UN Secretary-General (UNSG) Ban Ki-moon submitted a report, titled ‘Harmony with Nature,' to the 68th Session of the UN General Assembly (UNGA 68).
The report calls for an economic approach that takes into account natural capital and sustainable natural resources management to ensure a holistic relationship between humans and the Earth.
September 2013: UN Secretary-General (UNSG) Ban Ki-moon has submitted a report, titled ‘Harmony with Nature,’ to the 68th Session of the UN General Assembly (UNGA 68). The report calls for an economic approach that takes into account natural capital and sustainable natural resources management to ensure a holistic relationship between humans and the Earth.
According to the report, the UN has recognized a holistic approach to sustainable development since the UN Conference on Sustainable Development (UNCSD, or Rio), including in the Rio+20 Outcome Document. However, the report argues that reliance on economic models that discount the future costs of goods and services resulted in a failure to operationalize sustainable development in a way that embraces equity, holism and resilience and contributed to interpreting sustainable development as a strategy for sustaining economic development rather than for supporting natural and social life.
The report highlights ecological economics as an approach that considers economic, environmental and social dimensions of sustainability and values concepts such as intergenerational equality, a healthy society and a thriving natural world. It argues that including the costs of biodiversity loss, climate change impacts and natural resources depletion provides incentives to move towards sustainability.
To achieve harmony with nature, the report states that society must accept limits to growth and reorient economic systems to better serve people and the planet. It recommends an economic framework that: goes beyond neoclassical and environmental economics; learns from deep ecology, rights of nature and systems theory; and factors in dynamics between key drivers of sustainability, including equity, justice and universal rights.
On the post-2015 agenda, the report recommends placing nature at the core of sustainable development. It states this agenda should sustain nature rather than reduce it to a resource that feeds economic systems.
The report includes seven recommendations: building a knowledge network to advance an economic paradigm reflecting Harmony with Nature; encouraging economics that considers the well-being of humanity and nature; recognizing interconnections between humanity and nature through enforceable statutes and constitutional provisions; supporting and promoting indigenous cultures living in harmony with the Earth; promoting broader measures of progress; showcasing work on Harmony with Nature; and including a sub-item on Harmony with Nature as an input to discussion on the post-2015 agenda in the UNGA 68 agenda. [Publication: Harmony with Nature] [Harmony with Nature website] [IISD RS Story on Harmony with Nature Dialogue]