Nairobi, 21 May 2013 - In the face of economic crises, increasing environmental degradation and the menace of climate change, the global community needs to do more and better with a more-efficient use of the Earth's natural resources.
In order to advise on the necessary actions that will usher in a more sustainable future, the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), which serves as the Secretariat of the 10-Year Framework of Programmes on Sustainable Consumption and Production (10YFP), today launched The Global SCP Clearinghouse.
Policymakers and practitioners across the globe have developed initiatives and tools to contribute to Sustainable Consumption and Production (SCP) down the years, but the existing information is fragmented and bridges to connect people are missing.
The Clearinghouse uses social networking principles to bring together the global SCP community and create a one-stop hub for SCP knowledge and cooperation. It provides a unique place to browse a diverse range of regional and thematic communities, from sustainable public procurement and cities and buildings, to sustainable production, lifestyles and education.
It seeks to inspire governments, the business sector, researchers, civil society and all SCP practitioners or other interested parties to share initiatives, news, ideas, best practices and tools to create a living worldwide database, create a network of experts, and foster and strengthen partnerships through a cooperation marketplace, working groups and forums.
"Sustainable consumption and production is not just about consuming less; it is also about doing more and better with less, about increasing resource efficiency and promoting sustainable lifestyles, and contributing to poverty alleviation," said Achim Steiner, UN Under-Secretary-General and UNEP Executive Director.
"By bringing everyone together to create a pool of knowledge and a cooperative marketplace, UNEP hopes to hasten the switch to more sustainable lifestyles, and to assist in making these lifestyles also available to people in developing countries," he added.
The science showing that humanity's current lifestyles are unsustainable is overwhelming. The world's population of seven billion people currently needs the resources of one-and-a-half planets to feed itself. If current consumption trends continue, by 2050 - when the population is expected to reach nine billion - resources equivalent to those provided by three Earths will be needed.
Adding to these pressures is rapidly accelerating urbanization. Though cities occupy just three per cent of the Earth's land surface, they consume 75 per cent of natural resources, produce 50 per cent of global waste and account for 60-80 per cent of greenhouse gas emissions. Urbanization is only going to further skew the disproportionate rates of consumption.
SCP can help the world's poor by creating new markets, green and decent jobs, (for example, organic food, fair trade, sustainable housing, renewable energy, sustainable transport and tourism) as well as more efficient, and equitable, management of natural resources.
It also offers the possibility for developing countries to "leapfrog" to more resource-efficient, environmentally sound and competitive technologies, bypassing inefficient and polluting phases of development.
When Heads of State gathered in Rio de Janeiro for the Rio+20 summit last year, they recognized the need for change and agreed to implement the 10YFP, a global framework for action that enhances international cooperation to develop, replicate and scale-up SCP and resource-efficiency initiatives at national and regional levels.
Within days of its pre-launch at the UNEP Governing Council meeting in February, the Global SCP Clearinghouse recorded nearly 800 new members, from more than 500 organizations based in about 100 different countries.
Initiatives already submitted to the Clearinghouse include:
- A project to mainstream education for sustainable consumption in Chile, Indonesia and Tanzania, conducted with the support of national ministries of both education and environment;
- The Sustainable Rice Platform launched by UNEP, the International Rice Research Institute, Louis Dreyfus Commodities and Kellogg, aimed at spreading good sustainable technologies and practices for rice - a food crop that feeds half the planet;
- A public campaign in Brazil, supported by the largest supermarket chains, to cut by 40 per plastic bag use in stores by 2015;
- The International Purchasing Network of Japan (IGPN), which promotes the spread of environmentally friendly products and services, share information and know how on green purchasing;
- The National Plan for Preventing Industrial Waste (PNAPRI) in Portugal, an initiative of the Ministry of Environment and Spatial Planning focusing on the reduction of the hazardous nature and quantity of waste generated in production processes associated to industrial activity, by using pollution prevention methodologies and technologies.
- The World Resources Forum (WRF), which is a science-based platform for sharing knowledge about the economic, political, social and environmental implications of global resource use. It promotes innovation for resource productivity and sustainable consumption and production by building bridges among researchers, policymakers, business, small- and medium-enterprises, non-governmental organizations and the public
- The Global Network of Sustainable Lifestyles, which is an initiative of the Collaborating Center on Sustainable Consumption and Production and the German Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ). The network is built on the principles of communicating and translating practices of sustainable lifestyles and making them accessible and understandable from the social, economic and environmental perspectives;
- The Earth Charter Initiative, which promotes the transition to sustainable ways of living and a global society founded on a shared ethical framework that includes respect and care for the community of life, ecological integrity, universal human rights, respect for diversity, economic justice, democracy, and a culture of peace.
Interested parties are encouraged to visit the Global SCP Clearinghouse website to find out about SCP worldwide, sign up or register as an expert or resource person.
The development of the Global SCP Clearinghouse was supported by the European Commission, Norway, the Spanish Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Cooperation, the Spanish Ministry of Agriculture, food and Environment, and the Swedish Ministry of the Environment.