Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Ecuador proposes 'living well' to 'economic growth' as a measure of development

Adapted from Republic of Ecuador's inputs for the Compilation Document for the United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development, Rio+20

Expectations concerning the outcome of Rio+20

- The Conference’s main outcomes should include a framework for action for the next 10 years that offers a comprehensive response to the challenges of sustainable development and compliance with the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), Agenda 21, the Johannesburg Plan of Implementation and the Rio Conventions. It should cover the issues pending since the 1992 Rio Conference, with an updated approach reflecting the current situation and context, as well as new issues.

- It should define a process ensuring the transition of the development model to a new economic paradigm that does not focus on the endless physical accumulation of goods, but promotes an inclusive, sustainable and democratic economic strategy respecting nature’s limits. This requires, among other things, creation of a new development yardstick based on well-being indicators and the ecological footprint.

- A discussion should be held and action taken to transform the current inequitable economic and financial system, whose rationale is contrary to the principles of sustainable development. The Conference should agree on alternatives based on a new economic order and a new international financial architecture that take into account the principles of fairness, transparency, sovereignty, equality, interdependence, common interest, cooperation and solidarity between peoples, with effective participation by developing countries in the decision-making process at the international level.

- The Conference should rationalize the flow of resources between North and South countries. In 2007, the flow from North to South was negative (-US$ 869 billion) and in the case of Latin America was -US$ 99.8 billion. Similarly, the prioritization of investment should be analysed to reduce the huge sums devoted to military spending.

- The amounts pledged for official development assistance must be respected, with new and additional resources.

- The Conference should establish a monitoring, evaluation and reporting system for the technologies to be developed and promoted, which should meet safety standards and take ethical, social and environmental issues into account.

New and urgent issues

- The Conference should encourage recognition of the rights of nature, that is to say, the right to full respect for its existence, maintenance and regeneration of its life cycles, structures, functions and evolutionary processes. States should be urged to take precautionary measures and restrict activities that could lead to the extinction of species, the destruction of ecosystems or permanent changes to natural cycles.

- We hereby call for a Universal Declaration of the Rights of Nature, as a response that would ensure that present and future generations can live well.

- Ecuador proposes living well as an alternative to development, as a new paradigm to replace the prevailing model based on endless economic growth, which has led to overexploitation of natural resources and to poverty, inequality and exclusion of the majority of the population. Living well is a work in progress, borrowed from the ancestral knowledge of the indigenous peoples and nationalities, which involves living in harmony with oneself, nature and others to build democratic, inclusive, plurinational and multicultural States.


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