Vol. 5 No. 238
SUMMARY OF THE FOURTEENTH SESSION OF THE COMMISSION ON SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT:
1-12 MAY 2006
The fourteenth session of the Commission on Sustainable Development (CSD-14) took place at UN headquarters in New York from 1-12 May 2006. The CSD meets annually, in two-year “Implementation Cycles,” with each cycle focusing on thematic clusters alongside cross-sectoral issues. Each cycle is comprised of a non-negotiating Review Year and a Policy Year. As this is the first year of the second implementation cycle (2006-2007) of the programme of work, CSD-14 was tasked to review progress in energy for sustainable development, industrial development, air pollution/atmosphere, and climate change, together with cross-cutting issues. Specifically, CSD-14 was tasked with evaluating progress in implementing Agenda 21, the Programme for the Further Implementation of Agenda 21, and the Johannesburg Plan of Implementation, while focusing on identifying barriers and constraints, lessons learned and best practices in implementation in the thematic cluster.
The first week of CSD-14 featured a series of thematic discussions, facilitated by expert panels, and meetings to consider reports from the UN Regional Commissions on the status of implementation. One day was also dedicated to a Multi-Stakeholder Dialogue. During the second week, one day was dedicated to discussion on Small Island Developing States (SIDS), with a review of the implementation of the Mauritius Strategy organized under the headings of the CSD-14 thematic cluster. The second week also saw a high-level segment, from 10-12 May, with over fifty ministers registered. Most came from environment ministries, and a third from trade, energy-related or other ministries. As the UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan observed at the opening of the high-level segment, CSD-14 was the first to be chaired by a finance minister. Ministers engaged in dialogue sessions with business leaders, Heads of UN agencies and international financial organizations, and Major Groups, focusing on barriers and constraints and providing guidance on the priority areas to be taken up at the CSD-15 policy session.
Throughout the official session, a Partnerships Fair hosted a programme of presentations and discussions also focusing on identifying barriers and constraints, lessons learned and best practices in the context of the Review’s thematic cluster. Over sixty partnerships working on Review themes have registered with the UN Division for Sustainable Development.
At the conclusion of CSD-14, delegates adopted the report of the session, including the Chair’s non-negotiated Summary, containing an overview of the discussions, the SIDS day, the Multi-Stakeholder dialogue, the high-level segment, as well as the Partnerships Fair and the Learning Center.
The first part of the Chair’s Summary was distributed on Wednesday, 9 May, and discussed in the afternoon. The second part of the Summary was distributed and discussed on the final day of the session, Friday 12 May.
CSD-14 was dominated by the energy agenda, with discussions focusing on energy security, the impact of oil and gas prices, and the respective roles of renewable energy technologies and fossil fuels, which, as delegates were informed repeatedly by oil-producing countries, will play a dominant role in the world’s energy mix for the foreseeable future. The non-negotiating format of this Review Session helped to disguise simmering tensions over the future of fossil fuels, nuclear power and the climate regime post-2012. Some of these tensions spilled onto the floor at the closing plenary, when the Group of 77 and China complained that the Chair’s Summary had sidelined their agenda, including the Millennium Development Goals and means of implementation, thus jeopardizing multilateralism by turning over the agenda to corporations and privatization. The session’s focus on energy, industrial development and climate change also seemed to throw the CSD a lifeline, in terms of its own relevance. The fate of several important recommendations directed at key actors, including the G8, the World Bank and business leaders, will show just how well the Commission has managed to seize the moment.
A BRIEF HISTORY OF THE CSD
The Commission on Sustainable Development emerged from Agenda 21, the programme of action for sustainable development adopted in June 1992 at the United Nations Conference on Environment and Development (UNCED), also known as the “Rio Earth Summit.” Agenda 21 called for the creation of the CSD to ensure effective follow-up of UNCED, enhance international cooperation, and examine progress in the implementation of Agenda 21 at the local, national, regional and international levels. In 1992, the UN General Assembly adopted resolution 47/191, which established the CSD’s terms of reference and composition, organization of work, relationship with other UN bodies, Secretariat arrangements, and guidelines for the participation of Major Groups. The CSD held its first substantive session in June 1993 and has met annually since. During its first five years, the CSD systematically reviewed the implementation of all chapters of Agenda 21.
UNGASS-19: In June 1997, five years after UNCED, the 19th Special Session of the UN General Assembly (UNGASS-19), also known as “Rio+5,” was held to review the implementation of Agenda 21. Negotiations produced a Programme for the Further Implementation of Agenda 21. Among the decisions adopted at UNGASS-19 was a new five-year CSD work programme, which identified sectoral, cross-sectoral and economic sector/major group themes for the next four sessions of the Commission. Overriding issues for each year were poverty and consumption and production patterns.
MILLENNIUM SUMMIT: The UN Millennium Summit, held from 6-8 September 2000, in New York, adopted the Millennium Declaration, which contains, inter alia, a number of international development goals. The themes contained in the Millennium Declaration were elaborated in the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), as contained in the September 2001 Report of the Secretary-General on the Road Map towards the Implementation of the Millennium Declaration. The MDGs, which have become commonly accepted as a framework for measuring progress in development, comprise eight overarching goals, 18 targets and 48 indicators.
CSD-9: The ninth session of the Commission on Sustainable Development took place at UN headquarters in New York from 16-28 April 2001. The session reviewed the sectoral themes of energy and atmosphere, the economic dimension of transport, and the cross-sectoral themes of information for decision-making and participation, and international cooperation for an enabling environment. The decision on energy contained six sections on general considerations, issues and options, overarching issues, regional cooperation and international cooperation, which dealt with diverse matters relating to, inter alia: energy efficiency; renewable energy and advanced fossil fuels; and making markets work for sustainable development and international endeavors. Consensus was not reached on certain issues, including: energy efficiency codes and standards; the phase-out of harmful subsidies in developed countries; promotion of reductions in atmospheric pollutants; and references to the development of policies supporting energy for sustainable development.
WSSD: CSD-10 acted as the Preparatory Committee for the World Summit on Sustainable Development (WSSD), which met from 26 August to 4 September 2002, in Johannesburg, South Africa. The WSSD adopted two main documents: the Johannesburg Plan of Implementation (JPOI) and the Johannesburg Declaration on Sustainable Development. The JPOI addresses energy in the context of sustainable development, and calls for action on access to energy services, recognition of the linkage between energy provision and poverty eradication, alternative energy technologies, and diversity of supply.
CSD-11: The eleventh session of the CSD took place from 28 April to 9 May 2003, at UN headquarters in New York. The session set out the Commission’s multi-year programme of work for the period 2004-2017 and decided on the modalities for reporting, partnerships, and enhancing both UN system coordination and Major Groups’ contributions. A Partnerships Fair and Learning Center courses took place concurrently with the session.
CSD-12: CSD-12 was held from 14-30 April 2004, at UN headquarters in New York. The first three days of CSD-12 (14-16 April) served as the preparatory meeting for the International Meeting on the 10-year Review of the Programme of Action for the Sustainable Development of SIDS. The following two weeks (19-30 April) were devoted to the CSD-12 Review Session. CSD-12 focused on identifying constraints, obstacles, successes and lessons learned with regard to water, sanitation and human settlements.
CSD-13: The thirteenth session of the CSD took place from 11-22 April 2005, at UN headquarters in New York. Building on the outcomes of CSD-12, CSD-13 focused on policies and options to expedite the implementation of commitments in the areas of water, sanitation and human settlements.
CSD-14 opened on Monday morning, 1 May 2006, with an announcement that Chair Aleksi Aleksishvili, Georgia’s Minister of Finance, was unable to attend due to a series of shocks to the Georgian economy, including an increase in gas import prices. Vice-Chair Azanaw Abreha (Ethiopia), who was elected as the African region’s representative on the CSD Bureau was invited to take the Chair. The other members of the Bureau, who had been elected at the first session of CSD-14 in 2005, were Vice-Chairs Javad Amin-Mansour (Iran), on behalf of the Asia Group, Yvo de Boer (Netherlands), on behalf of the Western European and Others Group, and Adrián Fernández Bramauntz (Mexico), on behalf of the Latin America and Caribbean Group. Vice-Chair Yvo de Boer was appointed Rapporteur.
In a written statement to the session, Aleksishvili said the work of CSD-14 had been organized to review issues following a more integrated approach than in previous sessions. However, reservations were voiced by a number of delegations, led by Guyana, on behalf of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) and the Rio Group, who felt that the integrated approach adopted in the Secretary-General’s report (E/CN.17/2006/3) would lead to an unbalanced treatment of the themes in the cluster. He cautioned that this was inconsistent with CSD-11 decisions to treat all themes on an equal basis. Cuba and the Russian Federation also noted the limitations of the consolidated treatment of the cluster issues in the Secretary-General’s report. After these concerns were noted by the Chair, delegates adopted the agenda and organization of work (E/CN.17/2006/1).
In his opening address, Jose Antonio Ocampo, UN Under-Secretary-General for Economic and Social Affairs, emphasized continuity in CSD work cycles, and noted interlinkages across all issues.
Participants then heard reports on intersessional meetings and activities, including:
THEMATIC CLUSTER FOR THE SECOND CYCLE 2006-2007: ENERGY FOR SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT, INDUSTRIAL DEVELOPMENT, AIR POLLUTION/ATMOSPHERE AND CLIMATE CHANGE
Often meeting in parallel sessions, delegates at CSD-14 focused on a review of the implementation of the thematic cluster for the 2006-2007 cycle, addressing energy for sustainable development, industrial development, air pollution/atmosphere and climate change.
Review of the implementation of Agenda 21, the Programme for the Further Implementation of Agenda 21, and the Johannesburg PlAN of Implementation: On the opening day of the session, Vice-Chair Azanaw Abreha invited participants to review progress on implementation.
South Africa, on behalf of Group of 77 and China (G-77/China), noted the importance of identifying the barriers and constraints facing all countries, so that policies and practical measures can be identified during CSD-15. She also proposed that the CSD incorporate a five-year review into its programme of work to mark the fifth anniversary of the WSSD. China focused, in particular, on the need to create an enabling international environment for trade and investment. Austria, on behalf of the European Union (EU), highlighted means of implementation and urged participants to address other cross-cutting issues such as sustainable consumption and production, and corporate social and environmental responsibility. The Alliance of Small Island States (AOSIS) called on states to ratify the Kyoto Protocol and bring greater urgency to their support for SIDS in implementing their national responses. Jamaica provided descriptions of the increased frequency and intensity of weather events and natural disasters, and underlined the importance of risk reduction and mitigation measures, in the context of climate change. The Solomon Islands said policy solutions for the Least Developed Countries (LDCs) were not being matched by sufficient resources, and called for a standing group to continually monitor implementation of sustainable development. The US urged participants to focus on partnerships, best practice, measurable results and expanding networks of implementers.
The African Group set out the challenges for African countries under each of the thematic headings for the Review Session and endorsed the integration of climate change mitigation and adaptation in policy processes. Australia recalled the importance of partnerships, good governance and the role of trade liberalization. Brazil made the first of a number of interventions on its advanced ethanol market and technology, offering to share this with others, and calling for the dismantling of trade barriers.
THEMATIC DISCUSSIONS: Thematic discussions on energy for sustainable development, industrial development, air pollution/atmosphere, climate change, and cross-cutting themes focused on progress in the implementation of Agenda 21, the Programme for the Further Implementation of Agenda 21 and the JPOI, as well as the Mauritius Strategy based on the Secretary-General’s reports on overall progress and on SIDS. The discussions highlighted obstacles and constraints, lessons learned and best practices, as well as next steps. Each thematic discussion opened with panel presentations, followed by a discussion session.
Energy services: On Monday, 1 May, delegates met in a parallel session on improving access to reliable, affordable, economically viable, socially acceptable and environmentally sound energy services. On improving access in urban and rural areas from the perspective of end-use applications, delegates stressed the need for multi-stakeholder and community involvement; and on gender access, participants emphasized the implications of energy sources for women’s health, incomes and educational opportunities. A summary of these discussions is available online at: http://enb.iisd.org/vol05/enb05229e.html
On Tuesday, 2 May, discussions continued on improving access to energy services with a focus on electrification. Several countries shared experiences in national electrification and clean energy initiatives, stressing the importance of context-specific solutions and subsidizing supply costs. A summary of these discussions is available online at: http://enb.iisd.org/vol05/enb05230e.html
Renewable and clean technologies: On Wednesday, 3 May, in a session on meeting growing needs for energy services through increased use of renewable energy, delegates discussed: renewable energy for poverty eradication and productive activities; facilitating the dissemination of renewable energy technologies; policy and capacity building; and advanced technologies, including advanced, clean technologies for fossil fuels. Several developing countries and SIDS shared experiences and called for technological and financial assistance. A summary of these discussions is available online at: http://enb.iisd.org/vol05/enb05230e.html
Energy efficiency: On Tuesday, 2 May, in a session on enhancing energy efficiency, delegates discussed incentives vis-à-vis disincentives, improved transmission of electricity, and end-use in commercial and residential sectors. Many speakers shared their experience of best practice at the national level, including, inter alia: public-private partnerships; transportation initiatives; information exchange; and end-use experience. A summary of these discussions is available online at: http://enb.iisd.org/vol05/enb05230e.html
On Wednesday, 3 May, discussions continued on enhancing energy efficiency with a focus on energy efficiency in transportation and facilitating the development, deployment and dissemination of energy efficient technologies. A summary of these discussions is available online at: http://enb.iisd.org/vol05/enb05230e.html
Energy and industrial development: On Friday, 5 May, in a session on investing in energy and industrial development, delegates discussed conditions for an enabling environment, including capital markets, foreign direct investment, funding for large-scale energy and industrial projects, innovative financing arrangements, and incentives for small-scale projects. Several developing countries noted how the energy crisis is affecting poverty reduction strategies, and others voiced pessimism regarding renewable and clean energy investments in Africa. A summary of these discussions is available online at: http://enb.iisd.org/vol05/enb05233e.html
Industrial development: On Thursday, 4 May, in a session on accelerating industrial development for poverty eradication, delegates discussed: enhancing industrial productivity and competitiveness in developing countries; micro and small- and medium-sized enterprises; and increasing the share of medium and high technology manufacturers in developing countries. In a session on industrial development and sustainable natural resource management, delegates discussed sustainable consumption and production patterns. Several countries noted their role in the Marrakech Process and opportunities for developing countries to leapfrog to sustainable technologies. A summary of these discussions is available online at: http://enb.iisd.org/vol05/enb05232e.html
Air Pollution/Atmosphere: On Thursday, 4 May, in a session on an integrated approach to addressing air pollution and atmospheric problems, delegates discussed sources and impacts. Some countries noted the difficulty of addressing air pollution and greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions without affecting economic growth in developing countries. A summary of these discussions is available online at: http://enb.iisd.org/vol05/enb05232e.html
Climate Change: On Thursday, 4 May, in a session on inter-linkages between climate change and sustainable development, delegates discussed relationships between energy consumption, efficiency, conservation and climate change, industry and climate change, and combating climate change through national sustainable development strategies. While some developing countries could accept voluntary commitments in the context of international cooperation and common but differentiated responsibilities, developed countries noted that rising emissions from non-Annex I countries will soon exceed those of Annex I countries. A summary of these discussions is available online at: http://enb.iisd.org/vol05/enb05232e.html
Means of implementation: On Friday, 5 May, in a session on means of implementation through subregional, regional and international cooperation, delegates discussed cooperation in support of national efforts to strengthen capacity building and governance, better targeting of official development assistance (ODA) and ensuring aid effectiveness, and technology transfer. Delegates stressed South-South cooperation, public-private partnerships and long-term regulatory frameworks. A summary of these discussions is available online at: http://enb.iisd.org/vol05/enb05233e.html
Inter-linkages: On Friday, 5 May, in a session on inter-linkages and cross-cutting issues, delegates discussed how they might address the social, economic and environmental dimensions of the thematic issues as well as regional differences, through national sustainable development strategies, to ensure coherence. They also discussed research and development. Several countries emphasized the need for an integrated approach and technology transfer. A summary of these discussions is available online at: http://enb.iisd.org/vol05/enb05233e.html
Private sector: On Tuesday, 9 May, in a session on enhancing the contributions of the private sector and other stakeholders, delegates discussed increasing investments in energy and industrial development, fostering entrepreneurship, especially women entrepreneurs, and promoting micro and small- and medium-sized enterprises, including the facilitation of and access to financial services. They also addressed corporate environmental and social responsibility and accountability. Delegates called for information sharing, corporate social and environmental responsibility, and mentoring for small- and medium-sized enterprises. A summary of these discussions is available online at: http://enb.iisd.org/vol05/enb05235e.html
REGIONAL PERSPECTIVES: Delegates heard brief presentations on the outcomes of the regional implementation meetings, followed by interactive discussions. On Tuesday, 2 May, regional sessions were held for the UN Economic Commission for Africa (ECA), the UN Economic and Social Commission for Western Asia (ESCWA), the UN Economic Commission for Europe (ECE) and the UN Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP). The session for the UN Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC) was held on Wednesday, 3 May. Summaries of these sessions are available online at http://enb.iisd.org/vol05/enb05230e.html and http://enb.iisd.org/vol05/enb05231e.html
On Wednesday, 3 May, Vice-Chair Javad Amin-Mansour, chaired an interactive discussion on the contribution of the Major Groups to the themes of the 2006-2007 review session. Local Authorities, with South Africa, called for national-level support for their GHG mitigation role. Farmers highlighted the need for supportive research and incentives. Indigenous People, supported by Canada, called for the replication of participatory projects, and rights-based approaches in Clean Development Mechanism (CDM) projects. The European Community noted the links between environmental protection, social cohesion and competitiveness. Women and NGOs called for a phase-out of nuclear technology.
On energy for sustainable development, Business and Industry shared their experience on increasing energy efficiency. Women highlighted the links between gender, equity and development, noting the potential for women to adopt energy entrepreneurial roles. The Scientific and Technological Community supported nuclear power while noting the need to address waste disposal, safety and proliferation. The US highlighted corporate innovations in stakeholder engagement.
On industrial development, Workers and Trade Unions called for a more participatory role for employees in the workplace. Sweden underlined the role of education for sustainable consumption.
A summary of this dialogue is available online at: http://enb.iisd.org/vol05/enb05231e.html
DAY ON SMALL ISLAND DEVELOPING STATES
On Monday, 8 May, in sessions chaired by Vice-Chair Yvo de Boer, delegates reviewed SIDS progress within the context of the Mauritius Strategy for Implementation and the thematic clusters. Three panels were introduced, followed by interactive discussions. On energy access and efficiency and renewable energy, the EU noted new financial instruments being developed for EU-SIDS cooperation. Azerbaijan highlighted the responsibility of oil exporters to support access by SIDS to cleaner fossil fuel technologies. Cuba said that ODA had been reduced by over 50% and underlined SIDS-to-SIDS experience sharing. Mauritius noted that increased energy efficiency may come at the expense of jobs. Tuvalu discussed the connections between energy security and environmental degradation, and Dominica proposed a SIDS Day at CSD-15.
On industrial development in SIDS, several countries noted energy efficiency initiatives in the tourism industry. Guatemala called for culturally sensitive local-level approaches. Côte d’Ivoire noted that Brazil can adapt automobiles to wholly or partially use ethanol as a fuel, and suggested exploring the implications for other countries. The Marshall Islands highlighted the importance of governance. On atmospheric pollution and adaptation to climate change, several countries stressed the international community’s duty to help SIDS implement their development strategy. The Dominican Republic underlined the need for progressive financial assistance for renewable energy development. Tuvalu stressed that the negative impacts of climate change are already evident.
De Boer concluded by noting that the day of discussion had given a clear indication of problems facing SIDS, the creative solutions developed within SIDS, and the lack of resources. However, he underlined the need for an instrument, including indicators, to track implementation of the Mauritius Strategy for improved coherence. A summary of this meeting is available online at: http://enb.iisd.org/vol05/enb05234e.html
The high-level segment, opened by Chair Aleksishvili, who arrived at CSD-14 on Tuesday, 9 May, took place from Wednesday to Friday, 10-12 May and consisted of three high-level dialogues on “Making a Difference” with leaders of business and international financial institutions, UN agencies, and Major Groups, held during two morning sessions on Wednesday and Thursday, 10 and 11 May. In addition, three high-level “interactive” discussions on “The Way Forward” were held during afternoon sessions on Wednesday and Thursday, and in the morning on Friday, 12 May, focused on addressing barriers and constraints and providing guidance on priority areas to be focused on during the Intergovernmental Preparatory Meeting (IPM) and CSD-15.
In his address to the high-level segment, UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan described the multiple risks associated with the world’s deeply entrenched reliance on fossil fuels and the despair of those who lack access to modern energy services. He said the lack of energy acts as a barrier to the achievement of the MDGs and industrial development. The Secretary-General challenged developed countries to help developing countries double their electricity generation capacity using cleaner technologies. He said all countries need to be more rigorous in carrying out what they have agreed to do, and more should participate in the carbon emissions market and the Clean Development Mechanism. The Secretary-General added that inter-generational equity exerts only a weak hold on people’s imagination, and an even weaker hold on our wallets.
MAKING A DIFFERENCE: Ministerial dialogue with leaders of business and international financial institutions: CSD-14 Chair Aleksishvili opened the first high-level dialogue, introducing the panel of speakers, including ministers and representatives of business and international financial institutions. Lindiwe Hendricks, Minister of Minerals and Energy, South Africa, called on multilateral agencies to find innovative ways to assess renewable energy proposals, fund credit guarantees to back technology transfer, and invest in developing country capacity to integrate best practices.
Announcing her decision to target women as part of a pledge to provide 10 million people with modern energy services before 2015, Agnes van Ardenne-van der Hoeven, Minister for Development Cooperation, the Netherlands, stressed output targets for donor countries and a proposal that oil-producing countries allow their ODA percentage to rise with oil prices, and spend the extra money on access to energy for the poor. On modern energy services for the poor, she mentioned investment by companies and suggested a more balanced approach to the Investment Framework for Clean Energy, which addresses this objective. She called on the Russian Presidency of the G8 to place access to energy for the poor on top of its St. Petersburg agenda, and invited the World Bank to discuss this issue at its annual meeting. Responding to the Netherlands, Saudi Arabia said its ODA level has risen to 1.3% of GDP. Paula J. Dobriansky, Under-Secretary of State for Democracy and Global Affairs, United States, said the US is working harder than ever to develop transformational energy technologies to reduce reliance on oil. She cited decreases (per kilowatt-hour) in the cost of renewable energy, such as wind and solar, and described energy initiatives such as the Global Nuclear Energy Partnership.
Du Ying, Vice Chairman of the National Development and Reform Commission, China, called for an enabling model of economic development, and noted China’s continuing efforts to create a conducive investment climate. Valli Moosa, Eskom, noted that the private sector can contribute to energy access if market incentives are created for large industrial electricity users, with a view to enabling the poor to benefit from infrastructure development. Travis Engen, World Business Council for Sustainable Development, underlined that business is a primary engine of change and stressed the global relationship between energy and climate change. John Hofmeister, Royal Dutch Shell, said environmental protection and meeting society’s energy demands are not incompatible goals. Noting that the US and the EU have a responsibility to show leadership, L.G. Josefsson, Vattenfall, stressed that the chief barrier is the need for sound policy frameworks and the political leadership necessary to create them.
Abdulla Sallat, Qatar Industries, described the public sector’s role in enabling the private sector to take a lead in efforts to diversify the petrochemical industry. Massimo Romano, ENEL SpA, described 2012 – the final year in the 2008-2012 commitment period under the Kyoto Protocol – as a barrier to investment. Len Good, Global Environment Facility (GEF), recalled the importance of off-grid energy sources for the poor, focusing on tried and tested renewable energy technologies and developing supportive policy frameworks. Kathy Sierra, World Bank, described the Bank’s work on an investment framework for clean energy and development requested by the G8.
Replying to a proposal from the Netherlands on the adoption of performance standards, Engen said that a sectoral approach is feasible and cited the examples of the aluminum and cement sectors.
Ministerial dialogue with UN agencies: On Thursday, 11 May, Vice-Chair Yvo de Boer opened the ministerial dialogue with Heads of UN agencies. Emphasizing the need for inter-agency coordination on energy, José Antonio Ocampo, UN Under-Secretary-General for Economic and Social Affairs, listed key issues including, inter alia, how different agencies can contribute to promoting energy efficiency and access to electricity. ESCAP said the UN regional commissions are well placed to support coordinated action in areas of policy, access, air quality, health and institutional capacity. UNDP warned that people denied access to energy will not have sufficient resources to achieve the MDGs. The UN Convention to Combat Desertification said the quest for fuelwood is a fundamental contributor to desertification. The Convention on Biological Diversity said climate change is the third most important cause of biodiversity loss. The UNFCCC said it serves an important role by providing data and support for both adaptation and a carbon market. The World Bank called for efforts to “climate-proof” development because infrastructure, production and institutional decisions taken today will determine vulnerability for many decades. The World Health Organization highlighted the enormous health impacts of poor air quality in homes, workplaces and cities.
The World Meteorological Organization noted the importance of scientific data for better policy choices. The GEF described instruments with a focus on climate change adaptation tailored for LDCs and SIDS. The Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development outlined work on incorporating adaptation into development cooperation, strengthening energy research, and business guidelines promoting corporate responsibility. To meet growing energy demand, the International Energy Forum highlighted improved access to markets, good governance and adequate policy frameworks. The UN Environment Programme (UNEP) said the benefits of existing renewable energy technology must be disseminated.
Iran expressed concern about the status of voluntary contributions to the GEF. France pointed to problems associated with the integration of, and interaction among UN organizations on the ground. Iceland called on international financial institutions (IFIs) to remove barriers to geothermal expansion, citing problems with technical know-how and financing. South Africa noted that sustainable energy is not located within a single UN agency, suggested that UNEP play a more central role in energy issues, and called for enhanced coordination across UN agencies, IFIs, the GEF and the World Trade Organization (WTO). Brazil called for agency coordination on biofuels, including support for South-South activities. The Netherlands repeated a call for a separate funding window within the World Bank’s clean energy investment framework to address the needs of the 1.6 billion people without access to energy, to ensure that emerging markets are not the only beneficiaries.
Ministerial dialogue with Major Groups: This session was chaired by Vice-Chair Javad Amin-Mansour on Thursday, 11 May. NGOs noted the impact of rising oil prices on the poor, called for the removal of subsidies for fossil fuels, and for a shift from nuclear and large hydro to renewable energy, objected to the International Atomic Energy Agency’s role in brokering and facilitating the nuclear industry, and criticized token references to corporate social responsibility at CSD-14. They called on the UN Department of Economic and Social Affairs (DESA) to produce assessments on the real costs of all forms of energy, and on subsidies. Women recalled CSD-9 and WSSD commitments to support women’s involvement in energy decision-making. They highlighted key themes, including, inter alia: replacement of nuclear power; institutional capacity to engage with gender issues; women’s capability; gender-disaggregated data and gender analysis, and climate change.
Business and Industry called for a global update on energy efficient technology prior to CSD-15, to support an ambitious energy action plan. Local Authorities said they are well placed to use their purchasing power to influence trade and promote energy efficient transportation and construction. Indigenous People called for a moratorium on large-scale energy projects. Farmers stressed that engaging farmers in renewable energy development and production contributes to job creation, and diversification of energy markets.
The Dominican Republic called for a champion for the energy agenda, such as a UN High Commissioner. Qatar called for networking to promote more efficient technologies. Noting that 1.5 million people die each year from indoor air pollution and that women carry the burden of securing fuelwood, WHO said health advocates could “champion” sustainable energy.
THE WAY FORWARD: Interactive discussion on the thematic cluster: On Wednesday afternoon, 10 May, Vice-Chair Azanaw Abreha chaired the first of three high-level discussions on “The Way Forward,” which focused on barriers to and providing guidance on the priority areas to be addressed during the IPM and the CSD-15 Policy Session in 2007.
Delegates heard Pascal Lamy, Director-General, WTO, by video link. He said the harm done to the environment must begin to feature as a “cost” in international trade transactions. He added that the WTO will gradually address export restrictions and quotas applied to trade in energy, noted that negotiations on liberalization of environmental goods and services can impact positively on energy, and that there are proposals to lower barriers to trade in a number of renewable energy technologies.
The G-77/China noted the CSD’s important role in considering means of implementation. He also called for substantial replenishment of the GEF, noting that its new Resource Allocation Framework severely limits resources available to Africa. To ensure coherence on climate change action, the European Community suggested forwarding the Chair’s Summary to UNFCCC COP 12. He stressed the importance of follow-up and review of energy for sustainable development, and reiterated commitments to action-oriented outcomes from CSD-15.
On international cooperation, Qatar suggested targeted policies to ensure that countries lacking energy resources achieve social and economic development. While stressing the potential of geothermal resources, Iceland noted obstacles, including global energy infrastructure designed for fossil fuels. Underlining the need to decouple energy demand and environmental degradation, Ireland said the take-up of renewables cannot be left to business and that intergovernmental processes must set objectives. Australia called for a “hybrid world” based on a mix of effective energy solutions. Germany discussed win-win CDM investment opportunities, and called for global expansion of renewables and a post-2012 agreement on climate targets.
Nauru urged greater support for Ocean Thermal Energy Conversion. Emphasizing that the developed world must shift to more sustainable lifestyles, Sweden described an initiative to move away from its reliance on oil by 2020. She called for empowering women in all aspects of sustainable development. South Africa stressed that donor commitments have not been fulfilled, and advocated monitoring frameworks to ensure aid effectiveness.
Thailand said high upfront costs for renewable and clean energy technologies represent a critical barrier for developing countries. The Republic of Korea stressed demand-side energy policies, including taxation. The European Commission, Tuvalu and Denmark called for an effective mechanism to follow up CSD-15 recommendations. Denmark warned that subsidies hinder the competitiveness of renewable technologies.
On Thursday delegates resumed the ministerial dialogue on “The Way Forward.” This session was chaired by Vice-Chair Adrian Fernández Bramauntz. The EU noted the primary responsibility of governments to engage in dialogue with the finance and private sectors to find win-win solutions for sustainable industrial development. Noting the need to include employment and gender issues, he said corporate social and environmental responsibility must be more forcefully implemented. The Pacific Islands Forum called upon the UN system to provide leadership in galvanizing international support to implement the Mauritius Strategy. Morocco noted the increasing role of private actors in its energy sector, and called for international cooperation to develop renewable and clean energy technologies.
Underlining commitment to the principle of common but differentiated responsibilities, Kenya highlighted the need to foster economic growth in developing countries through investments in infrastructure, technology transfer and promotion of small- and medium-sized enterprises. Poland presented on environmental improvements alongside economic growth, accomplished by decoupling economic growth from energy demand. On climate change, he said the main challenge is to assist fast growing developing countries in their choice of a development path that stabilizes and reduces GHG emissions.
Kazakhstan, with Kuwait and Saudi Arabia, said oil and gas will dominate the energy market for the foreseeable future, and underlined the importance of developing clean fossil fuel technology. The UK said CSD-14 had achieved its purpose, and called for action-oriented measures on: access to reliable and affordable energy in national development strategies; mainstreaming mitigation and adaptation; a lead role by developed countries on sustainable consumption and production; and indoor air pollution.
Barbados proposed establishing partnership platforms on technology development and exports, and on trade, investment and labor. On energy security, the Russian Federation referred to the G8 environmental and industrial energy safety recommendations.
Lesotho cited high up-front costs and limited manufacturing capacity as barriers. On SIDS and climate change, Mauritius reiterated requests for financing, technology transfer and capacity building. Sudan said implementation was hindered by conflict, lack of resources and an unfavorable international climate. Emphasizing developing countries’ context-specific energy needs, India said the barriers to using nuclear energy should be addressed. The European Community stressed the need for an integrated win-win approach in air pollution policy. Mexico noted the risk of biodiversity degradation due to production of biofuels.
Japan linked its economic competitiveness to energy efficiency and called for an effective framework beyond 2012 to promote GHG reduction efforts. Venezuela denounced manipulative attempts to link oil price rises with worsening poverty, while the accusers ignore the underlying causes of poverty.
On Friday, 12 May, discussions continued with Vice-Chair de Boer requesting delegates to concentrate on issues that would clarify their expectations of CSD-15. Estonia proposed use of market mechanisms, and Singapore called for action on sharing of technology and South-South cooperation. Switzerland suggested a monitoring mechanism, and said the ecological footprint concept should receive more attention at CSD-15.
The Philippines said limited participation in the CDM is due to difficulties in complying with its requirements, and proposed that CSD-15 highlight successful practices that have increased access to financing. Cape Verde highlighted the need for scaling up, or expanding, pilot efforts and called for a comprehensive set of indicators and special support to SIDS. Cuba highlighted access to technology, support for adaptation efforts and an exploration of alternative sources of financing. The Solomon Islands called for more assistance from UNEP in accessing appropriate data such as satellite mapping of wind potential, and proposed standing committees on key issues.
Bhutan said CSD-15 should focus on renewables, address accessible financing, including an expansion of soft loans for sustainable energy technology, and a relaxation of CDM requirements. Noting opposition to nuclear power, Luxembourg stressed the connection between climate change and sustainable development, calling for an equitable and effective long-term multilateral climate regime. Azerbaijan highlighted issues to be addressed, such as the energy supply chain, energy security, building capacity in developing countries, and consumption patterns in developed countries. He underlined the important role of the private sector through the Health, Safety and Environment and corporate social responsibility initiatives. Jamaica recommended the large-scale expansion of renewable energy initiatives and, with regard to the Kyoto Protocol, called for Annex I countries to take action beyond 2012.
Highlighting the challenges facing SIDS, Trinidad and Tobago said effective monitoring measures were needed to ensure implementation of outcomes from CSD-15. Iran, on behalf of the regional Economic Cooperation Organization, noted a series of plans and programmes designed to achieve the MDGs, such as a Directorate on Sustainable Development, and a regional capacity-building programme for preparing national sustainable development strategies. Canada stressed the need for a focal point for CSD-15 discussions, suggesting energy, and a way to link funding to projects.
Sierra Leone emphasized that excessive dependence on fossil fuels and centralized infrastructure excludes rural areas from socioeconomic benefits, and that innovative financing for renewable energy research should be a priority. The Caribbean Community urged the extension of the GEF medium-sized grants program to SIDS.
Libya called for a zero-flaring initiative in oil and gas exploration fields, and cautioned that fossil fuels would retain a role in the coming decades. El Salvador outlined a regional network of companies promoting cleaner production, and stressed advancing legal, institutional and market instruments to create incentives for use of renewables.
De Boer summarized some key issues to be forwarded to CSD-15, such as: the role of market mechanisms; specific action programmes; assessment of renewable energy potential; a clearing house; an effective monitoring system and further work on indicators; an analysis of how to strengthen South-South cooperation; and, further information on how to strengthen and promote clean fossil fuel technologies.
DISCUSSION OF THE CHAIR’S SUMMARY - PART I
On Tuesday afternoon, 9 May, Chair Aleksishvili presented the first part of his summary containing the key points arising in the general discussions during the first week.
Several countries cautioned against the unclear distinction between factual statements and judgment calls, also noting the need to clarify that the summary comprised country and Major Group interventions. Many speakers emphasized that it was not a consensus document. China highlighted the need to use JPOI language. A number of speakers also expressed reservations about what was perceived as the introduction of energy security as a fifth thematic issue. The US suggested that the information emerging in the Partnership Fair and Learning Center be better reflected. Iceland noted that summarizing progress “at best mixed and limited” may not be entirely accurate. Kuwait called for a more balanced text, taking into account the three pillars of sustainable development.
The G-77/China, supported by many countries, reiterated the importance of focusing on means of implementation, especially aid effectiveness, North-South financial assistance and technology transfer, improved market access, capacity building, and the role of the GEF. Noting that the Rio principle of common but differentiated responsibilities was an internationally agreed norm, numerous delegations questioned text affirming that this principle “remains an issue for many countries.”
Energy for sustainable development: While conceding that access to energy services and its importance for achieving the MDGs were well captured, the European Community indicated that the importance of energy savings was not. Several countries suggested that the role of renewable energy sources should be reflected more thoroughly, and ECLAC highlighted the need for government and private sector initiatives in renewable energies. Brazil proposed recognizing the success of bio-fuels in developing countries. Describing forecasts that fossil fuels will continue to dominate the energy mix in the foreseeable future, Saudi Arabia, with others, said cleaner fossil fuel technologies need more attention. Qatar suggested referring to natural gas as a clean energy. Children and Youth cautioned against the inclusion of “clean coal,” noting that nuclear and fossil fuels were neither clean nor renewable nor sustainable. Egypt stressed that energy security is important to both consumers and producers, while Kuwait noted the need for scientific health impact assessments to be applied to different types of conventional and renewable energies. Azerbaijan questioned the reference to illegal occupation of land as a barrier to electricity expansion, and stressed that lack of capacity and natural resource endowment, not accountability and transparency, was a barrier to renewable energies in developing countries.
Industrial development: Some delegations emphasized that the language on industrial development lacked balance. The European Community, supported by Mexico, suggested inclusion of stronger language on sustainable consumption and production. NGOs expressed regret about the token reference to corporate social responsibility at CSD-14, while the European Community suggested using the concept “corporate social and environmental responsibility and accountability.” Workers and Trade Unions said the summary failed to mention industrial relations and conveyed an unbalanced message on the impact of trade liberalization.
Air pollution/Atmosphere: On combating air pollution, Argentina said the trade-off between environmental protection and economic growth was a “false paradigm” that bore no resemblance to the sustainable development discussion at the WSSD, and she called on multinational corporations to adhere to the highest environmental standards. Some countries noted that the negative environmental impacts of transportation were not sufficiently reflected.
Climate change: A number of countries stressed the need for the international community to step up measures to deal with adaptation, and emphasized that mainstreaming climate change concerns into sustainable development strategies is key. Australia said there was no “dichotomy of choice” between mitigation and adaptation, and, with AOSIS, underlined that both must be pursued. On the CDM, the European Community noted that the text did not reflect progress made at the UN Framework Convention for Climate Change (UNFCCC) COP 11 in Montreal in 2005. Australia proposed global risk analysis to be kept within the scope of existing frameworks such as the UNFCCC. AOSIS called for greater urgency regarding climate-related emergencies, noting the need for stronger language on the adverse effects of climate change in SIDS and on the link between climate change and disaster reduction.
Regional discussions: Given the importance of development assistance for a vast number of developing countries, India emphasized that the matter was not given sufficient attention. The Rio Group, supported by the African Group, said concerns in their regions were not well reflected. Argentina stressed that the regional section did not take into account the greatest concerns in the Latin American region, nor discussions on climate change and implementation measures, and called for reinforcing the regional preparatory process.
Cross-cutting issues: The European Community and Women welcomed the language on gender issues, with Women noting that gender considerations and the energy needs of poor and rural women and children must be an integral part of energy planning, projects and decision-making. She also suggested including a reference to gender analysis in order to strengthen the language on disaggregated data in connection with energy projects.
ECLAC highlighted the role of indicators in monitoring SIDS’ development progress. China emphasized that protection of intellectual property rights must not be used as a barrier to technology transfer. The European Community called for greater attention to the role of targets as policy instruments.
Stating that education is a vital link between knowledge and action, Children and Youth said education was not given adequate attention. NGOs added that education should be a more prominent component in the Matrix.
A revised version of the Chair’s Summary was posted on the DESA website on Wednesday, 10 May, with a number of changes. The revised version incorporates changes on a number of issues, including, inter alia, a reference to the Rio principle on common but differentiated responsibilities, the addition of references to fossil fuel technologies, streamlining of the GEF’s procedures, and new emphasis on the special requirements and vulnerability of SIDS.
DISCUSSION OF THE CHAIR’S SUMMARY - PART II
On Friday afternoon, 12 May, Vice-Chair Abreha presented the second part of the Chair’s Summary, a synopsis of discussions and recommendations from the high-level segment.
Many delegations commended the summary. The EU emphasized that the summary was a fair reflection of the deliberations and would serve as a good basis for CSD-15. The G-77/China noted with regret that continuing challenges for developing countries to meet the MDGs, and calls for the developed country partners to fulfill their commitments, had hardly been mentioned in the summary. She said the focus on privatization indicated a “wholesale misrepresentation” of the developing world’s challenges and the erosion of CSD-11 decisions, maintaining that the summary had the potential to undermine multilateralism in favor of “unbridled corporatism.” She also noted that system-wide coherence remained a subject of debate, and favored waiting for the Secretary-General’s report.
Costa Rica noted that “business as usual” was not an option if the world wanted to advance implementation of the sustainable development agenda, and proposed developing world markets for ecosystem services. China and India cautioned against the establishment of a long-term global energy strategy, and advocated diversified and country-specific strategies.
Some delegations indicated that the Mauritius Strategy was given insufficient attention, and AOSIS requested inclusion of a reference to the Mauritius Strategy in the text outlining important global sustainable development initiatives. Regarding vulnerable countries, AOSIS asked for a strong reference to LDCs and SIDS, while Egypt suggested adding Africa. Egypt also stressed the role of the New Partnership for Africa’s Development as coordinator for Africa’s priorities. Several countries noted that the references to more flexible and predictable aid flows to developing countries were not satisfactory. AOSIS stressed the importance of facilitating access to GEF resources, particularly in relation to the new Resource Allocation Framework. Mauritius said there was no proper platform to address assistance to SIDS, and underlined a proposal to establish a mechanism to mobilize resources for SIDS.
On promoting energy efficiency, Nigeria referred to language in JPOI on affordability and technology transfer, and Japan highlighted the role of public awareness raising. Some delegations emphasized developing countries’ policy space in relation to different energy options. Noting the negative effects of armed conflicts on sustainable development, Sudan suggested giving attention to the needs of countries emerging from conflict.
On mitigation and adaptation, India noted the need to ensure that such efforts were carried out in accordance with UNFCCC guidelines. Costa Rica suggested creating new voluntary instruments for the reduction of GHG emissions. Egypt, supported by several countries, underlined that combating climate change should be based on the principle of common but differentiated responsibilities. Saudi Arabia said tackling climate change continued to be a commitment for all countries, but cautioned against prejudging the UNFCCC process.
India said references to means of implementation such as finance and technology transfer appeared to have been “an afterthought” in the summary, and requested greater emphasis. Azerbaijan suggested strengthening the references to capacity building. The G-77/China advocated creating an enabling environment not only for investment, but also for trade and financing, and called for removing trade barriers on certain industrial and agricultural products. India noted that all countries would benefit from developed countries taking a lead in sustainable consumption and production.
On ensuring a long-term integrated approach to implementation of the thematic issues, the EU proposed including text on time-bound targets. Kuwait objected, noting that this prejudged mechanisms that had not been discussed, and Australia affirmed that use of time-bound targets had only been addressed in the context of energy issues, not the other thematic issues.
Saudi Arabia and Kuwait said it was premature to refer to imposing “predictable regulatory frameworks” for strengthening the use of cleaner energy technologies, and emphasized that this should be left to CSD-15. A number of countries stressed that market mechanisms rather than regulatory frameworks influence energy prices. Azerbaijan noted that stability, refining capacity, energy demand and pricing, and cleaner fossil fuel technology shaped oil pricing. She also said high technology prices and intellectual property rights were key barriers to cleaner energy technologies. Saudi Arabia and Kuwait reiterated their calls for energy security to be omitted from the text, underlining that this was a new concept that had not been agreed upon.
Switzerland indicated the importance of increased ability to monitor energy-related activities in the current cycle. The European Community suggested adding text stating that CSD-14 had decided on effective follow-up and review of thematic issues, while Australia rejected this insertion, maintaining that no decisions had been taken during the session. Brazil called for better coordination between UN agencies, given the present fragmentation and lack of a single UN organization dedicated to energy issues, while Kuwait said it was premature to consider the creation of new bodies to host sustainable development issues, noting that the matter required further discussion.
The Chair’s Summary comprises two parts and includes inputs from the official and high-level discussions, and the activities held as part of the Partnerships Fair and the Learning Center. The first part of the Chair’s Summary recapitulates the discussions and events that took place before the high-level segment, in 34 pages. It includes sections that address:
On each of the four themes, the summary provides a review of obstacles and constraints, and lessons learned. This section also addresses means of implementation and challenges ahead in relation to the thematic cluster. This is followed by a synthesis of highlights from the Partnerships Fair, the Learning Center and Side Events that took place during the first week.
The second part of the Chair’s Summary reviews, in seven pages, the discussions held during the high-level segment and includes sections on the Secretary-General’s opening statement, the Ministerial dialogue with business, intergovernmental organizations, and IFIs, Major Groups’ participation, and points relating to the thematic and cross-cutting issues, including the following.
The summary of the discussions on “The Way Forward” identifies challenges to be addressed during the Policy Year. These include:
Following the discussions on the second part of the Chair’s Summary, Vice-Chair Abreha invited Major Groups to make final comments on their respective contributions to the thematic cluster. Children and Youth invited participants to envision a clean future with renewable energy and environmental justice. Business and Industry repeated commitments to work alongside governments and to actively participate in the implementation of energy policy. Farmers underlined their role in agro-energy, noting the financial and job creation benefits, and its potential contribution to poverty eradication in developing countries.
Indigenous People cautioned that market-based solutions and technology need to be carefully examined to take account of their potential impacts on host communities. Local Authorities recalled the GHG reduction targets of a network of 675 cities, which account for 15% of global emissions. NGOs cited developed country commitments made at UNCED, the International Conference on Financing for Development, and the WSSD, and called for clear time-tables and timelines on sustainable energy and a phasing out of World Bank subsidies for large-scale hydro and nuclear energy. They cautioned that CSD-14 might one day be regarded as the session that unleashed a wholesale corporate-led agenda and privatization. Workers and Trade Unions committed to engage with 180 million workers worldwide on sustainable industrial development, working through industrial relations and collective agreements in the workplace. Women said they would hold governments and themselves accountable for poverty eradication, the initiation of a rights-based approach to the provision of energy services, and the presence of more women on the CSD Bureau, on expert panels and on government delegations at CSD.
Adoption of the report for CSD-14 and the provisional agenda for CSD-15: The Chair invited delegates to consider and agree the provisional agenda for CSD-15 (E/CN.17/2006/L.1). Inviting delegates to adopt the report of the fourteenth session of the CSD, the Chair gave the floor to Vice-Chair and Rapporteur, Yvo de Boer, who introduced his draft report (E/CN.17/2006/L.2). De Boer explained that the report outlines the organization of the session and would be updated and completed to take on board comments made at the final plenary. The report, which includes matters calling for action by ECOSOC and other organizational items, was adopted. Chair Abreha concluded by thanking the participants, including the out-going Bureau and the Secretariat, and gavelled the meeting to a close at 6:04 pm.
The first meeting of CSD-15 was convened just after 6:00 pm on Friday, 12 May, 2006, for the purpose of electing a Chair and other members of the Bureau. The acting Chair, outgoing CSD-14 Vice-Chair Abreha, informed delegates that the Asian Group had proposed the candidature of Abdullah bin Hamad Al-Attiyah, Second Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Energy and Industry of Qatar, as Chair. Delegates elected Al-Attiyah by acclamation, together with Vice-Chairs Alain Edouard Traore, Permanent Secretary of the National Council for Environment and Sustainable Development, Burkina Faso, from the African Group, Jiří Hlaváček, Ministry of Environment, Czech Republic, from the Eastern and Central European Group, and Frances Lisson, Deputy Head of UN Mission, Australia, from the Western European and Others Group. The election of a representative from the Latin America and Caribbean group was postponed.
Chair Hamad Al-Attiyah said he accepted the honor of his election with a deep sense of responsibility, and assured delegations and Major Groups that he would work closely with his Bureau colleagues and member states and stakeholders, to help ensure a successful CSD-15.
On completion of the elections to the Bureau, the first meeting of CSD-15 was adjourned at 6:30 pm.
A BRIEF ANALYSIS OF CSD-14
As delegates emerged from Conference Room 4 on Friday night, they conveyed mixed feelings. Some seemed happy, and some looked a little bemused. Had CSD-14 achieved its purpose of bringing forth countries’ concerns and articulating constraints on progress on the issues under discussion – energy, industrial development, air pollution/atmosphere and climate change? Had it met expectations?
This brief analysis will look at some high points of CSD-14 (the review stage of the 2006-2007 thematic cycle) and its implications for addressing the serious energy challenge of our times. Rarely has the pressing need for an intergovernmental debate on energy coincided with such precision with the CSD’s agenda and programme of work.
A TOPICAL SESSION
It could not have been a better moment for a UN body whose appeal to decision-makers in recent years hardly rose above guarded expectations. Just as the Indian Ocean tsunami turned the eyes of the world to early warning and disaster reduction, the current energy crunch, with oil prices nearly tripling in the last two years, has put the CSD in the spotlight for politicians and energy experts in search of a platform to address emerging issues, and consider the implications for sustainable development. The new highs in oil prices and accompanying security concerns will almost certainly lead to a recalculation of the financial viability of a host of emerging renewable energy sources and technologies.
Participants compared CSD-14 to the previous thematic cycle, 2004-2005, which focused on water, sanitation and human settlements, and noted that it had concentrated on the plight of the poor. In contrast, the current themes seemed to affect all countries. It is perhaps for this reason the session was largely devoid of political posturing, as participants kept faith with their non-negotiating mandate. To many, this was also a welcome sign of growing solidarity and pragmatism in addressing a mixture of challenges that are of equal concern to the international community.
Some detected evidence of this in the unusual reticence on the part of G-77/China. The group was evidently split on the issue of whether climate change should be taken to the fore of the discussion (a position promoted by SIDS). Despite other differences, in particular between energy producers and consumers, the group joined in the emerging consensus on the need to achieve a viable energy mix. However, the group cautioned the meeting, on the last day, against diluting multilateralism in favor of excessive reliance on the private sector and wholesale privatization.
The breadth of the discussion alone, as well as the wealth of presentations, case studies, “lessons learned,” and practical ideas put CSD-14 squarely among the more topical UN conferences of recent years. On the down side, some delegates experienced an eerie feeling of wading in a basement marketplace, rather than at an intergovernmental forum.
THE ENERGY COMPLEX
Unquestionably, energy occupied the top position in the debates. CSD-14 demonstrated that energy is increasingly perceived as the crucible of all four themes of the cycle. CSD participants across the board stressed time and again, as a maxim, that energy is critical for sustainable growth. Efficiency, conservation and provision of affordable energy services should be regarded as overriding concerns, if the world is to tackle poverty and gender equity effectively, and ensure the realization of the Millennium Development Goals.
Clearly, energy security is not a simple equation. As one listened to the statements, it was plain that the term meant different things to different people. For some, it is a lucrative business opportunity; for others, an uninterrupted supply of fuel at stable and predictable prices; yet for others – renewable alternatives and the dawn of a solar age. For the developing world, especially Africa, it is a matter of life and death – collecting enough firewood to cook a decent family meal.
CSD-14 performed a frank and sobering scrutiny of energy challenges in all their aspects. Some countries, like the EU, put the search for alternative sources of energy and the transition to safe renewables at the top of the priorities list, calling for an exit strategy from the fossil-fuel paradigm. Some of the big oil producers, like OPEC and Russia, insisted that fossil fuels are here to stay for decades to come. Nevertheless, they acknowledged the grave implications for climate change, and agreed to work on diversifying the energy mix.
It is here that ways and means started to differ. Many developed countries and business leaders presented private enterprise as the key instrument to be applied through partnerships, and insisted on the private sector’s pivotal role in coming up with innovative solutions. Others, in a reflection on the deregulatory trends in the energy sector, expressed concern that this would undermine regulation and the role of governments. An African country expressed disappointment over the private sector being reluctant to meet the upfront costs or tolerate long payback periods for a return on investment in alternative energy sources. Business countered by referring to the importance of good governance and the need for a conducive investment environment. The phrase “We are not a market, we are a people!” uttered in exasperation by a youth representative, reflected the persisting divide between the two viewpoints.
Nevertheless, delegates carried away the impression that CSD-14 fortified the trend towards alternative energy solutions. For these to materialize, however, increased international cooperation, technology transfer, and the removal of barriers to trade will be needed, and the G-77/China repeatedly underscored these conditions for achieving a realistic energy mix, which would favor environmental as well as developmental concerns.
Delegates did not fail to notice the dark shadow of nuclear energy hovering in the conference recesses. According to some, for all the hype about renewables, nuclear remains a major energy source destined to grow, despite attempts to brand it as “dirty” development. The divide over the nuclear option stretches across both countries and major groups. The major groups were quite vocal: NGOs, Women, Youth and Indigenous People stood on one side of the barricades, and the Scientific and Technological Community and Business on the other, with Workers remaining silent. The confrontation is likely to be played out again at CSD-15.
BRACING FOR CSD-15
CSD-14 managed to erect bridges (albeit shaky ones) to CSD-15, and laid out some options for important decisions that will have to be taken next year. Keeping the momentum until the Intergovernmental Preparatory Meeting and CSD-15 remains an issue. Governments need to find ways to integrate the myriad of concerns, lessons and ideas voiced at CSD-14 into hard recommendations at CSD-15. If they manage to achieve this objective, the Commission will prove its worth, and fortify its credibility. The outcomes of CSD-14 may be a sign of institutional robustness, although one explanation for the prominence of this particular session is to be found less in CSD dynamics than in the sudden surge in oil prices.
As the review session came to a close, some delegates questioned the efficacy of the established CSD format. Could the quality of the ministerial segment have been higher, if delegates concentrated less on country reports than on offering suggestions for the CSD-15 agenda? Is there a real need for a two-week review session? Is the “marketplace for ideas” format, much favored by the US, viable? Doesn’t a year-long interval between the review and the policy sessions dissipate enthusiasm and tax institutional memory? Was there sufficient interactive debate? Is there a need for an intergovernmental panel on sustainable development, an idea that has been floating around since the WSSD? No ready solutions were offered, though, at least not from the floor. But the widely shared impression was that the CSD is still evolving, and there is space for improvement.
Looking at CSD-14 in a broader context, some have discerned its potential for feeding into other international processes such as the G8, which will take up energy security at its summer summit. In this connection, several delegates commented on whether the lack of a strong institutional home for energy in the UN system is becoming a stumbling block for mainstreaming energy concerns. Different ways of addressing this lacuna were discussed in the corridors, but no final picture has emerged. This institutional predicament is no accident, but a reflection of the fundamental role and value attached to energy politics by the modern state, which continues to serve – in the final analysis – as a “super-charged” development agency.
CSD-14 will be recalled as a forum that was about the security implications of sustainable development: an attempt to look at the flip-side of our established security notions, which are, to an inordinate extent, influenced by the fossilized patterns of consumption and production, especially by the unsustainable lifestyles of the rich North and its satellites in the South’s major cities. In this regard, CSD-14 certainly managed to articulate a greater sense of urgency, and demonstrated that the cost of inaction is becoming steep indeed.
TWENTY-FOURTH SESSIONS OF THE SUBSIDIARY BODIES OF THE UN FRAMEWORK CONVENTION ON CLIMATE CHANGE: The twenty-fourth sessions of the Subsidiary Bodies (SB-24) of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change will take place in Bonn, Germany, from 18-26 May 2006. They will be preceded by a dialogue on long-term cooperative action to address climate change by enhancing implementation of the Convention on 15-16 May and will be held in parallel to the first session of the Ad Hoc Working Group on Further Commitments for Annex I Parties under the Kyoto Protocol, from 17-25 May. For more information, contact: UNFCCC Secretariat; tel: +49-228-815-1000; fax: +49-228-815-1999; e-mail: email@example.com; internet: http://www.unfccc.int
BUSINESS FORUM ON SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY FOR SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT: This event will take place in Shirakawa, Japan, from 19-20 May 2006, and is organized by the World Sustainable Development Forum (WSDF), which was created by TERI. The invitation-only Forum will discuss the role of science and technology and the need to bridge the divide between developed and developing countries in this field. For more information, contact: Annapurna Vancheswaran, TERI; tel: +91-11-2468-2100 ext. 2509; fax: +91-11-2468-2144 or 2468; e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org; internet: http://static.teriin.org/dsds/2006/index.htm
FOURTH ANNUAL JAPAN-PACIFIC ISLANDS FORUM SUMMIT MEETING: This meeting will be held in Okinawa, Japan, from 25-27 May 2006. For more information, contact: Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Japan; tel: +81-3-3580-3311; e-mail: email@example.com; internet: http://www.mofa.go.jp/region/asia-paci/spf/palm2006/index.html
ACP AND ACP-EU COUNCIL OF MINISTERS MEETINGS: The 83rd African, Caribbean, and Pacific (ACP) Group of States Council will meet on 28-31 May 2006, and the 31st ACP-EU Council of Ministers will meet on 1-2 June 2006, in Port Moresby, Papua New Guinea. For more information, contact: the Secretariat of the African, Caribbean and Pacific Group of States; tel: +32-2-743-06-00; fax: +32-2-735-55-73; e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org; internet: http://www.acpsec.org/ or PNG Events Council Secretariat; tel: +675-323-4255; fax: +675-323-4244; e-mail: email@example.com; internet: http://www.pngtourism.org.pg/png/export/sites/TPA/eventdetails/acp-eu_meet/acp_eu_2.pdf
FOURTH AFRICAN ROUNDTABLE ON SUSTAINABLE CONSUMPTION AND PRODUCTION: This event will take place in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, from 29-31 May 2006. The roundtable is jointly organized by UNEP and the Secretariat of the African Roundtable on Sustainable Consumption and Production. The overall objective is to provide an input to the further development and implementation of the African Ten-Year Framework Programme on Sustainable Consumption and Production at the subregional and national levels. For more information, contact: Cleaner Production Centre of Tanzania; tel: +255-22-260-2338/40; fax: +255-22-260-2339; e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org; internet: http://www.arscp.org/events.asp?menu=id7&eventid=14&Month=5&Day=29&Year=2006
BUILDING TOURISM RESILIENCE IN SMALL ISLAND DEVELOPING STATES - MAXIMIZING ECONOMIC BENEFITS AND SUSTAINING TOURISM IN DEVELOPMENT: This conference will take place in Nassau, the Bahamas, from 7-9 June 2006. The objectives of the conference are to: create a forum to identify and discuss economic, environmental, social and other relevant factors that support economic resilience building in the tourism sector in SIDS; recommend “best practices” and measures to strengthen tourism’s economic resilience and assist SIDS in mitigating their vulnerabilities; provide a strategic way forward in tourism resilience building in SIDS and guidelines for regional and international agencies to assist these states in managing vulnerabilities in the development of their tourism sector. For more information, contact: University of the West Indies; tel: +242-323-5714; fax: +242-325-3246; e-mail: email@example.com; internet: http://www.sids-tourism.org
WORKSHOP ON RENEWABLE ENERGY FOR THE DEVELOPING WORLD: This workshop will be held in Carbondale, Colorado, USA, from 19-23 June 2006. Solar Energy International is sponsoring a workshop on how to incorporate renewable energy technologies into development projects. For more information, contact: Solar Energy International; tel: +1-970-963-8855; fax: +1-970-963-8866; e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org; internet: http://www.solarenergy.org
EIGHTH INTERNATIONAL CONFERENCE ON GREENHOUSE GAS CONTROL TECHNOLOGIES: The GHGT-8 conference will be held in Trondheim, Norway, from 19-23 June 2006, providing a forum to discuss the latest advances in greenhouse gas control technologies. For more information, contact: Mari Sæterbakk, GHGT-8 Secretariat; tel: +47-73-595-265; fax: +47-73-595-150; e-mail: email@example.com; internet: http://www.ghgt8.no/
FIRST MEETING OF THE UN SPECIAL PROGRAMME FOR THE ECONOMIES OF CENTRAL ASIA (SPECA) ECONOMIC FORUM: This meeting will be held in Baku, Azerbaijan, from 25-26 June 2006. The meeting is organized by UNESCAP and UNECE in cooperation with the Government of Azerbaijan, and will focus on the theme “The Energy Dividend: spreading the growth impulse for prosperity and stability in the SPECA region.” For more information, contact: Mr. Ravi Sawhney, UNESCAP; tel: +66-2-288-1923; fax: +66-2-288-3030; e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org; internet: http://www.unescap.org/oes/speca/
SECOND INTERNATIONAL CONFERENCE ON QUANTIFIED ECO-EFFICIENCY ANALYSIS FOR SUSTAINABILITY: This conference will take place in Egmond aan Zee, the Netherlands, from 28-30 June 2006. The conference will address issues such as: applications and user contacts; philosophy, concepts and quantified tools; methods framework; modeling and operational methods; motives and drivers; and consensus and standardization. For more information, contact: Eco-Efficiency Secretariat; tel: +31-71-527-7477; fax: +31-71-527-7434; e-mail: email@example.com; internet: http://www.eco-efficiency-conf.org
TWENTY-SIXTH OPEN-ENDED WORKING GROUP OF THE PARTIES TO THE MONTREAL PROTOCOL: This meeting will be held in Montreal, Canada, from 3-6 July 2006. For more information, contact: Ozone Secretariat; tel: +254-20-762-3850/51; fax: +254-20-762-4691/92/93; e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org; internet: http://ozone.unep.org/Meeting_Documents/oewg/26oewg/index.asp
G8 SUMMIT: The annual G8 summit will be held in St. Petersburg, Russian Federation, from 15-17 July. For more information, contact Sergei Yurievich Vyazalov, Organizing Committee Secretariat: fax: +7 495 206 4822; e-mail: email@example.com; internet: http://en.g8russia.ru
ECOSOC 2006 SUBSTANTIVE SESSION: This meeting will take place in Geneva, Switzerland, from 3-28 July 2006. The High-level segment will convene from 3-5 July 2006 and consider the theme, “Creating an environment at the national and international levels conducive to generating full and productive employment and decent work for all, and its impact on sustainable development.” The dialogue with the Executive Secretaries of the UN regional commissions will convene on 6 July and take up the theme “The regional dimension of creating an environment conducive to generating full and productive employment, and its impact on sustainable development.” The coordination segment will convene from 6-10 July, and consider “Sustained economic growth for social development, including the eradication of poverty and hunger.” The operational activities segment will convene from 11-13 July; the humanitarian affairs segment will convene from 14-19 July; the general segment will convene from 19-27 July; and the conclusion of the Council’s work will be conducted on 27 and 28 July. For more information, contact: Sarbuland Khan, UN DESA; tel: +1-212-963-4628; fax: +1-212-963-1712; e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org; internet: http://www.un.org/docs/ecosoc/
BIANNUAL CONFERENCE AND EXHIBIT OF THE CLEAN AIR INITIATIVE FOR LATIN AMERICAN CITIES ON SUSTAINABLE TRANSPORT: LINKAGES TO MITIGATE CLIMATE CHANGE AND IMPROVE AIR QUALITY: Co-hosted by the São Paulo City Government and the World Bank, this conference will take place in São Paulo, Brazil, from 24-27 July 2006. The meeting will contribute to the preparation and implementation of the region-wide component of the GEF Regional Sustainable Transport Project, including a number of transversal activities related to information exchange and capacity building, as well as development and dissemination of monitoring and assessment methodologies, tools and indicators. For more information, contact: Clean Air Initiative, World Bank; tel: +1-202-458-0859; fax: +1-202-676-0977/8 e-mail: Clean_Air@worldbank.org, internet: http://www.cleanairnet.org/lac_en/1415/article-70393.html
WORLD RENEWABLE ENERGY CONGRESS IX: This event will take place in Florence, Italy, from 19-25 August 2006. The Congress is organized by World Renewable Energy Congress together with ABITA Interuniversity Research Center and the University of Florence and will address: biomass conversion; fuel cells and hydrogen technology; energy, poverty reduction and gender. For more information, contact: World Renewable Energy Congress; tel: +44-1273-625-643; fax: +44-1273-625-768; e-mail: email@example.com; internet: http://www.wrenuk.co.uk/wrecix.html
THIRD GLOBAL ENVIRONMENT FACILITY ASSEMBLY: This meeting will be held in Cape Town, South Africa, from 29-30 August 2006. As the principal governing body of the GEF, the Assembly will chart the forthcoming years’ agenda and work programme. For more information, contact: GEF Secretariat; tel: +1-202-473-0508; fax: +1-202-522-3240/3245; e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org; internet: http://www.gefweb.org/participants/Assembly/3rd_Assembly/3rd_assembly.html
THE IASTED INTERNATIONAL CONFERENCE ON POWER, ENERGY, AND APPLICATIONS: This conference will be held in Gaborone, Botswana, from 11-13 September 2006, providing an international forum for researchers and practitioners focusing on the advances in and applications of power and energy systems and it will be an opportunity to present and observe the latest research, results, and ideas in these areas. For more information, contact: IASTED; tel: +1-403-288-1195; fax: +1-403-247-6851; e-mail: email@example.com; internet: http://www.iasted.org/conferences/2006/Botswana/c506.htm
ENERGY AUDIT ‘06 – INTERNATIONAL ENERGY AUDIT CONFERENCE: This conference is taking place in Lahti, Finland, from 11-13 September 2006. The event is jointly organized by the Finnish Ministry of Trade and Industry, the Ministry of the Environment and the Ministry for Foreign Affairs in Finland with the support of Intelligent Energy Europe – a programme of the European Commission, and it will aim at exchanging ideas, experiences and results gained in the promotion of energy efficiency, in the use of renewable energy, and in energy audit activities worldwide. For more information, contact: Motiva Oy; tel: +358-9-8565-3100; fax +358-9-8565-3199; e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org; internet: http://www.audit06.fi/
GLOBAL CONFERENCE ON RENEWABLE ENERGY APPROACHES FOR DESERT REGIONS: This meeting will be held in Amman, Jordan, from 18-22 September 2006, and will present a range of information regarding the development of wind, solar, biomass and geothermal energy in desert regions. For more information, contact: Conference Secretariat; fax: +962-6-535-5588; e-mail: email@example.com; internet: http://www.ju.edu.jo/confernces/gcreader/index.htm
FIRST INTER-AMERICAN MEETING OF MINISTERS AND HIGH-LEVEL AUTHORITIES OF SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT: This meeting will take place in Santa Cruz de la Sierra, Bolivia, from 5-6 October 2006, and is organized by the Organization of American States (OAS). Participants will identify and advance concrete partnerships at the regional and hemispheric level to integrate environmental considerations into development, poverty alleviation, social and economic policies. The meeting will take into account progress in implementing sustainable development and identify specific opportunities for cooperation among OAS member states. For more information, contact: Joaquin Tamayo, OAS; tel: +1-202- 458-3506; fax: +1-202-458-3560; e-mail: JTamayo@oas.org; internet: http://www.oas.org/dsd/MinisterialMeeting/ReunionInterAm_eng_v1.htm
RENEWABLE ENERGY 2006: This conference will take place in Makumahari Messe, Chiba, Japan, from 9-13 October 2006, and is organized by, among others, the Japan Organization for the Promotion of Renewable Energy and the International Solar Energy Society. The meeting will focus on “Advanced Technology Paths to Global Sustainability” by the utilization of renewable energy resources, and it also covers socioeconomic matters and policy issues. For more information, contact: Renewable Energy 2006 Conference Secretariat; e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org; internet: http://www2.convention.co.jp/re2006/index.html
UNEP FINANCIAL INITIATIVES ANNUAL GENERAL MEETING: This meeting will take place in New York, USA, from 25-26 October 2006. For more information, contact: UNEP DTIE (Economics and Trade Branch); tel: +41-22-917-8298; fax: +41-22-917-8076; e-mail: email@example.com; internet: http://www.unep.ch/etu
EIGHTEENTH MEETING OF THE PARTIES TO THE MONTREAL PROTOCOL: This meeting will be held in New Delhi, India, from 30 October - 3 November 2006. For more information, contact: Ozone Secretariat; tel: +254-20-762-3850/51; fax: +254-20-762-4691/92/93; e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org; internet: http://ozone.unep.org
TWELFTH CONFERENCE OF THE PARTIES TO THE UNFCCC AND SECOND MEETING OF THE PARTIES TO THE KYOTO PROTOCOL: UNFCCC COP 12 and Kyoto Protocol COP/MOP 2 will take place in Nairobi, Kenya, from 6-17 November 2006. These meetings will also coincide with the 25th meetings of the UNFCCC’s subsidiary bodies. For more information, contact: UNFCCC Secretariat; tel: +49-228-815-1000; fax: +49-228-815-1999; e-mail: email@example.com; Internet: http://www.unfccc.int
INTERNATIONAL DIALOGUE ON SCIENCE AND PRACTICE IN SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT: LINKING KNOWLEDGE WITH ACTION: This dialogue, which will take place from 23-27 January 2007, in Chiang Mai, Thailand, is expected to bring together scientists and practitioners involved in global, regional and subregional sustainable development activities to discuss the quantity and effectiveness of collaborations on sustainable development pursued around the world and to enhance the world’s capacity to establish and implement such activities. For more information, contact: Jill Jäger, Sustainable Europe Research Institute (SERI), Austria; tel and fax: +43-1-263-2104; e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org; internet: http://www.sustdialogue.org
CSD POLICY YEAR PREPARATORY MEETING: This meeting, which will take place from 26 February - 1 March 2007, at UN headquarters in New York, will prepare for CSD-15. For more information, contact: UN Division for Sustainable Development; tel: +1-212-963-8102; fax: +1-212-963-4260; e-mail: email@example.com; internet: http://www.un.org/esa/sustdev
FIFTEENTH SESSION OF THE COMMISSION ON SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT: CSD-15 will take place at UN headquarters in New York from 30 April - 11 May 2007. CSD-15 will be a “Policy Year” to decide on measures to speed up implementation and mobilize action to overcome obstacles and constraints for implementation of actions and goals on energy for development, air pollution/atmosphere, climate change and industrial development. For more information, contact: UN Division for Sustainable Development; tel: +1-212-963-8102; fax: +1-212-963-4260; e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org; Internet: http://www.un.org/esa/sustdev