Sustainable Development Goals need a radical economic rethink…

“The Sustainable Development Goals are ambitious objectives; business as usual will not deliver them. Speaking on the recent International Day for the Eradication of Poverty, U.N. Secretary-General António Guterres acknowledged the need for new thinking. “The pledge to leave no one behind will require innovative approaches, partnerships, and solutions,” he said. But this new model will only come about if we radically reshape the national, regional, and global economies that lie behind many of the obstacles to achieving the SDGs. We must rethink the way we govern and manage the global financial and economic system.

In part, that means rethinking the current trend to treat private finance as the default option for development. Private finance is being heavily touted by the World Bank, the G20, and others as the solution to the SDG financing gap — for example, through their enthusiastic promotion of public-private partnerships. Yet international private capital has proven volatile and is often short term. In fact, since 2015, international private finance has been net negative for developing countries — more money has been flowing out than in. This volatility has led some developing countries to protect themselves from external shocks by building up massive reserves. This is a sensible strategy given the lack of faith those countries have in the IMF and other global institutions to protect them in times of crises. However, in practice they build reserves by buying safe assets from developed countries. In other words, the poorer countries are lending trillions of dollars to the richest countries, particularly the U.S., at very low rates of interest….”   >>>>more

Author – Jesse Griffiths

Global Sustainability Open Access Journal

Global Sustainability is a new Open Access journal dedicated to supporting the rapidly expanding area of global sustainability research. Without profound societal transformations, humanity risks destabilising the Earth system. In the last decade, the research field of global sustainability science has expanded rapidly to explore human social and economic pressure on the whole Earth system. This journal will explore global sustainability, planetary and societal resilience, and solutions for societal transformations. Global Sustainability will publish interdisciplinary original research, reviews and commentaries addressing how human activities interact with Earth system dynamics. It will invite work on sustainable pathways, evolution and resilience in the Anthropocene.

More >>>

World population projected to reach 9.8 billion in 2050, and 11.2 billion in 2100

The current world population of 7.6 billion is expected to reach 8.6 billion in 2030, 9.8 billion in 2050 and 11.2 billion in 2100, according to a new United Nations report being launched today. With roughly 83 million people being added to the world’s population every year, the upward trend in population size is expected to continue, even assuming that fertility levels will continue to decline.

The World Population Prospects: The 2017 Revision, published by the UN Department of Economic and Social Affairs, provides a comprehensive review of global demographic trends and prospects for the future. The information is essential to guide policies aimed at achieving the new Sustainable Development Goals.

Shifts in country population rankings
The new projections include some notable findings at the country level. China (with 1.4 billion inhabitants) and India (1.3 billion inhabitants) remain the two most populous countries, comprising 19 and 18% of the total global population. In roughly seven years, or around 2024, the population of India is expected to surpass that of China.

Among the ten largest countries worldwide, Nigeria is growing the most rapidly. Consequently, the population of Nigeria, currently the world’s 7th largest, is projected to surpass that of the United States and become the third largest country in the world shortly before 2050.

Most of the global increase is attributable to a small number of countries
From 2017 to 2050, it is expected that half of the world’s population growth will be concentrated in just nine countries: India, Nigeria, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Pakistan, Ethiopia, the United Republic of Tanzania, the United States of America, Uganda and Indonesia (ordered by their expected contribution to total growth).

The group of 47 least developed countries (LDCs) continues to have a relatively high level of fertility, which stood at 4.3 births per woman in 2010-2015. As a result, the population of these countries has been growing rapidly, at around 2.4 % per year. Although this rate of increase is expected to slow significantly over the coming decades, the combined population of the LDCs, roughly one billion in 2017, is projected to increase by 33 % between 2017 and 2030, and to reach 1.9 billion persons in 2050.

Similarly, Africa continues to experience high rates of population growth. Between 2017 and 2050, the populations of 26 African countries are projected to expand to at least double their current size.

The concentration of global population growth in the poorest countries presents a considerable challenge to governments in implementing the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, which seeks to end poverty and hunger, expand and update health and education systems, achieve gender equality and women’s empowerment, reduce inequality and ensure that no one is left behind.

Slower world population growth due to lower fertility rates
In recent years, fertility has declined in nearly all regions of the world. Even in Africa, where fertility levels are the highest of any region, total fertility has fallen from 5.1 births per woman in 2000-2005 to 4.7 in 2010-2015.

Europe has been an exception to this trend in recent years, with total fertility increasing from 1.4 births per woman in 2000-2005 to 1.6 in 2010-2015.

More and more countries now have fertility rates below the level required for the replacement of successive generations (roughly 2.1 births per woman), and some have been in this situation for several decades. During 2010-2015, fertility was below the replacement level in 83 countries comprising 46 % of the world’s population. The ten most populous countries in this group are China, the United States of America, Brazil, the Russian Federation, Japan, Viet Nam, Germany, the Islamic Republic of Iran, Thailand, and the United Kingdom (in order of population size).

Lower fertility leads also to ageing populations
The report highlights that a reduction in the fertility level results not only in a slower pace of population growth but also in an older population.

Compared to 2017, the number of persons aged 60 or above is expected to more than double by 2050 and to more than triple by 2100, rising from 962 million globally in 2017 to 2.1 billion in 2050 and 3.1 billion in 2100.

In Europe, 25% of the population is already aged 60 years or over. That proportion is projected to reach 35% in 2050 and to remain around that level in the second half of the century. Populations in other regions are also projected to age significantly over the next several decades and continuing through 2100. Africa, for example, which has the youngest age distribution of any region, is projected to experience a rapid ageing of its population. Although the African population will remain relatively young for several more decades, the percentage of its population aged 60 or over is expected to rise from 5% in 2017 to around 9% in 2050, and then to nearly 20% by the end of the century.

Globally, the number of persons aged 80 or over is projected to triple by 2050, from 137 million in 2017 to 425 million in 2050. By 2100 it is expected to increase to 909 million, nearly seven times its value in 2017.

Population ageing is projected to have a profound effect on societies, underscoring the fiscal and political pressures that the health care, old-age pension and social protection systems of many countries are likely to face in the coming decades.

Higher life expectancy worldwide
Substantial improvements in life expectancy have occurred in recent years. Globally, life expectancy at birth has risen from 65 years for men and 69 years for women in 2000-2005 to 69 years for men and 73 years for women in 2010-2015. Nevertheless, large disparities across countries remain.

Although all regions shared in the recent rise of life expectancy, the greatest gains were for Africa, where life expectancy rose by 6.6 years between 2000-2005 and 2010-2015 after rising by less than 2 years over the previous decade.

The gap in life expectancy at birth between the least developed countries and other developing countries narrowed from 11 years in 2000-2005 to 8 years in 2010-2015. Although differences in life expectancy across regions and income groups are projected to persist in future years, such differences are expected to diminish significantly by 2045-2050.

The increased level and reduced variability in life expectancy have been due to many factors, including a lower under-five mortality rate, which fell by more than 30 % in 89 countries between 2000-2005 and 2010-2015. Other factors include continuing reductions in fatalities due to HIV/AIDS and progress in combating other infectious as well as non-communicable diseases.

Large movements of refugees and other migrants
There continue to be large movements of migrants between regions, often from low- and middle-income countries toward high-income countries. The volume of the net inflow of migrants to high-income countries in 2010-2015 (3.2 million per year) represented a decline from a peak attained in 2005-2010 (4.5 million per year). Although international migration at or around current levels will be insufficient to compensate fully for the expected loss of population tied to low levels of fertility, especially in the European region, the movement of people between countries can help attenuate some of the adverse consequences of population ageing.

The report observes that the Syrian refugee crisis has had a major impact on levels and patterns of international migration in recent years, affecting several countries. The estimated net outflow from the Syrian Arab Republic was 4.2 million persons in 2010-2015. Most of these refugees went to Syria’s neighbouring countries, contributing to a substantial increase in the net inflow of migrants especially to Turkey, Lebanon and Jordan.

Bangladesh struggles as sea levels rise

Bangladesh is already one of the most climate vulnerable nations in the world, and global warming will bring more floods, stronger cyclones. At the dry fish yards, close to the airport at the coastal town of Cox’s Bazar, women are busy sorting fish to dry in the sun. They say the process, which begins in October, can continue through to February or March if the weather is good.

But Aman Ullah Shawdagor, a dry fish businessman who employs 70 people, says high tides and seasonal changes have hit his business hard. Last year there were four cyclones, more than ever before. In 2015, there was only one.

“My business is not doing so well because of the changing weather conditions,” says Shawdagor. “This is a dry season business. But for the last couple of years, the rain has become more frequent. It rains not only in the rainy season but also in the winter. There have also been more signals [storm warnings] with the rise in high tides. When the high tide comes, it frequently covers the whole of the land here. It is very bad for the dry fish.”

Nurul Hashem, a schoolteacher from Kutubdia Para, a nearby shanty town where many of the dry fish workers live, has also noted the trend. “We believe the water level is getting higher here,” he says. “Last year, my home was under water three or four times.”

Scientists predict that, by 2050, as many as 25 million people in Bangladesh will be affected by the rising sea level. Hashem and Shawdagor believe that they are already seeing the effects of a changing climate, however.

Guardian Article – Read More >>>>

EU 2030 Renewables Target

A new target for 2030

Renewables will continue to play a key role in helping the EU meet its energy needs beyond 2020. EU countries have already agreed on a new renewable energy target of at least 27% of final energy consumption in the EU as a whole by 2030 as part of the EU’s energy and climate goals for 2030.

On 30 November 2016, the Commission published a proposal for a revised Renewable Energy Directive to make the EU a global leader in renewable energy and ensure that the 2030 target is met.

International Year of Sustainable Tourism for Development 2017

Nearly 600 participants attended yesterday the Official Launch of the International Year of Sustainable Tourism for Development 2017. The event took place in the International Tourism Fair of Spain, FITUR, and will be followed by 12 months of global actions aimed at advancing sustainable tourism contribution to the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.

Co-presented by Max Forster, CNN, and Raquel Martínez, RTVE, the event underlined the immense socio-economic opportunities brought by the sector to all societies as well as its power to advocate for mutual understanding, peace and sustainable development worldwide.

“Every day, more than three million tourists cross international borders. Every year, almost 1.2 billion people travel abroad. Tourism has become a pillar of economies, a passport to prosperity, and a transformative force for improving millions of lives. The world can and must harness the power of tourism as we strive to carry out the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development“ said United Nations Secretary-General, Antonio Guterres, in his message on the occasion of the International Year.

“2017 is a unique opportunity for us to promote the contribution of tourism to achieving the future we want – and also to determine, together, the exact role we will have tourism play in the sustainable development agenda, to and beyond 2030. A unique opportunity to ensure that tourism is a pillar in achieving the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)”, said UNWTO Secretary General, Taleb Rifai, opening of the event.

“With the launch of the International Year of Sustainable Tourism for Development we once again emphasize that our nations all face common global challenges, which can only be resolved through advancing relations and furthering partnerships. By introducing this initiative, we have highlighted that Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) are the focal point for future development, and will guide us to create long-term assets, and prevent relevant liabilities.”, said the Prime Minister of Georgia, Giorgi Kvirikashvili.

“The International Year of Sustainable Tourism for Development 2017 is an incentive to a foster social and political dialogue which can promote initiatives, investments and government actions leading to development and the fight against poverty” said the Vice-President of Honduras, Ricardo Alvarez Arias.

“The 2030 Agenda considers sustainable tourism as a vector of development, job creation and the promotion of local culture and products. Tourism is part of the Sustainable Development Goals and contributes decisively to almost all 17 Goals through its impacts on fighting poverty, promoting decent jobs, improving gender equality and the livelihoods of young people or the fight against climate change” said the Minister of Foreign Affairs and Cooperation of Spain, Alfonso María Dastis.

Addressing the Ceremony were also Nassir Abdulaziz Al-Nasser, High Representative for the United Nations Alliance of Civilizations, Francesco Bandarin, Assistant Director-General for Culture at UNESCO and Elzbieta Bienkowska, European Commissioner for Internal Market, Industry, Entrepreneurship and SMEs.

On the occasion, UNWTO announced the nomination of the Ambassadors of the International Year: HE Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, President of Liberia; HM King Simeon II; Huayong Ge, President, UnionPay; Dr Talal Abu Ghazaleh, Chairman, Talal Abu-Ghazaleh Organization and Dr Michael Frenzel, President, Federal Association of the German Tourism Industry

The event also marked the launch of the International Year campaign ‘Travel.Enjoy.Respect’, aimed at promoting sustainable tourism among travelers in partnership with CNN and RTVE.

More…

2017 International Year of Sustainable Tourism for Development