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8th Meeting of the Commission on Sustainable Development
New York, USA; 24 April - 05 May, 2000

Side Events for Tuesday, 25 April

Briefing on trade and finance, biotechnology and sustainable agriculture: forest products, trade and consumption
Organized by the Worldwatch Institute
Brian Halweil, Staff Researcher, Hilary French, Vice President for Research, and Janet Abramovitz, Senior Researcher, Worldwatch Institute

Hilary French, author of Vanishing Borders: Protecting the Planet in the Age of Globalization Visit www.worldwatch.org for more information.

French outlined how monetary and trade flows, such as world exports, have increased 17 fold in the last 50 years, with similar increases in foreign direct investments and other newly identified flows of pollution and information.  With such rapid growth come unprecedented pressures on the world's natural systems and the need to make reforms in international organizations and environmental regulation/enforcement.  She went on to suggest that the World Bank, WTO and IMF were in need of restructuring, and suggested the greater empowerment of UNEP with sanctioning power of the order of the WTO might bring surprising results in the enforcement of international environmental treaties.

Janet Abramovitz, co-author of Worldwatch Paper 49, "Paper Cuts : Recovering the Paper Landscape" gave an account of the state of the world's forests, and consumption patterns of forests and forest products.

Brian Halweil, author of Worldwatch Paper 150, "Underfed and Overfed: The Global Epidemic of Malnutrition" and "The Emperor's New Crops," Worldwatch Magazine. Halweil's presentation highlighted new dynamics in studies of malnutrition, citing overconsumption as a rapidly increasing form of malnutrition. Transgenic crops and the use of genetically modified organisms to "feed the world" were also discussed in terms of their threats to ecological sustainability.


Green Politics: Global Environmental Negotiations: Southern Perspectives on trade and environment, climate and desertification
This side event discussed the recent publication of the Center for Science and Environment (CSE) titled Green Politics: Global Environment Negotiations, edited by Anil Agarwal, Sunita Narain and Anju Sharma. To order this book, contact CSE at sales@cseindia.org or visit www.cseindia.org
Anju Sharma, Center for Science and Environment discussed stressed the importance of bridging the gap between negotiations and civil society groups in the south that do not have information about what is going on at the global level regarding environmental negotiations. She provided an outline of the book, which analyzes the three post-Rio conventions, four ongoing negotiations and two environmental institutions. She used the Kyoto Protocol as a case study, lamenting that the Protocol is looked at in terms of economic rather than ecological effectiveness.

UNEP-UNCTAD Task force on capacity building in trade, environment and development
The UNEP and UNCTAD Capacity Building Task Force on Trade, Environment and Development (CBTF), an effort to further strengthen country capacities to promote trade expansion and develop their economies in an environmentally friendly and sustainable manner, is being initially implemented for a three-year period, with a continuation of its existence after a review of implementation results in 2002. The CBTF was conceived, in response to expressed needs and requirements of governments, to combine the unique strengths of UNEP to build capacities on environmental aspects of trade, and of UNCTAD to build capacities on the development aspects of trade. It also seeks to build synergies and enhance coordination between organizations working in the trade-development-environment domain. Activities will include thematic research, country studies, training, policy dialogue, and networking and information exchange.
Rene Vossenaar, UNCTAD, and Charles Arden-Clarke, Senior Economic Affairs Officer
Veena Jha, UNCTAD, discussed country specific cases including controlling vehicular pollution in India and water policy changes in the Philippines

International Commemoration Day for Dead and Injured Workers
On 28 April, 1999, the International Confederation of Free Trade Unions (ICFTU) lit a memorial Candle and incense at the UN for the First International Commemoration Day to highlight the plight of workers from unsustainable forms of production. Since then, individuals and organizations from throughout the world have been involved in 28 April ceremonies to pay tribute to dead, injured and sick workers. A Candlelight Ceremony was intended to highlight the positive transformation that should flow from the activities of people who have worked and died while promoting sustainable development. It was also held for Michael McCoy, a Pioneer of NGO Organizing at the CSD. The event concluded with a kickoff of a new "World Harmony Network for Sustainable Development, in keeping with Michael's special bent for music and harmony.
Michael McCoy's mother (left) with friends and colleagues (right)

Expert Panel Discussion on Global Partnership for Sustainable Land Management ensuring Food Security Organized by FAO. 
With an increasingly urbanized society, Sustainable Agriculture and Rural Development (SARD) is needed more today than ever.  Rural areas and livelihoods are at risk due to the higher demands of urban areas, and competition from other land-uses.  The Expert Panel discussion presented commentary on different facets their experiences while looking toward the exploration of new partnerships and synergies.

The FAO representative

Bo Kjellen, Ministry of Foreign Affaris, Sweden, chaired the panel discussion

Dr. Doorenbooss, President of the International Federation of Agricultural Producers (IFAP) states that sustainable land management is dependant upon the alleviation of poverty. Unequal distribution of resources, and neglect of the agricultural sector by governments is at the base, but improvements can be made by strenghtening farmer organzations and workign with local leaders at the grassroots in order to strengthen national organizations.  He also called for action from governments to provide public services for rural development in infrastructures, and calle for action from financial institutions to innovate new farm-friendly credit policies and investment programs.

Dr. Moise Mensa, former President of IFAD,

M. Karanja, Chief Executive of Kenya National Farmers Union (KNFU), advocated for participatory processes, continued public-sector support, and the involvement of traditionally marginalized groups, such as women.
JNL Srivastava, Special Secretary, Ministry of Agriculture, India
Miguel Altieri, University of California, Berkeley, outlined successful sustainable agricultural practices, which have recovered degraded land, have developed communities, and provided food security for marginalized peoples.  His slide show illustrated how plants were used for natural terracing on mountainous terrain, fallow systems that improve soils conservation, integrated crop-livestock farming, crop rotations, and methods to reduce soil erosion. Altieri also described innovative cost-saving techniques for small-scale farmers, and stated that its possible to recover total landscapes through visioning exercises, and collaboration with hydrologists, soil scientists, and communities to realize those goals.

ENB Summary of Ad Hoc Open-Ended Intergovernmental Group of Experts on Energy and Sustainable Development
CSD-8 Intersessionals
Linkages CSD page
UN - CSD website with official documents 
ENB's "Introduction to CSD"

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1999, Earth Negotiations Bulletin. All rights reserved.

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