the challenge of sustainability

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"It focuses on the key issues of energy, forests, biodiversity, land and water degradation and financing. And it proposes practical solutions that build on the World Summit on Sustainable Development and the experiences since the Earth Summit in Rio de Janeiro in 1992."

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  • PRINTED ON ENVIRONMENTALLY FRIENDLY PAPER

    TH

    E C

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    OF SU

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    ABOUT THE CHALLENGE OF SUSTAINABILITY

    IN MANY WAYS, WE HAVE ENTERED ONE OF THE MOST CREATIVE PHASES IN HUMAN

    HISTORY, WHERE SCIENCE, TECHNOLOGY, AND COMMUNICATIONS ADVANCE AT

    BREATHTAKING SPEED AND OFFER UNMATCHED OPPORTUNITIES FOR POLITICAL

    CONSENSUS AND RESPONSIBLE CHANGE. WE HAVE NEW TOOLS AT OUR DISPOSAL,

    AND A VASTLY INCREASED UNDERSTANDING THAT OUR STRENGTH LIES IN WORKING

    TOGETHER TO OVERCOME THE THREATS FACING OUR PLANET.THE ACTIONS WE TAKE

    AND INVESTMENTS WE MAKE IN THE DECADES AHEAD WILL DETERMINE BOTH OUR

    OWN EVOLUTION AND THAT OF FUTURE GENERATIONS.

    OUR FATES ARE INTERTWINED. WE OWE IT TO EACH OTHER,AND TO OUR CHILDREN

    AND THEIR CHILDREN, TO COMBINE FORCES AND ENSURE A SUSTAINABLE FUTURE

    ON EARTH.

    MOHAMED T. EL-ASHRY

    CHIEF EXECUTIVE OFFICER AND CHAIRMAN

    GLOBAL ENVIRONMENT FACILITY

    THE CHALLENGE OF SUSTAINABILITY

    G l o b a lE n v i r o n m e n tFa c i l i t yISBN 1-884122-79-5

    GEF

    G l o b a lE n v i r o n m e n tFa c i l i t y

  • THE HUMAN COMMUNITY FACES AN ARRAY OF CHOICES

    ABOUT THE QUALITY OF OUR LIVES AND THE STATE OF

    THE GLOBAL ENVIRONMENT. EACH OF THOSE CHOICES

    WILL HELP TO DETERMINE WHAT KIND OF WORLD OUR

    CHILDREN AND GRANDCHILDREN WILL LIVE IN . . .

    THE LEGACY IS LARGELY OURS TO SHAPE.

    KOFI ANNAN

    U.N. SECRETARY GENERAL

    For more information contact:

    Hutton Archer

    Senior External Affairs Coordinator

    Global Environment Facility

    1818 H Street NW

    Washington, DC 20433 USA

    Tel: 202 473 0508

    Fax: 202 522 3240

    Internet: www.gefweb.org

  • THE CHALLENGE OF SUSTAINABILITY AN ACTION AGENDA FOR THE GLOBAL ENVIRONMENT

  • THE CHALLENGE OF SUSTAINABILITY AN ACTION AGENDA FOR THE GLOBAL ENVIRONMENT

    F O R E W O R D B Y

    KOFI ANNANU.N. SECRETARY GENERAL

    WASHINGTON, D.C.

    G l o b a lE n v i r o n m e n tFa c i l i t y

  • Copyright 2002 Global Environment Facility1818 H Street, N.W.Washington, D.C. 20433, USA

    All rights reserved. Published September 2002Printed in the United States of America

    Rights and permissions

    The text of this publication may be reproduced in whole or in part and in any form for educational or nonprofit uses, without specialpermission, provided acknowledgment of the source is made. The Global Environment Facility Secretariat would appreciate receiving acopy of any publication that uses this book for its source. Copies may be sent to the GEF Secretariat in care of the address above.

    No use of this publication may be made for resale or other commercial purposes without prior written consent of the GlobalEnvironment Facility Secretariat.

    All images remain the sole property of their source and may not be used for any purpose without written permission from the source.

    The designations of geographical entities in this document, and the presentation of materials, do not imply the expression of any opin-ion whatsoever on the part of the GEF concerning the legal status of any country, territory, or area, or its authorities, or concerning thedelimitation of its frontiers or boundaries.

    The opinions of guest contributors do not necessarily reflect those of the GEF Secretariat.

    Cover photo: Roberto Arakaki, Image StateDesign: Patricia Hord.Graphik Design

    ISBN 1-884122-79-5

  • CONTENTS

    FOREWORD v i i iKO F I A N N A N , U . N . S E C R E TA RY G E N E R A L

    INTRODUCTION xM O H A M E D T. E L - A S H RY,

    C H I E F E X E C U T I V E O F F I C E R A N D C H A I R M A N , G E F

    1 WATER: VALUING A PRECIOUS RESOURCE 1

    2 LAND, WATER, AND FOOD PRODUCTION: 19MOVING TOWARD SUSTAINABILITY

    3 FORESTS AND BIODIVERSITY: 37SAVING VALUABLE ASSETS

    4 ENERGY: POWERING 57SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT

    5 FINANCING THE ENVIRONMENT AND 75SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT

    CONCLUSION 88M O H A M E D T. E L - A S H RY

    INDEX 94

    ACKNOWLEDGMENTS 101

    PHOTO CREDITS 102

    v

  • vi

    TABLES

    Table 3.1 Forest Area by Region, 2000 39Table 3.2 Annual Change in Forest Area, 19002000 40Table 3.3 GEF Projects in Globally Significant Biological Areas (FY 2001) 48 Table 5.1 Trends in Resource Flows to Developing Countries, 19912001 83

    FIGURES

    Figure 1.1 The Glass Is Half FullWater Use, 19002000 3Figure 1.2 Agriculture Dominates Freshwater Use 3Figure 1.3 Projected Water Scarcity, 19952025 3

    Figure 2.1 World Demand for Cereals, 1997 and 2020 20Figure 2.2 Increased Cereal Demand, 19972000 20Figure 2.3 World Demand for Meat, 1997 and 2020 20

    Figure 3.1 Countries with the Largest Shares of Forests, 2000 39Figure 3.2 Forests in Protected Areas, 2000 40

    Figure 4.1 World Energy Consumption by Fuel Type, 1998 59Figure 4.2 Growth in Primary Energy Consumption, 18602060 59Figure 4.3 Per Capita Energy Use, 19902050 60Figure 4.4 Projected Growth in Renewable Energy Use, 18602060 60

    Figure 5.1 Single Greatest Threat to Future Generations 76Figure 5.2 Share of Respondents Who Identified Environmental Pollution

    as Single Greatest Threat to Future Generations, 19972001 76

  • vii

    BOXES

    Box 1.1 Millennium Declaration on Water Resources 2Water Targets for 2015 15

    Box 2.1 Conflicts and Natural Disasters 22 Box 2.2 A New Era for Rice 30

    Land, Water, and Food Production Targets for 2015 34

    Box 3.1 Forests as Habitats 38Box 3.2 Upsetting Natures Balance 42Box 3.3 The Mesoamerican Biological Corridor 45

    Forest and Biodiversity Targets for 2015 52

    Box 4.1 The Climate Challenge 62Box 4.2 Renewable Energy: Key to Poverty Reduction 71

    Energy Targets for 2015 70

    Box 5.1 Costa Ricas Ecomarkets Program 77Box 5.2 Sustainable Development Is Good Business 79Box 5.3 Trends in ODA and Foreign Direct Investment 80

    Millennium Development Goals 91

  • FOREWORD

    he human community faces an array of choices about the quality of our livesand the state of the global environment. Each of those choices will help todetermine what kind of world our children and grandchildren will live in. One

    possibility is that at long last we will pave a path toward environmental steward-ship and sustainable development. But it is also quite possible that we will travela less enlightened course, running down the earths natural capital and severelylimiting the choices our descendants will face.

    Over the next half-century, we could be:

    A world in which economic and social needs are balanced with the capacityof the earths resources and ecosystemsor a world impoverished by envi-ronmental degradation, where poverty and hunger still afflict a billion ormore people.

    A world that properly values water and manages it sustainablyor one thatfaces widespread water scarcity.

    A world making the transition to renewable energy sourcesor one stilldependent on fossil fuels, and where climate change is destabilizingmany nations.

    A world in which preventable diseases have been largely eliminatedor onein which millions of children continue to die annually because they donthave access to clean drinking water and adequate sanitation.

    T

    viii

  • ix

    A world of responsible consumption and pro-duction patternsor one still inundated bywaste and poisoned by hazardous materials.

    A world where rich-country markets are fullyopen to labor-intensive products from poorcountries, and where trade is making significantinroads against povertyor a world that remainsdeeply divided between rich and poor.

    The legacy is largely ours to shape, and the GlobalEnvironment Facility (GEF) will continue to play animportant role in this quest. A strategic alliance ofthe U.N. Development Programme, the U.N. Environ-ment Programme, and the World Bank, the GEF is aunique and innovative source of funding mandatedto make the connection between local and globalenvironmental challenges, and between nationaland international efforts, in order to conserve bio-diversity, reduce the risks of climate change, protectthe ozone layer, clean up international waters, stopland degradation, and eliminate persistent organicpollutants. Even though its portfolio is still young,and overall funding has been relatively modest, theGEF has made a differencefor example in reduc-ing ozone-depleting substances in Eastern Europeand Central Asia, in combating deforestation and

    desertification in Sub-Saharan Africa, and in bring-ing renewable energy to people in developing countries, many of whom live far from existingpower grids.

    The Challenge of Sustainability: An Action Agendafor the Global Environment has two goals: first, toassess whether the battle to overcome the worldsenvironmental problems is gaining strength, andsecond, to offer ideas and strategies for the next 10years. It focuses on the key issues of energy, forests,biodiversity, land and water degradation, andfinancing. And it proposes practical solutions thatbuild on the World Summit on SustainableDevelopment and the experiences since the EarthSummit in Rio de Janeiro in 1992. Readers may notagree with every strategy put forth in this report.But we can and must agree on the goals: an end toglobal poverty and hunger, renewed respect for theenvironment, and the urgent need for all actors tofulfill their responsibilities to give this generationand succeeding generations a chance to live withdignity and hope for the future.

    Kofi AnnanU.N. Secretary General

  • INTRODUCTION

    e have, in the last decade, seen environmental problems mountfrom extreme weather patterns and melting glacier