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Characterizing a Sustainability Transition: The International Consensus Thomas M. Parris parris@isciences. com Robert W. Kates rkates@acadia. net Final paper will be available at http: //sust. harvard. edu
Acknowledgements Work supported by the Research and Assessment Systems for Sustainability Program (http: //sust. harvard. edu/). National Science Foundation (award BCS 0004236) with contributions from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's Office of Global Programs.
Motivation Graphic of cover to National Research Council (NRC). 1999. Our Common Journey: A Transition Toward Sustainability. Washington, DC: National Academy Press. • Defines a “transition to sustainability” when a stabilizing world population meets its needs, reduces hunger and poverty, while maintaining the planet's life support systems and living resources. • Notes that “there is no consensus on the appropriateness of the current set of indicators or the scientific basis for choosing them. Their effectiveness is limited by the lack of agreement on what to develop, what to sustain, and for how long. ”
Goal/Method Goal l Produce a theoretically grounded, empirically validated, and politically accepted definition of a sustainability transition. Method l l Systematically review the state of international consensus as represented by formal agreements or plans of action. Identify quantitative measures that can be used to determine if these consensus goals and targets are being met. Make note of whether and by whom these measures are being monitored and assessed. Select a relatively small number of priority sustainability indicators that capture the essence of the consensus.
Outline Meeting Human Needs & Reducing Hunger and Poverty Review of Consensus Goals and Targets l Priority Indicators l Preserving Life Support Systems Review of Consensus Goals and Targets l Priority Indicators l Conclusions and Future Directions
Extending Life Quality Strong iterated consensus on extending life quality as measured by: Infant, childhood, and maternal mortality. l Incidence of various preventable diseases (e. g. , polio, neonatal tetanus, measles, acute respiratory disease). l
Childhood Mortality State of the Consensus Convention Goal Target Year Convention on the Rights of the Child (1989) Take appropriate measures to diminish. Not Stated World Summit for Children (1990) Reduce to 1/3 1990 levels, or to 70 per 1, 000 live births, whichever is less. 2000 International Conference On Population And Development (1994) Reduce by one third, or to 70 per 1, 000 live births, whichever is less. 2000 Reduce to below 60 per 1, 000 births. 2005 Reduce to below 45 per 1, 000 live births 2015 Reduce to 1/3 of the 1990 level, or 70 per 1, 000 live births, whichever is less 2000 Reduce to below 45 per 1, 000 2015 Reduce to 1/3 of 1990 level. 2015 World Summit for Social Development (1995) A Better World For All (2000) Table 1 b: Goals and Targets for Childhood Mortality
Infant/Childhood Mortality State of the Indicators Figure 1 a: World Infant and Childhood Mortality Rates (WB, 2000)
Providing Education Strong iterated consensus on providing education as measured by: Access (net primary school enrollment) l Completion (% reaching grade 5) l Literacy l Male female gaps in the above l
Providing Education State of the Consensus (1) Convention Goal Target Year World Conference on Education for All (1990) Reduce of the adult illiteracy to ½ its 1990 level. 2000 World Summit for Children (1990) Reduction of the adult illiteracy rate to at least half its 1990 level with emphasis on female literacy; Not Stated World Summit for Social Development (1995) Reduce the adult illiteracy rate to at least half its 1990 level. Not Stated ICPD+5, 1999 Reduce the rate of illiteracy of women and men, at least halving it for women and girls, compared with the rate in 1990. 2005 Table 3 b: Illiteracy
Providing Education State of the Indicators (1) Figure 3 c: World Adult Illiteracy Rates (WB, 2000)
Providing Education State of the Consensus (2) Convention Goal Target Year World Conference on Education for All (1990) Reduce the current disparity between male and female illiteracy rates. 2000 World Summit for Social Development (1995) Close the gender gap in primary and secondary school education. 2005 A Better World for All (2000) Eliminate gender disparities in primary and secondary education. 2005 Table 3 c: Male/Female Disparities
Providing Education State of the Indicators (2) Figure 3 e: World Illiteracy Gaps (WB, 2000)
Reducing Hunger Strong iterated consensus to reduce three types of hunger. l Crisis hunger as measured by: l l l Chronic household hunger as measured by: l l l Starvation and death caused by famine. Demands for emergency food assistance. Number of undernourished people. Prevalence of stunted and underweight children. Micronutrient deficiencies as measured by: l l l Prevalence of iron deficiency. Prevalence of iodine deficiency. Prevalence of Vitamin A deficiencies.
Reducing Hunger State of the Consensus Convention on the Rights of the Child (1989) Goal Target Year Take appropriate measures to combat malnutrition Not through the provision of adequate nutritious foods and Stated clean drinking water, taking into consideration the dangers and risks of environmental pollution. World Summit for Children Reduce severe and moderate malnutrition among (1990) under 5 children by half 1990 levels. 2000 World Conference on Human Rights (1993) Reduce malnutrition rates. Not Stated World Summit for Social Development (1995) Reduce severe and moderate malnutrition among children under five years of age by half of the 1990 level. 2000 World Food Summit (1996) Reduce the number of undernourished people to half 2015 their 1996 level. Millennium Summit (2000) Halve the proportion of the world's people who suffer from hunger. Table 4 b: Chronic Household Hunger 2015
Reducing Hunger State of the Indicators Figure 4 d: Number of Undernourished in the Developing World (FAO, 2000)
Reducing Poverty Recent consensus on reducing poverty as measured by proportion of people living on less than $1 per day. Convention Goal Target Year Millennium Summit (2000) Halve the proportion of the world's people whose income is less than one dollar a day 2015 World Summit for Social Development +5 (2000) Reduce the proportion of people living in extreme poverty by one half. 2015 Table 5: Reduce Poverty
Reducing Poverty State of the Indicators Figure 5: Population Living Below $1. 08 a day (1993 PPP) (Shaohua and Ravillion, 2000; WB 2001 a)
Providing Housing & Employment Consensus on housing and employment relatively weak. Convention Goal Target Year Agenda 21 (1992) Ensure that all urban residents have access Not stated. to at least 40 liters per capita per day of safe water and that 75 per cent of the urban population are provided with on site or community facilities for sanitation. Habitat II (1996) “Adequate shelter for all”, but no quantified goals. Not Stated World Summit for Social Development (1995) Full employment. Not stated. Millennium Summit (2000) Develop and implement strategies that give young people everywhere a chance to find productive and decent work Not Stated
Providing Housing & Employment State of the Indicators Source: WHO/UNICEF 2000 • At the end of 2000, approximately one third of the global work force of 3 billion people was unemployed, underemployed, or earn less than needed to keep their families out of poverty. (ILO, 2000)
Priority Indicators Strategy for Selection Focus on indicators for which there are clear quantitative goals and targets. Remove indicators that are highly related to one another except where needed to reiterate an important consensual statement. When all else is equal, choose the indicator associated with the more difficult goal.
Priority Indicators Grading the Quality of Reporting and Assessment A has been and continues to be routinely measured, reported, and assessed on a global basis. B currently being measured, reported, and assessed on a global basis and is likely to be in the future. C global and regional estimates are only possible through extensive modeling and extrapolation. D only rough contemporary estimates vis à vis proxies are available.
Priority Indicators Meeting Human Needs & Reducing Hunger and Poverty Priority Human Needs Topics Priority Human Needs Indicators Quality of Reporting and Assessment Extending Life Quality Education Childhood Mortality A Literacy A Education M-F Literacy Gap A Reducing Hunger Prevalence of undernourishment C Reducing Hunger Prevalence of Vitamin A Deficiency D Reducing Poverty Rate C Providing Housing Access to improved sanitation services B Box 1: Priority Human Needs Indicators.
Preserving Life Support Systems Consensus weaker than that for human needs, hunger, and poverty. Consensus is diffused among numerous treaties and agreements (>470). l l Relatively few issues addressed at global scale. Most address regional or bi lateral manifestations of global issues. However, the many pieces of this fragmentary puzzle fit loosely together to form a more or less complete whole from which one can form the basis for an operational definition of sustainability.
Atmosphere & Climate Major international agreements address: Greenhouse Gases (UNFCC, Kyoto) l Substances that deplete the ozone layer (Vienna, Montreal, and subsequent) l Emissions of SOx, NOx, VOCs, and other tropospheric ozone precursors (LRTAP, US Canada) l Toxics (mostly heavy metals) (Aarhus) l
Atmosphere & Climate State of the Indicators (1) Graphic omitted due to space constraints. Figure 7 a: Long-term Trends in Concentrations of Carbon Dioxide, Methane, and Nitrous Oxide (IPCC, 2001, pp. 6) Figure 7 f: Past and Projected Concentrations of Stratospheric Chlorine and Bromine (WMO, 1998)
Atmosphere & Climate State of the Indicators (2) Figure 7 g: Global Anthropogenic SOx Emissions (Lefohn, Husar, and Husar, 1999; Dignon and Hameed, 1989; Hameed and Dignon, 1992; IPCC 2000) Figure 7 h: Global Anthropogenic NOx emissions (Dignon and Hameed, 1989; Hameed and Dignon, 1992; IPCC 2000)
Oceans Three principal threads of agreements: l Protection of marine fisheries l l l Land based sources of pollution (e. g. , Law of the Sea, Mediterranean Action Plan) l l By geography (e. g. , Black Sea, Baltic Sea) By specific species of particular interest and economic value (e. g. , Whales, Salmon) Similar to efforts to address fresh water pollution. Ocean dumping from ships, aircraft, and exploration and mining (e. g. , International Convention for the Prevention of Pollution from Ships). l Major emphasis on oil spills.
Oceans State of the Indicators Figure 8 a: Global Trends in the State of World Fishery Stocks (FAO, 2000 b) Figure 8 c: Oil Spills Into Marine and Inland Environments From All Sources (De. Cola, 2000)
Fresh Water Only addressed internationally when water bodies cross national boundaries. l l l >260 international river basins (Wolf, et. al. , 1999) FAOLEX reports 120 international water treaties Transboundary Freshwater Dispute Database lists 150 treaties (Yoff, Ward, and Wolf) Three major threads of agreement: l l l Pollution (e. g. , Rhine, Mosel) Withdrawals (e. g. , Ganga/Ganges) Fisheries (e. g. , Lake Victoria)
Fresh Water State of the Indicators Figure 9 b: Global Water Withdrawal and Consumption (Shiklomanov, 1998)
Land Use/Cover Change Mostly addressed in national and sub national contexts. International community becomes cases of large scale land use/cover change phenomena. l l Desertification (UNCCD) Decline of large wetlands (RAMSAR) Deforestation (ITTA) Transformation of internationally recognized landmarks (Convention concerning the Protection of the World Cultural and Natural Heritage)
Land Use/Cover Change State of the Indicators Graphic omitted due to space constraints. Figure 10 a: Annual Net Flux of Carbon Into the Atmosphere from Changes in Land Use (Houghton and Hackler, 2001) Figure 10 b: Carbon Flux to the Atmosphere from Land Use Change (Houghton and Hackler, 2001)
Living Resources Large number of agreements. Major threads include: Marine and freshwater living resources (see above) l Biological Diversity (CITES, CBD) l Reserves/Protected Areas (e. g. , African Convention on the Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources) l Control of invasive species and pests (e. g. , International Plant Protection Convention) l
Living Resources State of the Indicators Recent extinction rates are 100 to 1000 times their pre human levels (Pimm, et. al. , 1995). At present, 11% of bird species, close to 18% of mammals, roughly 8% of plant species, and 5% of fish species are currently threatened (Chapin, et. al, 2000; Vitousek, et. al. , 1997). Freshwater species are reported to be the most threatened group of vertebrates harvested by humans; however accurate data are hard to collect. In area where studies have been carried out, about 20 percent of freshwater species are threatened, endangered, or extinct" (FAO, 2000 b). Over 850 million hectares, 6% of the world's land area, are now designated as protected areas (IUCN management categories I V) (WRI, 2000, Table BI. 1). While there is clear evidence that invasive species pose significant threats to specific valued species and biodiversity in general, efforts to quantify the number, extent, and impact of invasive species over time on a global scale are still in their formative stages (Drake and Mooney, 1989; IUCN).
Toxics Media specific agreements noted above. General agreement on: l l l Heavy metals (e. g. , Convention Concerning the Use of White Lead in Painting) Nuclear Radiation (e. g. , Treaty Banning Nuclear Weapon Tests in the Atmosphere, in Outer Space and under Water ) Persistent Organic Pollutants (Stockholm Convention on Persistent Organic Pollutants)
Toxics State of the Indicators • Global annual emissions of dioxins and furans are estimated to be 50± 10 kg international toxic equivalency units where tolerable adult daily intake is one to four picograms (10 -12 grams) per kilogram body weight (UNEP/Chemicals, 1999). Figure 11 a: Global emissions of metals to the atmosphere in 1983, natural versus anthropogenic. (AMAP, 2001) The percentages shown in the bars are based on range values and therefore do not sum to 100 percent
Priority Indicators Preserving Life Support Systems Topics Indicators Quality of Reporting and Assessment Atmosphere/Climate CO 2 concentrations A Atmosphere/Climate SOX emissions B/C Ocean Productivity Fishery Stocks B/C Freshwater Availability Consumptive water withdrawals D Land Use/Cover Change Net CO 2 flux into the atmosphere due to anthropogenic land use change. C Biodiversity Same as above limited to biodiversity hotspots. D Toxics Dioxin and furan emissions. D Box 2: Priority Life Support System Indicators
Conclusions (1) Existing international consensus provides an effective framework for defining a sustainability transition in terms of: l l l What is to be developed What is to be sustained Over what time periods Emphasis on existing international consensus justifies selection of 14 priority indicators – a small number relative to other efforts.
Conclusions (2) Some progress, but not complete success in many of the agreed upon indicators for human development. General agreement on range of issues to address in relation to preserving life support system issues. l l Few concrete goals and targets, assessment mechanisms, or means of effective implementation. One can imagine re arranging the current haphazard framework into one organized along the lines of ecosystem services.
Future Directions Operationalize key indicators to inform whether we are moving nearer to or farther away from a sustainability transition. Aggregate set of 14 indicators into 3 overall indicators for meeting human needs, reducing hunger and poverty, and preserving life support systems. Test sensitivity of indicator selection to scale. Analyze driving forces and opportunities for policy intervention that will shape future trends and transitions.