UNEP Documents on IEG Reform – Comment Before 27 September
September 19, 2010  //  By:   //  Blog Post, Featured  //  4 Comments

As part of the ongoing UNEP process for International Environmental Governance Reform, civil society actors are invited to share ideas and views on options discussed by the governments. Right now, until 27 September, there is an opportunity to submit comments on two draft information notes prepared for the next intergovernmental consultations on IEG planned for 21-23 November 2010 in Helsinki, Finland.

The following papers are open for input:

1. Draft Elaboration of Ideas for Broader Reform of International Environmental Governance – Information Note from the co-Chairs of the Consultative Group

2. Annotated Table of Broader IEG Reform in a Standardised Format – Information Note by the UNEP Executive Director.

A consolidated version of comments from major groups and stakeholders will be prepared and submitted to the UNEP Secretariat who will integrate them into the final background documents. If you want to provide input to the IEG process by commenting on the papers, please send your input on or before 27 September to the UNEP Major Groups and Stakeholders Branch (civil.society@unep.org and alexander.juras@unep.org). We appreciate it if you copy info@environmentalgovernance.org.

About the Author :

Sara Svensson joined the GEG team in June 2010 working out of Gothenburg in Sweden. She spent the first half of 2011 working full-time in Boston with the GEG Project. Sara is a global youth representative in the UNEP Major Groups Facilitating Committee and the UNEP Civil Society Advisory Group on International Environmental Governance.

4 Comments to “UNEP Documents on IEG Reform – Comment Before 27 September”
  • Steven Earl Salmony
    September 23, 2010 -

    If the natural world is to be given its due and the human world is not to go utterly mad, then we have a great deal of work ahead of us. What troubles me is the way ‘the brightest and best’; the smartest guys in the room; the ones who report they have not flown commercial since the 70s; the casino operatives who have added nothing to the human economy and marked themselves as thieves of the highest order; the relentless plunderers of Earth’s resources and reckless degraders of its environs; the greediest among us who have hoarded most of the world’s wealth but done nothing productive to obtain it; those who live long and large without regard to human limits and Earth’s limitations, engage so righteously in conscious deception as well as in willful denial of any effort to communicate about matters of concern that do not buttress their selfish interests. These self-proclaimed masters of the universe have much larger, more fashionable and ever important agendas than educating the human family, telling the truth and doing the right thing, I suppose.

    Perhaps the time has come to sort out what is sacred from what is profane about the predominant culture. We need to do this one thing soon, I suppose, because what is profane about the culture is threatening to overwhelm the whatsoever else is sacred in the planetary home we inhabit. At least to me there is something perverse harbored within a culture that makes it ok for the most arrogant, clever and greedy among us to “obey the laws” and still destroy everything which is known to be sacred in the planetary home God blesses us to inhabit…and not desecrate as is plainly occurring in our time. Sad to say, the children will be justified to look back in anger and utter disbelief at the way their avaricious leading elders dishonestly and duplicitously destructed the natural world, even as they claimed so seductively, arrogantly and self-righteously not only to be protecting and preserving God’s Creation but also to be doing “God’s work”.

    What a shame it is that a tiny minority of morally bankrupt, craven greedmongers are allowed to perpetrate a sham in the name of the human community and God which will likely turn our planetary home into a shambles!

    A realistic post-Kyoto climate governance option?
    Frans C. Verhagen, M.Div., M.I.A., Ph.D., sustainability sociologist
    President, International Institute of Monetary Transformation
    Panelist at Session 2, Track 2, Theme 2
    http://www.timun.net and gaia1@rcn.com
    718 275 3932; 917 617 6217 (cell)

    A circular distributed at
    The 2nd Global Conference on Environmental Governance and Democracy
    “Strengthening Institutions to Address Climate Change and Advance a Green Economy” UNITAR/Yale Conference, New Haven, USA, 17-19 September 2010
    16 September 2010

    “As to methods there may be a million and then some, but principles are few. The man who grasps principles can successfully select his own methods. The man, who tries methods, ignoring principles, is sure to have trouble”.
    Ralph Waldo Emerson, 1890s.

    An attempt to move beyond an evaluation of existing institutions, the Tierra Fee & Dividend System (TFD) is proposed as a new institution, which is both a financing mechanism, and a socio-economic-ecological governance paradigm. It is characterized by the three following criteria, deemed essential for an effective post-Kyoto climate regimen: (1) an explicit planning framework with an integrated vision of social and ecological values, particularly the value of climate justice; (2) a system integration in addressing climate change and advancing green economies; (3) a new institutionalized framework that is able to administer, monitor, and regulate financial flows and create liquidity.

    Foundational to the TFD system is the contextual sustainability planning framework which closely integrates the social and ecological values in the Earth Charter. It puts a premium value on climate justice and the distributional and procedural types of social justice. Its economic dimension emphasizes bioregionalism with its corollaries of frugal trade and the sustainable communities development paradigm for the global North and South.

    The TFD is like a three-legged stool. Its three components cannot function separately one from the other. The carbon-based international monetary system is key to combating climate change and advancing green economies. The Fee and Dividend carbon reduction method is selected over the still dominant cap-and-trade approach to reducing GHG emissions, because it is faster, more formidable and fair. Activist governments, which have reclaimed the sole right of creating money from privately-owned banking systems, support the other two legs of this tri-partite global governance system.

    Given that the TFD rests upon a transformed international monetary system the four elements of its monetary architecture deserve additional attention. The architecture rests upon a carbon-based monetary standard with the Tierra as its unit of account. It is set to a specific ton of CO2e per person, determined by the GHG emission targets of the IPCC. Accepting this standard leads to the convertibility of national currencies, which are pegged to the Tierra standard. The standard can also become the basis of a world currency in which case the Tierra becomes not only the unit of account, but also means of exchange and a store of value. One major consequence of the emergence of these convertible currencies is the removal of a costly global reserve system. Another consequence is that exchange rates become fixed, so that currency manipulation and speculation are drastically reduced.

    Under the TFD regimen, nations have to settle their carbon accounts as part of their balance of payments, which provides an institutional mechanism for the transfer of convertible currencies (later on of Tierras) from CO2 debtor countries in the North to CO2 creditor countries in the South.

    The UN World Central Bank would administer, monitor, and regulate global financial flows and engage in creation of liquidity. Its operations would be stipulated in the Articles of Agreement of the negotiated Tierra Treaty.

    To move this governance proposal forward, several institutional and trans-institutional working groups, including a proposed UNITAR TFD Working Group, would work towards having the UN General Assembly pass a resolution to establish the UN Commission of Experts on Monetary Transformation and Low Carbon, Climate-resilient Development. This Commission and its Conference would propose a Monetary Plan of Climate Action (MPCA) to be passed on to the UNFCCC’s AWGLCA, which in turn would submit its version to the Rio 2012 Earth Summit where governments make a final determination to include the global monetary governance proposal of the UNFCCC’s MPCA in its global governance theme.

    Questions to be discussed during and after the conference are: (1) Does the present global predicament demand reform or transformation of international governance structures and processes? (2) Is the TFD a realistic option for a post-Kyoto regimen? (3) Should UNITAR establish a TFD Working Group with its own specific research, education and action program?

    The Tierra Fee and Dividend System: Using a carbon-based international monetary system to combat climate change, available on the conference data base, provides a more complete description of the TFD. To access go to track 2, theme 2 of the Friday 9 17 program which is located on http://conference.unitar.org/yale/environment-sustainable-development

    “Boldness has power, genius and magic in it.”
    Johann Goethe

  • Steven Earl Salmony
    September 28, 2010 -

    That silence regarding the science of human population dynamics has been willfully perpetrated by the mass media is to be expected. But for blogmeisters with environmental credentials and top rank scientists to collude in silence with the same people they openly object to when it is politically convenient and economically expedient to do so, that is sad…and sad to say. Small groups of people who are providing a reality-oriented basis for necessary change need a bit of support from people in public positions of power…..from thoughtful leaders and opinion makers capable of speaking truth as they see it and not effectively killing what could somehow be true with their duplicitous and pernicious silence.

  • Steven Earl Salmony
    October 19, 2010 -

    One day, I trust population dynamics experts will take direction action by discussing extant scientific evidence of human population dynamics and the human overpopulation of Earth, despite conspicuous resistance to discussions of this kind. For a moment imagine that human overpopulation of a living Earth is like a live human organism with lung cancer. Please note that although it is exceedingly difficult to talk about “the big C”, it is much more demanding to speak out about the cause of the lung cancer: smoking tobacco products. Similarly, despite the challenges we have to speaking out loudly and clearly about the skyrocketing increase of absolute global human population numbers during my lifetime, it is much more difficult say anything about what might be causing global human population growth. Of course that brings us to human population dynamics. Perhaps this is the last of the last taboos. The denial of the science of human population dynamics appears to me as one of the most colossal failures of nerve in human history. The abandonment of intellectual honesty, moral courage responsible action is unconscionable. Could what is culturally prescribed, socially correct, economically expedient and politically convenient be buttressing our propensity to make so great a mistake?

    Human population dynamics will become a topic of open discussion soon, that is certain. Global gag rules will be eschewed rather than promulgated. When that time comes, I trust it is not too late to make a difference in the lives of our children, who are probably going to be unimaginably victimized not only by the arrogance, folly and greed of their elders but also by their cowardice.

    Lester Brown reminds us now that “civilization’s foundation is eroding”. He and we pay careful attention to the distinctly human-driven symptoms of what ails us and report them everywhere; but when will we examine the possible causes of the ailment itself and report findings of what appears to be a non-recursive biological problem? If the human overpopulation of Earth is the problem, when is extant scientific evidence of human population dynamics to become the object of rigorous scrutiny, careful analysis and professional reports?

    Many too many experts possess scientific knowledge of human population dynamics and human overpopulation of the Earth, I believe. They have remained electively mute. They know and could do better; they have both the tools and the empirical evidence at their fingertips; they are abdicating their responsibility in raising awareness of the those that still do not yet see and understand the human-induced aspects of the global predicament looming before humanity.

    Many experts have had a multitude of opportunities to comment on human population dynamics and the human overpopulation of Earth in professional conferences like those sponsored every four years by the International Union for the Scientific Study of Population and in an array of speciality journals dedicated to human ecology, population biology, human demography, etc. The experts have uniformly refused. Their abject failure to respond more ably to the challenges presented to humanity in our time is woefully inadequate and inexcusable. It would be unfortunate if the silence of so many was ever construed as giving consent to this ignominous behavior.

    Let us look for a moment at the human population dynamics research by Hopfenberg and Pimentel on human population numbers as a function of food supply. The evidence in their article, Human Population Numbers as a Function of Food Supply, is correlational data. The evidence appears to indicate the presence of a non-recursive biological problem; the independent variable is the food supply and the dependent variable is human population numbers. What could this correlation mean? Well, if we stop and think about it, it would reverse the widely shared, consensually validated and culturally syntonic idea that human beings are increasing the food supply to feed a growing population. According to prevailing thought, human population numbers is the independent variable and food is the dependent variable.

    Perhaps a correct understanding of this relationship has potentially profound implications for the future of life on Earth. Whether human population numbers is the dependent or independent variable is what matters. The correlational data from Hopfenberg and Pimentel indicates the former. Human population numbers is the dependent variable. Since 2001 I have stated that this evidence from Hopfenberg/Pimentel provides us with the best available scientific evidence of human population dynamics. This evidence directly contradicts data from many sources that indicate human population numbers is the independent variable.

    Except for the human species, no other species increases the food supply for its consumption. Other species live within the carrying capacity the Earth and its environs provide them for existence. If human beings are actually driving food production, and not the other way around, then we humans are truly exceptional. And if we choose to believe we are exceptional with regard to our population dynamics, then I believe we are no longer speaking of scientific evidence but rather in logically contrived, ideologically forced and culturally biased terms.

    Will a professional in a field of study with appropriate expertise please point to the peer-reviewed, published research that supports the hypothesis that the population dynamics of human beings is essentially different from, not common to, the population dynamics of other living things? Where is the scientific evidence for such human exceptionalism in the population dynamics of the human species to be found? While much preternatural evidence has been presented as if it was acceptable evidence of human exceptionalism, I can find no adequate science that indicates human population dynamics is different from the population dynamics of other species.

    Thank you for taking the time to consider this perspective.



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