GFDD Sits Down with UNEP NY Deputy Director to Discuss Importance of Sustainable Consumption and Production

June 30, 2014

On June 30, 2014 the Global Foundation for Democracy and Development (GFDD) sat down with Mr. Jamil Ahmad, the Deputy Director of United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) New York, for a focused discussion about Sustainable Consumption and Production (SCP) as part of the 2014 edition of the GFDD Global Roundtables.

Ms. Natasha Despotovic, GFDD’s Executive Director, welcomed Mr. Ahmad to GFDD’s New York Office before congratulating
him on his successful 28 year career as a diplomat. Mr Ahmad who has worked in a number of United Nations (UN) related positions all over the world, including in Rome and Nairobi, has particular expertise on environmental issues having acted as the G77 lead negotiator on climate change issues during the UN’s 2007 climate change negotiations.

Defining SCP as a way of minimizing the use of resources over the lifecycle of a product in order not to jeopardize the future generations, Ms. Natasha asked Mr. Ahmad for his views on the achievements of SCP and its importance in supporting sustainable development.

Mr. Ahmad stressed that there were two main benefits to SCP: decoupling and leapfrogging. He explained that the decoupling of economic
development from environmental degradation was ensured through SCP because of the desire to limit the use of resources to ensure development. For developing countries, he explained that SCP was a route to leapfrog over the mistakes of industrialized countries, by avoiding the use of carbon intensive industries and selecting instead more sustainable resources to achieve the same level of economic development.Turning to the importance of the UN’s Rio+20 Conference on Sustainable
Development (June 2012) for SCP, Mr. Ahmad stressed that it had allowed the UN to reaffirm it as the "cornerstone of sustainable development".

Speaking about the 10 Year Framework of Programmes on Sustainable Consumption and Production Patterns (10YFP), Mr. Ahmad explained that this UNEP-led initiative aimed to encourage the shift to SCP through a variety of initiatives including sustainable buildings and improved financial assistance programs. He saw
the strategies developed at the regional and national level as particularly encouraging (including within the Caribbean region) and stressed the importance of including multiples stakeholders in the process (such as members of the press and financial institutions) to ensure a meaningful implementation of the 10YFP.

Concluding with a segment about the ongoing negotiations related to the Post-2015 Development Agenda, Ms. Despotovic asked Mr. Ahmad about the role of UNEP in
steering the work of the Open Working Group on the Sustainable Development Goals (the replacement initiative to the Millennium Development Goals which end in December 2014). Mr. Ahmad highlighted that given the importance of the environment pillar within the three pillars of sustainable development (social, economic and environmental), UNEP had advised the technical task force in charge of drafting the SDGs that SCP played a particularly important role in this new agenda. He confirmed that
as a result of this intervention, SCP now figures as a cross cutting theme of the SDGs.

To find out more about these frameworks please visit the related links below.

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