“The founders of the United Nations well understood that if we ignore one pillar, we imperil the other two,” said Mr. Ban during today’s Security Council debate on inclusive development for the maintenance of international peace and security, which was chaired by Michelle Bachelet, President of Chile, which holds the 15-member body’s presidency for the month.“The post-2015 sustainable development agenda is an important opportunity to reinforce the interdependence of development, peace and security, and human rights,” he told the Council debate, which coincides with the opening of the General Assembly’s three-day informal ‘stock-taking’ in the process of intergovernmental negotiations on that future agenda. The Secretary-General said he was encouraged that during debates so far held about completing the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) by the end of this year, launching a post-2015 sustainability agenda, and reaching an agreement on climate change, Member States had paid considerable attention to peace and security and to human rights.The General Assembly Open Working Group on Sustainable Development Goals had discussed the importance of inclusive growth and decent work, called for reducing inequality and ensuring universal access to basic services, including health care and education, had explicitly linked peace with social inclusion and access to justice for all, and had called for inclusive, representative decision-making.In the so called ‘synthesis’ report he presented to the General Assembly last month – The Road to Dignity by 2030: Ending Poverty, Transforming All Lives and Protecting the Planet ¬– Mr. Ban underscored the importance of justice to building peaceful and inclusive societies, emphasising the need for strong and responsive institutions.“With the full membership of the United Nations beginning its negotiations later this morning, we now have an important opportunity to broaden the development agenda and highlight the fundamental importance of inclusive societies in building a more peaceful world,” he said.Every country could benefit from sustainable and inclusive development, tackling persistent exclusion and inequality, ensuring that the most vulnerable have access to basic services and can participate in political dialogue, tackling the “blatant injustice” of discrimination against women and girls, and extending social security provision to the world’s population still lacking a safety net for times of illness or unemployment.Post-conflict societies in particular need to prioritize social, economic and political inclusion in order to rebuild trust between communities. Women’s participation in reconciliation and reconstruction also depended on gender equality and women’s empowerment, he said.“The Peacebuilding Commission provides coordinated international support targeted at countries emerging from conflict,” continued Mr. Ban. “The current review of the UN’s peacebuilding architecture should help to make that support more robust and flexible.”Even in countries at peace, governments, the private sector and civil society must demonstrate commitment to inclusive development in education, health and job creation. It is also necessary to strengthen institutions of governance and political representation as they were some of the most crucial determinants of inclusive development.“People need effective, responsive channels for voicing their views and addressing their grievances and concerns,” he said.During the meeting, Security Council members adopted a Presidential Statement reaffirming the body’s commitment to sustainable peace and underlining the close linking and mutually reinforcing relationship between security and development, and the importance of that relationship to sustainable peace.Supporting countries in efforts to emerge from conflict requires a comprehensive and integrated approach, Council members reaffirmed in the Statement, adding that such an approach should incorporate and strengthen coherence between political, security, development, human rights and rule of law activities, and addressed the root causes of each conflict.The Council also reaffirmed the importance of national ownership and national responsibility to establishing sustainable peace, and underlined the need for coordination of integrated action on the ground by security and development actors with national authorities.Also included in the Statement was the Council’s encouragement to Member States to develop a UN common approach to inclusive development as a key for preventing conflict and enabling long-term stability and sustainable peace. In that regard, identifying and addressing exclusion, intolerance and violent extremism were important.The Council also recognized the continuing need to increase women’s participation and the consideration of gender-related issues in all discussions, and called upon Member States to take concrete measures to further assist youth.
A new report has indicated that despite years of commitments from all levels of government to reduce and streamline green tape in Australia, the level of reglatory complexity for development approvals has increased in the past seven years with little observable improvement in environmental outcomes. An audit by environmental and economic consultants URS comparing approvals laws in 2006 and today shows there has been more than 120 changes to state and federal government approvals laws and supporting legislation.The audit shows there have been six new pieces of legislation, six replacement Acts and more than 60 sets of amendments to approvals laws; and 50 sets of additions and amendments to subordinate legislation, regulations and codes of practice. In December 2007, the Council of Australian Government’s (COAG) Business Regulation And Competition Working Group agreed to pursue a national approach to red and green tape with the objective of ensuring “no net increase in the regulatory burden”. It appears little progress has been made in pursuit of this goal.The changes identified in the URS audit have had a material impact on the time and cost of obtaining approvals in Australia without any related increase in environmental protection. URS concludes that “the approval processes have become more politicised and with a shorter-term focus since the 2006 Audit, and that this has increased uncertainty and compliance costs for industry, as well as the costs incurred by government agencies in administering the processes”.The audit shows that in many cases there has been an inability to specify the “problem” or market failure the regulatory changes were designed to redress. This despite a November 2007 COAG agreement that new regulations would only be introduced after government had established a ‘case for action’.It is well past time that all levels of government got serious about their commitments to improve Australia’s regulatory environment. This does not mean less scrutiny nor should it mean lower environmental standards, it means more efficient and effective oversight. It also means less words and more action from all levels of government.As the URS report says: “The extent of regulatory ‘churn’ is highly destabilising for business. Further, the audit update also revealed that while there is a strong commitment to red/green tape reduction by governments, this has resulted in a plethora of review processes rather than efficiency reforms”.Other URS findings include that mining is subject to more regulatory requirments than most, if not all, other economic activities and the creation of independent expert panels has the potential to undermine the confidence of existing approvals processes. Offices of Best Practice Regulation become involved too late to have significant influence on the development of policy initiatives and associated regulatory measures. The loss of capacity, capability and competence with government agencies has impacted the ability to make the right regulatory decision in a timely manner.