This page is now
ANPED lives on as the Global
Policies and Sustainability Unit in the European Environmental Bureau
(EEB). You can still read our history (below), browse through our issues of The Switch, see who
ANPEDs members were, how the
team and board looked
like, check what we did related to the Rio+20 conference and contact us.
ANPED, the Northern Alliance for Sustainability works to empower Northern civil society in creating and protecting sustainable communities and societies worldwide. ANPED believes it necessary to develop less consumptive economies through sustainable consumption and production patterns.
Sustainable consumption and production (SCP) is the use of goods and
services that respond to basic needs and bring a better quality of life,
while minimizing the use of natural resources, toxic materials and
emissions of waste and pollutants over the life cycle, so as not to
jeopardize the needs of future generations.
The concept of ‘sustainable development’ was crystallized and popularized in the 1987 report of the United Nations World Commission on Environment and Development – the Brundtland Commission – which drew upon long established lines of thought that had developed substantially over the previous 20 years.
The Brundtland Commission’s shorthand characterization of ‘sustainable development’ is development that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs. The prominence given to ‘needs’ reflects a concern to eradicate poverty and meet basic human needs, broadly understood.
The concept of sustainable development focused attention on finding strategies to promote economic and social development in ways that avoided environmental degradation, over-exploitation or pollution, and sidelined less productive debates about whether to prioritize development or the environment. A variety of important constituencies could support this concept. The link with ‘sustainability’ satisfied a variety of environmental constituencies. The emphasis on ‘development’ could be widely endorsed, and was particularly welcomed by representatives from the South, development agencies, and groups primarily concerned about poverty and social deprivation.
The global policy focus on sustainable consumption and production (SCP)
The first global-political agreement on the need for sustainable consumption was Chapter 4 of Agenda 21, the UN Conference on Environment and Development report agreed in Rio de Janeiro in 1992. It stressed that 'action is needed to promote patterns of consumption and production that reduce environmental stress and will meet the basic needs of humanity'.
In Chapter 4, "Changing consumption patterns," Agenda 21 identifies two programmes for action: (1) focusing overall attention on the problem of unsustainable patterns of production and consumption, and (2) developing national policies and strategies to encourage changes in unsustainable consumption patterns. Further, in the Rio Declaration, Principle 8 declares that "to achieve sustainable development and a higher quality of life for all people, States should reduce and eliminate unsustainable patterns of production and consumption..."
Ten years after the Rio conference, at the World Summit on Sustainable Development in Johannesburg in 2002, SCP has been put on the international agenda. In Chapter 3 of the Johannesburg Plan of Implementation, dedicated to changing unsustainable patterns of consumption and production, governments committed themselves in the "promotion of the development of a 10-year framework of programmes in support of regional and national initiatives to accelerate the shift towards sustainable consumption and production." This calls for specific actions to be taken by governments for sustainable consumption and production.
ANPED’s role in the promotion of SCP
The Northern Alliance for Sustainability (ANPED) was founded in 1991 as the Alliance of Northern People for Environment and Development, to bring NGOs across the Northern hemisphere together. The founding members recognised that richer nations in the Northern Hemisphere have very specific environmental responsibilities with regard to the impact of their policies on the poorer South.
In 1992, members of ANPED established a working group on changing consumption and production patterns. The aim of the working group was to link up to practical ‘on the ground’ initiatives on sustainability and build a movement for sustainable consumption and production by exchanging and disseminating information on convincing alternatives to current patterns of consumption and production in various forums.
One of the outcomes of the Brundtland Commission’s report was the United Nations Conference on Environment and Development, culminating in the Earth Summit in Rio de Janeiro held in June 1992. At this summit, the Agenda 21 action plan for sustainable development was adopted. This action plan concluded that the major cause of the continued deterioration of the global environment is the unsustainable pattern of consumption and production, particularly in industrialized countries.
In October 1993, ANPED established a permanent secretariat in Amsterdam, The Netherlands to coordinate the dissemination of information on SCP and to coordinate the input for lobbying for SCP at international meetings (such as the United Nations Commission for Sustainable Development, the European Union, the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development, and the World Health Organization).
2011 the secretariat moved to Brussels (Belgium) and founded a
Belgian IVZW (international nonprofit association). Today, ANPED has over one hundred member organisations, all working towards a better quality of life for everyone within the Earth’s carrying capacity.
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