Tag Archive for sustainable development

Consulting Indigenous communities to preserve a unique ecosystem: a first time in Chile

Captura de pantalla 2017-10-11 a las 11.02.14

In September 2017, The Rapa Nui people agreed with the Chilean Environment Ministry on the creation of a 700,000 square kilometer protected marine area around Easter Island in the Pacific Ocean.

Due to its location, Easter Island’s ecosystem has unique coral species preserved by the traditional fishing practices that would be also protected. Chile has become one of the five countries with the largest area of marine space protected in the world.

The Environment Ministry, Marcelo Mena, introduced the agreement as part of the commitments of Chile with the community:

“it was the first time indigenous people had been consulted over the creation of a marine area in Chile.”

Overall, 642 Rapanui people voted on this unique consultation to create this area which will be administrated by 6 Rapanui representatives and 5 Chilean Government representatives.

In an interview with the Chilean Newspaper La Tercera, PokiTaneHaoa, Rapanui local leader, highlighted that the protected area would allow them not only to manage their territory but also to fight against illegal fishing and consequent loss of biodiversity. All relevant decisions regarding the sea area around the island will be overseened by its inhabitants.

As included in the Minority Rights Organization directory, indigenous people in Chile include the Mapuche, Ayamara, and the Rapanui people among others. According to the 2012 census, more than 1.7 million Chileans self-identified as indigenous: 88% as Mapuche, followed by 7% as Amara and 5% other smaller groups.

In 2007, Chile adopted the United Declaration on Indigenous Rights and, in 2008, it ratified Convention 169 of the ILO on Indigenous and Tribal Peoples which guaranteed rights to education, property, consultation and self-determination. The same year Chile adopted an indigenous policy called “Recognition: Social Pact for Multiculturalism (Re-conocer: Pacto Social por la Multiculturalidad”. In 2016, a Presidential Advisory Commission was set up with the purpose of preparing proposals in the areas of regional and territorial development and participation of indigenous communities[1].

As part of the conclusions of the Working Group on Sustainability and Shared Societies convened by the Club de Madrid through its Shared Societies Project, society and the environment, together with the economy, have been identified as the three pillars of sustainable development. Given that, this Working Group underline that “meaningful participation by all stakeholders is viable and can ensure more sustainable decision making: some are the continuation of traditional practices, some are part of devolution of local government by the state; and some are situations in which local people have taken control of their own affairs.” As a core element of the Shared Society concept “the ability of indigenous peoples not only to maintain their own cultural context but also to fulfil their responsibilities to future generations, demonstrates the significance of their own local government systems.”



[1] OECD (2017), Making Decentralisation Work in Chile. Towards Stronger Municipalities, Multi-Level Governance Studies, OECD Publishing, Paris.

The #FutureWeWant

The #FutureWeWant

Club de Madrid Official Side Event in Rio+20!

The central message coming from the Club de Madrid official high-level side event “Sustainable Development in an Unequal world” in Rio+20 is that environmental justice requires social justice and social justice cannot be achieved without greater equality of income and wealth between countries and within countries. The event focused on the relationship and interdependence between the economy, social justice and the environment. It addressed the high and increasing worldwide inequality between those who pollute most through wasteful use of natural resources, and those who suffer the effects of pollution. It pointed to the fact that the world´s most affluent one billion people have a lifestyle which negatively affects and pollutes the other six billion´s air, water, land, foodstuffs and undermines their right to a decent life.

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Rio+20: Where do we go from here?

By Carla Fernández-Durán and Irene Vergara*

Where do we come from?

Today, more than twenty years after Gro Harlem Brundtland was appointed to chair the World Commission on Environment and Development (WCED) in order to unite countries to pursue sustainable development together, there is general agreement that “Sustainable development is development that meets the needs of the present without jeopardising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs”.

We have come to understand that the world we live in has limits, and so do the natural resources we need to maintain a growing population.

And there must be a right to develop for the current and future generations, covering basic needs and ensuring that the level of poverty diminishes drastically.

These principles were agreed internationally in Rio de Janeiro in 1992, and today, the world has not reached the point we had hoped 20 years later. How long will it take to agree on the actions that need to be undertaken to build a safer and better world?

Beyond the already agreed traditional definition, sustainability and sustainable development are fundamentally also issues of justice. A holistic definition that has to embrace human rights, social justice and climate justice.

Where do we stand today?

Although progress towards sustainable development has been made since the Rio Summit in 1992, there are still important implementing challenges that need to be faced.

Agreements under international law imply the recognition of a common interest above the particular interests; and in the case of Sustainable Development, recognition of common but differentiated responsibility.  And we should not forget that Human Development needs a holistic perspective since every human action has a consequence in the world.

Today, we stand at a crossroad, and all nations must agree on a document that not only spells out principles. We need action, concrete solutions that seek a global movement towards a better world from both intra-generation and intergeneration perspectives.

We must see the next meeting in Rio as an opportunity to bring to the table solutions linked to the economic recovery and development, a sustainable use of our natural resources and better social conditions. We are all in the same planet, and therefore, in the same boat, we must agree on the need to help us each other in cooperation, and not to develop ourselves against the others.

Where do go from here?

Women waiting to receive food aid, children drinking un-clean water, farmers hit by drought, wildlife declining due to poaching in protected areas… the future of Humanity is being played here, today. We cannot spend 20 more years to realise that the future is now! The time has come to go for the future we want, for us, for our children and for our grandchildren.

Last but not least, we would like to highlight the critical window of opportunity that the States have today to scale up political and financial response to the environmental, social & economic challenges of this period of crises.

Acknowledging political will is required in order to advance and start building a better world for all, there is no other solution than a joint exercise of check and balances leaving aside individual and short-minded interests. We need action, and we need it now:

  • The adoption of strong mechanisms to reduce food price volatility and curb speculative tendencies, including data disclosure, coordinated regulation of derivative markets and stabilizing stocks
  • A commitment to the effective implementation of: i) international financial transaction taxes and ii) an international carbon tax, as the most promising means to secure the resources necessary to effectively address development and climate change challenges
  • Ending fossil fuel subsidies and invest in non-nuclear Renewable Energy for All- An integrated approach of what we call “Shared Societies” in Rio+20: addressing equality from an economic, and gender point of view, particularly looking at the rights of minorities.

These are just examples of needed actions towards a better future in the world with boundaries we live today. We all need to keep in mind that steps have been taken forward, but not enough, and time to reverse the consequences we are already experiencing such as the climate challenge, is coming to an end. Therefore, there is a need for a strong political will in Rio towards an ambitious outcome, and we call for it!

*Carla Fernández-Durán is Program Officer at the Club de Madrid for the Shared Societies Project and Irene Vergara is Program Officer at the Club de Madrid for the Energy and Climate Change Project.

The Role of Human Development in Economic Transformation: Lessons from Mauritus

New expert comment on Shared Societies!

Speech at the Delivering Inclusive and Sustainable Development Conference by Cassam Uteem, Member of the Club de Madrid and President of the Republic of Mauritius (1992-1997, 1997- 2002).

The Role of Human Development in Economic Transformation: Lessons from Mauritus

Guest Author: Cassam Uteem

The general theme of this conference is Delivering Inclusive and Sustainable Development. Let me tell you what I understand by sustainable development. Too often we tend to conceive development entirely in terms of economic growth. And yet development should in no way be confused with economic growth although they are inextricably connected .Development transcends the narrow concept of a rise in GDP or , per capita income. Just enjoying high per capita income is no substitute for development. The wealth created in a country must trickle down to the people and this implies an equitable and fair distribution. This implies a right to a job: a job is the most effective vehicle of ensuring social inclusion for a job firmly anchors somebody in life bestowing dignity to him or to her.

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“I have made sustainable development my number one priority”

“We need to invent a new model – a model that offers growth and social inclusion – a model that is more respectful of the planet’s finite resources. That is why I have made sustainable development my number one priority.”

Ban Ki-moon, United Nations Secretary General.

We think the same, and that’s the reason why we’re hosting an official side event in Rio+20, the United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development, on Wednesday, 20 June 2012 17:00 – 18:30h. Rio Centro Convention Center, Room T-4.

SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT IN AN UNEQUAL WORLD

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