Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Women call for a ‘Sustainable and Equitable Economy’ instead of a ‘green economy ‘

Source: Rio+20 secretariat

The Women's major group has submitted its input for the zero-draft for Rio+20. The submission was developed over the last 6 months by over 70 women's organizations from over 40 countries worldwide.

Driven by a vision of an equitable and sustainable world, women are critical about the use of the term ‘Green Economy’. They are concerned it is too often separated from the context of sustainable development and poverty eradication. Women are further concerned that it will be used and misused to green-wash existing unsustainable economic practices that lead to inequities and infringe on the rights of effected peoples and future generations, because it does not fundamentally and adequately question and transform the current economic paradigm. Below is an excerpt from their submission:

In particular, the current economic system:

• Harms women and the environment: while the wealthy consume more and more natural resources and are responsible for increasing levels of environmental damage, those living in poverty are suffering from degradation of their agricultural land, forests, water supplies and biodiversity, and of alteration of weather cycles due to climatic changes.

• Is inequitable and unsustainable: social and economic inequities are inherent in the present economic system and are increasing in many countries both in the North and the South; with especially adverse consequences for women and children.

• Uses performance indicators that are socially and environmentally blind: our (failing) economies are currently managed so as to achieve and celebrate growth of the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) and do not promote human and environmental welfare.

Most governments state that their objectives are progress and development, yet at the same time use economic tools which do not help attain these objectives, but instead have lead to concentration of wealth and increased inequities. Governments at Rio+20 should renew support for the objectives of equitable and sustainable development, and should commit to choosing the right economic tools. In a sustainable development framework, the economy has to fulfil social progress taking into account environmental limits.

We support the transformation from the current economic system to a sustainable and equitable economic system that ensures gender equality, human rights and environmental justice and supports sustainable livelihoods and poverty eradication.

Recommendations regarding ‘Green Economy’ in the context of Sustainable Development and Poverty Eradication

- Use the term ‘Sustainable and Equitable Economy’ instead of ‘Green Economy’
- Principles of a Sustainable and Equitable Economy:
• Promotion of social equity, gender equality and intergenerational equity
• Democracy, transparency and justice
• Application of the precautionary principle
• Ethical values, such as respect for nature, spirituality, culture, harmony, solidarity, community, caring and sharing
• Global responsibility for the global common goods
• Environmental sustainability
• Common but differentiated responsibilities

- Sustainable and Equitable Economies have economic policies aiming at:

• Poverty eradication and gender equality: with fairer distribution of resources and rights, and assurance of human security of all
• Ending violence against women through legislation, support services for women, affordable access to justice for women, and information about rights and norms
• Prioritizing peace promotion and conflict prevention
• Preventing toxic and radioactive harm on women’s and children’s health, and ensuring safe waste reduction, reuse and recycling policies
• Providing women, adolescents and girls universal access to sexual and reproductive health
• Sustainable agriculture, food security and food sovereignty and recognition of women’s role in food production
• Assuring access to clean, efficient and safe energy and technologies for all, especially for women
• Safe water and sanitation for all, particularly for poor rural and urban women and girls
• Conserving biodiversity, women’s access to natural resources and respect of their environmental rights
• Necessary and equitable measures for mitigation of and adaptation to climate change
• Measures against land grabbing – protecting women’s (continued) access to (communal) land and commons
• Phasing out GMO's as women in many countries are the majority of the ‘seed keepers’

- Measure and operationalize progress through:

• Policies that recognize and promote women’s economic contributions
• Indicators that go beyond the ‘GDP’ (Gross Domestic Product), including indicators to show gender impacts
• Financial sector re-regulation and reform, encouraging long-term perspectives
• Fiscal sector reform, including new taxation to redistribute wealth, such as a financial transaction tax, and taxing of non-renewable and unsustainable resource exploitation
• Investments in women’s leadership, education, skills and entrepreneurship
• Investments in health care, child-care and social protection floor

Read the full Global Women's Submission for the Rio+20 zero-draft document from here

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