TEMPE, Ariz. Some 32 social scientists and researchers from around the world, including a Senior Sustainability Scholar at Arizona State University, have concluded that fundamental reforms of global environmental governance are needed to avoid dangerous changes in the Earth system. The scientists argued in the March 16 edition of the journal Science that the time is now for a "constitutional moment" in world politics.
Research now indicates that the world is nearing critical tipping points in the Earth system, including on climate and biodiversity, which if not addressed through a new framework of governance could lead to rapid and irreversible change.
"Science assessments indicate that human activities are moving several of Earth's sub-systems outside the range of natural variability typical for the previous 500,000 years," wrote the authors in the opening of "Navigating the Anthropocene: Improving Earth System Governance."
Reducing the risk of potential global environmental disaster requires the development of "a clear and ambitious roadmap for institutional change and effective sustainability governance within the next decade," comparable in scale and importance to the reform of international governance that followed World War II, they wrote.
In particular, the group argued for the creation of a Sustainable Development Council that would better integrate sustainability concerns across the United Nations system. Giving a leading role to the 20 largest economies (G20) would help the council act effectively. The authors also suggested an upgrade of the UN Environment Program to a full-fledged international organization, a move that would give it greater authority and more secure funding
To keep these institutions accountable to the public, the scientists called for stronger consultative rights for representatives of civil society, including representatives from developing countries, NGOs, consumers and ind
|Contact: Carol Hughes|
Arizona State University