The first day of the Global Transition 2012 Dialogue #2 at Pace University was a day full of energetic discussions about if and how the ‘green economy’ can deliver sustainable development and poverty eradication. Here we briefly summarise the key messages from Day 1.
- Equity: Redistribution of wealth (financial and natural), participation and decisionmaking; the need for a social protection floor; and human security should be recognised as a principle.
- Recognising absolute limits: ecological limits, sharing of wealth within these limits;
- The need to redefine growth: Moving towards a knowledge economy, away from a resource intensive one; develop new indicators of progress.
- Participation: more democratic governance strucutres, a truely inclusive model, participatory democracy;
- Sustainable Development Goals: SDGs must complement the MDGs. SDGs must also be recognisable/ implementable at the national, sub-national level (e.g. municipal-specific goals);
- Implementation of the green economy is key, more rhetoric is not a sufficient outcome for Rio + 20. As such, there is a need for political commitment, for example, a green economy strategy and national plans;
- We need to price externalities: this will lead to better consideration of risk in investment decisions, and requires regulation.
Other key messages/ recommendations
- There is a need to end internal fighting, and form alliances instead. We need to work together not against each other
- Nature is already commodified, so how should we value it. How can we change our view of nature and recognise the rights of nature?
- We need a new multilateralism. At present, there is no political appetite for multilateralism. Instead, we need a new mode of global participation – perhaps called globalism.
- We need to transform thinking by engaging civil society to support the flourishing of bottom up initiaitves. Change will come from small-scale and grassroot niches, no the drivers and profiteers of the current economic system. This needs that society needs citizens rather than passive consumers;
- We need to abandon commodity speculation, as it disconnects the economy from society;
- Values and norms change across space and time. Culture is therefore constantly transforming, evolving and learning.
- There is still a deep level of mis-trust and suspicion from some developing nations about the values underpinning the green economy. Many question who is driving the green economy, who is benefiting from the green economy, and there is little discussion about alternatives;
- Power distributions within and between nations and between the private sector, state and civil society is a key issue and barrier to transforming the economy for the public good. In this respect transparency is also key.
- How to strike a balance between short and long-term goals and encourage policymakers to think beyond the political cycle which gives rise to short-termism.
Overall the discussion opened with the focus on the macro picture, flowing into the specific examples, flowing back out to the bigger picture regarding principles (an hour glass approach).