Global reports – acknowledging sustainable development challenges

This page provides a gateway to a few (significant) UN and other global issue-oriented reports that I have come across recently. Collectively these reports serve to remind us to keep the bigger picture in mind, provide a snapshot of the state of the world, and help us reflect on our collective progress (or not) in addressing key sustainable development challenges such as energy, environment, and education.

www_icon2015 Human Development Report – Rethinking Work for Human Development. This report provides insight into global trends of work and challenges in rural development across the world, which are of relevance to existing and emerging national strategies and policies. Fast technological progress, deepening globalisation, aging societies and environmental challenges are rapidly transforming what work means today and how it is performed. This report encourages us to think about the impact of trends in the changing world of work on global human development.

Our Planet: Inclusive green economy: Building bridges to a sustainable future. In this 2016 issue of Our Planet, policymakers, environmental experts and a range of stakeholders explore the many pathways towards an inclusive green economy. A full listing of the Our Planet series is available – other 2015 issues cover Oceans – the Blue economy; Early warning as a human right; and Climate change and human rights.

www_iconWorld Energy Outlook 2015. The World Energy Outlook 2015 (WEO-2015) will present updated projections for the evolution of the global energy system to 2040, based on the latest data and market developments, as well as detailed insights on the prospects for fossil fuels, renewables, the power sector and energy efficiency and analysis on trends in CO2 emissions and fossil-fuel and renewable energy subsidies.

The State of Food Insecurity in the World 2015. This FAO annual State of Food Insecurity in the World report takes stock of progress made towards achieving the internationally established hunger targets, and reflects on what needs to be done, as we transition to the new post-2015 Sustainable Development Agenda.

www_iconThe State of World Fisheries and Aquaculture 2014. The State of World Fisheries and Aquaculture (SOFIA) is the flagship publication of the FAO Fisheries and Aquaculture Department. This premier advocacy document is published every two years to provide policy-makers, civil society and those whose livelihoods depend on the sector a comprehensive, objective and global view of capture fisheries and aquaculture, including associated policy issues.

Pathways and reasons for change

Over the past decade a number of reports acknowledge the growing need to readjust the way we live, and rebalance that with the requirements of the planet to provide the climate, food and other ecosystem services that we rely on. While most attention was paid to the message outlining the “need to change” (see the Earth clock), many of the authors of these reports also provided pathways forward. In most cases these included an acknowledgement of the need for learning-based processes for engagement and decision-making. Direct links to some of these reports, and others that provide a sense of perspective of what we might want from well-balanced social, ecological and economic systems are provided below.

Climate Change: Global risks, challenges and decisions This 2009 synthesis report presents an up-to-date overview of a broad range of research relevant to climate change – including fundamental climate science, the impacts of a changing climate on society and environment, and the many tools and approaches available to deal effectively with the challenge of climate change. The report has been produced by a writing team comprised of members of the Scientific Steering Committee for the IARU Congress and individuals invited to give the writing team academic and geographic breadth. This report was developed from the International Alliance of Research Universities international scientific congress on climate change, Climate Change: Global Risks, Challenges and Decisions, which was held in Copenhagen from 10-12 March 2009.

World in Transition – Climate Change as a Security Risk With this 2007 report WBGU highlights an issue that quite rightly is rising rapidly up the international political agenda. The authors pull no punches on the likelihood of increasing tensions and conflicts in a climatically constrained world and spotlight places where possible conflicts may flare up in the 21st century unless climate change is checked. The report makes it clear that climate policy is preventative security policy.

A collapse of fish species in 50 years? A study published in the November 3 issue of Science has raised the alarm about the declining number of fish species in the world. Using historical analysis, it projects the collapse of all fish stock by 2048. This was the first study on a global scale to investigate the role of biodiversity in marine ecosystems. Two good summaries of this study can be found from Globalization 101 and the BBC news website. However, the authors also point to the need for action now to protect the world’s coastlines and stocks to avoid this.

World agriculture: towards 2015/2030 – Summary report. This 2002 FAO report summarizes the main findings of the FAO study, World agriculture: towards 2015/30, which updates and extends the FAO global study, World agriculture: toward 2010, issued in 1995. It assesses the prospects, worldwide, for food and agriculture, including fisheries and forestry, over the years to 2015 and 2030.