On Thursday, the high-level segment of CSD 19 continued with four ministerial roundtables. In the morning, roundtables on developing programmes and a framework to accelerate the shift towards SCP, and enhancing access to sustainable urban and rural transport took place. In the afternoon, roundtables on moving towards zero waste and sound management of chemicals, and creating an enabling environment for sustainable mining convened. Throughout the day and into the evening negotiations took place under the Working Groups and in contact groups on waste management, mining, chemicals, the10YFP, preamble and IL and CCI, including MOI, in order to resolve outstanding issues in the text.
DEVELOPING PROGRAMMES AND A FRAMEWORK TO ACCELERATE THE SHIFT TOWARDS SCP: In the morning, delegates participated in the Ministerial Roundtable on SCP, co-chaired by Paul Magnette, Minister for Climate and Energy, Belgium, and Margarita Songco, Deputy Director-General, National Economic and Development Authority, the Philippines.
Mohan Munasinghe, Chairman, Munasinghe Institute for Development, Sri Lanka, discussed the idea of setting “Millennium Consumption Goals” as a way to prompt the cultural changes needed to ensure achievement of SCP and sustainable development.
Achim Steiner, Executive Director, UNEP, underscored that CSD 19 giving a clear message on the 10YFP is important for moving forward on the sustainable development agenda and building confidence for Rio+20.
Paul Anastas, Assistant Administrator, Environmental Protection Agency, US, stressed the important role of science and technology, such as green chemistry, in catalyzing the changes needed to realize SCP, and the role of various actors in ensuring it happens on the scale required.
During discussions, ministers and high-level officials expressed their support for the 10YFP, stating that it is an important step towards Rio+20 and SCP. They supported UNEP as its secretariat and including an initial list of programmes in the document, based on those developed during the Marrakech process. They highlighted the need for: efficient institutional structures for its implementation; mobilizing financial and technical resources; green economy; decoupling economic growth from ecological degradation; closer cooperation among all relevant stakeholders; and transparency and mainstreaming SCP into planning and reporting.
ALGERIA suggested establishing regional centers to disseminate information and knowledge. GERMANY called for adoption of the UN Green Economy Roadmap, which should include timeline benchmarks and a monitoring system at Rio+20.
UN-ESCAP underscored that shifting towards SCP or green economy is not a conditionality but a necessity for energy and food security for developing countries. The UN WORLD TOURISM ORGANIZATION highlighted the role of tourism in SCP. CHILDREN AND YOUTH said that the 10YFP should be able to translate words into actions and a framework without programmes is an empty shell. NGOs called for treating stakeholders as equal partners in the transition to SCP.
ENHANCING ACCESS TO SUSTAINABLE URBAN AND RURAL TRANSPORT: This roundtable was co-chaired by Phil Hogan, Minister for the Environment, Community and Local Government, Ireland, and Blaise Louembet, Minister of Habitat, Planning, Ecology, and Sustainable Development, Gabon.
Joan Clos, Executive Director, UN-Habitat, spoke on the importance of approaching transport bearing in mind the need for reduced mobility, and that traffic is a result of poor urban mass transportation planning.
Allison Davis, AICP Senior Transportation Planner, Arup, US, said that congestion reduces municipal quality of life and economic competitiveness. She underlined the importance of getting car owners back into public transport, reallocating street space to public transit, and developing multimodal visions.
In the discussion, ministers, high-level officials and major groups focused on: sustainable urban planning for reduction of CO2 emissions, noise pollution and habitat fragmentation; transportation’s role in reconstruction and peace-building; avoiding energy consumption; safety; information and technology-sharing; and initiatives for efficiency indicators. Many speakers stressed the need to improve public transport infrastructure and increase investment through government policies and partnerships, and noted that accessible, affordable and sustainable transport will go a long way in reducing poverty and facilitating access to jobs.
Others, including FARMERS, WOMEN, NGOs and CHILDREN AND YOUTH, highlighted the importance of transport mobility in rural areas with special reference to the situation of women, non-motorized transport, and the need for broad consultations with citizens on transport planning. WORKERS AND TRADE UNIONS commented on working conditions of transport employees, including in the informal sector. UNEP and UNECE reported on their current initiatives in transport and highlighted good policy formulation.
MOVING TOWARDS ZERO WASTE AND SOUND MANAGEMENT OF CHEMICALS: Cherif Rahmani, Ministry of Environment, Algeria, and Nikola Ružinski, State Secretary for Environment, Croatia, co-chaired the roundtable on moving towards zero waste and sound management of chemicals.
Jim Willis, Joint Head of the Basel and Stockholm Convention Secretariats and the UNEP part of the Rotterdam Convention Secretariat, stressed the importance of both the benefits and costs of chemicals management. Craig Boljkovac, Former Chair of the Inter-Organization Programme for the Sound Management of Chemicals (IOMC), spoke on mainstreaming chemicals management and the utility of the SAICM. Prasad Modak, Executive President, Environmental Management Center, India, discussed “losing the opportunity” to convert waste streams back into resources.
Ministers and high-level officials expressed their support for: enhancing synergies between the Basel, Stockholm and Rotterdam Conventions and strengthening their regional centers; financial support, technical assistance and capacity building; SAICM, especially the Quick Start Programme; a legally-binding global instrument on mercury; complementing international efforts at the regional and national levels; moving toward zero waste; greater engagement with civil society; and building international partnerships on waste management for the dissemination of good practices.
NIGERIA urged more technical assistance to help developing countries clean up contaminated sites. COLOMBIA called for the Basel Ban Amendment to be implemented. INDIA said bans should only be a last resort, since they often led to smuggling.
SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY called for increased research in green chemistry.
CREATING AN ENABLING ENVIRONMENT FOR SUSTAINABLE MINING: This roundtable was facilitated by Zoltan Illés, Minister of State for Environmental Affairs, Hungary, and Luis Alberto Ferraté Felice, Minister of Environment and Natural Resources, Guatemala.
Panelist Ann Maest, Stratus Consulting, US, focused on the technological side of hard-rock mining, including increased waste, energy and water use. Ben Peachy, International Council on Mining and Metals, UK, spoke on improving the performance of mining companies.
Speakers emphasized, inter alia, the need for: promotion of resource efficiency and poverty eradication; cooperation between governments, companies and communities to maximize the benefits of mining; integrated use of mineral resources; and effective regulatory bodies and corporate social responsibility.
UNEP highlighted multi-stakeholder platforms at regional and global levels to promote sustainability in the mining sector.
INDIGENOUS PEOPLES said mining is a fundamentally unsustainable industry and WOMEN said the history of mining is one of violence. WORKERS AND TRADE UNIONS noted the danger of working in mines and CHILDREN AND YOUTH called for the eradication of child labor in mining. SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY noted the importance of scientific research.
WORKING GROUP 1
MOI: The G-77/China suggested inclusion, in the paragraph on outcomes of major international conferences, of a reference to paragraph 81 of the JPOI (on MOI), but the US, Canada and the EU objected. Debate continued between the G-77/CHINA and the EU, US, JAPAN, and CANADA over, inter alia: reference to “innovation as an enabler” for implementation in the preamble; language for recognizing “the role of the private sector” in “sustainable” or “sustainable industrial” development; finance, and if it should support developing countries in addressing both the inter-related global crisis and meeting the CSD decisions; and development assistance. The delegates agreed to delete text on corporate social responsibility and on urging the donor community to support developing countries in achieving the SCP, both of which are pending in the SCP negotiations. At the close of the evening’s formal negotiations, many paragraphs still remained bracketed with placement uncertain and some issues untouched. Delegates discussed having a morning session to finalize drafting.
MINING: At this last formal meeting of the group, discussion centered on the opening paragraphs of the section. The G-77/CHINA asked for removal of the word “access” referring to raw materials as essential for modern living, and suggested mentioning “availability” of minerals and metals. After discussion, this latter formula was accepted. The G-77/CHINA also added a reference to the Rio principles of sustainable development, and proposed reference to fair distribution of benefits from mining, but objected to mentioning companies as benefit recipients. Negotiations continued well into the night.
WORKING GROUP 2
10YFP: In the morning, Working Group 2 continued discussions on the 10YFP by considering compromise text proposed by two contact groups. They agreed on language concerning, inter alia, avoiding trade distortions and new constraints to international development financing and ODA, and pursuing SCP in a manner that supports new market development opportunities for products and technologies, especially from developing countries.
Working Group 2 resumed negotiations on 10YFP in the evening. Delegates agreed on the paragraphs on 10YFP’s functions related to: promoting the added value of an SCP approach; enabling all relevant stakeholders to share information; fostering increased cooperation and networking; supporting the integration of SCP in decision-making; raising awareness and engaging civil society; facilitating access to technical assistance, training, financing, technology and capacity building; making use of the scientific and policy knowledge base; promoting the engagement of the private sector; fostering innovation and new ideas; and considering the costs and benefits related to SCP implementation. Negotiations continued late into the evening.
PREAMBLE: During the lunch hour, Working Group 2 held its final round of negotiations on the preamble. They agreed on language covering, inter alia, Africa, the 26th session of the UNEP Governing Council, the Strategic Plan for Biodiversity 2011-2020, and synergies between the Basel, Stockholm and Rotterdam Conventions.
IN THE CORRIDORS
As negotiations at CSD 19 hit what many negotiators were characterizing as “crunch time,” delegates balanced “packed” Ministerial Roundtables, particularly on SCP, in between negotiations to hash out remaining issues, including the impasse on MOI. Talks there proceeded very slowly, producing fits of frustration among some negotiators. “This is more like ‘ego’-management, rather than ‘eco’-management!” said a weary delegate. As night approached, the conflict of wills was continuing, with both sides of the ideological divide hoping to wear out the opponent by attrition. “If only we had one more day,” mused one delegate. As usual, hopes abound that the Chair will produce a miracle, i.e., a compromise text, to be accepted “as is,” late on Friday.
Meanwhile, many were noting that the intensity of this CSD was sustained by the singular presence of internet technologies in the negotiating rooms. “It wouldn’t have been possible without the e-room, it allows us to propose text without even taking the floor, and to get updated versions of the draft in near real-time,” enthused one computer-savvy delegate. Another noted the quick responses from negotiators able to consult with their delegations and capitals on their Blackberries. “It’s nice, you can float language and get a pretty quick turn around on whether something will work.” The downside of this, according to others, is that the text overflows with amendments, which sometimes obscures really important points.
ENB SUMMARY AND ANALYSIS: The Earth Negotiations Bulletin summary and analysis of CSD 19 will be available on Monday, 16 May 2011 online at: http://enb.iisd.org/csd/csd19/