Environmental Sustainability


The world is facing growing and new challenges and risks to human progress and environmental sustainability with direct impacts on development. Disasters, unsustainable production and consumption patterns, degradation of natural resources and climate change, among other challenges, pose risks to realized and unrealized development potential; including both chronic (e.g. drought, water shortages) and acute (e.g. extreme weather, wildfire) disasters. Continuing unsustainable forms of production and consumption, notably in high-income countries and increasingly in middle-income countries (such as many Latin American countries), are causing severe stress one ecosystems, with scientific evidence pointing to a number of planetary boundaries that either have or are dangerously close to being exceeded. Sustaining economic and social development becomes increasingly difficult under these conditions.

To address the need to promote universal human development while ensuring humanity stays within ecological limits, it is proposed that three overarching goals should underpin this global thematic consultation and include:

  • Aim at universal and equitable human development (minimum social thresholds)
  • Ensure humanity stays within planetary boundaries (ecological ceiling)
  • Balance and integrate economic, social and environmental dimensions to promote synergies and minimize trade-offs across dimensions

Consultation – Objectives

1.) To facilitate an open dialogue, stimulate creative thinking, and begin to generate consensus around how best to reflect environmental sustainability in the post 2015 agenda, using an evidence-based approach.

2.) Special attention will be given to gender equality, human rights, young people, inequalities, the (global) partnerships necessary to make progress, and the cross-linkages with the themes of other global consultations for post 2015 agenda.

Consultation – Process

1.) Framing the Discussion, Phase 1 (October 2012 – January 2013) – this phase focuses on generating creative thinking and brining to the fore leading thinkers and resources on the topic.

  • Outreach – outreach will be conducted to inform stakeholders of the thematic consultation and encourage people to join the online conversation at sites such as www.worldwewant2015.org
  • Review and Synthesize Existing reports on MDGs, Rio+20, and implications for post 2015 development framework – This includes a review of relevant reports prepared leading up to and immediately after Rio+20, documentation prepared for the 2010 Global MDG Summit, research on global environmental goals, and the findings of the GEO-5 report.
  • Open call for discussion papers on topics that stakeholders think should be priority for environmental sustainability thematic consultation – co-leads will seek submission of brief discussion papers on topics that stakeholders think should be a priority for the dialogue on environmental sustainability in the post 2015 agenda. The dialogue will help inform and shape a vision for the next few decades from an environmental sustainability perspective.
  • Leadership Meeting – the Phase 1 online discussion will culminate in a leadership meeting in mid-January 2013, to convene leading and emerging thinkers in the field to review Phase 1 dialogue outcomes and develop a framework that defines an integrated approach to address the key issues, identify questions, and steer the process for the broader online consultation of Phase 2. This meeting will include approximately 40 participants/leaders from member states, key UN agencies, academia and civil society, including invited members of the High level Panel.

2.) Facilitated Global Dialogue, Phase 2 (January – March 2013) -This phase will consist of a facilitated consultation on key themes and framework agreed at the Leadership Meeting. Facilitation team will include 8-12 focal points from various stakeholder groups identified in the Leadership Meeting. Phase 2 consultation will provide broad outreach on a focused range of topics. The objective is to deliver a process that is inclusive, concrete and transparent.

3.) Final Report – the final report will summarize the stakeholder views, positions, and priorities.  The final report, completed by April 2013, will be disseminated broadly and will be submitted as an input to the HLP and the GA debate.


1 Nov – 1 Dec
Discussion papers, videos, all forms of content submitted as inputs online

Key persons identified and invited to the Leadership Meeting

28 Dec 2012
Call for Discussion Notes Deadline

end Jan
Online discussions launched by facilitators beg Feb Leadership Meeting – to define key drivers/thematic areas and lead facilitators

end Feb
Facilitators post key ideas and outline of draft final report for comment In-depth Online Consultation on selected topics

mid Mar
Draft report posted and shared with online members for comment

31 March 2013
Final report presented to High Level Panel, comments/suggestions incorporated

31 May 2013
High Level Panel Report to Secretary General

Source: “UNDG Thematic Consultation for Addressing Environmental Sustainability” – Nov 20, 2012 – UNDP, UNEP, France, Costa Rica – WorldWeWant2015.org