United NationsDepartment of Economic and Social Affairs Sustainable Development

Major Group of Children & Youth, and Post Carbon Institute, Global Footprint Network, Millennium Institute, WorldWatch Institute

Sustainable World Initiative Intervention Statement: Goal 12 SCP
Meeting of Major Groups and Other Stakeholders
On behalf of: Major Group of Children & Youth and a collaboration of global NGOs (Post Carbon Institute, Global Footprint Network, Millennium Institute, WorldWatch Institute)

Thank you, Mr. Co-chair.

I am representing the Sustainable World Initiative, speaking on behalf of the MG Children and Youth and a collaboration of global NGOs. We would like to discuss SCP and in particular suggest a way to put targets 12.2 and 12.3 into action. These important targets call for achievement of sustainable management of natural resources to enhance human welfare within the carrying capacity of ecosystems, and to decouple economic growth from environmental degradation, with all countries taking action toward that end.
The pathways that ultimately result in sustained economic prosperity will necessarily be sustainable in both economic and environmental terms. It will therefore pay dividends to invest in sustainable development.
In alignment with the intervention on SCP given on Wednesday at the Major Groups Meeting, we support the proposal to replace target 12.2 with the existing Aichi Target 4A from the Convention on Biological Diversity. We would, however, suggest an additional component to this target, which incorporates natural resource accounting.
With this addition, the target would read: By 2020, at the latest, governments, businesses and stakeholders at all levels have taken steps to achieve or have implemented plans for sustainable production and consumption and have kept the impacts of use of natural resources well within safe ecological limits [add] as guided by the practice of natural resource accounting.
This addition of natural resource accounting addresses previous discussions surrounding the need for a system of social and environmental capital accounting.
We therefore call for all nations to incorporate natural resource accounting into country level plans for achieving SCP. We ask that all nations conduct periodic evaluations of natural resource assets and integrate this useful information into their national plans for sustainable development.
Natural resource accounting directly encompasses the second and third SCP targets. It defines sustainable management of natural resources within available carrying capacity, while enabling a nation to measure its progress in achieving economic decoupling. Resource accounting produces bio-physical accounting sheets, which are needed for front-end guidance for many different types of policies, particularly those affecting consumption of scarce resources.
This accounting policy provides a clearer understanding of sustainable resource use. It empowers all countries to evaluate, report, and make progress toward bio-physical sustainability. In so doing, it encourages the convergence of the levels of consumption per capita among countries and is universally applicable.
Natural resource accounting inherently guides us to the goal of protecting inter-generational equity. Better management and protection of natural resource systems is at the heart of providing for the needs of future generations.
Lastly, and possibly most importantly, resource accounting metrics, when reported to the citizens of all nations, can build public awareness of the global challenges associated with resource system overuse. This type of resource accountability would help educate and inform the citizenry of all nations, and help sustainability move into political (and public) interest and discourse. The broader awareness that would result from transparent reporting of resource use can help build political support for the difficult policy choices that must be made, if we are to accomplish truly transformative change for more sustainable global living.

Thank you.