Ostend NGO Statement towards Sustainable Consumption and Production Patterns


Courtesy of European Environmental Bureau

To 'improve the quality of life for everyone within the Earth’s carrying capacity' is the core interest of Agenda 21 and all those who care for sustainability. Given the insight that only limited resources are available to fulfil this goal, it is necessary to develop economies which are less consumptive via different and more effective production and consumption patterns. To reach this goal is not only a question of scientific or technical improvement; it is foremost a question which values drive societal development and of political will to make the necessary changes. This means developing a wider vision of welfare, where satisfaction of needs, rather than consumption per se, is the aim. Consuming sustainable depends on accepting the responsibility to live in harmony with the greater community of life. It also means that responsible politicians need to move from commitments to action.

Responsibility of European Policy

As demanded in Agenda 21 the developed countries - and thus the EU at the regional level - have to show leadership in changing unsustainable consumption and production patterns. An international work plan was initiated in Oslo in 1994 already and states have been calling for action for more than a decade now. Thus the “European Stakeholder Meeting on Sustainable Consumption and Production” needs to implement those commitments and actions into institutional frameworks as well as specific initiatives. Recognising that first steps have been taken - as reported in the EU Inventory – it is obvious that actual developments of consumption and production still do not lead into a sustainable direction.

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