Special Report on Selected Side Events at the  WSSD
Johannesburg, South Africa, 26 August - 4  September 2002
published by IISD, the International Institute for Sustainable  Development in cooperation with UNDP


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Events convened on Thursday, 29 August 2002

Community action, global impact: Launching UNDP partnership initiatives
Presented by UNDP

From the left: Nalini Burn, Mauritius; Alvaro Umaña, UNDP; Zephrin Diabre, UNDP; Nadine Gordimer, UNDP Goodwill Ambassador.

This event explored the role of communities in contributing to sustainable development, and launched a series of new UNDP-led strategic partnerships to implement the WSSD’s framework on Water, Energy, Health, Agriculture and Biodiversity (WEHAB).

Zephrin Diabre, UNDP, explained that UNDP created “Capacity 21” and other local initiatives to implement capacity building in developing countries, and that it launched the new “Capacity 2015” programme to continue supporting national efforts for sustainable development. He underlined that one of UNDP’s key strategies for tackling global sustainable development has been the fostering of cross-cutting partnerships. Diabre noted that UNDP is coordinating global and national efforts to achieve the Millennium Declaration Goals and explained that the new WEHAB partnership initiatives are key to implementing them.

Alvaro Umãna, UNDP, highlighted that UNDP has developed an integrated package of partnership initiatives to create enabling conditions and capacities at local and national levels to reduce poverty, protect the environment and achieve sustainable development. He underscored the importance of replicating successful activities established under these initiatives.

Nadine Gordimer, UNDP Goodwill Ambassador, said that politics and economics are equally important in achieving development and stressed the need for political empowerment of communities.

Panelists from countries taking part in UNDP partnership initiatives presented initiatives and highlighted their contribution to implementing the WEHAB framework.

Sunia Delaijagi, Fiji, presented an initiative on a locally managed marine area network. He explained that the initiative promotes community empowerment, restores fish stocks, manages fresh water, and increases access to clean drinking water.

Nalini Burn, Mauritius, introduced an initiative that provides electricity and pumping water to poor households in Burkina Faso, Guinea, Mali and Senegal. She noted that access to energy and water allows women and children to engage in decision making, agriculture, education, and crafts, and releases them from heavy and non-remunerated manual labor.

Siima Bakengesa, Tanzania, presented a soil conservation initiative which replenishes soils in arid areas by, amongst others, employing bioforestry technologies, and planting native trees.

Will Maheia, Belize, presented a project facilitated by the Toledo Institute for Development and Environment. He explained that the project enabled a local community to participate in the management of a marine reserve, resulting in a shift from unsustainable fishing practices to sustainable ones, and in an increase of fish stocks, tourism, and income

Listen to a short UNDP presentation


Listen to Alvaro Umãna


Listen to Nadine Gordimer


Listen to Nalini Burn


Listen to Siima Bakengesa


More information:

Zephrin Diabre<
[email protected]>
Alvaro Umãna <
[email protected]>
Sunia Delaijagi <
[email protected]>
Nalini Burn <
[email protected]>
Siima Bakengesa <
[email protected]>
Will Maheia <
[email protected]>

Beatrice Chaytor, FIELD, describes FIELD's activities in the field of trade, investment and sustainable development.

Building capacity for negotiation and implementing international sustainable development regimes
Presented by the Foundation for International Environmental Law and Development (FIELD)

Tony Gross, FIELD, highlighted FIELD’s capacity-building activities for implementing and negotiating environmental regimes.  He said that capacity building should: be a long term investment; aim at strengthening institutions, including governments, universities, and NGOs; involve a broad range of stakeholders; strengthen cooperation at the regional level; use an integrated approach across multiple sectors and institutions; and focus on both process and substance.

Jürgen Lefevere, FIELD, presented FIELD’s capacity-building activities on climate change negotiations for AOSIS countries. He explained that FIELD: provides briefing documents to delegates prior to meetings; offers assistance during negotiations; and prepares submissions to international bodies. He noted the need to: enhance understanding of complicated issues; encourage long term involvement of delegates; coordinate international and national, as well as negotiating and implementing processes; and establish issue linkages, including between biodiversity and climate change.

Beatrice Chaytor, FIELD, explained that in the field of trade, investment, and sustainable development, FIELD submits legal briefs to specific dispute settlement mechanisms, and provides technical assistance to least developed countries in the WTO Committee on Trade and Environment. She highlighted benefits gained from a joint project with UNCTAD on building capacity of developing countries in Asia, Africa, and Latin America, which aims at: improving understanding of trade and environment issues; enhancing policy-making and negotiation skills; and promoting participation, primarily in the WTO.

René Vossenaar, UNCTAD, further described the phases of the FIELD-UNCTAD project and noted first successes. He identified possible shortcomings of capacity building, including frequent change of government officials, and lack of dissemination, follow up, and in-depth analysis of issues. 

Raúl Garrido, Cuba, explained Cuba’s participation in the FIELD-UNCTAD project and its benefits, including clarification of concepts and issues, and strengthening of negotiation positions for the 2001 Doha meeting.

Carolina Lasén Diaz, FIELD, outlined FIELD’s capacity-building work on biodiversity issues, including publications, and highlighted work undertaken on access to genetic resources and benefit sharing (ABS) in the Pacific Islands region. She said that similar projects on ABS and biosafety are underway in other regions.

Discussion: Participants discussed various issues, including:

Capacity building for politicians and diplomats; demand-driven capacity building; funding for capacity-building activities; and relations between negotiators and those in charge of implementation.

More information:

Tony Gross <
[email protected]>
Jürgen Lefevere <
[email protected]>
Beatrice Chaytor <
[email protected]>
René Vossenaar <
[email protected]>
Carolina Lasén Diaz <
[email protected]>

Heidi Hautala, European Parliament, calls for an intergovernmental agreement on corporate accountability.

Cleaner fuels for cleaner air
Presented by the United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs (UN DESA), the International Fuel Quality Centre, and the Alliance to End Childhood Lead Poisoning (AECLP)

At this event, the Cleaner Fuels for Cleaner Air Partnership was launched and discussed.

Patrizio Civili, UN DESA, emphasized the importance of the transport sector in contributing to sustainable development. He highlighted lead as a major health hazard, and underscored the Partnership’s aim to improve health and quality of life, particularly for poor people in urban areas.

Klaus Töpfer, Executive Director of UNEP, noted the importance of mobility, and underscored the need for initiatives to address problems of air pollution. He highlighted the importance of improving gasoline quality and suggested a global phase-out of lead within five years.

Linda Fisher, US, highlighted the involvement of industry, international institutions and NGOs in the Partnership, and identified the partnership as an opportunity to improve air quality and health. She noted the adverse effects of lead and sulfur on children. 

Heidi Hautala, European Parliament, noted the importance of improving fuel quality in developing countries, stressed that partnerships should not replace, but complement WSSD “type 1” outcomes, and suggested addressing corporate responsibility within the Partnership.

Roger Beale, Australia, called for pragmatic measures to address air pollution, which incorporate: local industry capacity; vehicle fleet; and behavior. He stated that improving fuel quality constitutes “one of the quicker fixes” in addressing pollution and health problems.

Sandrine Dixson-Declève, International Fuel Quality Center, noted the possibility of achieving a total phase-out of lead with appropriate political support, and stressed that sulfur and other harmful substances should also be reduced.

Sun Zhen, China, stated that problems of air pollution should be addressed holistically, and advocated city-specific solutions that involve local governments and improve awareness.

Maria Rapuano, AECLP, explained that elimination of lead provides a gateway to addressing other harmful pollutants by promoting catalytic converters.

Richard Kassel, National Resources Defence Council, emphasized the importance of improving the quality of diesel, which currently causes asthma, cancer and premature death.

More information:

Heidi Hautala <
[email protected]>
Roger Beale <
[email protected]>
Sandrine Dixson-Decleve <
[email protected]>
Sun Zhen <
[email protected]>
Maria Rapuano <
[email protected]>
Richard Kassel <
[email protected]>

From left to right: Lennart Båge and Phrang Roy, IFAD; and Ian Johnson, the World Bank.

The rural poor - survival or a better life?
Presented by the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD), the World Food Programme (WFP), and the Consultative Group on International Agricultural Research (CGIAR)

Archbishop Desmond Tutu welcomed the event which considered interlinkages between rural poverty and sustainable development.

Lennart Båge, IFAD, presented the new IFAD publication entitled “The rural poor: Survival or a better life?” and called for the provision of resources to reduce rural poverty.

Rodnee Cooke, IFAD, stated that strategic objectives for poverty reduction include: increased capacity of the rural poor and their organizations; strengthened capacity of financial markets; and improved access to technology and financial assets. He emphasized natural resource management as a key to confronting challenges of poverty and environmental degradation.

M.S. Swaminthan, Centre for Research on Sustainable Agricultural and Rural Development, said that rural poverty alleviation requires a shift towards skilled work. He called for: policies that ensure economic viability of micro-enterprises; corporate responsibility, and media support.

Ana Elisa Osorio Granado, Venezuelan Minister of Environment and Natural Resources, highlighted activities of transnational corporations and unsustainable consumption patterns as central causes of environmental degradation and poverty. She called, amongst others, for: recognition of farmers’ and indigenous peoples’ rights; access to micro-credits; removal of unsustainable agriculture subsidies; and implementation of the Monterrey commitments.

Ian Johnson, the World Bank, called for a new agricultural revolution that increases productivity based on the concept of social and environmental responsibility. He recommended local capacity building, support to farmer organizations, knowledge sharing, and prioritization of agriculture and food security in the WSSD’s outcomes.

Victoria Tauli Corpuz, UN Voluntary Fund for Indigenous Populations, outlined key issues in indigenous peoples’ poverty alleviation, including recognition of their rights to land and resources, and preserving traditional livelihoods. She called for WSSD discussions to focus on sustainable agriculture.

Werner Kiene, WFP, identified social risk management and safety nets as crucial components in implementing rural development strategies. He stated that safety nets are a tool for enabling the social inclusion of the very poor.

Hans Herren, International Centre of Insect Physiology and Ecology, stressed the need for more specific research to address the root causes of rural poverty and recommended that research be an integrated component of development projects.

Phrang Roy, IFAD, underscored that sustainable agriculture is central to poverty alleviation and sustainable development.

More information:

Lennart Båge <
[email protected]>
Rodnee Cooke <
[email protected]>
M.S. Swaminthan <
[email protected]>
Ian Johnson <
[email protected]>
Werner Kiene <
[email protected]>
Hans Herren <
[email protected]>

Joke Waller-Hunter notes that the CDM will help implement WSSD outcomes.


Clean Development Mechanism round table: From idea to reality
Presented by the World Business Council on Sustainable Development (WBCSD) and the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC)

Egil Myklebust, Norsk Hydro, highlighted the difficulties to stimulate individual businesses to implement Clean Development Mechanism (CDM) projects and stressed that they should be launched without delay. He highlighted that experience gained through implementing CDM will provide inputs to improve relevant rules and procedures.

Jennifer Morgan, Climate Action Network (CAN), highlighted that CDM projects should promote renewable energy and benefit communities and the environment. She emphasized the need for credibility, promotion of sustainable development and public participation when designing and implementing CDM projects.

Joke Waller-Hunter, Executive Secretary of the UNFCCC, explained that important features of CDM projects include: combining interests of developing and developed countries and mobilizing new private sector investments. She highlighted that the CDM reflects the WSSD’s emphasis on partnerships.

John Kilani, CDM Executive Board, highlighted that the Board has prepared a list of modalities and procedures for the CDM and given guidance to participants related to projects accreditation.

Agus Sari, CAN, said that CDM projects should, inter alia:

contribute to sustainable economic, social and environmental development; promote public participation; and reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

Charles Nicholson, British Petroleum (BP)-Amoco, presented the BP Rural Solar Project, a CDM partnership with the Brazilian Government, which aims to supply sustainable energy for 2,000 schools.

Satish Roopa, South Africa, said that CDM rules and procedures should allow local governments to decide on projects in their communities.

Mohammad Salamat, CDM Executive Board, highlighted that the Board has examined tools to guarantee regional balance in the implementation of CDM projects.

Sandy Gauntlett, Indigenous Peoples Organizations, said that CDM projects must respect and recognize indigenous people’s rights and knowledge, and share benefits with indigenous people.

More information:

Egil Myklebust <
[email protected]>
Jennifer Morgan <
[email protected]>
Joke Waller-Hunter <
[email protected]>
John Kilani <
[email protected]>
Agus Sari <
[email protected]>
Charles Nicholson <
[email protected]>
Satish Roopa <
[email protected]>
Sandy Gauntlett <
[email protected]>

Antonio del Rosario, World Energy Council, calls for regional centers to build capacity for making renewable energy available in rural areas.

Helene Connor, Helio International, advocating small power plants and renewable energy in rural areas.

Significant issues in energy and sustainable development
Presented by Helio International, the NGO Energy and Climate Caucus, the World Energy Council Centre of Developing Renewable Energies (CDER), the International Energy Agency (IEA), and the International Network for Sustainable Energy (INFORSE)

At this event, governmental, intergovernmental, and non-governmental organizations gave their perspectives on significant issues relating to energy and sustainable development. 

Abdelhanine Benallou, CDER, stressed the importance of electricity supply for revenue-generating activities to reduce poverty, particularly in rural areas. He stated that renewable energy is key to achieving sustainable energy supply in rural areas that lack connection to electricity grids, and stressed that countries should set their own goals regarding renewable energy. 

Helene Connor and Emile Tanawa, Helio International, noted the role of Sustainable Energy Watch in providing independent reports on energy consumption and development. Regarding global trends, Connor and Tanawa: emphasized that development should not be dependent on increased energy use; noted that rural electrification is progressing slowly in developing countries; and highlighted increasing dependence on fossil fuels. Connor and Tanawa stressed that the poorest people pay the highest prices for energy.

Fatih Birol, IEA, identified heavy reliance on traditional biomass use as a “hallmark of poverty,” and noted that in absence of radical new policies, 1.4 billion people will continue to lack access to electricity in 2030. He highlighted the correlation between lack of electricity access and poverty, and called for: creating conditions to attract investment; investing in a range of energy sources, including in efficient use of biomass; and the application of renewable energy technologies in rural areas.

Gunnar Olesen, Danish Organization for Renewable Energy, proposed a global phase out of fossil fuels within 50 years, by: achieving transition to renewable energy sources; increasing energy efficiency; and reducing consumption. Noting a study on the energy sector in Denmark, he stressed the cost-effectiveness of a shift towards a sustainable energy system.

Raymond Myles, Integrated Sustainable Energy and Ecological Development Association, suggested addressing challenges of energy access, poverty and environmental degradation through use of household biomass technologies. He suggested addressing energy supply in an integrated manner, and advocated capacity building.

Andre de Moor, NGO Energy and Climate Caucus, noted that most energy subsidies target fossil fuels, and called for a global partnership on energy subsidy reform that aims to phase out energy subsidies. He stressed that although subsidies aim to promote economic growth, they often fail to do so, and called for improved subsidy transparency.

Antonio del Rosario, World Energy Council, emphasized the importance of access to renewable energy in rural areas, and stressed the need for affordable energy.

More information:

Abdelhanine Benallou <
[email protected]>
Helene Connor <
[email protected]>
Emile Tanawa <
[email protected]>
Fatih Birol <
[email protected]>
Gunnar Olesen <
[email protected]>
Raymond Myles <
[email protected]>
Andre de Moor <
[email protected]>
Antonia del Rosario <
[email protected]>

Nicolas Schrijver, International Law Association, stresses the need for balance between development, environment and human rights in formulating sustainable development law.

International law for sustainable development: principles, practices and prospects
Presented by the Centre for International Sustainable Development Law (CISDL)

Nicolas Schrijver, International Law Association (ILA), said that poverty eradication, environmental conservation and human rights are the inter-connected pillars of sustainable development. He introduced the ILA’s New Delhi Declaration on Sustainable Development, which aims to clarify and develop the concept of sustainable development.

François Joubert, EnviroLaw Solutions, presented the EnviroLaw Solutions initiative aimed at strengthening domestic legislative, implementing and enforcement capacities related to sustainable development law, by training legal actors, raising awareness, and developing and codifying law. He recommended that the UN system strengthen cooperation with all stakeholders through partnerships, and further study the rights-based approach to sustainable development.

Parvez Hassan, IUCN, identified implementation and poverty alleviation as the main challenges facing the WSSD.

Charles Di Leva, the World Bank, highlighted elements of the Bank’s operational policies governing project funding, including public consultation and participation, and the sustainable use of natural resources. He stressed: the Bank’s green financing approach; the law and justice reform initiative; anti-corruption measures; and work on corporate social responsibility.

Pía Ximena Rodríguez, International Development Law Institute, stressed the role of lawyers in promoting sustainable development. She expressed regret over the lack of adequate training, knowledge and skills in developing countries, and over insufficient academic interest in sustainable development-related issues.

Philippe Roch, Switzerland, shared domestic experience on developing sustainable development laws, which includes greater involvement of the economic sector.

Brian Emmett, Canada, explained the shift in perceptions regarding the relationship between environmental and economic issues. He highlighted the need for: an appropriate institutional and legal framework; governance; and capacity building.  

Ashfaq Khalfan, CISDL, presented the International Jurists Mandate on Sustainable Development opened for signature in June 2002.

Discussion: Participants addressed various issues, including: the common but differentiated responsibility and precautionary principles; the role of francophone international lawyers in developing international sustainable development law; the concept of common heritage of humankind; cooperation between all sectors of society; and capacity building.

More information:

Nicolas Schrijver <
[email protected]>
François Joubert <
[email protected]>
Parvez Hassan <
[email protected]>
Charles Di Leva <
[email protected]>
Pía Ximena Rodríguez <
[email protected]>
Philippe Roch <
[email protected]>
Brian Emmett <
[email protected]>
Ashfaq Khalfan <
[email protected]>

Juan Somavia, International Labor Organization, answers questions about the lack of attention to the social issues in the WSSD agenda.

Sustainable development @ work
Presented by the International Labor Organization (ILO)

Juan Somavia, ILO, said that over the last 10 years the important link between poverty and employment has received little attention.  He explained that ILO seeks to link employment with growth and sustainable development, and recommended that the WSSD assign a high priority to the objective of sustainable employment.

Lord Brett, ILO, expressed disappointment over employment not being adequately reflected in the current WSSD agenda. He stressed that prerequisites for decent employment include: adequate globalization rules; corporate responsibility; the governments’ actions to ensure equitable access to trade; removal of subsidies; and civil society’s involvement in job creation.

Daniel Funes de Riosa, ILO, noted that businesses are a key element of public policies. He called for: the promotion of a declaration on workers’ rights; the utilization of public expenditure and potential of globalization to create jobs; growth maximizing policies; the elimination of subsidies and trade barriers; and gender equality in employment.

Chung Eui-yong, the Republic of Korea, stressed the role of government in eradicating poverty, and stated that governments have the responsibility to: ensure good governance; create new job opportunities; build partnerships with businesses, workers, and international organizations; help people adapt to the changing conditions; and maximize creativity of the people while providing the minimum for the poor. Chung recommended emphasizing social issues in the WSSD outcomes.

Discussion: Participants discussed reasons for certain countries’ resistance to incorporate social aspects in the WSSD outcomes, including fear of protectionism, lack of capacity to comply with ILO regulations, and economic advantages of maintaining the current situation. Participants also debated a proposal presented by the Belgian Minister of Economic Affairs regarding a social labeling scheme indicating producer’s compliance with ILO standards. Some participants welcomed the proposal, while others highlighted the difficulty to guarantee credibility of labeling, highlighted its business implications, and advocated a cautious approach. A participant criticized the absence of a reference to the ILO and to the needs and role of agricultural workers in the WEHAB paper on agriculture. ILO representatives also answered questions regarding child labor and the ILO’s work on youth employment.

More information:

Juan Somavia <
[email protected]>
Lord Brett <
[email protected]>
Danieal Funes de Riosa <
[email protected]>

[email protected]
[email protected]
[email protected]
[email protected]
[email protected]

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