Istanbul Declaration launched

23 Mar 2012

We, the participants in the Global Human Development Forum, having met in Istanbul on 22-23 March 2012, hold that sustainable development centred on people with equity for all must be the foundation for global progress.  We come from all regions of the world, from governments and international organisations, from civil society and the private sector, and from academia. We are united in our conviction of the need for a new vision comprising the three dimensions of sustainable development—social, economic, and environmental—and puts people at the centre of development.

IstanbulThis requires the synergistic integration of sustainable development policies that are fully coherent and complementary. Development must be with and for the people, equitable, inclusive, and human rights driven. We believe that this should be the basis for the work at the United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development (Rio+20) in Rio de Janeiro in June 2012.
It is time to reset the global development agenda. The world needs a renewed commitment to sustainable development and strong political leadership to implement it. In this context, the following issues are of critical importance:
1) A globally adopted vision that combines equitable growth with environmental sustainability, rooted in universal values and global social justice, is needed. It should include a strong emphasis on social inclusion, social protection, and equity—in recognition of the fact that economic development has too often gone hand in hand with environmental degradation and increased inequality. In Istanbul we discussed this vision, as embodied in the UN Secretary General’s High-level Panel Report on Global Sustainability, and in the UNDP Human Development Report.

2) Additional resources are needed to fund innovative solutions to address today’s challenges to ensure a more sustainable and equitable development. Official Development Assistance remains an important resource and must be used in an effective manner. A coordinated approach in mobilization of global capital and local resources is essential to solve global environmental and social problems. New partnerships, inclusive of the private sector and civil society, can increase resources and contribute to a better life for all people today and for generations to come.  

3) Women constitute half of the world’s population. Empowering women, enhancing their opportunities through access to education, health care, basic services and their participation in the labour force, are essential. Promoting their larger participation in decision-making processes is also vital for sustainable development efforts.

4) Good governance for sustainable development is essential at global, regional, national and local levels. The United Nations has a vital role to play in engaging all societal actors and supporting national capacities to devise and implement comprehensive sustainable development strategies.
As we all work together towards this “new deal”, we recognise that economic growth and wealth creation should be inclusive, generate new decent jobs, and reduce poverty. The benefits should be extended to every individual in society. Defending and promoting the right of all to a clean and safe environment and a good standard of living—through the use of rights-based social compacts and the expansion of social protection to include the environmental dimension—are also required.

Adjustments to current patterns of production and consumption are needed to afford future generations the same (at least) development opportunities as the current generation. These adjustments will require structural transformations.

We also recognize the importance and power of measurement. We manage what we measure—and, in turn, what we measure affects what we do. It is therefore vital that we measure progress towards sustainable development in a more comprehensive manner. Measures are required that go beyond GDP to capture a fuller picture of human development, and emphasize sustainable and equitable outcomes. We urge greater support for the work underway around the world, in the United Nations and elsewhere, to design and use more appropriate measures of progress, and for countries and communities to collect data accordingly.

We welcome the recommendations of the United Nations Secretary-General’s High-Level Panel on Global Sustainability and the Global Human Development Report 2011 on Sustainability and Equity. And we note the need to maintain progress towards meeting the Millennium Development Goals in 2015, while building a consensus for a new post-2015 global framework that:
• Is universal in character, with relevance for all nations;
• Reflects the entirety of the sustainable development agenda, including the continuing importance of reducing poverty and inequality—particularly for the least developed countries;
• Addresses all three dimensions of sustainable development (social, economic and environmental), and their interconnections; and
• Is based on measurable indicators, that can promote effective monitoring of progress and response to challenges.

We would like to thank the Government of Turkey for hosting the 2012 Global Human Development Forum.