SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT039Above: Achim Steiner(MEAs), many with their own assemblies andgoverning bodies, have become an administrativeburden for many developing countries stretchinglimited financial and human resources. A summary ofthe number of meetings and decisions taken byConferences of Parties of 18 major MEAs between theyears 1992-2007 shows that 540 meetings were heldat which 5,084 decisions were taken. If one wishes to be direct, we have been merely dealingwith symptom upon symptom, giving the impressionthat challenges have been addressed but in factmasking root causes and root solutions. This approachhas also prevented a more synergistic and effectiveapproach from emerging. So we have a managementregime that to date is failing this generation's searchfor sustainable development and will certainly shortchange the next, unless a more effective, stronger,coherent and focused governance system can beestablished. One that can provide a top to what onemight term the bottom which is represented by thepathways and promise of a transition to a low-carbon,resource efficient Green Economy. The key question engaging governments and widersociety currently is not just whether a globalorganisation for the environment is needed. Certainly,many concede that the status quo is not an option. Buthow it would be configured, and what would it do thatwould prove to be transformative? Let me share someelements under discussions and consideration. Firstly, it would require the authority to allow ministersresponsible for the environment to achieve some parityand equity with their economic and socialcounterparts. UNEP has a Governing Council thatmeets annually, but the decisions taken byenvironment ministers are referred to New York wherethey can be agreed or quite literally dismissed as partof the General Assembly process. In addition, it maysurprise some to learn that UNEP's Governing Councildoes not have provision for universal membership ofmember states to date. A body with the kind ofdecision-making authority of a World TradeOrganization or a specialised agency such as the WorldHealth Organization could remedy this disconnectbetween ambition and reality. Equally, there is a need for an anchor institution toprovide authoritative policy guidance to the MEAs inorder to address fragmentation and build a far morestrategic direction between all the distinct parts of thecurrent environment corpus. A more authoritative andstrengthened body could also get to grips with the issueof financing. Currently, decisions over how fundsallocated for the environment internationally are spentare often taken in parallel fora such as the GlobalEnvironment Facility. Meanwhile, the lack of a centraland anchoring policy framework is leading to increasedcosts, inefficient targeting of scarce financial resourcesand curtailed consequences for achieving sustainability.Another glaring gap linked with the existing governancearrangements is implementation. To put it simply, theworld invests significant time, skill and capacity innegotiating and agreeing treaties, targets and timetablesbut far less in actually making these agreements happenon the ground and where it matters. Any new structuremust therefore address this disconnect by perhapshaving a dedicated implementation arm able to supportfinancially and build the capacity of developing andleast developed countries to meet their commitmentsregionally and nationally. Other important elements include buildingaccountability into existing and future environmentalagreements and decisions, backed up by peer reviewand review mechanisms. The African Union, the WTOand the Human Rights Council offer examples. Theeffectiveness of systems of implementation andaccountability can also benefit from partnerships withcivil society and their knowledge, networks andindependent scrutiny. Finally science: sound science underpins sound policy-making, but all too often that wealth of scientificknowledge available to governments is unfiltered or unfitfor cooperative decision making. A comprehensivescience-policy interface spanning the full range ofenvironmental challenges and sectors and capable ofbuilding scientific capacity in developing countries, isanother key link in this forward-looking governancedebate. Overall, such reforms will also contribute toother goals such as those enshrined in principle 10 onimproved access to information, public participationand access to justice in environment matters.nThe above article is excerpted from Achim Steiner's remarksat the Annual Conference of French Ambassadors in Bonn on3 September 2011.
eing involved in the International GreenAwardsT over the last five years, as ajudge and a trustee, has underlined forme where organisations often go wrongwith "green". Conversely, it also illustrates howsometimes they get it dramatically right, withbreakthrough results. The key to the latter cases iscreativity and co-operation.Green (and sustainability in general) is a net output,a bit like health. It is hence an objective, and notnecessarily the strategy. Some of the greenestcompanies in the world do not even look green. eBay,for example, has saved millions of tonnes of secondhand clothes, electronics and other mass-producedgoods from landfill. The greenest thing you can do ingeneral is stop wasting: a message manyorganisations have taken to heart in reducing energy,packaging and shipping.Campaigns that aim to make normal things lookgreen, are seldom "green" in the true sense. They arelike cosmetic surgery, rather than healthy lifestyles. Iargued in The Green Marketing Manifesto (2007) thatwe should actually be doing the opposite: makinggreen things seem normal. Making normal appeargreen is what has become known as "greenwash". The term was invented by journalist Jay Westerfeld,writing an investigative article about those "hoteltowel schemes" where they ask you to keep yourtowels for further days' use. What else were thesehotels doing, Westerfeld wondered? With theirrecycling, energy, cleaning products, labour rights.?The answer Westerfeld found was "not much", only agreen washing scheme to launder their image (andpass the buck, in the process). Gratifyingly, thegreenwash quotient in entries to the InternationalGreen AwardsT has fallen dramatically. It seemed toaccount for half the entries six years ago. I struggle torecall an example among hundreds of entries I readthis year. But the problem with trying to "green" yourproducts, services or organisation runs deeper. One danger is missing the bigger picture, for instance ifwe encourage people to "save money, save energy"what do those people then do with the money that wassaved? In the UK, where savings ratios hover aroundzero, the answer is they spend it on something else.Whatever you spend your money on, it has a carbon andenvironmental impact, so the net effect is not green.This is a phenomenon (the indirect rebound effect) theWWF used to challenge the whole "green marketing"paradigm (Weathercocks and Signposts, 2008).If people buy "ethical brands" there can be a haloeffect - one pack of organic corn and one of fairtradecoffee is the average in the UK out of over £200 spenteach week on other groceries that go unexamined.Therefore, the net effect is not green, even if theintention is there. Generally, for these reasons (andmany others) the action has moved on; frommarketing to fundamental innovation.Why fundamental innovation? As scientists,economists, environmentalists and politicians warn usrepeatedly, we face what UK chief scientist JohnBeddington described as a "perfect storm" by 2030:as rising demands for energy, food and water are metwith a crisis of limited supply, further compromised byclimate change. To avoid the social dislocation,economic collapse and widespread conflict that wouldderive quickly from such a scenario, we must innovate- something the International Green AwardsT rightlystresses. We must create a step change to morewellbeing obtained from much less resources. AlongGLOBAL PROBLEMS: CREATIVE AND CO-OPERATIVESOLUTIONS040SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENTJOHN GRANT, CO-FOUNDER OF ECOINOMY AUTHOR OF CO-OPPORTUNITY AND THE GREEN MARKETING MANIFESTO MEMBER OF THE STEERING GROUP ADVISORY PANEL, INTERNATIONAL GREEN AWARDSTB" "SUSTAINABILITYIS NOT A TECHNICAL MATTER TO BEFIXED WITH A DIFFERENT KINDOF ENERGY. IT IS GIVING DUE WEIGHT TO TODAY'S NEEDS ANDTOMORROW'S