14.02.2014 | Forum on Environment and Development

The Ecological Dimension in the Post-2015 Agenda

Many global problems have remained unsolved and new ones have arisen since the Millennium Declaration in 2000, which is the basis for the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). Growing social inequality, continuous and increasing environmental devastation, increasing natural resource use, progressing urbanization and migration, as well intensifying climate change are challenges for both countries in the north and south. While the MDGs’ targets, which were aimed at poverty reduction, achieved political results due to their straight-forwardness, as well as their communicable and quantifiable nature, they remain unsatisfactory in many areas such as social justice, peace and security, democracy building, human rights, and global governance reform. They also disregard the vital link between social development processes and ecological, social, and economic sustainability and do not question economic growth vis-à-vis our planet’s obvious natural limits.

Hence, in 2012, the Rio+20 Conference agreed upon launching negotiations for Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). The proposal put forward by several southern countries aimed at formulating and implementing concrete goals for a new agenda for sustainability and development. The 68th UN General Assembly confirmed this decision in September 2013, decided to agree upon an integrative Post-2015 Agenda for Sustainable Development, and merge the MDGs and SDGs processes. As a first step, ideas and suggestions for a new set of goals are to be compiled until the fall of 2014. However, it is disconcerting that the ecological dimension has been immensely underrepresented amongst the existing proposed goals for a Post-2015 Agenda.

German environmental and development organizations have therefore drafted a set of ecological sustainability goals to be included in the Post-2015 Agenda. These suggestions are neither final nor complete; rather, they are intended to focus attention on existential ecological baselines as well as the necessity of regarding ecology as an integral part of the new Post-2015 Agenda. Particular emphasis was given to issues that have so far received little attention from existing conventions and international processes.