Thirteenth Session of the Commission on Sustainable Development (CSD-13)
11-22 April 2005 | United Nations Headquarters, New York

Summary report





 Earth Negotiations Bulletin - ENB

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22 April &

1:00 am EST, Saturday, 23 April 2005
CSD-13 completed its work shortly before 1:00 am on Saturday morning, 23 April 2005, after delegates finally resolved the last remaining issue on text relating to illegal settlements and foreign occupation. In a compromise deal, some of the text sought by the G-77/China on this issue was included, although Canada and Australia disassociated themselves from this part of the outcome. CSD-13's outcome document will now be forwarded to ECOSOC “as a significant contribution to the September 2005 High-level Plenary Meeting.” Photo: JoAnne DiSano, Director, Division for Sustainable Development, and CSD Chair John Ashe at the conclusion of the meeting


Highlights from Friday, 22 April

On Friday morning, delegates met during the High Level Segment to continue discussing "Turning political commitments into action." In the late morning, delegates met to continue negotiating the Chair's text, and in the afternoon the Chairman's Proposal on Draft Negotiating Text was distributed. After discussions and informal consultations, particularly on the bracketed text referencing "illegal settlements" and "foreign occupation," no agreement was reached and the issue was sent to the Plenary. After lengthy informal negotiations and some confusion and misunderstanding as to what had been agreed, another round of informal negotiations began, and CSD-13 adjourned at 12:50 am on Saturday, 23 April. Following the adjournment of CSD-13, Chair Ashe declared open the first meeting of CSD-14 in order to elect its Chair and Bureau. Aleksi Aleksishvili, Minister of Economic Development of Georgia, was elected CSD-14 Chair by acclamation. The Commission also elected Javad Amin Mansour (Iran) as a Vice-Chair on behalf of the Asia region, while Yvo de Boer (Netherlands) was appointed Vice-Chair for the Western Europe , North America and Others group, and Adrian Fernandez Bramauntz (Mexico) was elected for Latin America and the Caribbean . A Vice-Chair for the Africa region will be appointed at a later date. The meeting was adjourned shortly before 1:00 am .

Chair John Ashe and Under Secretary-General Ocampo with delegates discussing the final text (left); and Jean Marc Hoscheit, Permanent Representative of Luxembourg to the UN, and Stafford Neil, Permanent Representative of Jamaica to the UN, consult, while a delegate from Syria looks on.

Morning High-Level Segment: Turning Political Commitments into Action


Sunita Narain, Center for Environment and Science and winner of the Stockholm Water Prize for 2005, said that the Water Prize recognized the fact that the issue of water today required a different management paradigm.  She underscored that the answer to success was the involvement of local people in the management of their water resources, noting communities' ownership of water is the only way to achieve sanitation targets. She highlighted how water requires a different approach in order to turn commitments into action.

Achim Steiner, Director-General, IUCN, said that in terms of water, “we are reaching our limits.” He said IUCN was encouraged by many of the positive developments under way to reach the Millennium Development Goals, and said Increasing ODA levels, creative financing mechanisms, and governance innovations were all steps in the right direction.  However, he underscored that more investment in ecosystems is needed to maintain the goods and services they provided.  He said they were not just essential to ensure sustainable water supplies, but that they were vital to achieve the Millennium Development Goals.

 Maria Madalena Brito Neves, Minister of Agriculture, Environment and Fisheries, Cape Verde, said her delegation hoped this CSD session would provide new impetus for the fulfillment of the Millennium Development Goals, and was pleased with plans to devote one day in the coming Millennium Review Summit to consider issues of concern to small island states.

Baki Ilkin, Permanent Representative of Turkey to the UN, said that Turkey regarded water as the engine of sustainable development and that poverty and hunger could not be reduced without an adequate supply and efficient use of water resources. He emphasized that there was an urgent need to mobilize additional financial resources and to encourage public-private partnerships, along with support from international and regional financial institutions, in order to attain development goals.



Ammar Hijazi for Dr. Hohamad Shtay, Minister of Housing and Public Works, Palestine, said that Palestine shared the concerns of most developing countries with regard to water, sanitation and human settlements. He said Palestine also confronted problems unique to its situation as a country “shackled by the chains of foreign occupation”.  Emphasizing that the Middle East region was known for a scarcity of water and water disputes, he said that although water shortage was caused by nature and not man-made, it was compounded by a lack of cooperation and sometimes the hegemony of one party's rights and access to water.

Wolfgang Stalzer, Director General, Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry, Environment and Water Management, Austria, said the Commission was the motor for global sustainable development.  Serious follow-up, he said, kept sustainable development going and created confidence, credibility, consistency and coherence.  He said the Millennium Review Summit offered an opportunity to strengthen the entire agenda of sustainable development., and that it was an opportunity that should not be missed.

Closing CSD Session: The New York City Labor Chorus sings for CSD delegates



Negotiations of the Chair's Text

EU delegates consult before the negotiating group reconvened around noon
Delegates met in the late morning to continue negotiations, and Chair Ashe said that a Chair's proposed text would be distributed when the group reconvened in the afternoon.
Chair John Ashe consults with EU members (left) and G-77/China delegates (right)

Chairman's Proposals on Draft Negotiating Text was distributed at approximately 3:00 pm

Espen Ronneburg, CSD Secretariat, hands out the Chairman's Proposals on Draft Negotiating Text (left) and delegates review the text (right)
After Chair Ashe presented his Chairman's Proposals on Draft Negotiating Text; John Ashe with John Turner, US (right)
Chair Ashe with Byron Burke, Jamaica (lefT) and Nadine Gouzee and Chris Vanden Bircke, Belgium (right)
Members of the G-77/China consult
Luxembourg, speaking for the EU, and other delegations said they could accept the Chair's proposed text, while the G-77/China said they needed to meet for further consultations.
Vice-Chair Khaled Elbakly with members of the G-77/China (left) and John Ashe with Byron Blake, Jamaica, chair of the G-77/China
After the meeting reconvened, the G-77/China said that for them to accept the text, the brackets around text referring to "foreign occupation" and "illegal settlements" must be removed, while other delegations said they could not accept this text. The issue was then forwarded to the Closing Plenary for further consideration.

Closing Plenary
JoAnne DiSano, Director, Division for Sustainable Development, Jose Antonio Ocampo, Under Secretary-General for Economic and Social Affairs, and Chair Ashe
Chair Ashe discussing the text with Jonathan Margolis, US, who, after the G-77/China proposed to remove brackets around text on "illegal settlements" and "foreign occupation," said that text left in brackets should be deleted.

Donald Buchanan, Minister of Water and Housing, Jamaica, said that it was “deeply disturbing” that a willingness had not been shown to address implementation constraints at CSD-13, he suggested that developing countries' partners are failing to turn previously-agreed political commitments into positive action, and are circumscribing or backtracking on previous commitments made. He argued that countries should not pursue “selfish agendas” but should honor CSD-11's outcome and support developing countries; Byron Burke, Jamaica; after Chair Ashe had apparently gaveled through the final document, Stafford Neil, Permanent Representative of Jamaica to the UN, said that there had been some confusion as to what had been agreed to and asked that time be given for consultations on this issue.

Delegates leave the conference room for high-level informal consultations.
Chair John Ashe and Under Secretary-General Ocampo with delegates discussing the final text (left); and Jean Marc Hoscheit, Permanent Representative of Luxembourg to the UN, and Stafford Neil, Permanent Representative of Jamaica to the UN, consult, while a delegate from Syria looks on.
Jean Marc Hoscheit, Permanent Representative of Luxembourg to the UN, Jonathan Margolis, US, Stafford Neil, Permanent Representative of Jamaica to the UN, and Anna Tibaijuka, UN HABITAT consulting on the outstanding issues late Friday night (left photo).
Ambassador Hoscheit, Luxembourg, with EU delegates as agreement is reached (left); Under Secretary-General Ocampo consults with Anna Tibaijuka, Executive Director, UN-HABITAT, while Ambassador Neil, Jamaica, looks on (right)
Ambassador Hoscheit, Luxembourg, congratulates Chair John Ashe at the conclusion of the meeting (left) and Shalva Tsiskarashvili, Permanent Mission of Georgia tothe UN, accepting the nomination of Georgia as the Chair of CSD-14 (right)

Side Event: Communities, Conservation and Poverty Reduction: Grassroots Perspectives on the MDGs

This "Local Action" side event, sponsored by Conservation International and UNDP's Equator Initiative, highlighted community success in managing natural resources while reducing poverty, and examined new strategies, partnerships and community learning to achieve the MDGs. For more information, visit:


Benson Venegas, Executive Director, ANAI and Project Director Talamanca Initiative, Costa Rica, Facilitator Sean Southey, Group Manager, UNDP Capacity Development Group and Manager, Equator Initiative, and Donato Bumacas, Executive Director, Kalinga Mission for Indigenous Children and Youth Development


Side Event: Water and Global Security: Integrating peacemaking in the reforms of the UN

This side event aimed to stimulate the debate of the inclusion of environmental cooperation and peacemaking in the reform agenda of the UN. Water cooperation in the Middle East and Eastern Africa in particular show how collaboration can work in conflicted areas and can even be a key to prevent and resolve conflicts.
Adnan Amin, UNEP, Hilary French, Worldwatch Institute, Valerie de Campos Mello, UN Department of Political Affairs, Patricia Kameri-Mbote, International Environmental Law Research Center, Nairobi, Kenya, Gidon Bromberg, Friends of the Earth Middle East, and Geoff Dabelko, Woodrow Wilson Center
Hiliary French, Worldwatch Institute, calls attention to the latest State of the World Report on Redefining Global Security (left) and Valerie de Campos Mello, UN

CSD Chair John Ashe meets briefs NGOS before the morning session begins
CSD Chair John Ashe, Saradha Iyer, Third World Network, and Jan Gustav Strandenaes, Northern Alliance for Sustainability

Miscellaneous Photos from the week





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