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ADAMS Ch 4 notes.docx

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Gabrielle Sauter

Ch. 4 Sustainable development: Making the mainstream The Rio Conference -the last decade of the twentieth century and the start of the twenty-first saw the United Nations organize two environmental mega-conferences, the UN Conference on Environment and Development (UNCED – the Rio Conference), and the World Summit on Sustainable Development (WSSD) -NGOs invited (?) to the Rio conference but were excluded from the official negotiating sessions. Were on the periphery and they had little influence -in the end it was the largest and most globally organized NGOs (almost all of which were North American) had much influence on the Rio Documents -most NGOs failed to make effective use of the US-style lobbying processes -The Achievements of the Rio Conference: 1. the Rio Declaration: a consensus document, listing 27 ‘principles’ for sustainable development 2. Agenda 21: a 600 pg document drafted through intense negotiation between govt. diplomats, and as a result a balancing act between different interests. Describes many vital actions to promote ‘sustainability, but it makes none of them mandatory’ 3. In place of the anticipated global forest convention, a simple and limited set of Forest Principles was agreed. Countries with substantial forest (mostly poor with limited industrialization, and determined to derive maximum economic benefit from forestry) could not agree on the need to halt deforestation, with industrialized countries driven by preservationist domestic environmental lobbies (but often practicing unsustainable forestry at home, and with a long history of forest conversion to other land use) 4. The Convention on Biological Diversity was signed at Rio, to conserve biological diversity, promote the sustainable use of species and ecosystems and the equitable sharing of the benefits of genetic resources. It came into force in 1993. 5. The Framework Convention on climate Change agreed at Rio was the fruit of growing recognition of the problem of human-induced climate change through the 1980s, and particularly the scientific consensus achieved in the first report of the IPCC in 1990. The Convention came into force in 1994, but it laid no binding commitments to reduce greenhouse-gas emissions on individual countries. This continued to be debated and negotiated at meetings of the conference. Eventually being agreed in 1997 and coming into force in 2004 -differences over key problems. Industrialized countries: global atmospheric change, and tropical deforestation. Unindustrialized countries: poverty and the problems that flow from it -unindustrialized nations feared that they would not be able to use natural resources in their coutnries as they wished due to new restrictions. And also that their industrialization growth would be restricted as well Sustainable dev. at Rio -tensions between Northern and Southern Govts are clear. -27 principles of the Rio Declaration on Environment and Development -is this agenda 21?? - the scope of Agenda 21 was enormous, covering issues from water quality and biodiversity to the role of women, children and organized labor in delivering sustainable dev. -4 sections 1. social and Economic Dimensions: international cooperation, combating poverty, consumption patterns, population, health, settlements, and integrated environment and development decision making. 2. Conservation and management of resources for development: about the environment. Atmosphere, resources, biotechnology, conservation of biodiversity, 3. Strengthening the Role of major groups: role of women, young people, indigenous people, non-govt organizations 4. Means of implementation: exploring how to pay for sustainable dev., the need to transfer environmentally sound technology and science, the role of education, international capcity of capital building -for the Rio conference it was about tuning the economic machine, not redisgning it -Agenda 21 has a strong inheritance from its predecessors like the Brundtland report (inherited multilateralism, dominance of environment management topics, the importance of growth, etc.) -Forest Principles from the Rio conference was more of apolitical document rather than an operational tool because no agreement could be reached between North and South. South said it shouldn’t be told what to do because the North or deforested their countries during their industrialization The Convention on Biological Diversity -the aim of the CBD was to conserve biological diversity and to promote the sustainable use of species and ecosystems, and the equitable sharing of the economic benefits of genetic resources. -Biodiversity conservation can be achieved in situ )through conventional methods such as the designation of systems of protected areas) or ex situ (through captive breeding) but the convention also requires cross-cutting measures -what was novel (and controversial) in the convention was its provisions for the exploitation of genetic resources through biotech The Framework Convention on Climate change -convention was a delicate balance between divergent political and economic interests, and rather full of pious intentions -signed in ri
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