle states that when a policy or action is expected to cause
harm to people or the environment, measures should be taken to prevent it
The principle is meant to prevent undue harm to the damage will be reconcilable in the
o The Millennium Development Goals (MDGs)
The Milleiu Assel held i 2000
Challenged the notion of globalization the process of rapid growth and international
integration of markets, cultures, and institutions
Idea that developing countries could grow themselves out of poverty by opening their
markets to trade and investment was the dominant mindset going into the new
This challenge to globalization was a shift from the development approach of the
Brundtland and Rio years
Environmental protection accomplished by combating poverty with growth and trade
The freer trade that exists, the greater the likelihood that the environment will be
effectively protected and its resources responsibly utilized
The MDGs are development targets for less developed nations with financial
technological support coming from the more developed nations
o The Johannesburg Plan of Implementation
One area that was emhphazsized during the Johannesburg summit was the way the 3
pillars of sustainability were conceptualized
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