Tuesday, June 05, 2012

Global Policy Action Plan Identifies 24 Tipping-Point Policies

Jun 5: On the 40th Anniversary of the UN's World Environment Day, June 5, 2012, the World Future Council (WFC) has released its Global Policy Action Plan. According to a release, "With growing climate chaos and desertification, biodiversity decline, ocean pollution and forest decimation, the interlinked crises brought about by human action are threatening the very capacity of the earth to sustain life." Defining a political framework for changing course, the policy advocacy organization World Future Council presents an emergency policy agenda consisting of 24 tipping-point policies that need to be implemented globally to preserve a habitable planet.

    The condensed, six-page document is titled "Saving our Shared Future -- Best Policies to Regenerate our World". It is the result of more than five years of work with parliamentarians, national and international policy-makers, as well as scholars and civil society groups to identify, debate, legislate and implement breakthrough policies to enable the transition to a fair and sustainable future.

    Jakob von Uexkull, WFC Founder and Chairman said, "With the best laws and right policy incentives we can mobilize human inventiveness and entrepreneurship to safeguard a healthy planet for future generations. It has to be understood that the purpose of our Policy Action Plan is not to promote one specific solution but to identify interlinked reforms which rapidly enable us to change direction."

    The 24 tipping-point policies are divided into four main areas of necessary policy reform, evocatively titled: "Regenerating our Planet", "Making Money again our Servant", "Governance and Education" and "Protecting Our Shared Future". They include policies to speed up the global transition to renewable energy, policies regulating financial instruments, securing sustainable ecosystems, granting equal educational opportunities for women and outlawing nuclear weapons. Ahead of the Rio+20 Conference in Rio de Janeiro, the top policy recommendation concerns the election of a High Commissioner or Ombudsperson for Future Generations by the United Nations and national parliaments to institutionally integrate a long-term perspective in policy-making.

    The release indicates that for its planned advocacy work on the tipping-point policies WFC counts on its existing international network but is also looking for new allies. Von Uexkull said, "We are actively seeking partnerships to secure the implementation of the Global Policy Action Plan. We appeal to governments, inter-governmental and civil society organizations, academia, media and youth groups to work with us on saving our shared future and regenerating our world." Among the top policy recommendations are:
  • High Commissioners/Ombudspersons for Future Generations to be elected by the United Nations and national parliaments to integrate a long-term perspective in policy-making and represent the rights of future generations in political decision-making. Precedents exist in Canada, Hungary, Israel, Wales etc.
  • Governments to agree an amendment to the statutes of the International Criminal Court to criminalize acts that cause irreversible damage to our natural environment.
  • Nuclear weapons, to be outlawed in national legislation (as in New Zealand). The nuclear-weapons-possessing States to fulfill their obligation to commence negotiations on a Nuclear Weapons Convention to ban and eliminate all nuclear weapons in a phased, verifiable and irreversible manner. The Arctic and the Middle East to be declared Nuclear-Weapons-Free Zones.
  • The $1.6 trillion p.a. military spending to be shifted gradually through a global treaty to fund environmental, food and water security and the protection of the common heritage of humankind (oceans, atmosphere and outer space).
  • The State Pension Fund Divestment Law (Norway) banning harmful investments, thus ensuring that our savings do not threaten us, to become the basis of a global treaty.
    WFC indicates, "We are often told that we cannot change our world – or human nature. Yet both are changed all the time. New norms, technologies and lifestyles spread across continents. Public attitudes shift. Culture is not static, but adapts and evolves continually, as does human consciousness. We are also told that the reforms required to safeguard our shared future are too costly. This is wrong. Whatever a society can do, it can also finance. Only political and public will is needed. New money can be created without causing inflation if it is used to fund new production, and to reduce the unaffordable waste of unemployment.
    To implement the changes, WFC proposes "a five-year worldwide public education campaign to rapidly raise global awareness about the stark realities and choices we face, and to mobilize support for the key policy changes required, reaching both the global public and the key policy-makers (at a cost estimated at less than US $100 million)."
    The WFC brings the interests of future generations to the center of policy-making. Its 50 eminent members from around the globe have already successfully promoted change. The Council addresses challenges to the common future and provides decision makers with effective policy solutions. WFC is registered as a charitable foundation in Hamburg, Germany.
    Access a release on the Global Policy Action Plan (click here). Access the 6-page Global Policy Action Plan (click here). Access the WFC website for more information (click here). Access information on the 50-members (click here). [#Sustain]
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