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Post-2015 Policy & Practice
Leadership Meeting on Environmental Sustainability in the Post-2015 Development Agenda

18-19 March 2013 | San José, Costa Rica

Summary of the Meeting

The Leadership Meeting of the Global Thematic Consultation on Environmental Sustainability in the Post-2015 Development Agenda convened on 18-19 March 2013, in San José, Costa Rica. The meeting was co-convened by the UN Development Programme (UNDP) and the UN Environment Programme (UNEP), and co-hosted by the Governments of Costa Rica and France. About 100 leaders from civil society, government, the private sector, UN agencies and international organizations participated in the meeting. This meeting is part of the11 Global Thematic Consultations held on the post-2015 development agenda.
This meeting took place in the context of the Global Thematic Consultation on Environmental Sustainability aims to stimulate creative thinking on how best to reflect environmental sustainability in a multi-dimensional context within the future post-2015 agenda. The Leadership Meeting reviewed the results of the first phase of the Consultation, and exchanged views on key areas of consensus and those where further dialogue is needed.

Discussions took place in breakout groups and in plenary around the themes of capitalizing on the Millenium Development Goals (MDGs) and MDG 7 (ensuring environmental sustainability) achievements and addressing the gaps; and addressing environmental sustainability in the post-2015 agenda. Groups based discussions on outcomes from the first phase of the consultation and key questions provided in a background note. During the meeting, participants also highlighted key aspects to frame the second phase of the consultation as well as to inform the conceptual foundations for environmental sustainability in the post-2015 agenda. Moreover, they identified key messages that could be transmitted to the UN High-level Panel of Eminent Persons on the Post-2015 Development Agenda (HLP) at its meeting in Bali later in the month. This report summarizes the presentations and discussions that took place during the meeting.
View of the Real San José - Costa Rica, venue of the meeting (photo courtesy of the Real San José - Costa Rica)
View of the Real Intercontinental in San José, Costa Rica, venue of the meeting (photo courtesy of the Real Intercontinental San José - Costa Rica)

Highlights from Tuesday, 19 March

The Leadership Meeting of the Global Consultation on Environmental Sustainability in the Post-2015 Development Agenda resumed on Tuesday, 19 March, at the Real Intercontinental Hotel in San José, Costa Rica. Representatives from international, non-governmental and intergovernmental organizations, and civil society, as well as government representatives, met to continue reviewing the results of the first phase of the Global Thematic Consultation on Environmental Sustainability and discussed addressing environmental sustainability in the post-2015 agenda.

In the morning, Consultation Co-Chairs Veerle Vandeweerd, UNDP, and Maryam Niamir-Fuller, UNEP, provided an overview of discussions held during the first day of the meeting. Participants engaged in discussions to identify additional elements to be highlighted. Later on, participants convened in a working session on addressing environmental sustainability in the post-2015 agenda, breaking into smaller groups to discuss: protecting global commons while respecting national development; country typologies; building from the local level; governance, human rights, peace and security; and inequality and inter-generational issues. The five breakout groups aimed to: work towards consensus on issues that should frame environmental sustainability in the post-2015 agenda; identify areas where further dialogue, outreach and innovative thinking is needed; and provide specific recommendations to the UN High-Level Panel on the Post-2015 Development Agenda (HLP). In the afternoon, rapporteurs from each of the breakout groups reported back on the various questions discussed and highlighted key messages.

During the closing plenary, moderated by Vandeweerd, Wael Hmaidan, Climate Action Network-International (CAN), emphasized: interlinkages across thematic issues; and that each MDG should have a test for environmental sustainability, such as whether it protects the global commons. Mara Murillo, UNEP, said transformation and structural societal changes to achieve sustainable development were possible with a strong commitment by everyone. Jean Baptiste Chauvin, Ambassador of France to Costa Rica, said that the time of working in "silos" is over, and that the battles are interdependent and "all have to be won." Javier Díaz, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Costa Rica, called for the soonest possible convergence of the post-2015 agenda and the SDG process, in order to avoid the inefficient use of scarce resources. Thanking participants, he closed the meeting at 5:03 pm.

View full web coverage of 19 March

 

Co-Chairs Veerle Vandeweerd, UNDP, and Maryam Niamir-Fuller, UNEP

Norma Maldonado, Asociacion Raxch'och' Oxlaju Aj
Myrna Cunningham Kain, UN Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues
Eleanor Blomstrom, Women's Environment and Development Organization, and Andrew Deutz, The Nature Conservancy
Hunter Lovins, Natural Capitalism Solutions

Melchiade Bukuru, UN Convention to Combat Desertification

A view of the dais during the closing plenary

Wael Hmaidan, Climate Action Network
Javier Diaz, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Costa Rica (left)
 
Jean Baptiste Chauvin, French Ambassador to Costa Rica (right)

A view of the room during the closing plenary

Highlights from Monday, 18 March
 

The Leadership Meeting of the Global Consultation on Environmental Sustainability in the Post-2015 Development Agenda opened on Monday, 18 March, at the Real Intercontinental Hotel in San José, Costa Rica. Around 100 representatives from international, non-governmental and intergovernmental organizations, and civil society, as well as government representatives, met with the objective of reviewing the results of the first phase of the Global Thematic Consultation on Environmental Sustainability. The Consultation is co-led by the UN Development Programme (UNDP) and the UN Environment Programme (UNEP), and is co-hosted by the Governments of France and Costa Rica.

In the morning opening plenary, Helen Clark, UNDP Administrator, underscored lack of progress in implementing some aspects of MDG 7 (Environmental Sustainability), and called for a shift in discourse from focusing on tradeoffs among growth, poverty and environment, to a “triple win approach” that advances all three dimensions of sustainable development. Achim Steiner, UNEP Executive Director, via video, highlighted that the challenge in moving towards the post-2015 agenda is not to fixate on a date, but rather to devise a clear analysis of what has worked, a direction for facing future challenges, and catalytic opportunities to add to the global development agenda to “let us move forward faster.” Special Envoy of the President of the Republic of France for the Protection of the Planet, Nicolas Hulot, highlighted the need to work on a model of change, stating that environmental protection, inequality and poverty eradication have thus far been addressed separately and must be considered in an integrated manner. René Castro Salazar, Costa Rican Minister of Environment, highlighted local challenges in implementing sustainable development, stressing the need for moving from consensus on what “not” to do, to building upon agreement on “what to do.” Participants also exchanged views on expectations about the meeting.

In the afternoon, participants engaged in a working session on capitalizing on the MDGs and MDG7 achievements and addressing the gaps, specifically addressing: framing/achievements of the MDGs; content of the MDGs; and application of the MDGs. Participants split into breakout groups, and addressed key questions with the aim of seeking to validate the results from e-discussions and find common ground on important elements of the MDGs and how they relate to national development agendas. Later on, rapporteurs from each of the breakout groups reported back on the various questions discussed in the working session. In the evening, participants attended a reception hosted by the Government of Costa Rica at the National Museum. The meeting will resume on Tuesday.

View full web coverage of 18 March

 

 

Carlos Roverssi, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Costa Rica, Nicolas Hulot, Special Envoy of the President of the Republic of
France for the Protection of the Planet, and Yoriko Yasukawa, UN Resident Coordinator, Costa Rica

Costa Rica Minister of Environment René Castro Salazar and UNDP Administrator Helen Clark

UNEP Executive Director Achim Steiner addressed participants via video

Nicolas Hulot, Special Envoy of the President of the Republic of
France for the Protection of the Planet, during an interview
Yasmine Chatila Zwahlen, Switzerland, and José Emilio Suadi, Food and Agriculture Administration

Aniket Ghai, UNEP, Veerle Vanderweerd, UNDP, George Bouma, UNDP, and Zehra Aydin, UNEP

Participants during the discussions

Funding for coverage of this meeting has been provided by the
Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation
SDC
Related Links
Consultation resources
*Meeting website
*Background material
*Summary report of submitted discussion notes
*Environmental Sustainability issue highlighted in national reports for Rio+20
*Additional background on outcomes of Rio+20
*Joint UN Development Programme - UN Environment Programme Poverty-Environment Initiative - Stories of Change
*Thematic consultation website

IISD RS resources
*IISD RS coverage of the High-Level Meeting of the Global Thematic Consultation on Conflict, Violence and Disaster in the Post-2015 Development Agenda, 13 March 2013, Helsinki, Finland
*IISD RS summary report of the Global Leadership Meeting on Population Dynamics in the Context of the Post-2015 Development Agenda, 12-13 March 2013, Dhaka, Bangladesh (HTML - PDF)
*IISD RS summary report of the Final Meeting of the Post-2015 Thematic Consultation on Governance, 28 February - 1 March 2013, Midrand, South Africa (HTML - PDF)
*IISD RS coverage of the Post-2015 Development Agenda Consultation on Water: Water Resources Management and Wastewater Management and Water Quality, 27-28 February 2013, Geneva, Switzerland
*IISD RS summary report of the Public Dialogue and Leadership Meeting on Addressing Inequalities in the Post-2015 Development Agenda, 18-19 February 2013, Copenhagen, Denmark (HTML - PDF)
*POST2015-L - A mailing list focused on internationally-relevant activities related to setting the post-2015 development agenda
*Post-2015 Policy & Practice - A Knowledgebase of UN and Intergovernmental Post-2015 Development Agenda Activities
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