Sustainability Hinges on Local Policies, not Global Goals
In the run-up to the UN Conference on Sustainable Development (Rio+20) in Brazil, much has been written about how to define sustainable development; the balance between environmental sustainability and human development; the kinds of goals and targets that might be adopted; and how these might then relate to goals that follow on from the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). These are important debates, but what matters more is the politics of development and the environment at a national and local level — to which we are not paying sufficient attention.
Why are national politics so important? Because looking back over the past 20 years, most progress on issues such as poverty, human development andclimate change has been driven by national-level concerns, not by multilateral goals or agendas.