Report of main proceedings for 19 April 2004
CSD-12 began consideration of the thematic cluster for its 2004/2005 implementation cycle, focusing on water, sanitation and human settlements. In the morning, delegates heard opening addresses, reports from key intersessional meetings, and general statements. Delegates also heard statements on the overall review of implementation of Agenda 21, the Programme for the Further Implementation of Agenda 21, and the JPOI. In the afternoon, delegates engaged in a thematic discussion on water, considering themes relating to the status of implementation of the MDGs and JPOI goals, and integrated water resources management (IWRM).
CSD-12 Chair Børge Brende, Norway’s Minister of Environment, said this is the first session held under the new multi-year programme of work adopted at CSD-11 and the CSD’s first ever non-negotiating session. He highlighted the Commission’s role as the “watchdog” of progress in the implementation of the WSSD goals.
Prince William Alexander of Orange of the Netherlands said water underlies most of the MDGs and that CSD-12 should “prove to the world” that tangible progress can be made. He stressed the key role of IWRM, and called for, inter alia, strengthening institutional and human capacity.
José Antonio Ocampo, Under-Secretary-General for Economic and Social Affairs, presented the Secretary-General’s reports on water, sanitation and human settlements. He identified rural sanitation, hygiene, wastewater treatment, water quality, and IWRM as areas needing greater attention.
Klaus Töpfer, Executive Director of UNEP, said the WSSD has left a clear sense of direction as its legacy, and highlighted the need for the CSD to address implementation, regionalization and partnerships. He said CSD-12 can become an important step toward changing the conditions of the poor.
Anna Tibaijuka, Executive Director of UN-HABITAT, noted that the CSD process is more broad-based and action-oriented than before. Underscoring that the “struggle” for achieving the water and sanitation targets has to be “waged” in human settlements, she said CSD-12 could become a springboard for local action.
Zephirin Diabre, Associate Administrator of UNDP, identified the catalytic role of water as an entry point to support developing countries in fighting poverty and achieving the MDGs. He called on the CSD to ensure integrated implementation, monitoring and reporting of the MDGs and WSSD targets.
Abdellah Benmellouk, Morocco, reported on the Marrakesh Meeting on Sustainable Production and Consumption held in June 2003, noting that participants stressed the need for international cooperation, information exchange and partnerships, and highlighted the role of developed countries in example-setting.
Rashid Alimov, Tajikistan, presented the outcomes of the Dushanbe International Water Forum held in August/September 2003. He said participants identified the need to develop economic mechanisms, select technologies for optimal water management, and harmonize the interests of countries managing transboundary rivers.
Damla Yesin Say, Turkey, briefed the session on the Istanbul Workshop on Governance for WSSD Implementation in Countries with Economies in Transition held in August 2003, which he said recommended increasing transparency and improving civil society participation.
Bjørn Skogmo, Norway, presented the report of the “Water for the Poorest” international conference held in Stavanger in November 2003, stating that the meeting developed recommendations for prioritizing safe water supplies, improving water governance, increasing financing, and enhancing capacity building.
Alberto Gagliardi, Italy, presented the outcome of the International Forum on Partnerships for Sustainable Development held in Rome in March 2004. He said participants at the meeting identified the need for the public sector to facilitate local capacity for partnerships, ensure transparency, and develop clear legal frameworks and strategies to encourage private sector participation.
Zhang Yishan, China, presented on the UN Asia-Pacific Leadership Forum: Sustainable Development for Cities, held in February 2004 in Hong Kong, and said the meeting adopted the Hong Kong Declaration on Sustainable Development for Cities.
President of the UNEP Governing Council (GC) Arcado Ntagazwa, Tanzania, reported on the outcomes of the GC’s eighth Special Session held in Jeju, Republic of Korea, in March 2004. He introduced the “Jeju Initiative” adopted by Ministers, which, inter alia, stresses the need for IWRM to incorporate an ecosystems approach as a building block to meet the MDGs and WSSD targets.
Following these reports, Qatar, for the G-77/CHINA, Ireland, for the EU, the US, AUSTRALIA and others made brief opening remarks, acknowledging the preparatory work done by the Secretariat and the Bureau. The RUSSIAN FEDERATION called for synchronizing WSSD implementation in different regions, while taking into account their specificities. The Lao People’s Democratic Republic, for the LANDLOCKED DEVELOPING COUNTRIES, highlighted their special circumstances and vulnerabilities, and expressed support for SIDS. INDONESIA stressed the importance of international aid and a conducive environment for implementing the WSSD outcomes. SOUTH AFRICA underscored the need to concentrate on overcoming the obstacles to implementing the WSSD goals, and called for a critical look at inter-agency cooperation. JAPAN highlighted the 3rd World Water Forum held in Kyoto in March 2003. BUSINESS AND INDUSTRY highlighted the key role of business in addressing poverty and water and stressed the need for adequate “political framework” conditions. FARMERS stressed the link between the CSD-12 themes and highlighted the need for building capacity in farmer organizations.
OVERALL REVIEW OF THE IMPLEMENTATION OF AGENDA 21, PROGRAMME FOR FURTHER IMPLEMENTATION OF AGENDA 21, AND THE JPOI
The G-77/CHINA and the EU said CSD-12 must focus and strengthen activities to meet the MDGs and WSSD goals, look at progress, and identify challenges, constraints and obstacles encountered in implementation. The G-77/CHINA also called for the international community to be more responsive to the needs of developing countries, particularly on means of implementation.
THEMATIC DISCUSSION ON WATER
This afternoon session was chaired by Chair Brende and Vice- Chair Bruno Stagno Ugarte (Costa Rica).
Status of implementation of the MDGs and JPOI goals and targets: Alvaro Umaña, UNDP, highlighted slow progress in the implementation of the MDGs relevant to the provision of safe drinking water, particularly in Sub-Saharan Africa and Central Asia. He stressed the importance of reporting and monitoring, particularly in light of the 2005 review of the MDGs.
Roberto Lenton, MDG Task Force on Water and Sanitation, said unless efforts are scaled up, the MDG and JPOI targets will not be met. He stressed the need for political will, and suggested mechanisms such as user charges, cross subsidies, and increased ODA to address financial constraints.
Discussion: In the ensuing discussion, CROATIA, COLOMBIA, INDONESIA, KENYA and others reported on national water activities, focusing on obstacles encountered and progress made in meeting the MDGs. ISRAEL outlined measures to overcome its water crisis through reclaiming sewage water, constructing desalinization plants, and purchasing water.
IRAN said the challenge was not one of good governance, but of means of achieving the MDGs, and expressed concern that bilateral funds could be diverted to partnerships. The EU said poor governance was a key constraint, and highlighted the importance of capacity building and technology transfer at the local and regional level. EGYPT and the UK emphasized tailoring solutions to local conditions. MEXICO underlined the universality of the right to water, and the RUSSIAN FEDERATION mentioned its federal government control over water resources. FARMERS proposed the formation of an international water body to arbitrate over disagreements. TRADE UNIONS expressed concern that implementation is focusing on partnerships and moving away from the frameworks negotiated at UNCED. Umaña underscored the importance of good governance in solving the water crisis.
CUBA, with many developing countries, stressed that the MDG on water cannot be met without funding commitments. EGYPT emphasized the need to ensure that countries receive resources in a transparent manner and said governments must play a role in creating conditions that encourage private sector investment. The EU said innovative financial mechanisms are needed to counteract the lack of government and private sector investment, and stressed the need to consider how available ODA can be used to maximum effect. The US emphasized the need to solve concrete problems, present water as an attractive investment for the private sector, and integrate water into development goals and poverty reduction strategies. NIGERIA and LEBANON noted difficulties in motivating the private sector to invest in water services. BURKINA FASO said the private sector indicated its interests in profits over providing infrastructure to the poor at the 3rd World Water Forum. The WORLD FORUM OF FISHER PEOPLES highlighted the prioritization of economic over public interests in water allocation in India. JAPAN called on the CSD to focus on education in sustainable development, in particular at the local level. The SCIENTIFIC AND TECHNOLOGICAL COMMUNITY said interdisciplinary studies are required to elucidate the relation between human water use and the capacity of the environment to provide services. SOUTH AFRICA noted that progress in supplying water is not always accompanied by progress in providing sanitation. SYRIA noted that water limitations can aggravate conflict and stressed the need for improved cooperation over water resources.
IWRM: Lenton reported on a survey by the Global Water Partnership regarding the evolution of IWRM strategies. He identified a clear need for additional financial resources for the poorest countries and suggested that countries use the MDGs as the focus of IWRM.
Jerson Kelman, Brazilian National Water Agency, stressed that decision making for IWRM should be decentralized and include all stakeholders. He identified challenges in managing water resources at the river basin scale in the context of a federal political structure.
Conall O’Connell, Australia’s Department of Environment and Heritage, presented the National Water Initiative, which addresses governance arrangements and recognizes the need to support communities in water management.
Discussion: JAPAN, COSTA RICA, BURKINA FASO, EGYPT and the REPUBLIC OF KOREA addressed elements of their national water and environment plans. SWEDEN called for devolving power to the local level and providing subsidies to the poor. The US underscored the need to create an enabling environment for local action and decision making. SWITZERLAND said ecosystems should be considered as the “basic infrastructure” for water supply and sanitation. The EU stressed the importance of data collection and monitoring, and said IWRM plans should include measures to address wetlands management, water quality, climate change, and transboundary water management. TRADE UNIONS cautioned against water privatization and urged the UN to continue its work on defining water as a human right. FARMERS drew attention to the need for education and awareness.
IN THE CORRIDORS
As noted by CSD-12 Chair Brende in his opening statement, this CSD session kicks off the Commission’s new multi-year programme of work and is its first non-negotiating session ever. With so many seasoned negotiators present, several participants have expressed curiosity as to what will transpire over the two weeks, what the outcomes of the review session will look like, and how they will feed into CSD-13’s policy session. Reactions to the thematic discussions were mixed, with some delegates enjoying the enthusiastic exchange, and others wishing for more interactive dialogue and less delivery of prepared statements. This being a day of “firsts” for the CSD, it remains to be seen how participants will, as underscored by Chair Brende, make the most use of the next two weeks to “take a hard honest look at how we are doing.”
THINGS TO LOOK FOR TODAY
CONFERENCE ROOM 1: In the morning, delegates will continue the thematic discussion on water, focusing on water governance, and capacity building for water management and provision of water services. In the afternoon, delegates will review progress in implementation for the ESCAP and ECE regions.
CONFERENCE ROOM 2: In the morning, delegates will engage in interactive discussions with Major Groups on the contribution of Major Groups to implementation. In the afternoon, delegates will participate in interactive discussions on water, focusing on balancing water uses, and water demand management and conservation.
PARTNERSHIPS FAIR: Partnership initiatives on human settlements will be held in Conference Room 6. Check CSD Today or http://www.un.org/esa/sustdev/csd/csd12/csd12.htm for details.
LEARNING CENTER: Capacity building courses will take place in Conference Room D. Check CSD Today for details.