World still living unsustainably despite hundreds of internationally agreed goals, objectives – U.N.E.P.
- Category: Climate Talks
19 Jun 2012
- Published on Tuesday, 19 June 2012 11:00
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The world has continued living an unsustainable way of life despite nations having agreed on over 500 goals and objectives for the sustainable management of the environment, according to a report from the United Nations Environment Program. Of the 90 most important goals and objectives, significant progress has only been made in four. They are: eliminating the production and use of substances that deplete the ozone layer, removal of lead from fuel, increasing access to improved water supplies and boosting research to reduce pollution of the marine environment. Some progress has been made in around 40 other goals, including the expansion of protected areas such as National Parks and efforts to reduce deforestation. Little to no progress at all was shown in 24 goals, including climate change, fish stocks, and desertification and drought. Eight goals indicated "further deterioration," including climate change, fish stocks, and desertification and drought. Fourteen received no assessment due to lack of data. "If current trends continue, if current patterns of production and consumption of natural resources prevail and cannot be reversed and 'decoupled', then governments will preside over unprecedented levels of damage and degradation," said United Nations Under-Secretary General and U.N.E.P. executive director Achim Steiner. The report says several critical thresholds may be exceeded if humanity does not change its ways, and irreversible changes to the life-support functions of Earth is possible. But the report is still optimistic that the goals would be reached by the middle of the century if current policies and strategies are changed and strengthened. It included examples of successful policy initiatives – including public investment, green accounting, sustainable trade, establishing new markets, technological innovation, and capacity building. They also call for more specific targets, with quantifiable results, across a broader range of environmental challenges, due to successes in previous of such targets in international treaties and agreements like the ozone-depleting substances and lead in petrol. A greater focus on policies that target the drivers of environmental change - such as population growth and urbanization, unsustainable consumption patterns, fossil fuel-based energy consumption and transport, and globalization, are also being proposed in the report. – EcoSeed Staff