The Geopolitics of Sustainability

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  • Topic: Kyoto Protocol, Developed country, Japan
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  • Published : January 3, 2013
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THE GEOPOLITICS OF SUSTAINABILITY
Sustainable development has become one of the major issues for international relations…There are divergent interests and divergent positions. How the world has been organized until now?

Rio Summit
Twenty years after the Stockholm conference (which marked the beginning of a dialogue between developed countries and developing countries about the link between the well-being of population, economic growth and worldwide pollution), at the end of the cold war the conference of the united nations in Rio de Janeiro also emerged : 1. The Rio Declaration on Environment and Development (containing 27 principles); enlarging the concept of rights and responsibilities of countries in environmental matters, by popularizing the concept of sustainable development. It is focused on two major issues: environmental degradation and interdependency between economical growth and the need to protect environment. Hence the necessary to establish a global partnership. It is not legally binding, but this declaration, as the human rights declaration is supposed to be respected.

2. Several documents come from this conference:
Agenda 21 - United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) and the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) The Commission on Sustainable Development (CSD);
Agreement to negotiate a world desertification convention;
The statement of Principles for the Sustainable Management of Forests.

Framework Convention on Climate Change
Has been ratified by 167 states and although the US did not accept it has been a success. Inspired by success of Montreal Protocol on CFCs, FCCC was a commitment with different governments in order To try to reduce CFCs;

To gather information about CFCs and better policies;
To set up an international cooperation to prepare the impacts of climate change. US refused to accept binding targets or dates: “The American way of life is not up for negotiation”, President Bush. Included arrangements for future negotiation of a binding convention

Convention on Biological Diversity
It has been another success story with three main purposes:
The biological diversity conservation
The sustainable use of its components
A fair and equitable sharing of the benefits arising out of the exploitation of energy resources.

US refused to sign – regarded it as threat to US biotechnology industry. It was again a defeat for American administration: they have set up thing but they didn’t ratified. Confirmed countries’ ‘sovereign rights’ over biological resources in their territory Recognised indigenous knowledge as intellectual property

But no international action plan to preserve biodiversity

Statement on Forest Principles
Contribute to the management, conservation and sustainable development of forests and to provide for their multiple and complementary functions and uses Pressure for forest convention came from West, concerned about tropical deforestation Brazil, India, Malaysia not happy about international intervention in use of forests G77 – a group of 120 developing countries asserted right to control own resources Developed countries wanted to use the forests as a ‘carbon sink’ rather than reduce their production of greenhouse gases Statement emphasized national sovereignty over forests

Agenda 21
Aims to set up gradually and permanently local scale sustainability Emphasis on ‘bottom up’ – role for citizens (especially women), communities, NGOs Participation and open government
Role of business and trade in promoting sustainable development ‘black hole’ of consumption – due to pressure from USA Reference to population growth removed all mention of contraception due to pressure from Vatican and Philippines Developed countries only paid 0.5% of the sum required to finance Agenda 21 projects

North – South Divergence G7 vs.G77
Developing countries advocate the idea of the responsibility of the developed countries only who should make...
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