by Staff Writers
London, UK (SPX) Jun 19, 2012
The targets, indicators and approaches being used to pursue progress towards sustainable development at Rio+20 are counter-productive, say scientists in a new paper. Three renowned sustainability institutes - the STEPS Centre, Stockholm Resilience Centre and Tellus Institute - argue in Transforming Innovation for Sustainability that global and grassroots innovations must be connected to avoid breaching planetary boundaries and reversing progress on poverty reduction.
The targets, indicators and approaches being used to pursue progress towards sustainable development at Rio+20 are counter-productive, say scientists in a new paper.
Goals focussing on one-track scientific solutions to the most urgent sustainability problems fail to respond to the uncertainty and shifting dynamics of today's world. These one-direction approaches risk breaching the already weakened planetary boundaries which define a safe operating space for humanity, while undoing past progress on global poverty reduction.
Instead, sustainable futures should be plotted on a landscape of multiple possibilities - with their directions confined by planetary boundaries. By allowing diverse types of science and innovation to co-exist, the potential for resilient solutions responding to people's varied social, economic and ecological needs would increase.
Distribution - who gains and who loses from particular policies and innovations - is also critical. Fostering grassroots innovations would help to prioritise the interests of the most marginal groups.
Scientists from three renowned sustainability institutes - the STEPS Centre, Stockholm Resilience Centre and Tellus Institute - argue in Transforming Innovation for Sustainability that technological solutions appearing optimal from a global perspective rarely prove viable across all localities, condemning many international initiatives to failure. A radical new approach is urgently needed, linking the direction, diversity and distribution of innovation.
"Science, technology and innovation can help avert catastrophic developmental and environmental damage. But only if we move beyond outdated notions of whose innovation counts, to empower the vital contributions of poorer people's own creativity in building green and fair economies and contributing to resilient socio-techno-ecological systems," said Professor Melissa Leach, director of the STEPS Centre.
"Until the connection is made between global and grassroots innovation, the chances of steering away from potential earth system thresholds and keeping global societies within a safe operating space is limited," said Professor Johan Rockstrom, executive director of the Stockholm Resilience Centre.
The paper offers principles to guide decision-makers and suggests a new role of 'sustainability broker' to help identify grassroots innovations that respond to climate, food, biodiversity and energy crises and connect them to high-level international efforts.
Institute of Development Studies
Farming Today - Suppliers and Technology
Comment on this article via your Facebook, Yahoo, AOL, Hotmail login.
Word Food Program chief in Rio for UN summit
Rio De Janeiro (AFP) June 17, 2012
UN World Food Program chief Ertharin Cousin arrived here Sunday to attend a United Nations summit on sustainable development and discuss plans to fight world hunger with governments and the private sector. "WFP believes that there can be no sustainable development when so many people have been left on the sidelines of mainstream development, and WFP's attendance aims to ensure that the voice ... read more
|The content herein, unless otherwise known to be public domain, are Copyright 1995-2012 - Space Media Network. AFP, UPI and IANS news wire stories are copyright Agence France-Presse, United Press International and Indo-Asia News Service. ESA Portal Reports are copyright European Space Agency. All NASA sourced material is public domain. Additional copyrights may apply in whole or part to other bona fide parties. Advertising does not imply endorsement,agreement or approval of any opinions, statements or information provided by Space Media Network on any Web page published or hosted by Space Media Network. Privacy Statement|