Daily report for 21 April 2004

CSD 12

In the morning, delegates in Conference Room 1 continued discussion on the overall review of the implementation of Agenda 21, Programme for the Further Implementation of Agenda 21, and JPOI. Delegates in Conference Room 2 discussed water, focusing on financing, and empowering stakeholders. In the afternoon, dele­gates in Conference Room 1 heard status reports on inter-agency coordination, partnerships, national reporting and indicators. Dele­gates in Conference Room 2 discussed sanitation, focusing on the status of implementation, and strategies for improving access to basic sanitation.


OVERALL REVIEW: Delegates heard 39 statements during this morning session, with many describing national experiences, challenges and success stories. A number of delegates commended the UN Secretary-General’s reports. SWITZERLAND welcomed the CSD’s new format with its emphasis on sharing experience and lessons learned. New Zealand for the PACIFIC ISLANDS FORUM expressed support for the reform of the work of the CSD and welcomed the revised two-year cycle. MALAYSIA called on CSD-12 to evaluate the reasons for the lack of progress regarding means of implementation. PAKISTAN said the MDGs and JPOI provide a mandate for the CSD to adopt a roadmap for the imple­mentation of sustainable development. SOUTH AFRICA noted that CSD-12 offers an opportunity to begin a serious exchange of views on how the 2005 UN MDG review can contribute to imple­mentation of sustainable development. BRAZIL suggested that CSD-13 should adopt decisions to assist developing countries in meeting the MDGs and JPOI targets. The NETHERLANDS called for new specific proposals to be addressed at CSD-13.

IRAN suggested greater cooperation among UN agencies, and with TANZANIA, NIGERIA, UGANDA, LESOTHO and others called for increased support from international financial institu­tions for water, sanitation and human settlements programmes. The RUSSIAN FEDERATION stressed the need to align progress in implementation across different regions. The EU noted recent improvements in ODA flows and technology support, and the EC underscored its frequent reviews of sustainable development strat­egies. CANADA, JAPAN and others noted the importance of part­nerships, with the US emphasizing domestic good governance. CHINA recalled the principle of common but differentiated responsibilities, and suggested monitoring partnerships. INDIA expressed doubt concerning the universal application of an ecosys­tems approach to water, cautioned against reducing the focus to transboundary waters, and suggested maintaining the IWRM concept as defined in the JPOI. CUBA said water is a universal human right and called for greater political will.

LOCAL AUTHORITIES stressed the need to shift resources to the local level. TRADE UNIONS emphasized the untapped poten­tial for education of workers, and called on governments to reassert their role in the provision of services. WOMEN highlighted the gender implications of not meeting the MDGs. INDIGENOUS PEOPLES said sufficient attention should be given to reviewing the overall concepts of governance, sustainable livelihoods, and resource management. NGOs emphasized that water, sanitation and human settlements issues are integrated with human rights.

OTHER MATTERS: This afternoon session was chaired by Vice-Chair Bruno Stagno Ugarte (Costa Rica). The Secretariat introduced the relevant documents and highlighted, inter alia, the establishment of UN-Water and UN-Energy, and its interactive partnerships database.

On inter-agency coordination, Iran, for the G-77/CHINA, said the potential of different UN agencies to strengthen implementa­tion should be further explored. He expressed concern that the report does not cover all of the themes in the first cycle or the CSD’s cross-cutting issues, and that it has included topics outside the thematic cycle. Regarding modalities for the participation of non-UN actors in inter-agency work, he asked if there was an inter­governmental mandate for their inclusion. NIGERIA said the UN’s Chief Executives Board should not launch processes unless mandated by CSD. SAUDI ARABIA reminded delegates that agencies should not go beyond intergovernmentally-agreed mandates defined in the JPOI, and asked why cross-cutting issues were not specifically covered in the Secretariat report. The Secre­tariat explained that cross-cutting issues were integrated in the thematic reports, and described the format of consultations planned for the next thematic cycle. UNEP recalled the genesis of the current inter-agency cooperation structure.

On partnerships, the G-77/CHINA, with other countries, noted a lack of progress on implementation and expressed concern that the main sources of finance are from governments and are not “new and additional.” He enquired how partnerships will bring in additional money, particularly from the private sector and requested that the report include information on partnerships involving UN agencies and on the financial resources provided by these agencies. PAKISTAN expressed disquiet that the number of partnerships initiated since the WSSD was lower than expected, and that most are donor-driven and unevenly distributed among issues and regions. INDIA reflected on what benefits partnerships could generate in the long run. INDONESIA said partnerships make a critical contribution but cannot replace the crucial role of governments. The US suggested several prerequisites for successful partnerships, including patience, a shared under­standing of problems and solutions, communication and flexi­bility. BURKINA FASO proposed periodic studies on the impacts of partnerships in host countries.

On national reporting and indicators, the G-77/CHINA said there is a need to reduce the reporting burden, and stressed that indicators are voluntary and should be tailored to national circum­stances. The UK, with MEXICO, commended the UNDP project to alleviate the burden of national reporting.

Qatar, for G-77/CHINA, requested that the Group’s comments be reflected in the final report of the session. The Secretariat thanked delegates for their input and said it would adjust its work to reflect the discussions, subject to availability of resources.


INTERACTIVE DISCUSSION ON WATER: This morning session was chaired by Vice-Chair Ugarte.

Financing: Ravi Narayanan, WaterAid, highlighted findings of the International Panel on Financing for Water Infrastructure. Thierry Chambolle, International Chamber of Commerce, identi­fied confidence, governance and sound finance as prerequisites of successful public-private partnerships (PPPs). Noting that only 5% of funds for water service development originate from the private sector, John Wasielewski, USAID, outlined a mechanism for offering a partial loan guarantee that leverages private investment.

DiscussionMany participants stressed that financing should focus on aspects other than infrastructure, particularly capacity building of local authorities and communities. A number of dele­gates stressed the need for policy reform. Several Major Groups noted that the rural poor are not adequately served by the private sector. SOUTH AFRICA underscored the need to focus on financing for achieving the MDGs, called for increased grant­funding and, with the NETHERLANDS, urged meeting ODA commitments. SAUDI ARABIA said good governance is country- specific and should not be an ODA prerequisite. NORWAY said ODA alone is insufficient for meeting the MDGs. DENMARK highlighted costs of repairing existing infrastructure. TRADE UNIONS stressed corporate accountability and, with others, called for removing conditionalities. DOMINICA urged addressing rules and procedures that constrain communities from accessing funds.

Empowering stakeholders: Kristen Muller, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Germany, underscored the role of women as agents of change in the water sector, and urged integrating gender aspects into water policy planning, implementation and monitoring. Drawing on WaterAid’s experience, Narayanan highlighted the ethical and practical benefits of empowering women. Stressing the need to account for local sociocultural practices, Marie-Elise Gbedo, l’Association des femmes juristes, Benin, proposed ways to engage women in decision making. Linette Vassell, Ministry of Water and Housing, Jamaica, linked women’s empowerment in water management to the broader issue of equity, and said empowering women fosters good governance at the local level.

Discussion: WOMEN called for acknowledgement as full and equal partners. CANADA urged a better understanding of the role of men in promoting gender equality. INDIGENOUS PEOPLES advocated a rights-based approach to water development in order to empower indigenous women. TURKEY and the US stressed the importance of multistakeholder participation. FARMERS said women can be successful agents of change when given access to decision making. SWITZERLAND advocated socioeconomic evaluation to develop effective gender-sensitive approaches.

THEMATIC DISCUSSION ON SANITATION: This afternoon session was chaired by Vice-Chair Toru Shimizu (Japan).

Status of implementation of MDGs and JPOI goals: Jamie Bartram, WHO, reported that many countries are not on track to achieving the sanitation goal and said even if the goal were to be met many would still lack access to basic sanitation. He described the economic benefits of providing sanitation. Gourisankar Ghosh, Water and Sanitation Supply Collaborative Council, stressed the need for local involvement in sanitation and hygiene initiatives. Albert Wright, MDG Task Force on Water and Sanitation, said the emphasis should be on national and local level actions, compli�mented by international support.

DiscussionINDIA outlined the development of demand driven systems, and WOMEN described small-scale rural sanitation projects. VENEZUELA, KENYA, INDONESIA, BRAZIL and BURKINA FASO highlighted the need for financial and technological resources. NIGERIA noted the debilitating effect of external debt. YOUTH highlighted the importance of sanitation for disease prevention and, with the NETHERLANDS, education to promote hygiene. CÔTE D’IVOIRE requested information on how to provide sanitation in peri-urban areas. PAKISTAN and others advocated an integrated approach to sanitation, human settlements and wastewater treatment. Wright highlighted the exclusion of sanitation from PRSPs.

Strategies for improving access to basic sanitation: Sharing lessons learned from developing Uganda�s sanitation strategy, Patrick Kahangire, Department of Water, highlighted the need to: strengthen national institutional frameworks; provide sanitation in primary schools; and integrate the provision of water with sanita�tion services. Bernardo Monge, Direcci�n Protecci�n Ambiente Humano, Costa Rica, underscored the need to consider public health and outlined lessons learned from a programme targeted at children. Vanessa Tobin, UNICEF, urged consideration of how progress in sanitation is measured and emphasized the need to focus on rural communities, children and women.

DiscussionMany delegates outlined examples of effective sanitation initiatives, including community-level subsidies, and eco-sanitation. The EU called for a holistic approach, and some noted differences in how to define such an approach. WOMEN and others stressed the interdependence of sanitation and safe drinking water. Many, including BURKINA FASO and UNEP, underscored the importance of education. SOUTH AFRICA stressed involving local communities in sanitation projects for rural areas, and integrating sanitation and human settlement strategies in urban areas. The US highlighted the need for low cost appropriate technologies. SWITZERLAND stressed the role of PPPs and the private sector in delivering solutions. NGOs called for a transfer of funds from the military sector to sanitation, and TRADE UNIONS proposed debt relief and taxing extractive multinationals.


Halfway through the first week of the session, delegates seemed to be warming to the new CSD format. The combination of diplomats and technical experts has started to generate rich interventions, with several participants noting that the non-negotiating atmosphere has allowed for a more frank expression of views. While the opportunity for this exchange is appreciated, several delegates expressed a strong desire to see more interactive dialogue, and some noted that two weeks was perhaps too long to spend on lessons learned.

Meanwhile, delegates have realized that unlike previous sessions the Chair’s summary will include references to interventions and will not be limited to the interactive discussions and multistakeholder dialogues. Several observers have noted a resulting increase in the number of interventions on issues that delegations want to feed into the negotiations at CSD-13’s policy session.


CONFERENCE ROOM 1: In the morning, delegates will discuss sanitation, focusing on awareness raising, and sustainable sanitation. In the afternoon, delegates will discuss human settlements, focusing on status of implementation, and housing rights and secure tenure.

CONFERENCE ROOM 2: In the morning, delegates will discuss human settlements, focusing on urban poverty, and women in human settlements development. In the afternoon delegates will address sanitation, focusing on financing, and employment generation through basic sanitation.

PARTNERSHIPS FAIR AND LEARNING CENTER: The Partnerships Fair will take place near the Vienna Café and in Conference Room 6. The Learning Center will be held in Conference Room D. Check CSD Today for details or visit http://www.un.org/esa/sustdev/csd/csd12/csd12.htm for details.

SIDE EVENT: A side event on National Strategies and Initiatives for Sustainable Development, organized by IISD and others, will take place from 6:15-7:45 pm in Conference Room 6.

Further information