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Nations urged to combine environmental and development goals
by John Vidal
Degradation of the natural world is undermining efforts to reduce poverty, warn scientists, who say the only chance of achieving global prosperity is for all countries to combine poverty and environmental targets.
World leaders should set six goals around universal clean energy, an end to water and food shortages, thriving lives and livelihoods, and healthy and productive ecosystems, they say.
Professor David Griggs, Director of the Monash Sustainability Institute in Australia, argues in an article in the journal Nature that it is no longer enough for countries to solely pursue the poverty alleviation targets enshrined in the Millennium Development Goals (MDG) that were agreed in 2000 but run out in 2015.
“Humans are transforming the planet in ways that could undermine any development gains. Mounting research shows that the stable functioning of Earth systems — including the atmosphere, oceans, forests, waterways, biodiversity and biogeochemical cycles — is a prerequisite for a thriving global society,” he writes, with colleagues.
Instead, the authors say that the old goals should be combined with global environmental targets drawn from science and from existing international agreements to create new “ Sustainable Development Goals” (SDGs).