Daily report for 29 April 2004

CSD 12

In the morning, ministers engaged in an interactive discussion with the heads of UN agencies on responding to challenges. This was followed by a discussion on releasing the energy of local entrepreneurs and partnerships. In the afternoon, delegates heard ministers and Major Groups discuss the role and contribution of Major Groups, followed by a discussion on water.


The high-level segment was chaired by CSD-12 Chair Børge Brende (Norway).

RESPONDING TO CHALLENGES: Stating that sustainable development requires cross-cutting analyses and implementation, BRAZIL asked UN agencies how they envisaged developing new approaches for international cooperation. She noted that WSSD partnerships have not succeeded in mobilizing resources from businesses and asked what can be done to engage the private sector. The UK called for discussions on the role of UN agencies to be directed at how they can help implement actions, and suggested that each agency focus on strategic priorities where they have a comparative advantage. She requested information on, inter alia: how to foster better cooperation between UN agencies and IFIs; how CSD can contribute to the World Bank’s PRSP and the 2005 MDG review processes; and whether UN agencies are sufficiently focused on delivering at the country level and to the poorest populations.

UNDP highlighted its programmes and partnerships in the area of sustainable water development. Noting that country-level programmes are driven by country demand, he called on governments to prioritize water, sanitation and human settlements, and to engage a broader range of ministries in meeting the MDGs. Highlighting the interdependence of water and sanitation and their roles in achieving the MDGs on combating diseases and reducing child mortality, UNICEF stressed that sanitation be given equal priority to water, and emphasized the need for primary schools to provide safe drinking water and sanitation facilities. The WORLD BANK said resources for sanitation will not materialize if PRSPs do not address sanitation.

UNEP highlighted its cooperation with WHO in addressing the problem of arsenic in drinking water, informed participants that it is formalizing a new memorandum of understanding with UNDP, and drew attention to the ongoing development of a Strategic Approach to International Chemicals Management. Noting that homeless people cannot be provided with sanitation, UN-HABITAT stressed the centrality of the human settlements issue. She commended CSD for engaging housing and planning ministers during this session, and informed participants that UN-HABITAT is developing a model to estimate the costs of achieving the MDG for slum dwellers. UNFPA underscored the link between the Cairo Agreement and Agenda 21, emphasizing the cross-cutting nature of population and reproductive health issues. She stressed the need to engage a range of ministries and link agendas.

Noting that water and sanitation are addressed by several UN agencies, the EU urged new collaborative arrangements and greater coherence among agencies. He also called for the inclusion of Major Groups representing civil society in the UN Secretary-General’s Advisory Board on Water and Sanitation, and for CSD-12 and 13 to give added value to the implementation of the HABITAT Agenda. UGANDA called for a “new world order” based on partnerships and effective participation of all stakeholders, and for resources and innovative approaches to ensure economic growth. DENMARK emphasized the 2005 IWRM target, and urged the CSD to contribute to the 2005 review of the MDGs. BANGLADESH stressed country-driven responses to development needs, and highlighted the complementary role of UN agencies. ZAMBIA identified capacity building as the main challenge, highlighted the Heavily-Indebted Poor Countries (HIPC) initiative, and pointed to difficulties in meeting the MDGs without external assistance.

FRANCE stressed the importance of follow-up on and monitoring the implementation of recommendations from CSD-13 and of the MDGs. MONGOLIA described national activities and emphasized support from the donor community. KENYA stressed increased efficiency, reduced reliance on foreign consultants, and good governance, and called for increased ODA. ANGOLA raised the problem of populations returning from areas of conflict, and NIGER referred to the worsening situation in the Niger river basin. RWANDA recalled the impact of the genocide on service infrastructure. SWEDEN emphasized the “Marrakech Process” on sustainable consumption and production, and HUNGARY described lessons from the country’s transition period. WHO explained its increased focus on sustainable development issues, and called for differentiated strategies for water and sanitation. The UNFCCC Secretariat urged the full integration of climate change considerations into IWRM strategies. The OECD reported a rise in ODA in recent years, and FAO highlighted the role of water in assuring food security.

RELEASING THE ENERGY OF LOCAL ENTREPRENEURS AND PARTNERSHIPS: Paula Dobriansky, US, identified four conditions favorable to unleashing the “vast untapped potential” of local entrepreneurs, including: an enabling environment, capacity building, financing, and partnerships. She said the power of the private sector in terms of finance, technology and human resources is greater than that of government. Noting that the high level of rhetoric surrounding PPPs is not always matched by success, Björn Stigson, World Business Council for Sustainable Development, said partnerships require time, shared values, common goals, synergies and feasibility analyses.

The EU said partnerships must complement government commitments, comply with corporate responsibility, have realistic goals, and employ tools to monitor progress. The UK stressed the need for seed funding, effective regulatory frameworks and bottom-up strategies, and suggested the development of a “template” based on past successes with partnerships. NORWAY advocated the creation of an enabling business environment for small entrepreneurs, including improving access to finance through micro-financing, community banks, and remittances. CANADA highlighted the importance of the parallel economy and suggested harnessing the initiative of water vendors. FRANCE commended the Partnerships Fair and advocated that it remain part of the CSD. ITALY said partnerships represent the best instruments for the transfer of environmentally-friendly technologies and the diffusion of know-how. NEPAL stressed that partnerships should be tailored to respond to local circumstances. IUCN called for the adoption of an ecosystems approach to water resources management and highlighted the significance of environmental flows. ILO stressed the need for employment-intensive service delivery supported by technical assistance, training, micro-leasing, and consultation. The INTERNATIONAL CHAMBER OF COMMERCE identified the need for government ownership and leadership, partners committed to delivery, receptive communities, sustainable and innovative financing mechanisms, and empowerment.

ROLE AND CONTRIBUTION OF MAJOR GROUPS: Chair Brende stressed that broad public participation is a fundamental prerequisite for achieving sustainable development. YOUTH underscored the human right to adequate sanitation and access to potable water, called for national education strategies for sustainable development, and urged governments to include youth representatives on national delegations. BUSINESS AND INDUSTRY said water ownership should remain in public hands, particularly at the local level, but stressed the role of the private sector in water management. The SCIENTIFIC AND TECHNOLOGICAL COMMUNITY highlighted the Millennium Ecosystem Assessment, and said the MDGs will be achieved only if they are addressed collectively as a package rather than sequentially. The EU highlighted, inter alia, strengthening the scientific base of UNEP, the role of the private sector in the provision of infrastructure and service delivery, and the importance of corporate social responsibility. INDIGENOUS PEOPLES said the privatization of services is undermining societies’ capacity to ensure water and housing rights for all, and stressed the recognition of the rights of the poor and indigenous peoples as conditional for achieving sustainable development. FARMERS called for more discussion on the role of agriculture in meeting the water and sanitation targets, as well as an emphasis on the rural dimension of water and sanitation.

NGOs expressed scepticism over the role of transnational corporations in sustainable development, cautioned against the “push” for privatization, and supported the role of the State and a central role for the UN. The US commended the participation of civil society in CSD-12, urged the engagement of local authorities, and stressed the need for sound science, including cooperation with the social sciences. The SCIENTIFIC AND TECHNOLOGICAL COMMUNITY said the Millennium Ecosystem Assessment is an example of such cooperation, though the degree of integration of the branches of science has not yet been commensurate to the need. BRAZIL urged “reunion” of government and civil society, and NORWAY suggested replicating the CSD format for civil society participation in other fora. INDIGENOUS PEOPLES reminded delegates that they have local authority structures of their own. TRADE UNIONS focused on the work place and occupational health, and WOMEN called for mainstreaming gender in sustainable development, particularly in IWRM schemes. KIRIBATI urged integrating the three themes with climate change concerns, and SURINAME and BOTSWANA singled out water infrastructure costs and the need for financing.

WATER: NIGERIA called for ownership, operation and maintenance of water supply facilities at the local level, and stressed the need for full civil society participation. AUSTRALIA outlined national strategies to deal with water shortages, including: secure water access entitlements; water trading; risk assignment; and integrated water management. The G-77/CHINA stressed the need for capacity building, enhanced cooperation over shared waters, and an equitable share of the benefits of international trade for developing countries. The EU identified key areas for action, including: development of IWRM and water efficiency plans by 2005; government investment; integration of water and sanitation into NSSDs and PRSPs; and the identification of innovative financial mechanisms. NEW ZEALAND noted that long-term planning for water management entails high short-term investments that can involve political risk. CANADA stressed the importance of local good governance and said local initiatives can mobilize and empower local communities.

BRAZIL stressed that multistakeholder participation is a fundamental aspect of water resource management, and said the provision of financial resources from multinational sources is vital. AUSTRIA underscored the importance of well developed infrastructure for human health and environmental protection, and said IWRM should be prioritized by all countries. JAPAN outlined its efforts to promote IWRM on a global scale. The RUSSIAN FEDERATION described national application of the river basin approach to IWRM. The US noted that there is no “global template” for the provision of water services. The DEMOCRATIC REPUBLIC OF CONGO advocated the development of innovative finance mechanisms for programmes to enable the shift from “words to action.” BULGARIA outlined national strategies to develop IWRM and contribute to the transboundary management of the Danube river basin. The MARSHALL ISLANDS referred to challenges specific to small island countries, including: fragile water resources, a lack of financial and human capital; and the complexity of water governance. BARBADOS expressed concern that the loan approval process for IFIs takes too long, and said regional and local consultants should be involved in project implementation. TURKEY outlined its strategy to achieve progress in the provision of water services and stressed the need for coordinated action at the international and regional levels. BELGIUM stressed that water is a public good and a basic human right, and said this should not be undermined by conditionalities imposed by multinationals and donors.


While high-level representatives have expressed general satisfaction with the degree of interaction at the official meetings, several ministers have signaled a desire for more opportunity to engage with each other in the congenial atmosphere of the informal “breakfast” exchanges. With the coming close of the session, delegates are looking to the year ahead. Some observers would like the new inclusive and interactive model of the review session to be utilized at the policy session, lest the seasoned CSD delegates, having survived two weeks of dialogue and interactive discussion, try to turn CSD-13 into “negotiation as usual.”


HIGH-LEVEL SEGMENT: Ministers will meet in Conference Room 1 to discuss Meeting basic needs in water, sanitation and human settlements, focusing on sanitation from 10:00-11:30 am, and on human settlements from 11:30 am to 1:00 pm. Delegates will focus on preparations for the SIDS International Meeting from 3:00-4:00 pm.

CLOSING PLENARY: Chair Brende will present and participants will comment on the Chair’s Summary Part II from 4:00-6:00 pm in Conference Room 1. The Commission will adopt the report of the session at the close of the meeting.

ENB SUMMARY AND ANALYSIS: The Earth Negotiations Bulletin summary and analysis of CSD-12 will be available on Monday, 3 May 2004 at: http://enb.iisd.org/csd/csd12/

Further information