Report of main proceedings for 29 April 2003
On Tuesday morning, delegates heard statements by ministers and other high-level representatives on "Visions for the Future CSD." They also participated in two regional implementation forums focusing on the Economic Commission for Europe (ECE) and the Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC) regions. In the afternoon, ministerial round table discussions considered "Protecting and managing the natural resource base of economic and social development" and "Health and sustainable development."
MINISTERIAL STATEMENTS: During this segment, ministers and other high-level government officials continued to present their views on the future modalities and work programme of the CSD. Many speakers affirmed that the CSD should focus on implementation of goals agreed in the Johannesburg Plan of Implementation (JPOI) and Agenda 21. With regard to the extent of forward planning for the work programme, SENEGAL said the programme could look ahead three cycles (six years), while LUXEMBOURG favored setting it four to six cycles ahead. Several ministers supported a flexible work programme and agreed that the number of issues addressed in each cycle should be limited. The US and SWITZERLAND suggested addressing one single key theme during each cycle.
On the selection of issues for future sessions, many speakers agreed on water and energy as key topics meriting early consideration. SWITZERLAND and GABON highlighted health, and FINLAND identified sanitation, as further issues. SENEGAL said the CSD should pay particular attention to African issues. SAUDI ARABIA highlighted financial commitments, technology transfer, capacity building and education. GERMANY underscored the role of renewable energy in poverty reduction. PERU, speaking for the RIO GROUP, highlighted, inter alia, vulnerability to extreme weather events, mountain ecosystems, and trade.
On other organizational arrangements, the US said innovative means of capacity building, such as the "Partnerships Fair" and the "Learning Center," should be considered throughout the UN system. SWEDEN called for a gender perspective and supported the exchange of experiences through CSD task forces or sub-committees. Many countries highlighted the importance of regional implementation, with TAJIKISTAN supporting regional implementation forums and enhanced subregional cooperation. CHINA stressed the comparative advantage of existing institutions, such as the UN regional commissions. BELGIUM highlighted the use of national strategies for sustainable development.
REGIONAL IMPLEMENTATION FORUMS: Late Tuesday morning, two regional implementation forums were held concurrently, with participants discussing initial steps taken in the ECE and the ECLAC regions to implement the JPOI.
ECE: This session was chaired by UNFCCC Executive Secretary, Joke Waller-Hunter. Kaj Barlund, ECE Executive Director, outlined the Commission’s work on follow-up to the WSSD, including its intention to establish an open forum on sustainable development for discussions among all ECE partners, with a strong emphasis on civil society. Julio Garcia Burgues, EC, highlighted work undertaken in the EU on sustainable development strategies. Lynne Brennan van Dyke, UNEP Regional Office for North America, gave an overview of the office’s activities in support of countries in the region, including collaborative work with other organizations. Dafna Gorchava, UNDP, reported on progress in implementing the Capacity 2015 initiative, and on new initiatives to assist countries with economies in transition. Claude Fussler, World Business Council for Sustainable Development, urged partnership stakeholders to meet regularly to ensure that commitments are met. Marec Maciejovski, Baltic 21, presented his organization’s experience as an example of successful subregional collaboration in implementing sustainable development goals.
SWITZERLAND supported the idea of an ECE discussion forum, and called for a strong link between the global and regional processes. Emphasizing the importance of subregional work, SWEDEN shared the experience of the Nordic Council. The US, supported by CANADA, questioned whether grouping regional implementation forums around the regional economic commissions would be an effective way to achieve implementation of the WSSD goals in a CSD context. HUNGARY called for a critical self-assessment of the way the ECE region implements the WSSD’s outcomes.
ECLAC: This session was chaired by Albert Binger, Center for Environment and Development, University of the West Indies. In his opening remarks, Reynaldo Bajraj, ECLAC Executive Secretary, proposed that the region establish a Sessional Committee as a component of ECLAC’s biennial session to incorporate the WSSD’s outcomes into ECLAC’s work programme. Mike Gucovsky, UNDP, identified regional priorities outlined in the LAC Initiative on Sustainable Development adopted at the WSSD. Cristina Montenegro, UNEP Regional Office for Latin America and the Caribbean, stressed the need to promote regional cooperation through the Initiative and to give practical and operational priority to the implementation of the WSSD’s outcomes. Bruno Stagno, Permanent Representative of Costa Rica, outlined the region’s institutional and operational experience, stating that it forms a sound basis for implementing sustainable development. John Forgach, A2-R Environmental Funds, highlighted the role of regional development banks and small- to medium-sized enterprises in sustainable development. Marina Da Silva, Brazil’s Environment Minister, underscored the importance of linking environmental goals with social and economic development.
During the subsequent discussion, ARGENTINA drew attention to a recent regional meeting on sustainable consumption and production. GUYANA stressed the need for monitoring progress, and suggested exploring how a peer review mechanism could function in the region. MEXICO identified interagency coordination and the development of sustainable development indicators as priority issues. CHILE said UN agencies are essential for achieving sustainable development in the region and, with others, supported the proposal for a Sessional Committee of ECLAC. COSTA RICA stressed the harmonization of sustainable development policies and actions at the regional level, and called for the development of financial instruments. INDIGENOUS PEOPLE called for greater efforts to involve them in ECLAC’s follow-up to the WSSD. Stating that the Secretariat’s proposal to organize regional implementation forums around the UN regional commissions was not focused on outcomes, the US suggested non-geographically based groupings. CANADA also stated that regional implementation should not be restricted to the UN regional commissions and expressed its wish to work with LAC countries, particularly in the areas of health and environment, and knowledge transfer.
INTERACTIVE MINISTERIAL ROUND TABLE: Protecting and managing the natural resource base of economic and social development: In the discussion, speakers raised a variety of issues, including those relating to biodiversity and the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD), water, chemicals management, and education and public awareness.
CBD COP President Hans Hoogeveen (Netherlands) suggested that ministers address how the CBD and other conventions could contribute to the implementation process and proposed that CSD-11 provide a clear mechanism on how the conventions can report to it. KENYA underscored the need for financial support to implement national biodiversity plans and strategies in developing countries. NGOs said the CSD should assist governments in valuing natural resources. Linking biodiversity and poverty, NORWAY said biodiversity loss cannot be addressed in the CBD alone, and requires a broader approach. He said CSD should monitor implementation of the pledges made at the WSSD.
On water issues, FAO stressed the importance of linking water resources, sustainable agriculture and food security. Noting the transboundary nature of water and ecosystems, CROATIA proposed the development of regional strategies for sustainable development. SOUTH AFRICA drew attention to the 2005 target for establishing national plans on integrated water resource management and water efficiency, and said the UN and CSD should contribute to meeting this target.
On chemicals-related matters, VENEZUELA stressed that the indiscriminate use of pesticides and agro-chemicals has a major impact on human health and on the contamination of water resources. She urged the prioritization of work on POPs and the development of alternatives to using DDT.
Regarding education and awareness raising, YOUTH maintained that their involvement is critical to the implementation of JPOI, and stressed the importance of education in supporting such involvement. PORTUGAL called for policy coherence, emphasizing that effective natural resource protection should occur against a background of increased knowledge and information dissemination. TRADE UNIONS highlighted the benefits of education and awareness raising in the workplace, and noted the value of workplace assessments. On capacity building, LESOTHO and PAKISTAN stressed the importance of building the capacity of rural people to manage natural resources.
Health and sustainable development: KENYA stated that sustainable development cannot be achieved without addressing the causes of ill health, including pollution, overcrowding, and inadequate water supply and sanitation. CUBA noted that progress on the WSSD’s health commitment can only be achieved if there is political will and integrated efforts. BUSINESS AND INDUSTRY said health commitments will need to be met in part by the marketplace, coupled with good governance, transparency and accountability. WOMEN stressed that gender issues are critical in addressing human health, and raised concerns regarding unequal access to health services. The IMF called for substantial increases in ODA for the health sector. INDIGENOUS PEOPLE stressed the issues of POPs and HIV/AIDS, and called on the CSD to ensure, inter alia, impact assessments as a prerequisite for mining operations and protection of traditional healing systems. The UNFCCC indicated that it would be considering implementation issues jointly with the CBD and the CCD following CSD-11.
IN THE CORRIDORS
Many delegates seemed pleased with Tuesday’s high-level discussions, noting a useful exchange of views during the morning’s regional sessions and the afternoon’s round table discussions. Some Major Groups were heard expressing satisfaction with their interactive exchanges with ministers, and a number of observers were already suggesting that holding the ministerial segment earlier than usual was proving to be a success.
While the mood in the formal meetings was generally positive, informal high-level talks were showing divergence on the choice of themes for upcoming CSD sessions. While many delegations agree that water and energy should be prioritized, there is a wide range of views on what issues should follow on from these. A non-paper circulated on Tuesday was seen by some as an attempt to address this matter; it suggested adopting two themes per work cycle, with the option of a third being set closer to the time, if required. According to some, trouble might also be brewing on regional issues. While there is clear support for a strong regional component to the CSD’s work, at least two developed countries strongly oppose holding regional implementation forums grouped around UN regional commissions, arguing that they would be unwieldy and ineffective. Some other delegates are also reportedly sympathetic to the idea of selectively using successful examples of subregional cooperation.
THINGS TO LOOK FOR TODAY
MINISTERIAL STATEMENTS: Delegates will continue to hear statements on "Visions for the Future CSD" from 10:00-11:30 am in Conference Room 4.
INTERACTIVE MINISTERIAL ROUND TABLE: Ministerial round table discussions will take place in Conference Room 1 from 11:30 am - 1:00 pm on "Means of implementation" and "Institutional framework for sustainable development."
REGIONAL IMPLEMENTATION FORUMS: Forums on the ECA and ESCWA regions will take place from 3:00 pm - 4:30 pm. The ESCAP forum will occur from 4:30-5:30 pm. Ministers and high-level officials will discuss initial steps taken in these regions to implement the JPOI. Check the Journal for venue details.
SUMMARY OF HIGH-LEVEL SEGMENT: Chair Moosa will present a summary of discussions held during the high-level segment from 5:30-6:00 pm in Conference Room 4.
LEARNING CENTER: Two courses on "Improving Johannesburg implementation" and "Sustainable development in a dynamic world" will be held from 10:00 am - 12:00 pm and 3:00-6:00 pm respectively at the Dag Hammarskjold Library Auditorium.