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The High-Level Segment opened on Wednesday afternoon, 26 May 1994, with over forty ministers and high-level officials in attendance. The original plan for the High-Level Segment was to hold a general discussion on the issues before the Commission on Wednesday afternoon, followed by more specific discussions on Thursday and Friday. On Thursday, the ministers were supposed to address economics and sustainable development in the morning and trade and sustainable development and production and consumption patterns in the afternoon. On Friday, the topic was supposed to be enhancing the role of the Commission, major groups and indicators. In spite of the good intentions of the Chair, the High-Level Segment went astray almost from the beginning. So many ministers had prepared opening statements that the general discussion lasted throughout the two and a half day meeting.

In his opening statement, CSD Chair Klaus T”pfer suggested that next year's meeting include more time for dialogue. He noted the need to discuss how well everyone is sticking to their Rio commitments. He stressed the right to development. He suggested the need to: identify the means to find new, additional and innovative financial resources; achieve a balance between trade and environment and sustainable development; and give the CSD the political weight and profile to achieve effective work.

UN Secretary-General Boutros Boutros-Ghali noted that it is two years since the Earth Summit opened a new era in international cooperation and brought a permanent change in the way States view the environment. Sustainable development is at the heart of development activity in the UN and is now recognized as the cornerstone of national development policy. The crucial challenge is to maintain political will. The next stage will require sustained commitment and new resources, alliances and partnerships. This was the message of Rio and should be the message of the CSD.

The following is a summary of the general discussion during the High-Level Segment.

INDIA: Kamal Nath, Minister of Environment and Forests, said that India and the UK will host an international workshop on forests in July in New Delhi. If the aims of sustainable development are to be met, two parallel processes are necessary: fulfillment of basic needs of all people and moderation of resource consumption. [Return to start of article]