Rio+20 og politik fra neden

Forud for Rio+20 skrev Elinor Ostrom denne kommentar: Green from the grassroots. En kommentar, som rækker videre end til blot denne konference. Ostrom laver en elegant syntese mellem på den ene side nøgterne forventninger til hvad FN-systemet og globalt bindende aftaler kan levere og på den anden side både en indtrængende appel og et opløftende syn på, hvordan overlappende politik på mange niveauer, kan og må føre os i den rigtige retning.

Decades of research demonstrate that a variety of overlapping policies at city, subnational, national, and international levels is more likely to succeed than are single, overarching binding agreements. Such an evolutionary approach to policy provides essential safety nets should one or more policies fail.

The good news is that evolutionary policymaking is already happening organically. In the absence of effective national and international legislation to curb greenhouse gases, a growing number of city leaders are acting to protect their citizens and economies.


Worldwide, we are seeing a heterogeneous collection of cities interacting in a way that could have far-reaching influence on how Earth’s entire life-support system evolves. These cities are learning from one another, building on good ideas and jettisoning poorer ones. Los Angeles took decades to implement pollution controls, but other cities, like Beijing, converted rapidly when they saw the benefits. In the coming decades, we may see a global system of interconnected sustainable cities emerging. If successful, everyone will want to join the club.

Fundamentally, this is the right approach for managing systemic risk and change in complex interconnected systems, and for successfully managing common resources – though it has yet to dent the inexorable rise in global greenhouse-gas emissions.

Rio+20 has come at a crucial juncture and is undoubtedly important. For 20 years, sustainable development has been viewed as an ideal toward which to aim. But the first State of the Planet Declaration, published at the recent mammoth science gathering Planet Under Pressure, made it clear that sustainability is now a prerequisite for all future development. Sustainability at local and national levels must add up to global sustainability. This idea must form the bedrock of national economies and constitute the fabric of our societies.

The goal now must be to build sustainability into the DNA of our globally interconnected society.

Ostrom fik Nobel-prisen i 2009, hvilket vi dengang nævnte her på bloggen under overskriften “Nobelpris til græsrodsøkonom”.

Desværre var denne kommentar noget af det allersidste Ostrom fik leveret. Hun døde den 12. juni, og nåede altså ikke selv at få Rio-konferencen med. I det lys kan kommentaren læses som en kortfattet, men værdig prøve på nogle af hendes bidrag og på hendes tilgang til økonomi som en praktisk og jordnær disciplin forankret i den levede hverdag på alle niveauer – på græsrodsplan. Samtidig med at hun havde et klart blik for den globale sammenhæng og helhed, og for behovet og mulighederne for handling.

Søren Steen Olsen, Partner Futures studies, backcasting and scenarios, policy development, research, analysis and reports, future economy, CSR and working market. Søren Steen Olsen is a futurist, policy strategist and co-founder of Public Futures and House of Futures. Originally trained as an economist, he has taught economics at the University of Copenhagen and Copenhagen Business School. Worked as a professional futurist at the Copenhagen Institute for Futures Studies for more than a decade. He has consulted, written and lectured extensively on a broad range of subjects including labour market, family patterns, international economics and futures studies. He specialises in political strategy and policy development. At Public Futures he has helped pioneer social innovation in Denmark, working with the Danish Ministry of Social Affairs, The Danish AIDS Foundation, Danner’s Shelter, DaneAge Association, various Danish municipalities, and the National Association of Join-In Centres, among others. m: +45 28448977 e: sto@houseoffutures.dk w: www.publicfutures.dk

Posted in Politics & policy development, Sustainability

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