Development needs Environmental Protection: Recommendations for the Millennium + 5 Summit
The Millennium + 5 Summit will review progress towards the achievement of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) and take stock of the United Nations' capacity to act.
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The Summit offers the opportunity to set a new course in international poverty reduction and initiate a reform of the UN. If the MDGs fail, international cooperation will be plunged into crisis. Yet the current poverty debate tends to overlook the environmental problems which exacerbate poverty in many developing countries. The international community should therefore remind itself of the message sent out by the Earth Summit in Rio de Janeiro in 1992: environmental and development policies are inextricably linked. WBGU's core recommendations are as follows:
- Linking poverty reduction with environmental policy: The MDGs cannot be achieved without environmental protection measures. Environmental policy is therefore a prerequisite for development and must be a key element in any long-term poverty reduction strategy. Conversely, the global environment cannot be protected without development policy.
- Forging strategic partnerships with anchor countries: Due to their size and dynamic economies, developing countries such as China, Brazil and India play a key role both in global environmental changes and in poverty reduction. The strategic foci of development cooperation with these countries must be placed accordingly.
- Reforming the development and environment policy architecture: The division of labour in international development policy should be improved and the fragmentation of the multilateral development and environment institutions overcome. In the medium term, a new Council on Global Development and Environment should replace the Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC).
- Increasing the funding commitments: The international community should invest more intensively in poverty reduction and environmental protection: the costs of inaction would be significantly higher. As well as increasing funds committed to development cooperation, new financing instruments, such as charges for the use of global common goods, should be introduced.