Professor Jem Bendell

notes from a strategist and educator on social and organisational change

Economic governance is key to any useful outcome from Rio2012

Posted by jembendell on December 2, 2011

Readers of my blog will note that at the beginning of the year I reflected on the coming Rio2012 Earth Summit, and what it could be useful for. Since then the preparatory committees have got somewhat lost in definitional issues about what the “green economy” really is… oh, the farce of humanity’s efforts to do something together for our common future.

Dark grumblings aside, during the year Ive been doing some work on the economic governance needs for more sustainable development. Some of the results of that are out, with the UNCTAD World Investment Report discussing public policies for scaling CSR (I helped with the research that went in to it), and a new journal article just out where we go into some depth on a new paradigm of collaborative economic governance for sustainable development.

The UN Non Governmental Liaison Service published my opinion piece about the need to focus on economic governance, in their “Road to Rio 2012” publication. But it was in a publication from Singapore, for the region’s enthusiasts in social enterprise, corporate responsibility and voluntary sector, where I let summed up some basic points…

“If Rio 1992 was about governments calling non-state actors to act, Rio 2012 may be about non-state actors calling on governments to join them in creating greater change.”

“…the continued lack of major global progress towards sustainable development, towards true integration of environmental and developmental priorities, should make us question [the] lack of attention to economic systems and
government roles.”

“Twenty years after Rio, with the old debates and fears of the Cold War well gone, we should be able to show more maturity in exploring how systemic flaws in our economic systems could be changed to improve social or environmental outcomes.”

“…it will take effort and courage, rather than mere intellect, to articulate and implement a global policy agenda that tackles some of the economic causes of social and environmental problems.”

The pdf of “Towards Rio 2012 And Collaborative Governance For Sustainable Development” is available from Singapore Management University at http://bit.ly/ukwagD

2 Responses to “Economic governance is key to any useful outcome from Rio2012”

  1. matslats said

    Who, actually are you calling on to show courage? People or organisations? What does it mean to show courage in the context of a summit like Rio?

  2. Jem said

    people. both at work and outside it. for those employed to work on aspects of sustainable development, then courage in relation to rio2012 summit will take many forms; but it starts by questioning why is something on the agenda, and something else not on the agenda? whose interests is that serving? and to then push for something more significant. however, at the same time, rio2012 wont have major implementation mechanisms, and so its effects will be limited. so there is the efficient option of limited engagement. unfortunately many people will want to go in order to simply be there and to say they were there. my tolerance for either the wilfully naive or wanton egos is rapidly diminishing.

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