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UN Headquarters, New York
26 February-2 March 2001                                                                                         >>Version française: BNT<<


Web archives:
| Monday 26| Tuesday 27| Wednesday 28| Thursday 01|

Highlights from Friday, 2 March
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. The Expert Group was established by the UN General Assembly to prepare input for the ninth session of the Commission on Sustainable Development (CSD-9). The Expert Group focused on key issues relating to energy for sustainable development including accessibility of energy, energy efficiency, renewable energy, advanced fossil fuel technologies, nuclear energy technologies, rural energy and energy-related issues in transportation, and regional and international cooperation. Delegates discussed the issues on the basis of a Co-Chairs' proposal for a draft decision and a compilation text based on views presented by delegates in oral and written statements during the meeting. Delegates failed to reach agreement on a number of contentious issues, most notably nuclear energy and international cooperation. The general negotiating atmosphere was tense, with negotiations stalling mid-week, and finally gaining momentum late Thursday night. A revised Co-Chairs' draft proposal, which contains many brackets, was adopted and forwarded to CSD-9.

Above photo:
Co-Chairs Irene Freudenschuss Reichl (Austria) and Mohammad Reza Salamat (Iran)

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Friday, 2 March: The Group of Experts on Energy and Sustainable Development met informally throughout the morning, afternoon and evening to negotiate Section C (Key Issues), Section D (Overarching Issues), and Section E (Regional Cooperation). Co-Chair Salamat said the Group would complete a first read through of the document on the understanding that Section F (International Cooperation) would be sent to CSD-9 fully bracketed for further consultations at CSD-9. A compromise text on nuclear energy was proposed by Co-Chair Salamat based on informal consultations, but the text was bracketed in its entirety and sent to CSD-9. The informal meeting adjourned at midnight and the formal Closing Plenary convend at 1:15. The Group adopted the draft report as contained in E/CN.17/ESD/2001/L.2. The report will contain a draft decision for CSD-9, asking the CSD to adopt the outcome of the Energy Expert Group. The Group of Experts agreed to submit to CSD-9 the text annexed to this decision for the CSD's consideration as an input to CSD-9. The Closing Plenary adjourned at 2:00 am on Saturday morning.

Above Photo: Co-Chair Salamat (right) presents compromise text on nuclear energy, which he said was the result of informal consultations. Some delegates, incluidng Pakistan, Turkey and New Zealand, said they could not accept the text until further consultations with their capitals. The text was consequently sent to CSD-9 in brackets

BRACKETED NUCLEAR ENERGY TEXT Challenges: Nuclear power presently accounts for 16% of the world's electricity generation. However, nuclear energy is associated with a number of concerns namely nuclear safety, spent fuel and waste management. The choice of nuclear energy rests with countries. Several countries have been using nuclear energy technologies safely and see no inordinate concern in using and developing additional technology for properly managing and controlling spent fuel and other nuclear materials. However, several other countries, including Small Island Developing States (SIDS), do not consider nuclear as appropriate or acceptable source of energy for meeting their energy needs and are of the view that nuclear energy is not compatible with the objectives of sustainable development. For those countries that choose nuclear energy, the challenge lies in finding cost-effective solutions and in addressing nuclear safety and spent fuel and waste management as well as public concerns on these issues. Recommendations: Governments, taking into account national circumstances, are encouraged to: a. support their national efforts, including research and international cooperation as an effective tool in addressing the issues of nuclear safety and spent fuel and waste management; b. strengthen independent national regulatory agencies and promote cooperaiton in nuclear safety across countries; c. promote a high level of nuclear safety worldwide by IAEA; d. improve the transparency of nuclear safety related decisions; e. prevent the proliferation of fissile materials through IAEA safeguards; f. promote public education and participation as well as capacity building as well as capacity building on human resources on energy and waste management by countries that choose nuclear energy; g. further develop technological solutions for long-lived radioactive waste; h. address the safety of their nuclear energy installations, as being appropriate after assessment by national regulatory authorities, including consideration of the option of phasing out of such installations; and i. more consultations; taking into account the high risk to human health, safety, and the environment from the movement of nuclear waste, the transboundary movement of such waste have to be done in compliance with the international instruments.

Saudi Arabia, Iran and Indonesia consulting

Under advance fuel technologies, the G-77/China said it could not accept a reference to carbon sequestration and the reference remains bracketed as does a reference to promoting carbon emission reductions

Co-Chair Salamat consulting with Andrea Alban (Colombia)

Regarding capacity building, Nigeria distinguished between needs of countries of economies in transition and all developing countries. On enhancing regional and international cooperation, Nigeria stressed in particular to give access to energy for sustainable development
Duncan Marsh (US), John Ashe (Antigua and Barbuda) and Tuiloma Neroni Slade (Samoa)
The US, Denmark and Antigua and Barbuda confer on nuclear energy

Under Section B on general principles, Saudi Arabia proposed eradicating poverty is an indispensable requirement of sustainable development. For developing countries, poverty eradication is the highest priority. Environmental standards applied by some countries may be inappropriate and of unwarranted economic and social costs, hindering developing countries efforts to eradicate poverty. The EU called for bracketing this text.

Members of the NGO Energy and Climate Change Caucus discuss the text with the EU
G-77/China members consulting on nuclear energy during a recess
Sweden (the EU) in consultations (left) and Per Almqvist (Sweden) speaks with JoAnne DiSano, Director, Division for Sustainable Development
Delegates sent bracketed text to be sent to CSD-9 on making markets work better. The bracketed text states, inter alia, that governments are encouraged to reduce and gradually eliminate subsidies for energy production and consumption that inhibit sustainable development, and that governments should also promote environmental cost internalization. The text also refers to giving due to the polluter-pays principle.  The EU preferred renaming the section "making markets work towards sustainable development."

Jonathan Margois (US) with Alison Drayton (Guyana)

ENB writer Hernan Lopez speaks with Antonio Sergio Lima Braga of the Brazilian delegation

G-77/China consulting

The Canadian delegation (above left) and Algeria with Canada (above right); Canada expressed concern over reference to developing national strategies and indicative targets in enhancing the contribution of renewable energies to total energy consumption. He said goals or indicative targets are fine in industrialized countries, but in other countries, they can and will lead to serious distortions in the energy sector and the energy market. The EU preferred marinating reference to indicative goals.

Iran (left) and Japan (right)

Briefing on the proposed Energy and Transport exhibit 

Duncan Marsh and Arthur Rypinski of the US delegation and Janet Stephenson and David Drake of the Canadian delegation. Janet Stephanson briefed participants on the status of the Energy and Transport exhibit, which was scheduled  to be held in parallel to CSD-9. She said that due to insufficient financing and logistics the exhibit would not take place, but could take place in some form at the World Summit for Sustainable Development in Johannesburg in 2002. NGOs expressed disappointment that the exhibit would not be held as they had worked very hard in collaboration with the US and Canadian governments. They were concerned that the scope of the exhibit would widen to include for example nuclear technologies.


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