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Special Report on Selected Side Events at WSSD PC-IV
Bali, Indonesia, 27 May - 7 July 2002
published by the International Institute for Sustainable Development
in cooperation with UNDP
<< visit the UNDP website >>

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Events convened on Friday, 31 May 2002

Transforming commitments on secure access to land into actions at local, regional and global levels
Presented by the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) and the Popular Coalition to Eradicate Hunger and Poverty

Left to right: Vera Weill-Hallé, IFAD; Emil Salim, WSSD PrepCom Chair; and Bruce Moore, Popular Coalition to Eradicate Hunger and Poverty.
Vera Weill-Hallé, IFAD, introduced this event, which addressed issues related to access to land.

Emil Salim, WSSD PrepCom Chair, emphasized that increasing access to land for the poor is a strategic component of poverty eradication, and lauded the Popular Coalition's efforts to conceive a platform for action through cooperation among governments, business, civil society and international institutions to this end.

Bruce Moore, Popular Coalition to Eradicate Hunger and Poverty, outlined the history of the Popular Coalition, a global alliance of intergovernmental, civil society and bilateral organizations formed in 1995 to empower the rural poor by increasing their access to productive assets and increasing their participation in decision making at all levels. He presented a WSSD consultation document prepared by the Popular Coalition, which proposes to build a Common Platform on Access to Land to advance the complex issues related to access to land; heighten political will; and form the basis for practical action. He explained that one of the anticipated outcomes of the Platform is to establish country-level multi-stakeholder Land Alliances for National Development (LAND Partnerships) to foster alliances for action within countries involving governments and intergovernmental and civil society organizations. He invited WSSD participants to submit comments on the consultation document and to participate in the proposed LAND Partnerships initiative.

Noer Fauzi, KPA Indonesia, underscored the redistribution of power in land ownership as the most important issue related to access to land. He highlighted discussions undertaken at the recent Indonesian Consultation at the People's Forum on land-related conflict, inequitable distribution of land, and the tension between government laws, regulations and mechanisms and customary law. He stressed the need for new and innovative ways to overcome land access problems.

Wellington Thwala, South Africa National Land Committee, highlighted common challenges that are impeding the resolution of land access problems in many countries, including the fact that land markets respond only to money and not to human needs, and the tendency of governments to compensate people financially rather than to redistribute land.

Jocelyn Dow, Women's Environment and Development Organization (WEDO), stressed that even when laws are passed that establish legal rights for women, further action by civil society is required to ensure their implementation, and emphasized that laws must enable different forms of ownership. She highlighted the need to address issues related to women's access to resources and security of tenure in financial mechanisms, and to develop new, creative and "people-friendly" instruments and new forms of credit.

Vicky Tauli-Corpus, Tebtebba Foundation, stressed that for indigenous people, access to land includes rights to land, both individual and collective. She noted that many national laws related to land do not recognize customary land laws, which has led to a disintegration of the social fabric of many indigenous communities. She underscored the need to recognize that there are different ways of looking at land ownership.

More information:
Vera Weill-Hallé <>
Bruce Moore <>
Noer Fauzi <>
Wellington Thwala <>
Jocelyn Dow <>
Victoria Tauli-Corpuz <>

ILO tripartite roundtable - employment, social dialogue and social protection: Achieving sustainable development at the workplace
Presented by the International Labour Organization (ILO)

Jack Whelan, ICC, explains that the multi-stakeholder dialogue is helpful as a non-confrontational forum in which polarized debates can take place.
Larry Kohler, ILO, introduced this event, which addressed issues of employment and social protection and their relation to sustainable development.

Allan Larsson, ILO, on behalf of ILO Director-General Juan Somavia, presented the ILO's three messages to heads of State and government: the WSSD must make employment the centerpiece of poverty eradication; the WSSD must create an investment strategy for business opportunities, job opportunities and environmental protection; and new forms of governance must manage change in a socially responsible way. He outlined new partnerships being prepared in the areas of: employment for development; the linking of employers and workers; and health education, jobs and technology for Africa.

Jack Whelan, International Chamber of Commerce (ICC), highlighted good governance at the local level as an important enabling condition for business, and stressed that discussions should examine successes and failures in partnership activities rather than focus on prescriptive guidelines.

Lucien Royer, International Confederation of Free Trade Unions (ICFTU), described partnerships and cooperation in which the ICFTU is involved, including work-floor negotiations between union members and employers, framework agreements between trade unions and multinational corporations, and voluntary agreements.

K. Chetty, South Africa, spoke on occupational health as a component of public health, focusing on the problem of global health literacy. She addressed: how workers can be made a "front line" force on health issues; the importance of action for safe employment; the responsibilities of employers in caring for HIV-positive workers; difficulties in monitoring and enforcing South Africa's progressive health and safety legislation; and the importance of making the textual outputs of the WSSD concrete through both Type I and Type II outcomes.

Discussion: Participants discussed, inter alia: employment for development; health problems in the labor force and the relation to business sustainability; successful cases of occupational health education; and the ILO-established World Commission on the Social Dimension of Globalization.

More information:

Larry Kohler <>
Allan Larsson <>
Jack Whelan <>
Lucien Royer <>

Restore the Earth: Johannesburg and Tlholego Eco-village projects and partnership initiatives
Presented by the Global Futures Network, the Global Eco-village Network (GEN) and Restore the Earth

Roger Doudna, GEN, describes GEN efforts to designate the 21st century the "Century of Restoring the Earth."
This event presented the work of GEN and Restore the Earth in establishing a network of "eco-villages" around the world.

Roger Doudna, GEN, described the Findhorn Foundation Community Eco-Village Project, an intentional community in Scotland that was established in 1962 and has evolved into a 400-person sustainable community. He said there are now approximately 15,000 eco-villages around the world.

Doudna then presented a video introducing GEN and its vision of sustainable communities that reflect shared ecological, social and spiritual values of maintaining a balance with the earth.

Doudna introduced the concept of eco-restoration, whereby ecosystems are consciously restored to reverse negative human impacts. He said GEN is advocating that the UN declare the 21st century the "Century of Restoring the Earth," and is calling for a global earth monitoring center and an earth restoration programme.

Doudna then aired a video on eco-restoration. Emphasizing that the earth regenerates itself following natural disasters, it presented care for the earth as the defining cultural goal shared by all people.

Discussion: Participants discussed, inter alia, difficulties in finding a country sponsor for the "Century of Restoring the Earth" concept, potential linkages between GEN and the Earth Charter, indicators for eco-villages, and the importance of grassroots activities in effecting global change.

More information:
Roger Doudna <>

Meeting the Millennium Development Goals: Can the environment wait?
Presented by the World Bank

Kristalina Georgieva, World Bank, states that the vicious economic cycles that exacerbate environmental degradation are not deterministic, and highlights the need for a deliberate effort to break out of "path dependency."
Mats Karlsson, World Bank, introduced this event, which addressed interlinkages between environmental strategies and the Millennium Development Goals.

Kristalina Georgieva, World Bank, emphasized the crucial role of environmental improvement in achieving the Millennium Development Goals. She stressed that the goals of productive work and a good quality of life cannot be achieved without a shift toward sustainable production and consumption and better valuation of the environment. She said key drivers of such a shift include scientific and technological innovation, income growth, expanded markets, increased mobility of people and ideas, and demographic and urban transitions.

Georgieva stressed that environmental improvements are crucial not only for achieving environmental sustainability (Goal 7), but for most of the Millennium Development Goals, particularly those relating to child mortality, the spread of diseases, and access to water and sanitation. She noted weaknesses in Goal 7, including ambiguity, insufficient indicators, and a lack of specific outcomes and targets.

Georgieva recommended: focusing environmental efforts on areas crucial for sustainable growth and poverty reduction; establishing indicators to measure progress; and integrating the environmental costs and benefits of action and inaction into decision making. She introduced the World Bank's estimation of costs to reach the Millennium Development Goals, and discussed difficulties that arose in estimating the benefits of environmental improvements due to the lack of long-term thinking and consideration of the needs of future generations.

Nabiel Makarim, Indonesian State Minister for Environment, explained that in Indonesia, the concept of sustainable development was initially introduced by the government, but public demand for sustainable development is lacking. Stressing the need for government efforts to disseminate the concept, he outlined an Indonesian Government programme for public empowerment for sustainable development. He emphasized the need for good governance, public participation and poverty eradication.

More information:
Mats Karlsson <>
Kristalina Georgieva <>

Trade, finance and sustainable development
Presented by the Third World Network

Martin Khor, Third World Network, underscores the need to correct the imbalances of the past by ensuring that developing countries do not suffer further losses in the agricultural and services sectors, and to place the principle of sustainable development ahead of national treatment in the WTO.
Martin Khor, Third World Network, addressed the implications of the most recent World Trade Organization (WTO) negotiations for the WSSD. He explained how the 1995 Uruguay Round negotiations that created the WTO have overridden the global compact for common but differentiated responsibilities for sustainable development embodied in the 1992 Rio agreements, by requiring developing countries to liberalize manufacturing while allowing the North to maintain subsidies and high tariffs in agriculture and textiles and to engage in biopiracy. He highlighted proposals presented by developing countries at the recent WTO Ministerial meeting in Doha, including a call to prohibit the patenting of all living materials, versus a call for national treatment in investment, competition and government procurement by Northern countries. He emphasized the need to ensure that national treatment in these areas remains only a subject of discussion and not one of a future agreement in WTO negotiations, and to change the WTO's governance system to improve developing countries' participation and leverage in negotiations.

Binny Buchori, International NGO Forum on Indonesian Development, discussed Indonesia's debt crisis, noting that Indonesia's development budget has decreased by 40% to allow the country to service its US$143 billion debt. She questioned how Indonesia could achieve sustainable development and poverty eradication under these conditions. She said the true test of the WSSD will be whether agreement can be reached on alternative and innovation solutions to the debt crisis.

Victoria Tauli-Corpuz, Tebtebba Foundation, emphasized that trade liberalization has led to a drastic depletion of the planet's natural wealth, which in turn has led to conflict between communities and corporations as well as within communities themselves. She said trade liberalization has also resulted in the dumping of cheap, highly subsidized agricultural and textile products in developing countries, which has devastated the livelihoods of indigenous peoples. She noted that, despite indigenous peoples' enormous contributions to maintaining ecosystem services, their resources are being destroyed and their capacity to continue to provide these services seriously eroded. She stressed that corporate accountability and changing production and consumption patterns must be at the top of the WSSD agenda.

More information:
Martin Khor <>
Binny Buchori <>
Victoria Tauli-Corpuz <>

Volunteerism: Sustaining lives and livelihoods
Presented by United Nations Volunteers (UNV) and the International Federation of the Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies

Annabell Waititu, ELCI, stresses the need for capacity building for volunteers.
This event addressed the need to promote the important role of volunteerism for sustainable development.

Robert Leigh, UNV, noted that the international community has adopted a new strategy to promote and recognize the importance of volunteer actions. He defined volunteerism as action that is based on free will rather than remuneration and brings benefits to society.

Datta Patil, YUVA Rural, described successful volunteer work at the grassroots level in his community in India. He emphasized the need for acknowledgement and recognition of voluntary work, as well as the importance of focusing volunteer efforts on sustaining communities' livelihoods.

Esther Mwaura-Muiru, GROOTS Kenya, noted that governments in developing countries often fail to support and acknowledge volunteerism as development work. She called for assistance to support the documentation of volunteer activities to enable volunteers to share experiences, improve their work, and gain appropriate recognition. She described how women's voluntary work at the grassroots level is helping to sustain many communities in Kenya, and highlighted the "learning-by-doing" approach as the best way to promote volunteerism.

Annabell Waititu, Environmental Liaison Centre International (ELCI), highlighted the experiences of volunteer paralegals working on joint forest management, and emphasized the need to provide volunteers with training, access to information and technologies, and incentives to continue their volunteer work.

Monika Zimmerman, International Council for Local Environmental Initiatives (ICLEI), warned against using volunteerism as an excuse for inaction by governments. She said local governments should be aware of volunteerism's importance for sustainable development and support it by, inter alia, facilitating discussion and providing information on the need for volunteer actions.

Subagio Anam, Indonesian Parliament, said no action for sustainable development will succeed without volunteerism, and recommended that governments implement policies and legislation to promote grassroots voluntary action.

Josephine Shields, International Federation of the Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies, and Dewa Sudana, Indonesian Red Cross and Red Crescent Society, said that volunteerism is the key pillar of their organization, described categories of volunteerism, and outlined the activities of their organization's volunteers in Bali.

Josephine Satyono, GE Elfun, highlighted a volunteer group at GE as an example of emerging corporate volunteer initiatives. She emphasized that volunteerism helps individuals develop leadership and communication skills and participate more actively in community life.
More information:
Robert Leigh <>
Datta Patil <>
Esther Mwaura-Muiru <>
Annabell Waititu <>
Monika Zimmerman <>
Subagio Anam <>
Josephine Shields <>
Josephine Satyono <>

The Earth Negotiations Bulletin (ENB) on the side is a special publication of the International Institute for Sustainable Development (IISD) in cooperation with the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP). The Editor of ENB on the side is Kira Schmidt issue has been written by Tamilla Held, Jenny Mandel and Kira Schmidt The Digital Editors are Andrei Henry, Leila Mead, and Diego Noguera Funding for publication of ENB on the Side at PC-IV is provided by UNDP. The opinions expressed in ENB on the Side are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of IISD and funders. Excerpts from ENB on the Side may be used in non-commercial publications only and only with appropriate academic citation. For permission to use this material in commercial publications, contact the Managing Editor at Electronic versions of issues of ENB on the Side from WSSD PC-IV can be found on the Linkages website at

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