Report of main proceedings for 28 April 2004
CSD-12’s high-level segment opened in the morning with UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan addressing the Commission. Delegates then heard opening and keynote addresses, and ministerial statements on Meeting targets, goals and timetables. In the afternoon, delegates heard two keynote addresses and ministerial statements on Creating an enabling environment.
Kofi Annan, UN Secretary-General, said the recent emphasis on terrorism, weapons of mass destruction and the war in Iraq have diverted high level political attention away from sustainable development. He said action on water, sanitation, and human settlements must be undertaken at national and local levels, and should incorporate effective public administration, inclusive governance and a real commitment to equity. He stressed that without the US and the Russian Federation, the issue of climate change cannot be fully and properly addressed.
Børge Brende, CSD-12 Chair and Minister of Environment, Norway, urged the CSD to become the “global springboard for local action.” He said the social impact caused by a lack of basic sanitation is as “shocking as HIV/AIDS, and as solvable as polio.” He said the task for the high-level segment was to: identify obstacles and constraints; examine best practices and lessons learnt; and conduct a review that will form a solid factual platform for decision making.
MEETING TARGETS, GOALS AND TIMETABLES – KEY ELEMENTS FOR SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT: In his keynote address, Jeffrey Sachs, the Millennium Project, said there is still time to achieve the MDGs, but cautioned that the window of opportunity is closing rapidly due to inadequate progress so far. He stressed the importance of increasing and reviewing ODA to make it “compatible” with the MDGs.
The G-77/CHINA called on the international community to live up to its commitments to create an enabling international environment, in particular by meeting commitments on finance, capacity building and technology transfer. He stressed the importance of these measures for supporting developing countries in achieving the MDGs and JPOI targets. The EU underscored the importance of IWRM and water efficiency plans using an ecosystems approach, and stressed the need for countries to have NSSDs in place by 2005. He said CSD-12 should develop a roadmap to CSD-13 and to the “major event” on the 2005 MDG review.
The US underscored its commitment to partnerships and highlighted its Millennium Challenge Account. JAPAN highlighted its development of an international framework on the sustainable use of irrigation water aimed at ensuring food security and increasing food production. CHINA suggested, inter alia, that countries assume their own responsibility for sustainable development and adopt measures appropriate to national conditions. MOROCCO highlighted its national plan for rationalizing water distribution.
GERMANY stressed the need for good governance, IWRM and local stakeholder involvement. He emphasized the role of PPPs and called attention to a global review on private sector participation in the water sector. He urged CSD-12 to provide a clear signal for the further implementation of the water and sanitation goals. The REPUBLIC OF KOREA called on the CSD to reflect the Jeju Initiative, and highlighted national water policies, including a precautionary and ecosystem-based approach to IWRM. ICELAND said women’s education and involvement are critical to solving water and sanitation problems. She stressed the need for IWRM and highlighted the benefits of the UNEP GPA in achieving clean water and preventing coastal pollution. BANGLADESH called attention to the disadvantages of LDCs, and urged the international community to build partnerships, share technologies and mobilize resources.
The CZECH REPUBLIC drew attention to national progress in achieving the MDGs, supported the integrated approach employed at CSD-12, and identified education and training as prerequisites for achieving internationally-agreed goals. NEW ZEALAND stressed integration of: the three pillars of sustainable development; actions between developed and developing countries; and water into all aspects of policy at the national level. KENYA stressed the need for innovative sources of finance, shared responsibility in partnerships, and coherent national institutional and legislative frameworks. MEXICO outlined national strategies for mobilizing funds, and drew attention to the 4th World Water Forum to be held in Mexico in 2006. EGYPT said the main responsibility for providing sanitation remains with governments. AUSTRALIA called for a focus on how partnerships can “release” private sector expertise, and said the market approach is crucial for mobilizing funds. He noted that the capacity of developing countries to achieve targets will be hampered unless there is agricultural and trade liberalization. The UK stressed the need for integrated, multistakeholder implementation characterized by local ownership and partnerships, while stating that partnerships cannot be an excuse for governments to evade responsibilities. INDIA highlighted the marginal contribution from partnerships toward achieving the JPOI targets, and favored the provision of resources by governments and IFIs.
SOUTH AFRICA said the MDGs and JPOI targets are achievable as long as there is global political commitment, accompanied by the mobilization of resources. HONDURAS emphasized the role of education and training. IRAN said there is a need for the international community, UN bodies and IFIs to support developing countries in the process of implementation. He called for the establishment of specialized regional centers for natural disaster management. BENIN urged the CSD to become an effective mechanism for monitoring the implementation of the MDGs and JPOI targets. FRANCE said the CSD should promote the exchange of experience and expertise in developing NSSDs. He called for NSSDs to be voluntarily peer reviewed, and volunteered to be the first country reviewed. The NETHERLANDS called on CSD-12 to identify obstacles and constraints in implementing the JPOI and MDGs, and said the CSD-13 intersessional meeting should agree on the options for overcoming these constraints.
SAUDI ARABIA urged UN agencies to assist in finding the best approaches to reaching the goals, taking into account the provisions of the JPOI. He stressed the need to consider cross-cutting issues and balance the treatment of the three themes. Stating that all countries share the responsibility for global development, SWEDEN stressed the importance of fair trade, sound agricultural policies and debt relief. The WORLD BANK said water and sanitation for all is a moral, social and economic imperative. FAO explained the role of agriculture in addressing challenges related to water, sanitation and human settlements.
CREATING AN ENABLING ENVIRONMENT AT ALL LEVELS – POLICIES, GOVERNANCE AND FINANCE: Chair Brende chaired this afternoon session.
Mark Malloch Brown, UNDP Administrator, recalled the successful campaign to fight HIV/AIDS that brought down the price of treatment through pressure from civil society and tapping commercial incentive. He compared this with the downward trend in public and private investment in water, and its low political profile. Referring to the “scale of need” for access to clean water, he urged a “middle approach” between the two extremes of the right to water and privatization.
Michel Camdessus, Chair of the World Panel on Financing Water Infrastructure, outlined concrete actions taken following the 3rd World Water Forum, urged the prioritization of water and sanitation by governments, called for decentralization, and stressed the role of PPPs.
The EU said an enabling environment requires the involvement of all stakeholders, and includes good governance, education, institutional capacity, innovative financial mechanisms and access to credit. He also urged the devolution of services to the community level. Uganda, for AFRICAN MINISTERS, urged the international community to respond to national and regional efforts by African countries to attract foreign direct investment and encourage private sector participation. NORWAY advocated small-scale initiatives with leadership from national governments, characterized by good governance and private sector involvement. ZAMBIA called for debt cancellation and urged developed countries to deliver on their ODA commitments. CANADA identified three elements critical to achieving the MDGs: science-based policy; transparent and coordinated efforts by international agencies; and the translation of commitments into actions at the national level. FRANCE noted a discrepancy between the ambition of the MDGs and the means for achieving them, and supported the UK’s proposal for the International Financing Facility. COSTA RICA identified the lack of financial resources as a limitation to meeting targets and goals. AUSTRALIA outlined governance arrangements favorable to the private sector, including, inter alia: efficient market regulation, security, and sound economic management. FINLAND advocated transparent, integrated, multistakeholder planning based on IWRM, and highlighted the link between delivering water and sanitation, and implementing sustainable production and consumption. TAJIKISTAN drew attention to the outcomes of the International Forum of Freshwater held in Dushanbe in 2003. HUNGARY outlined national efforts to increase wastewater treatment and control pollution. CAMBODIA and NIGERIA described national efforts to provide water supply and sanitation. LUXEMBOURG said water should be considered a public good and that governments should not “shirk” from their responsibility to deliver public investment. SOUTH AFRICA stressed the importance of effective institutional frameworks with planning and delivery at the local level, allowing local governments to set funding priorities, and establishing proper pricing structures with subsidies targeted at the poor. SLOVENIA welcomed the exchange of best practices and lessons learned provided for by the Partnerships Fair.
ISRAEL highlighted its reuse of effluent water for agriculture, and its integrated approach to creating an enabling environment for water and sewage management. THAILAND advocated strengthening regional implementation through cooperation with governments in the region and among regional UN commissions. ETHIOPIA urged CSD-12 to come up with bold decisions to facilitate implementation. Malloch Brown called attention to the need for up-to-date, quality data. The US highlighted successes with partial loan guarantees and microfinance in generating investment, and stressed the need for secure tenure in creating an enabling environment.
ESTONIA said CSD-13 should define and agree on measurable and goal-oriented actions to achieve the JPOI targets. MAURITIUS called on SIDS development partners to meet their political commitments to provide financial resources for SIDS to provide drinking water, sanitation and housing to their population. DOMINICA and GUYANA expressed disappointment with the failure of many development partners during the SIDS International Meeting to understand and appreciate the critical issues facing SIDS. SWITZERLAND said sustainable water management demands the protection and sustainable use of ecosystems, and underscored the central role of ecosystems in IWRM. JORDAN called on the international community to support low-cost technologies for rural sanitation. GUYANA said globalization is losing its component of cooperation and goodwill and is increasingly being dominated by attitudes of “aggression and greed.” LAO PEOPLE’S DEMOCRATIC REPUBLIC appealed for partnerships and support for social, economic and development programmes to meet the JPOI targets.
IN THE CORRIDORS
The arrival of ministers has focused delegates’ attention on the second component of the outcome of CSD-12 – the Chair’s Summary Part II. Delegations are looking forward to the sequel, a digest of the high-level discussion, which will be much shorter, crisper and more conceptual than Part I. It is expected to provide greater clarity on the link with the policy session, providing, as it may, a practical basis for future negotiations. Given the wide ranging nature of ministerial discussions, the drafting of the new text will require much more dexterity than Part I.
Another interesting topic being discussed by many delegates is the intersessional period leading up to CSD-13. Several delegates were intrigued by the EU’s suggestion that Chair Brende prepare an ìaction planî for the interim period. Whatever the outcome of the proposal, there seems to be consensus on the need not to lose the momentum in the coming months.
THINGS TO LOOK FOR TODAY
HIGH-LEVEL SEGMENT: In the morning, delegates will convene in Conference Room 1 to hear ministers and heads of UN agencies speak on Responding to challenges, followed by a ministerial discussion on Releasing the energy of local entrepreneurs and partnerships. In the afternoon, delegates will hear ministers and Major Groups discuss the Role and contribution of Major Groups, followed by a ministerial discussion on Water.
PARTNERSHIPS FAIR AND LEARNING CENTER: Partnerships presentations will take place in Conference Room 6. The Learning Center will be held in Conference Room D. Check CSD Today or visit http://www.un.org/esa/sustdev/csd/csd12/csd12.htm for details.