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Intersessional Ad Hoc Working Groups of the Ninth Session of the Commission on Sustainable Development

UN Headquarters, New York
6-16 March 2001                                                                                           


Web archives:
|Tuesday 6| Wednesday 7| Thursday 8 | Friday 9 |
| Monday 12| Tuesday 13| Wednesday 14| Thursday 15| Friday 16


ENB Summary Report of the Ad Hoc Working Group on Transport and Atmosphere HTML PDF TXT
BNT Resume du Groupe de Travail de la CDD sur les Transports et l'Atmosphère    HTML PDF TEXT

Highlights from Wednesday, 14 March

Above photo: CO-Chairs Alison Drayton (Guyana) and Madina Jarbussynova (Kazakhstan)

Click here for coverage of the side event sponsored by the Australian government on Information for Decisions: From Data to Information to Knowledge

ENB Coverage of the Ad Hoc Open-Ended Intergovernmental Group of Experts on Energy and Sustainable Development met in New York from 26 February to 2 March 2001

These photos are copyrighted by the International Institute for Sustainable Development (IISD). For permission to use any of the photos on this site, please contact Kimo Goree at For enlarged photos to download, double click the desired photo.

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In the afternoon, Hermann Habermann, Director of the Statistics Division, UN Department of Economic and Social Affairs, was invited to the session to provide information and clarification regarding ECOSOC Resolution 2000/27, on basic indicators for the integrated and coordinated implementation of follow-up to major UN conferences and summits, and the Division's collaboration with the CSD in the development of the indicators.

In answering questions posed by delegates, Hermann Habermann replied that: the Statistics Division had not disassociated itself from environmental aspects, but rather is acting on the basis of instructions from ECOSOC, to which it would also provide its own recommendations; the Statistical Commission will remain the intergovernmental focal point; the Division is working with other commissions on indicators; the Division is a technical and not a policy body, and that its function is to look at aspects of indicators such as, inter alia, the extent to which they can be used in certain countries; and the Division examines indicators at the request of the CSD, and will go back to the CSD with its results.

See below for RealAudio of specific questions from delegates and responses from Hermann Habermann

Iran, for the G-77/China, asked why the Statistics Division had developed indicators on the basis of socio-economic factors and whether it had disassociated itself from environmental aspects of indicators. He asked if the Statistical Commission would still serve as the intergovernmental focal point for the review of indicators.

Hermann Habermann, Director, Statistics Division, DESA, answers Iran's questions

Egypt and Nigeria pose questions to the Statistics Division, Nigeria asking about the harmonization of indicators across the UN.

Canada asked about the possibility of the statistical commission taking over the CSD indicators exercise, and asked about distinguishing between the role of the statistical commission and that of the CSD Secretariat on indicators

India said it was concerned that there was not a full consultation on the process of developing the indicators with responses from the Statistics Division and from the Division for Sustainable Development.
Lowell Flanders, UN Division for Sustainable Development, during the afternoon session

JoAnne DiSano, Director, Division for Sustainable Development, explained that the CSD was mandated with promoting the accessibility of indicators of sustainable development to decision makers at the national level, and reminded delegates that there is no requirement for any country to use indicators.

Possible elements for a draft decision on Information for Decision-makers

On general considerations, Sweden, on behalf of the EU, introduced language to: incorporate Principle 10 of Agenda 21 and references to public participation, and environmental justice; and emphasize developing country needs for adequate financial resources and investment in training and capacity building. On guidance to the multilateral system and on access to information, public participation and access to justice, the EU added text on the feasibility and modalities of the development of legal instruments in this area or the addition to existing legal instruments such as the Århus Convention, taking into account specific national socioeconomic and cultural conditions. She also supported referring to the assessment and evaluation of international instruments to reflect Principle 10 of the Rio Declaration.

Saudi Arabia and Japan

Saudi Arabia making general comments on the possible elements for a draft decision on Information for Decision-making and Participation. He said the text was agenda driven, was difficult to accept and focused too much on indicators. He noted that although delegates had not raised the issue of providing assistance, it was in the text.

Nigeria said the document emphasizes indicators, instead of dealing with information for decision making, and recalled that concerns had been raised on the UN Economic and Social Council's (ECOSOC) decision on the participation of all countries in the development of indicators and the Statistical Commission's work in this area.

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China and Brazil

On the CO-Chairs document, the G-77/China expressed concern with the structure, methodology and substance of the draft, adding that the content should reflect Rio+5 language on the measurements for implementation, the role of information in development and an acknowledgment of the necessity of combining socioeconomic aspects in the analysis of data produced through new technology.

On general considerations, the G-77/China said the section should focus on information for decision making and participation. He suggested deleting references to international standards and to greater partnership between developed and developing countries, and adding references that emphasize technology transfer and infrastructural needs in developing countries.
Co-Chair Alison Drayton consulting with delegates before the morning session convenes
On recommendations for activities at the national level, Canada proposed language: emphasizing free and open access to information, while observing confidentiality of sensitive data; distinguishing between specialized information that can be privatized and information available to the public; providing for partnerships with NGOs and private sector organizations in developing strategies on data collection methods; and encouraging the appreciation of traditional and community knowledge.

ENB writer Wendy Jackson speaks with Tricia Kaye, Australia

On recommendations for activities at the national level, Australia proposed text to cover: traditional and indigenous knowledge; private, as well as commercialized, information; and references to women and aged people.


Past IISD Coverage: