With the time counting down to the next United Nations conference on “sustainable development,” a new report recently published by the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) clearly indicates that the UN’s approach to the entire topic is to expand the power of government to regulate and control all levels of economic development throughout the world.
The new UNEP report, 21 Issues for the 21st Century presents itself as the product of “a careful and authoritative ranking of the most important emerging issues related to the global environment”. Therefore:
UNEP aims to inform the UN and wider international community about these issues on a timely basis, as well as provide input to its own work programme and that of other UN agencies, thereby fulfilling the stipulation of its mandate: “keeping the global environment under review and bringing emerging issues to the attention of governments and the international community for action”.
UNEP executive director Achim Steiner readily acknowledges that the focus of the new report is to frame the discussion for the “Rio+20 Summit” scheduled to take place this coming June, and by influencing that summit, to set the agenda for years to come:
While the initial focus was to inform the Rio+20 Summit taking place in Brazil in 2012, 21 Issues for the 21st Century will be clearly relevant to environmental policy-making and scientific priority setting for many years to come as well as the trajectory of UNEP’s future work programme.
While such an assessment of one’s own relevance might seem boastful, the UN’s Division for Sustainable Development has an equally expansive assessment of its significance for the future of planet Earth through its upcoming conference in Rio:
The objective of the Conference is to secure renewed political commitment for sustainable development, assess the progress to date and the remaining gaps in the implementation of the outcomes of the major summits on sustainable development, and address new and emerging challenges.
The Conference will focus on two themes: (a) a green economy in the context of sustainable development and poverty eradication; and (b) the institutional framework for sustainable development.