Treasury urged to take lead post Rio+20

Published: 27 September 2012 at 14:09

Anglia Ruskin’s Dr Aled Jones tells Select Committee that UK must shape Goals

The UK Government, and in particular the Treasury, should take a leading role in shaping the Sustainable Development Goals following the UN Rio+20 Earth Summit, according to Dr Aled Jones, Director of Anglia Ruskin University’s Global Sustainability Institute.

In written evidence to the Commons Select Committee on Outcomes of the UN Rio+20 Earth Summit, Dr Jones put forward his recommendations for the Sustainable Development Goals, which form part of The Future We Want – the outcome document of Rio+20.

Dr Jones said:

“The UK should now engage the Treasury on developing the Sustainable Development Goals. The UK should take global leadership and work with the other economic and finance departments of other countries to develop a simple narrative on Goals that deliver a new economic strategy and narrative.
“The post 2015 planning should highlight the increasing systemic risk that economies face given emerging market growth, increased competition for global commodities and increased demand for an equitable distribution of these commodities.
“This includes restructuring critical global institutions such as the World Bank to create more flexible mechanisms for them to engage in financial markets to develop the frameworks around which private sector capital can be attracted.
“The panel should also highlight common policy frameworks which underpin future strategies for green economic growth including short term support for new technology (for example feed-in-tariffs), eliminating fossil fuel subsidies while focusing support on pro-poor energy access, achieving a price on carbon and realigning economic policies to support future green growth. See Capital Markets Climate Initiative (CMCI) Investment Grade Policy report
“In addition a clear commitment to managing the risks associated with global resource constraints (either from limited supply or from increased demand led by economic growth in emerging markets) should be put in place. This requires a much more interventionist set of policies and may necessitate strong industrial policy that is coordinated globally.
“Existing policy intended to manage risk, in particular in the finance sector (such as Solvency II and Basel III) should be examined to ensure that while they may manage past risk (the risks we have already encountered) they do not hinder the change that is needed to unlock solutions to global policies. For example, restrictions on investment into long term illiquid assets could restrict investment into new ‘green’ infrastructure projects.”

Dr Jones also warned that the UK’s commitment to international climate finance should not come at the expense of country’s international development aid commitments.  He said:

“The UK Government has good bold ambition that meets some of the objectives in The Future We Want including a commitment to international aid and climate change action through the UK Climate Change Act.
“However these long term and strategic commitments are not supported by a clear and consistent set of policies that would enable delivery of these commitments.

“For example, UK Department for International Development requires larger capacity to ensure that aid funding is spent in the best way on projects at all scales.  UK commitment to international climate finance should not substitute for international development aid commitments (it should be in addition to the 0.7% aid commitment – this was the intention at the Copenhagen Summit but has since been ignored).”
Anglia Ruskin’s Global Sustainability Institute focuses on individual behaviour change set against the context of global sustainability challenges, in particular resource challenges. Anglia Ruskin is a member of the Green Economy Coalition and was the first UK University to sign the Higher Education Sustainability Declaration for Rio+20.

Dr Jones chairs a working group on climate finance within the Capital Markets Climate Initiative on behalf of Greg Barker MP, the Minister for Climate Change in the Department for Energy and Climate Change (DECC). The full evidence supplied by Dr Jones is available at