Sustainable Development Insights, No. 8, August 2011

sdi-008-cover2Rio+20: Accountability and Implementation as Key Goals
By Adil Najam and Miquel Muñoz

August 2011 (8 pages)
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Over the past two decades, the Global Environmental Governance (GEG) system has grown and evolved, making much progress in incorporating sustainable development as the central goal of environmental governance, and delivering scores of new international institutions, legal instruments, declarations and financial mechanisms. However, the GEG system lacks the crucial components of accountability and implementation as part of its core operating system. The authors argue that the upcoming Rio + 20 meeting provides the perfect opportunity to help bring about these much needed changes to strengthen the GEG and help achieve its ultimate goals. The authors propose a set of four accountability-enabling mechanisms:

1. Improved metrics and reporting mechanisms.
2. Transparency mechanisms.
3. Compliance mechanisms.
4. Capacity building.

The authors also propose a set of four enabling institutional arrangements:

1. Compendium of best (and worst) practices.
2. Registry of commitments.
3. Renewed focus for CSD.
4. A global “Aarhus” instrument.

This paper is part of an initiative conceived and generously supported by the Nordic UN Missions of Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway and Sweden to the United Nations in New York.

Sustainable Development Insights is a series of short policy essays supporting the  Sustainable Development Knowledge Partnership (SDKP) and edited by Boston University’s Frederick S. Pardee Center for the study of the Longer-Range Future. The series seeks to promote a broad interdisciplinary dialogue on how to accelerate sustainable development at all levels.

Adil Najam was recently appointed Vice Chancellor of the Lahore University of Management Sciences (LUMS) in Pakistan and was until recently the Director of the Frederick S. Pardee Center for the Study of the Longer-Range Future. He works on issues of international diplomacy, sustainable development, and human well-being, with a focus on developing countries.

Miquel Muñoz, a Post-Doctoral Fellow at the Frederick S. Pardee Center for the Study of the Longer-Range Future, specializes in renewable energy, sustainable development and climate change. He has participated in numerous international environmental negotiations.