Report of main proceedings for 1 May 2003
On Thursday morning, participants met for a multi-stakeholder dialogue to exchange views on the future work programme of the CSD, including arrangements for the involvement of Major Groups and other stakeholders. On Thursday afternoon, Chair Moosa presented delegates with the draft decision on the future programme, organization and methods of work of the CSD. On Friday, participants heard comments by Major Groups on the draft decision, and Regional Groups convened to discuss the text in preparation for negotiations during the second week of CSD-11.
The multi-stakeholder dialogue began with opening statements by Major Groups. BUSINESS AND INDUSTRY highlighted the need to ensure market access and provide consumers with product choices. FARMERS called on the CSD to invite consumer groups to participate in future sessions. INDIGENOUS PEOPLE underscored protection, restoration and renewal of ancestral lands, and rights-based participatory processes that are sensitive to social and cultural values. LOCAL AUTHORITIES noted the need for relevant legislation, guidelines and governance at the national level, and for enhancing human and financial capacity. NGOs said a rights-based approach to sustainable development must permeate the work of the CSD for the next decade, and stressed the need to distribute responsibility for JPOI implementation across the UN’s institutional framework. The SCIENTIFIC AND TECHNOLOGICAL COMMUNITY emphasized the role of education, and identified sustainable consumption and production as a priority for the CSD. TRADE UNIONS said the Secretary-General’s report overemphasizes the environmental dimension of sustainable development, and stressed social development. WOMEN called for a gender analysis of the JPOI, and proposed the submission of reports on gender implementation by 2005.
On representation and involvement of Major Groups and other stakeholders, many speakers supported strengthening and extending such participation. HUNGARY and INDIA highlighted the media and, with CANADA, identified educators as a key group meriting greater involvement in the CSD. Chair Moosa drew attention to faith-based representatives, HUNGARY added consumers, and the US suggested harnessing existing national and international networks of scientists. BUSINESS AND INDUSTRY proposed involving the self-employed, and the judicial and law enforcement communities. SENEGAL sought increased participation of parliamentarians. FINLAND called for involving the elderly and, supported by NGOs, WOMEN, FARMERS, as well as JORDAN and EGYPT, suggested including the disabled. WOMEN said the CSD should consider the economically and socially disabled in its deliberations.
YOUTH said more countries should include youth representatives on their delegations, and supported mainstreaming youth in decision making at the local and national levels through initiatives such as youth councils. TRADE UNIONS, WOMEN and YOUTH called for a mechanism to ensure greater involvement of Major Groups in policy making. INDIGENOUS PEOPLE drew attention to their contribution to the POPs and CBD processes, and called for their greater involvement in the CSD.
On organizational matters, SWEDEN and the US highlighted the potential of taskforces and subcommittees as a way to strengthen the contribution of Major Groups. CANADA said opportunities for stakeholders to contribute throughout the entire CSD work cycle should be maximized. A number of speakers also noted the need for equitable geographic representation of Major Groups. BRAZIL recounted its experience in mobilizing civil society at all levels, in particular at the local level, and AUSTRIA stressed the importance of stakeholder participation in decision making at the local and national levels. IUCN offered its scientists’ networks to assist the CSD in implementation, and stressed the need to organize regional implementation forums in the regions. BARBADOS proposed establishing NGO regional coordination councils, and highlighted their potential as catalysts for implementation, partnerships and resource mobilization. BELGIUM described how its sustainable development councils have promoted multi-stakeholder participation, and NGOs encouraged all governments to establish such councils.
A number of speakers suggested that Major Group representatives attending CSD sessions should bring practical experience in implementing policies on the ground, rather than just policy expertise. AUSTRALIA added that this could also apply to country delegations, given that the aim is to revitalize CSD to make it more action-oriented. GREECE said that distinguishing between policy and implementation NGOs would create unnecessary divisions and, with the REPUBLIC OF KOREA, BUSINESS AND INDUSTRY and several others, supported self-selection of Major Groups representatives.
Responding to comments by Chair Moosa that there appeared to be agreement on removing trade-distorting agricultural subsidies, the EUROPEAN COMMUNITY said this does not mean there is a consensus on removing all agricultural subsidies. Stressing the complexity of this issue, JAPAN drew attention to "delicate negotiations" taking place in the WTO.
PRESENTATION OF THE DRAFT DECISIONS
Introducing the draft decision on the future programme, organization, and methods of work of the Commission late Thursday afternoon, Chair Moosa said it reflects areas of convergence and concern raised by delegations during the high-level segment. The draft decision addresses the: future organization of work; multi-year programme of work; reporting requirements; enhancing contributions of funds, programme, agencies and other UN organizations; contributions of Major Groups and other constituencies; and CSD as the focal point for partnerships for sustainable development. It also contains an annex with a matrix outlining the list of issues to be addressed by the Commission for upcoming cycles.
In addition, Chair Moosa circulated a short draft decision on the status of NGOs and other Major Groups accredited to the WSSD. He said the draft decision on the future organization of the Bureau will be presented on Monday, 5 May, and the draft decision on SIDS will be presented on Tuesday, 6 May.
MAJOR GROUPS’ COMMENTS ON THE DRAFT DECISION
On Friday morning, participants met to hear Major Groups’ comments on the Chair’s draft decision. A number of speakers praised the draft as providing a good basis for a final outcome.
On the section outlining the future organization of work, WOMEN stressed the importance of regional-level participation in the CSD’s work, and questioned the appropriateness of holding regional meetings at UN headquarters in New York. LOCAL AUTHORITIES and FARMERS emphasized the need to involve Major Groups throughout the two-year cycle, and YOUTH stressed self-selection of representatives. NGOs called on the UN Secretary-General to use transparent and inclusive processes in the selection of experts. Addressing the procedures and guidelines the CSD would use to identify best practices, INDIGENOUS PEOPLE called for selecting best practices that result in community ownership. YOUTH emphasized that CSD initiatives, such as learning centers, should not substitute for full Major Groups participation.
On the multi-year programme of work, BUSINESS AND INDUSTRY noted the difficulty of selecting cross-cutting issues, and suggested designating the chapter headings of the JPOI, so as to reflect all key issues. She also said the cross-cutting issues need to be more clearly linked to the key theme selected for each work cycle. WOMEN supported a gender focal point within the CSD and, with INDIGENOUS PEOPLE, NGOs and YOUTH, called for inclusion of peace, human rights and education as cross-cutting themes. YOUTH further identified corporate accountability as an important cross-cutting issue. NGOs said the themes of unsustainable consumption and production, and protecting the natural resource base, should not be overlooked. In addition to consideration of Africa, SIDS and LDCs, he called for a focus on "large consumer countries." On key themes for future work cycles, WOMEN, YOUTH and NGOs stressed early consideration of unsustainable consumption and production.
In the section on reporting, INDIGENOUS PEOPLE called for language to involve Major Groups in this matter. WOMEN supported gender-disaggregated data and, with NGOs, highlighted the need for clear national reporting mechanisms. On enhancing the contribution of UN agencies and bodies, WOMEN said UN agencies active on gender issues should be involved in the CSD’s work.
On enhancing the contribution of Major Groups and other constituencies, LOCAL AUTHORITIES, supported by others, proposed that this section of the draft be strengthened. TRADE UNIONS urged support for training, and said countries should include union representatives in their delegations. INDIGENOUS PEOPLE called for financial mechanisms to ensure enhanced Major Groups’ participation, and appealed for consideration of the elderly population. The SCIENTIFIC AND TECHNOLOGICAL COMMUNITY stressed that science, technology and education are essential tools for sustainable development policy making and implementation, and supported involving educators "regularly and fully" in the CSD’s work. He supported the contribution of relevant scientists, including those covering the social, economic and environmental sectors. FARMERS proposed that the decision should approve a role for Major Groups in monitoring and reviewing implementation of the JPOI, as this would motivate more active participation in the CSD process.
On the CSD’s role as a focal point for partnerships, BUSINESS AND INDUSTRY suggested adding text that would provide a more specific reference to partnerships. She proposed that the CSD play a broad role that focuses not only on monitoring, but also on capacity building, leveraging support for new partnerships, and exchanging lessons learned. YOUTH stressed that partnerships are not substitutes for government commitments, and NGOs called for a framework for screening and monitoring partnerships, stressing the need for mandatory reporting with independent evaluation.
On the preamble to the draft decision, which will be presented to delegates during the second week of CSD-11, NGOs stressed the need for references to rights-based approaches and gender equality as fundamental to sustainable development, and an emphasis on policy coherence, particularly with the trade agenda. Highlighting that there is little implementation without local action, LOCAL AUTHORITIES, supported by several other speakers, proposed inserting the phrase "including at the local level" whenever the words "at all levels" are used in the text - a formulation used in the JPOI.
IN THE CORRIDORS
Although there was no round of applause on Thursday afternoon when Chair Moosa presented the long-awaited draft decision on the future "invigorated CSD," most delegates seemed to appreciate his efforts to produce what one observer referred to as a "well-crafted text" designed to address the differing concerns of delegations. The initial reaction of several key figures was generally positive, and the indications on Friday were that the draft will be accepted as a basis for negotiations.
However, some grumbling was heard soon after the draft emerged. As expected, many developing countries felt the draft’s procedural focus submerged the overriding problem that the CSD’s ambitious agenda will have to face in the coming decade, namely that of inadequate financial resources. According to these countries, the text needs to be made more consistent with the JPOI, and the work cycles need to encompass more issues from the WSSD agenda.
Other delegations felt that the matrix contained in the annex was a little confusing; the terminology regarding "related" or "cross-cutting" issues was fuzzy and did not correspond to established language. One group felt that bringing poverty eradication to the fore did not do justice to the other two critical issues of unsustainable consumption and production and protecting the natural resource base, which were also agreed in Johannesburg. Some added that a single focus for each work cycle could be too restrictive. On the other hand, several delegations that had previously expressed concerns on the format of the regional input proposed in the Secretary-General’s report were satisfied with the way the Chair had navigated around the problem.
While the final outcomes of CSD-11 are still far from clear, one delegate observed that, whatever streamlining the CSD-11 might undergo by the end of the meeting, it should definitely not mean "one step forward, two steps back" from Johannesburg.
THINGS TO LOOK FOR TODAY
WORKING GROUP 1: Co-chaired by Hossein Moeini Meybodi (Iran) and Nadine Gouz’e (Belgium), the Working Group will meet from 10:00 am - 1:00 pm, and from 4:00-6:00 pm in Conference Room 4 to negotiate sections in the Chair’s draft decision on the future organization of work and the multi-year programme of work.
WORKING GROUP 2: Co-chaired by Irena Zubevi (Croatia) and Bruno Stagno (Costa Rica), this Working Group will convene from 10:00 am - 1:00 pm, and from 4:00-6:00 pm in Conference Room 6 to consider sections in the Chair’s draft decision on: reporting; enhancing contributions of funds, programme, agencies and other UN organizations; contributions of Major Groups and other constituencies; and CSD as the focal point for partnerships for sustainable development. This Group will also address decisions on the future organization of the Bureau, and SIDS.
PLENARY: A Plenary will convene from 3:00-4:00 pm in Conference Room 4 to prepare for the 10-year review of the Barbados Programme of Action on SIDS.