Equity for a Small Planet
IIED's 30th Anniversary Conference

London, UK; 12 - 13 November 2001


Daily Coverage: Tuesday, 13 November

IISD's Summary Report will be available online on Thursday, 15 November in HTML ball.gif (204 bytes) TEXT ball.gif (204 bytes)PDF

Monday, 12 November
The International Institute for Environment and Development
(IIED) convened its workshop on “Equity for a Small Planet” on Monday, 12 November 2001, at the Canada House in London, UK. The one-day workshop focused on ways of ensuring greater equity and developing local livelihoods, particularly in developing countries, within the context of an increasingly market-oriented process of globalization. Over 125 participants attended, representing governments, NGOs, multilateral organizations, academia and the private sector. 

The workshop addressed corporate accountability, stakeholder engagement, and empowerment of marginalized groups and other issues. Participants formed five Working Groups, which met in morning and afternoon sessions, to address themes of: standards and certification; corporate-community partnerships; regoverning markets; poverty reduction and forest conservation through markets for environmental services; and investment for sustainable development. 

The reports of these discussions would be presented at IIED’s 30th Anniversary Conference, the International Forum in the World Summit for Sustainable Development (WSSD), to be held on Tuesday, 13 November 2001, at the Trade Union Congress in London

Ashok Khosla, Chair of the IIED International Workshop, stated that Equity for a Small Planet carries connotations about issues the poor strive to get on the global agenda.  Mentioning that “equity” strives to be inclusive, while working to create sustainable jobs for all, he asked how to bring about mechanisms, which create sustainable livelihoods.  He emphasized that the planet is smaller because of globalization, which brings about a need for a global economy that plays a role in the lives of all. He stated there should be a two point agenda going into Johannesburg, which would include how to establish mechanisms for eradicating poverty and sustainable livelihoods and how to ensure accountability in the international system

Listen to the RealAudio

Ashok Khosla


Hilary Benn

Noting the relevance of the IIED’s work programme to the WSSD agenda, Hilary Benn, Parliamentary Under-Secretary of the State at the UK Department for International Development, elaborated why poverty eradication should be central to the Summit agenda, emphasized the need for practical models to support behavior change, and stressed the need for collaboration despite the credibility dilemma for developed countries due to their past abysmal environmental record. He highlighted key elements for the Summit, including: finance, trade and investment; the role of civil society; disparities in wealth; and governance. Noting that WSSD will conclude exactly one year following the events of 11 September, he emphasized the lessons of global interdependence, and the need to address challenges of poverty, injustice and inequality

Listen to the RealAudio Part 1 and Part 2


Robert Rochon, Deputy High Commissioner, Canadian High Commission, London, welcomed participants to the workshop, highlighted Canada’s association with IIED and praised their work in fostering international consensus on environment and development. He stated that this workshop would continue the tradition of enhancing issues and enabling the international community to work together

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Robert Rochon

Nigel Cross

Nigel Cross, Executive Director, IIED, thanked the Canadian High Commission and introduced the agenda, noting the issue of markets had emerged since UNCED and would be on the table at  WSSD. He said that the discussions from today’s workshop would inform the Conference tomorrow in the form of a Chair’s report, and introduced Ashok Khosla, Chair of the IIED Workshop

Listen to the RealAudio


In the morning, the Plenary heard introductory and keynote speakers, and allowed time for a brief discussion before breaking into the Working Groups. In the afternoon, the Plenary heard presentations on local and global governance, resumed discussions in the Working Groups, and then reported the results of their discussions back to Plenary



Images from the Working Groups


Sean Southey of the International Council for Local Environmental Initiatives (ICLEI) explained that the world has made significant progress towards sustainable development at the local level
Listen to the RealAudio


Arif Hasan, Orangi Pilot Project, Pakistan, elaborated on the disparity between local governance and the way people live, using the city of Karachi as an example
Listen to the RealAudio  


Camilla Toulmin, IIED, discussed the need to redesign global architecture so it can address all equitably. She argued that strong local structures provide clear and simple models for global governance
Listen to the RealAudio

A brief discussion followed during which participants highlighted, inter alia: community-level operations as the most successful mechanisms for sustainable development; lack of representation and involvement by developing country ministries of finance, trade and industry in environmental negotiations; debt relief and management for poor countries; how WSSD could further the agenda of poverty eradication; climate change; and practical initiatives to rectify timber and diamonds as commodities that promote conflict in Africa. 
One participant emphasized that the Secretariats of many UN conferences should collaborate. Hilary Benn agreed, acknowledging the overlap that exists within the “UN family.” Chair Khosla said that people should not rely on aid but on fulfillment of agreements and promises, so that the international community does not suffer from lack of credibility and confidence, and advocated restructuring the global economy so that communities could take care of themselves without relying on aid with strings attached


Question and Answer session. Listen to the RealAudio

Lael Bethlehem

Johannah Bernstein

Tony Fairclough, a participant in the discussion on the pros and cons of standards and certification


Standards and Certification: a leap forward or a step back for sustainable development?
Facilitator Danielson reported on the group’s discussions, noting that in addressing potential applicability of a certification process the overall conclusion was that no one formula would cover all situations or companies, and that a certification process should address contexts in which products and services are different. He noted that most drivers for certification come from developed countries and are imposed on domestic industries; suggested examining whose values are being reflected; and stressed the role of government and the issue of capacity; and questioned whether a certification system would support government or act as a substitute for a system that is not working. He also noted that certification is a tool and its utility may depend on what other tools are being used. He added that certification is often driven by consumer preference but sometimes can be weak, noted over 100 different certification schemes for consumers, and supported education of consumers to help drive the process

Listen to the RealAudio (Facilitator Luke Danielson's, report back to the Plenary on the group’s discussions)


Silver Bullet or Fool's Gold: Can Markets for Environmental Services Help Conserve Forests and Reduce Poverty? 
Natasha Landell-Mills of the IIED presented on markets as solutions to environmental problems, market versus non-market approaches, with a focus on forestry and its importance around the world. She emphasized the role of Agenda 21 as a framework for market instruments, expressing that government should play a complimentary role with market-oriented approaches
Listen to the RealAudio


Regoverning Markets: Market Access for Small Producers
The group noted three key issues: similarity of experiences among the small agricultural producers from both the North and South; the need to ask whether small producers should survive; and, in light of the significance of economic concentration in the local and global markets, the need for balance through regulation to deal with corporate power
Listen to the RealAudio


Corporate Community Partnerships: Fair Deals or Public Relations?
Noting that many of the aspects referred to as partnerships are merely relationships, the group reported an absence of consensus on the definition of partnerships. and highlighted, inter alia, that: governance is critical at both national and local levels; balance of power is an essential component of governance; and commercial viability is essential in partnerships

Listen to the RealAudio

Investment for Sustainable Development: the Public-Private Interface
The plenary session summary described methods for handling challenges to investment for sustainable development, and expressed that transnational corporations should be prepared to sign commitments and governments could deal with natural resource issues in the south by supporting regulation

Andrew Simms

Richard Ballhorn

David Anderson

IIED's 30th Anniversary Reception


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