This document of Cepei and UN Environment presents an analysis of the main trends in the institutional arrangements and legal instruments that promote the integration of the environmental dimension of sustainable development. By identifying concrete experiences, innovations and ongoing challenges, this document also intends to promote a regional discussion on how to strengthen the inclusion of environmental considerations in sustainable development planning and management and, in particular, the 2030 Agenda and other international agreements adopted with this objective.
The main conclusions show the need to strengthen the coherence between institutions, policies and processes to avoid conflicting or duplicated efforts and contribute in an orderly manner to closing the gaps in the implementation of sustainable development. On the other hand, it is required to involve and coordinate a variety of sectors and stakeholders: decision makers, civil society and the private sector, as well as different levels of action, from local to global. This demands adequate legislative and institutional frameworks, especially the promotion of the rule of law in environmental matters.
The Latin American and Caribbean region has begun a process of strengthening environmental governance in accordance with global environmental agreements and has been closely involved in the promotion of sustainable development at the national level. This has strengthened the capacities of the environmental sector and laid the foundations for more effective incorporation of this dimension in the current implementation of the 2030 Agenda. However, the full inclusion of sustainable development at the operational level has not yet been achieved, reflecting a persistent tendency to maintain approaches in closed management structures. Thus, despite the multisectoral nature of the environment, considerations of this kind are still not taken into account structurally in all national development planning.
Environmental institutionality at the global, national, subnational and local levels can play a very important role in the promotion of integrated approaches to sustainable development in a practical way. To this end, we suggest the following nine recommendations for action:
Translate the Integrated Approach to Sustainable Development into concrete political management tools.
Strengthen the alignment between the SDGs and national development plans and strategies, including specifically environmental ones.
Encourage the participation of national environmental authorities in the 2030 Agenda planning and monitoring bodies to ensure the inclusion of the environmental dimension in sustainable development.
Align the implementation of the SDGs and compliance with the Multilateral Environmental Agreements in the public management of sustainable development.
Base the regulations for implementing the 2030 Agenda on environmental constitutional provisions to encourage an integrated approach in the legislative branch.
Align national legislation with international norms to support the conservation of regional environmental assets.
Take advantage of the advances in local environmental management to include subnational governments in the management of sustainable development.
Coordinate the effective participation of all the stakeholders involved in the implementation and monitoring of the 2030 Agenda, establishing synergies with the Regional Agreement on Principle 10 of Rio+20.
Ensure the production, management and availability of environmental data for balanced and integrated sustainable development decision making.