Sustainable Development Goals must sustain people and planet, experts say | March 20, 2013 | sciencedaily.com

Six Sustainable Development goals from U.N. to supersede Millennium Development Goals that expire 2015, based on new appreciation of anthropocene.

In the wake of last week’s meetings at the UN on the definition of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), a group of international scientists have published a call in the journal Nature today, arguing for a set of six SDGs that link poverty eradication to protection of Earth’s life support. The researchers argue that in the face of increasing pressure on the planet’s ability to support life, adherence to out-dated definitions of sustainable development threaten to reverse progress made in developing countries over past decades. [….]

The team asserts that the classic model of sustainable development, of three integrated pillars — economic, social and environmental — that has served nations and the UN for over a decade, is flawed because it does not reflect reality. “As the global population increases towards nine billion people sustainable development should be seen as an economy serving society within Earth’s life support system, not as three pillars,” says co-author Dr. Priya Shyamsundar from the South Asian Network for Development and Environmental Economics, Nepal.

The researchers say that the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), set to expire in 2015, have helped focus international efforts on eight poverty-related goals. However, despite successes in some areas — the number of people living on less than one dollar a day has been more than halved — many MDGs have not been met, and some remain in conflict with one another. Economic gains, for example, have come at the expense of environmental protection. Politicians are struggling to link global environmental concerns with addressing poverty.

The new set of goals — thriving lives and livelihoods, food security, water security, clean energy, healthy and productive ecosystems, and governance for sustainable societies — aim to resolve this conflict. The targets beneath each goal include updates and expanded targets under the MDGs, including ending poverty and hunger, combating HIV/aids, and improving maternal and child health. But they also define a set of planetary “must haves”: climate stability, the reduction biodiversity loss, protection of ecosystem services, a healthy water cycle and oceans, sustainable nitrogen and phosphorus use, clean air and sustainable material use.

Sustainable Development Goals must sustain people and planet, experts say | March 20, 2013 | sciencedaily.com at http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/03/130320155228.htm.  The full article is Griggs, David, Mark Stafford-Smith, Owen Gaffney, Johan Rockström, Marcus C. Öhman, Priya Shyamsundar, Will Steffen, Gisbert Glaser, Norichika Kanie, and Ian Noble. 2013. “Policy: Sustainable Development Goals for People and Planet.” Nature 495 (7441) (March 21): 305–307. doi:10.1038/495305a. http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/495305a.

The new graphic has earth’s support system with society inside, and the economy inside of that.
Redefining sustainable development

“Ending poverty and safeguarding Earth’s life support system must be the twin priorities for the Sustainable Development Goals, says Johan Rockström, centre director and a co-author of the Nature article.

Together with the international team he identified six goals that, if met, would contribute to global sustainability while helping to alleviate poverty. [….]

The new set of goals — thriving lives and livelihoods, food security, water security, clean energy, healthy and productive ecosystems, and governance for sustainable societies — aim to resolve this conflict. The targets beneath each goal include updates and expanded targets under the MDGs, including ending poverty and hunger, combating HIV/aids, and improving maternal and child health.

But also a set of planetary “must haves”: climate stability, reducing biodiversity loss, protection of ecosystem services, a healthy water cycle and oceans, sustainable nitrogen and phosphorus use, clean air and sustainable material use.

From “Redefining sustainable development” | March 20, 2013 | Stockholm Resilience Centre at http://www.stockholmresilience.org/21/research/research-news/3-20-2013-redefining-sustainable-development.html

The sidebar at the Stockholm Resilience Centre has a pointer to “Future Earth” as a 10-year international research initiative at the ICSU International Council for Science.

Johan Rockström introduces Future Earth | February 2013 | at http://vimeo.com/5720929 from http://vimeo.com/futureearth.

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David Ing blogs at http://coevolving.com , photoblogs at http://daviding.com , and microblogs at http://ingbrief.wordpress.com . See .

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2 comments on “Sustainable Development Goals must sustain people and planet, experts say | March 20, 2013 | sciencedaily.com
  1. Jack Ring says:

    As long as ‘scientists’ ignore the primary sustainable development goal, moderation of human reproduction, no amount of other actions will preserve the planet.

  2. Jack,

    I don’t disagree. In fact, there’s a great deal of benefit for maternal and child health in managing a lower rate of child births. Here’s my question and it may be bold, as we’ve been less than successful in using traditional approaches and in some parts of the world; well once a child is born and gender determined. I personally find it the wrong time to start population control.

    This said, with equality including the balance with women and men. Doesn’t it make sense to focus on sterilization for men? Prevention is key in my mind.

    Maybe we’ve taken the approach and had less than ideal outcomes?

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