SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT Mee Kam Ng Centre of Urban Planning & Environmental Management The University of Hong Kong 5 December 2006
Contents • Ice-breaking game • Why sustainable development? • What is sustainable development? • Sustainable development: key milestones • Sustainable development at different geographical scale • From individual to global • China • Hong Kong • Conclusion
Sustainable development Social Environmental Economic
2. Do you use sustainable mode of transportation such as public transport and walking？ Yes No
Figures: • Carbon dioxide during 400 000 years • Projected changes in global temperature • Global fossil carbon emissions • CO2 concentration, temperature and sea level • Comparison between GDP and CO2 emissions for selected countries • World primary energy use and carbon dioxide emissions by region from 1971 to 1998
The Development Gap Christie, I and D. Warburton, 2001, p.7, Table 1.1
Unsustainable Exploitation of Resources • Since 1971, global energy use has increased by 70% and is expected to rise 2% per year in the next 15 years. This will increase greenhouse gases by 50% over current levels. • Increased atmospheric nitrogen from fossil fuel combustion and farming of root crops, which release nitrogen, has intensified the occurrence in of acid rain • Natural resources (e.g. soils, forests, fish aquatic habitats) continue to decrease in quantity due to fires, pollution and human influence
Unsustainable Exploitation of Resources • Loss of biological diversity has resulted from human activities such as deforestation and pollution. • 40% of our global economy is dependent on biologically derived products. • 17 million hectares of tropical forest destroyed each year • 70-100 species disappear every day • Water, soil and air have been strained due to high pollution levels.
Key elements of sustainable development and interconnections • Source: Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change http://www.ipcc.ch/present/graphics.htm
Principles of Sustainable Development • Ecologically ethical utilization of natural resources • Inter- and intra-generational equity • Precautionary principle • Subsidiarity principle • A sustainable process • Partnership among stakeholders
1962 – Silent Spring (by Rachel Carson) • 1969 – Friends of the Earth • 1970 – Celebrate Earth Day 2004 • 1970 – The limits to growth • 1972 – Only one Earth • 1972 – United Nations Environment Programme • 1976 – UN-HABITAT • 1983 – Our common future
The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) has been established by WMO and UNEP to assess scientific, technical and socio- economic information relevant for the understanding of climate change, its potential impacts and options for adaptation and mitigation. It is open to all Members of the UN and of WMO. Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change
1992- Earth Summit: Is development sustainable? • 1993- UN Commission on Sustainable Development • 1997 – Kyoto Protocol • Earth Summit 2002: Building partnerships for sustainable development
Are you using sustainable mode of transportation such as public transport and walking？
China’s Agenda 21 • 1978 Open Door Policy, rapid industrialization & urbanization serious environmental problems • June 1992: UN Conference on Environment and Development in Rio de Janeiro • July 1992: the State Development Planning Commission (SDPC) & the State Science & Technology Commission (SSTC) were appointed as the leading institutions for co-ordinating all ministries, departments and non-government organizations to work together to formulate China’s Agenda 21—’White Paper on China’s Population, Environment and Development in the 21st Century’
China’s Agenda 21 • SDPC: socio-economic planning • SSTC: research and development • ACCA21: The Administrative Centre for China’s Agenda 21—secretariat set up in May 1994 • March 25, 1994: China’s Agenda 21, the first national agenda 21 formulated after the 1st Earth Summit
China’s Agenda 21 • Meaning of sustainable development: • Economy: material foundation; cornerstone of sustainable development; poverty alleviation; improving living standards of the people; protection of the environment • Rational utilization of natural resources and environmental protection • The planned economy needs to be transformed into a socialist market economy • Change of attitudes and behaviour: new awareness, concepts and knowledge of SD • Agenda 21: a guide document for drawing up medium & long-term plans on socio-economic development: Five Year Plans & sectoral plans at different levels
Strategic SD Concepts: • To promote the shift in economic structure & the mode of economic development: improving quality of development in growth • Relying on science and technology: integrating science, education & the economy • To promote moral & ethical development & to strengthen democracy & legal systems • Control population growth • Policies and laws on utilization & protection of natural resources • Controlling pollution & preventing soil erosion • ‘Help the poor’ programmes • National policy, legal system, decision making and management coordination mechanisms for SD
SD & Development Planning: Institution & Process • SD strategies were incorporated into the FYPs, various cross-sectoral and sectoral plans and local plans (Local Agenda 21 Pilot Programme, Priority Programme and Experimental Sustainable Community)
Conclusion • SD in China: still economics first • Translating strategy into policies & programmes • China’s Agenda 21 through various directives & circulars different ministries and governments at different geographical scale • FYPs, local agenda 21 and actions plans, priority programmes, experimental projects • Top-down, technical approach, with little participation • Rhetoric vs actions, esp. at the local levels
SusDev 21: conclusions 1997-2000 • Existing institutional mechanisms do not fully promote the development of holistic views about issues in a way which recognises sustainable development. • Communication barriers exist among different Bureaux and Departments, which results in decisions being taken without the full benefit of inputs from across the range of sectoral interests. • The existing operational culture is not conducive to greater integration and accountability. This in turn creates a resistance to institutional change. • Policy formulation in key areas which impinge on sustainability issues are sometimes ad-hoc and slow.
SusDev 21: conclusions • Roles and responsibilities are at times unclear and this detracts from transparency and accountability. Incentives to take the lead and make decisions are not in the right place. • Whilst the concept of sustainability has broad support within the Administration, it has not reached far enough at all levels (as it must if it is to be meaningfully pursued). • There is no existing, forward looking strategy for sustainable development. Certain Bureaux and Departments are uncertain about introducing mechanisms to make sustainable development operational in the absence of a government strategy on sustainable development.
Sustainable Development Unit The Sustainable Development Unit (SDU) is under the Administration Wing of the Chief Secretary for Administration's Office since April 2001. Our main tasks are to facilitate the integration of sustainable development into new Government initiatives and programmes and in the community generally, and to provide support to the Council for Sustainable Development.
Sustainable Development Council • to advise the Government on the priority areas it should address in promoting sustainable development; • to advise on the preparation of a sustainable development strategy for Hong Kong that will integrate economic, social and environmental perspectives; • to facilitate community participation in the promotion of sustainable development in Hong Kong through various means, including the award of grants from the Sustainable Development Fund; and • to promote public awareness and understanding of the principles of sustainable development.