Global 'Sustainability' Goals
The United Nations is planning to create a sweeping new set of "sustainable development goals" for the planet that will likely require trillions of dollars of spending on poverty and the environment, a drastic reorganization of economic production and consumption -- especially in rich countries -- and even greater effort in the expensive war on climate change.
It's an agenda that its prominent boosters have declared will make the next 15 years "some of the most transformative in human history," although the exact nature of the goals themselves, and how they are to be achieved, is unclear.
In typical UN fashion, panels of high-profile international figures have offered up their views, task forces have been commissioned to come up with suggestions, hundreds of non-governmental organizations have been polled, and a 30-nation working group is holding sessions that will extend early into next year before offering more concrete suggestions to the UN General Assembly, where they will be further chewed over.
The goals themselves are slated to become a program of the UN -- and all the nations that endorse them -- in 2015, as part of what UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon has called "a universal sustainable development agenda" for the planet -- an equally undefined set of far-reaching aspirations for global environmental management and new and expanded roles in the future for the UN's sprawling array of funds, programs and institutions.
They are supposed to be endorsed at an as-yet-unplanned global UN summit -- the successor to the Rio+20 summit on sustainable development which boosted the current elaborate process -- in 2015.
According to skeptics such as William Easterly, an economics professor and co-director of New York University's Development Research Institute, the program also has great potential to become a "huge unworkable mess." So far, Easterly says, what he sees is a "confused mashup of every development fad of the last 20 years" married to the aim of giving the UN a more central role in economic development -- "not a good thing," in his opinion.
Other experts, such as Charles Kenny, a senior fellow at the Center for Global Development in Washington, are more forgiving. The still-unformed SDGs, he says, are "a way to frame conversations about where we want to be and how much progress we can make. I think right now we're in the negotiation stage. We'll get to the campaign in 2015."
In effect, the UN is hoping to double down on the mixed success of its so-called Millennium Development Goals, or MDGs, an eight-point program of mostly anti-poverty measures that was endorsed in 2000 and is slated to expire in 2015 -- when the new sustainable development goals, or SDGs, are intended to take their place.
The MDGs aimed largely at improving life for the globe's most desperate people. They included such targets as cutting in half the number of people around the world living in extreme poverty (less than $1.25 per day); reducing child mortality rates by two-thirds; reversing the spread of HIV/AIDS, malaria, and other killer diseases; and cut in half the number of people without access to safe drinking water and sanitation...
Given the diverse sources for the relative success of the MDG effort, there is no telling how much they have cost. But Ban is still exhorting everyone to ante up further. "We must do everything we can to achieve the MDGs by the end of 2015," he told a special "high-level event" at the UN on September 25, while hailing some $2.5 billion in new contributions from governments, philanthropies and corporations.
The Sustainable Development Goals, however, are much more sweeping, and likely to be much harder to measure. Their overall aim -- at least so far -- is to marry the specific targeting of the most successful MDGs with the much more sweeping and imprecise language of "sustainability" -- a term that has never been very specifically defined.
Roughly speaking, "sustainability" is supposedly centered on the social, economic and environmental well-being of individuals, societies and the entire planet -- but without the precision of hard-edged economics to measure its inputs and outcomes.
Instead, the new development agenda is characterized as "one that seeks to achieve inclusive, people-centered, sustainable global development," in the words of a UN task force composed of some 50 UN agencies and international organizations, which reported on the topic last year. It would also include unspecified "reforms of mechanisms of global governance."
READ FULL SOURCE ARTICLE: 10/03/2013
Editor's Note: There is no "gobal governance"...and there never - ever - should be!!!...
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