North American Roundtable launched at United Nations

In 2002 the World Summit on Sustainable Development (WSSD) reviewed progress that had been achieved in the decade since the UN Conference on Environment and Development (aka Earth Summit) in Rio de Janeiro. The WSSD review noted that despite improved public awareness and increased energy and material efficiency from technology and management, the global social and environmental trends were worsening. This "implementation gap," which continues through the current decade, is due to (1) lack of sufficient political will and action and (2) increasing levels of unsustainable consumption and production.

Identifying sustainable consumption and production as one of the "overarching objectives" of sustainable development, the World Summit repeated earlier calls for each country and region to develop strategies and initiatives addressing this objective -- with the developed countries to take the lead. Since then each region has held consultations on how to move forward. North America, the region repeatedly cited for having the highest levels of consumption and waste, held its consultation in November 2009, although with little official follow-up since then. Recognizing the need to take action to move the North American process forward, four civil society networks announced last November their commitment to help develop the regional dialogue on sustainable production and consumption. This May at United Nations headquarters in New York, these networks --the North American Sustainable Consumption Alliance (NASCA), the Canadian Environmental Network, the Citizens Network for Sustainable Development, and the Sustainable Consumption Research and Action Initiative (SCORAI) -- officially launched the North American Roundtable on Sustainable Production and Consumption.

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