Daily report for 30 January 2002
2nd Session of the WSSD Preparatory Committee
Delegates met all day in concurrent Multi-Stakeholder Dialogues to continue with the agenda item on the review of the implementation of Agenda 21. In both morning and afternoon sessions, Group I considered progress achieved in integrated approaches to sectoral and cross-sectoral sustainable development objectives, as Group II considered progress achieved in enabling multi-stakeholder participation in sustainable development institutions and mechanisms.
APPLYING INTEGRATED APPROACHES TO SECTORAL AND CROSS-SECTORAL OBJECTIVES OF SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT: In opening, session Co-Chairs Jan Kára (Czech Republic) and Diane Quarless (Jamaica) urged groups to focus on progress achieved and Summit preparations.
Presentations: A FARMERS’ representative identified key needs such as: secure water and land resources; ownership and access to research results; market power; and horizontal partnerships. A SCIENTIFIC AND TECHNOLOGICAL COMMUNITY representative called for: interdisciplinary research; partnerships; appropriate technology; integrated assessments; commitment to ethics and human welfare; and objective and transparent indicators.
A representative of BUSINESS AND INDUSTRY acknowledged their imperfect record and that their contributions are made through innovation, investment, infrastructure, integrity, and involvement. A TRADE UNIONS’ representative called for: avoiding workplace inequalities; restructuring Southern economies; and changing world trade policies. A representative of LOCAL AUTHORITIES reported on a performance-based climate change campaign to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
A representative of NGOS noted the need for: ensuring fair global environmental governance; redressing environmental injustice; addressing unsustainable consumption and production; and, with WOMEN, establishing an international sustainable energy fund.
For INDIGENOUS PEOPLES, a representative emphasized that physical, mental and spiritual health are part of environmental health. A YOUTH representative urged governments to remove harmful agricultural subsidies, introduce green taxes, and support ecovillage models. On behalf of WOMEN, a representative proposed development and distribution of gender-specific data.
Discussion: SWEDEN underscored contributions from the Scientific and Technological Community toward understanding ozone and climate change issues. SAMOA stressed that cost and technical difficulties are not sufficient grounds to ignore environmental problems. AUSTRIA discussed the importance of women in peace, health, and environmental initiatives. BRAZIL appealed for sustainable production and consumption patterns in developed countries. NIGERIA outlined sustainable development initiatives undertaken by Shell Nigeria, such as ISO 14000 certification and commitment to ethics training. FINLAND supported major groups’ emphasis on education and partnerships.
During the interactive dialogue, a representative of Business and Industry called for poverty alleviation as the Summit focus. A representative of Indigenous Peoples highlighted the need for increased community participation in conservation and sustainable use of biodiversity. The Scientific and Technological Community representatives supported hands-on science education and use of traditional knowledge. A representative of Farmers identified resource and land rights constraints.
Youth and Women’s representatives called for minimizing corporate influence on government delegations, while a representative of NGOs urged phasing out of governmental subsidies that support unsustainable development, and proposed re-directing funds into financing for sustainable development.
A Business and Industry representative proposed travel and tourism as a Summit case study to illustrate sustainable development with multi-stakeholder benefits. A Scientific and Technological Community representative noted that developing countries have a shortage of science and engineering resources. A representative of Trade Unions called for verifiable standards and codes of conduct. A representative of Indigenous Peoples emphasized integration of traditional knowledge into education. The NETHERLANDS noted the first incorporation of a youth conference in the upcoming sixth session of the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) Conference of the Parties, and with GERMANY, called for stronger consumer organizations. INDONESIA suggested establishing sustainable development ethics. GERMANY described the Foreign Direct Investment Initiative for Voluntary Guidelines. SOUTH AFRICA called for 10-year programmes of action in each priority sector. BANGLADESH emphasized innovative ideas in developing education curricula. The REPUBLIC OF KOREA highlighted regional aspects of sustainable development. MONGOLIA shared experiences on sustainable development implementation. HUNGARY urged creation of concrete timelines for action among all stakeholders and not just within the environment sector.
Representatives of NGOs noted the imbalance in share of mineral wealth and mining pollution impacts, supported corporate accountability, and observed that poverty was a recurring issue in discussion, yet neither forests nor genetic engineering had been mentioned.
Youth representatives called for partnerships for education and skills transfer, development of water management and tour guide education, and identified corruption and corporate influence as possible cross-sectoral themes for the Summit. Representatives of Local Authorities supported collaboration with Youth concerning water decisions.
Trade Union representatives stressed the need to address liberalization and globalization, supported the right to collective bargaining, and stated that poverty must be the Summit focus. Speakers for Women noted that they are not well represented on delegations, called for appropriate information-gathering and dissemination measures, and requested the CSD to chronicle best practices of collaboration.
Indigenous Peoples representatives noted that: poverty has a differential impact; prior informed consent for industrial projects is essential; and governments should recognize and integrate existing Indigenous Peoples’ resource management systems.
Representatives of the Scientific and Technological Community noted the need to increase the number of women in scientific establishments and said appropriate technology can already be found at the local level. Business and Industry representatives stressed willingness to participate in innovative cross-sectoral partnerships. A representative for Farmers referred to a farm-to-farm programme that sends farm technicians to developing countries for humanitarian assistance.
ENABLING MULTI-STAKEHOLDER PARTICIPATION IN SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT INSTITUTIONS AND MECHANISMS: Opening the session he Co-Chaired with Maria Luisa Viotti (Brazil), Co-Chair Kiyotaka Akasaka (Japan) urged delegates to focus on enabling multi-stakeholder (MS) approaches in sustainable development institutions and their promotion from local to global levels.
Major groups’ opening statements highlighted successes, constraints and challenges of MS participation, and made proposals to enhance MS approaches and, with governments, drew lessons from case studies.
Presentations: A FARMERS’ representative urged respect for principles, including the precautionary principle and the right to protect domestic markets. A speaker for the SCIENTIFIC AND TECHNOLOGICAL COMMUNITY emphasized access to knowledge and suggested re-establishment of the UN scientific advisory board. A LOCAL AUTHORITIES representative proposed: balanced decentralization; devolution of responsibility with the requisite authority and resources; and alliance coordination. NGO representatives stressed resources, access to reliable information, a level playing field and equity. A WOMEN’s representative underlined principles, including on the advancement and protection of women’s rights, the use of feminist perspectives regarding national and other disasters, and equality.
A BUSINESS AND INDUSTRY representative suggested elaborating principles of stakeholder cooperation. A representative of TRADE UNIONS called for reversing the decline of social programmes and workers’ rights, and for a pro-people consensus at Johannesburg. An INDIGENOUS PEOPLES representative suggested: spreading the practice of observer participation in the CBD and the Arctic Council; inclusion in decision making and government delegations; and prior informed consent for the use of indigenous knowledge. YOUTH delegates called for: representation at UN meetings and in delegations; backing for a youth meeting and a two-hour slot at the Summit; funding for youth programmes; centers to master information and communication technologies; and support for the NGO initiative on corporate responsibility.
Discussion: Government delegates’ comments focused on: conditions and frameworks for MS approaches; equality of partnerships; decentralization and creation of local initiatives; viability of regional MS approaches; mechanisms for women and Indigenous Peoples; MS participation in the evaluation of sustainable development goals; consumer information; and a democratic setting for stakeholder participation. They also flagged issues regarding: the gender-differentiated propensity for corruption and graft; the need to bridge the scientific divide; continued dialogue on the "Global Deal"; networking for decision making; public awareness targeting youth and children; and a comprehensive media campaign in all countries on WSSD. A few recounted their national experiences with civil society consultations and, supported by major groups, proposed adding the advertising industry, media, education and consumers as new major groups.
In their responses, major groups converged on the need for: local governance, including the potential for Local Agenda 21 experience as a model; and the institutionalization of MS approaches. They also elaborated on the need for: strong and effective domestic governance; government contact points for information; translation of documents into the main regional languages; user-friendly UN documents; and a global framework on access to participation, information and justice, with monitoring mechanisms and earmarked ODA and technical assistance.
Commenting on the potential for a framework on access to participation, major groups emphasized: the difference between participation and partnership; a mandate, time-bound targets, and goals; performance measures, monitoring indicators and systems; resource provision; gender-disaggregated data; peace and stability as tenets; risk assessment; knowledge; affirmative policies to empower major groups; and the need for principles, in particular diversity, trust, ethics, integrity, equality, openness, communication and replication. They also called for the framework’s institutionalization.
Other concerns regarding MS approaches included: multiple social inequalities; prior informed consent; the need to uphold the rights of the least powerful; and tools to access information and relay knowledge.
Other issues flagged included the: adaptation of intellectual property concepts to promote sustainable development; ecosystem approach to planning; establishment of local, national and international youth sustainable development councils; engagement of young professionals; building of global technological networks; need for a UN resolution to provide for an institutional structure for major groups and creation of a capacity building fund; establishment of a framework for worker participation, including the unemployed; respect for labor standards; and multinational corporations as a source of new capital and technology in developing countries.
IN THE CORRIDORS
While major groups were generally happy with the way the Multi-Stakeholder Dialogues were developing, some were wondering whether the highbrow World Economic Forum (WEF) at the Waldorf Astoria (with prospective participants like Maurice Strong) might distract attention from the PrepCom. The hope was expressed that the (conspicuously) missing Ambassadors were actually briefing their national Forum participants about the progress of preparations for WSSD. Several people thought that the Forum would be an ideal place to make a plug for Johannesburg, since capturing the attention of political and business leaders in time is crucial.
Meanwhile, it has emerged that the UN Forum on Forests meeting that was scheduled to take place in Costa Rica in early March will now take place in New York, due to the sudden departure of the senior government official who was responsible for hosting the meeting.
THINGS TO LOOK FOR TODAY
PLENARY: Delegates will meet in Conference Room 1 from 10:00 am - 1:00 pm for the final Plenary of the Multi-Stakeholder Dialogues, which will include general discussion on opportunities for new implementation initiatives that respond to the identified hotspots, constraints and participatory needs. Delegates will reconvene in Conference Room 1 from 3:00 pm - 6:00 pm for general debate on the review on progress in the implementation of Agenda 21, possibly around the main themes of the Secretary-General’s Report.