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CSD 13

The thirteenth session of the United Nations Commission on Sustainable Development (CSD-13) takes place from 11-22 April 2005, at UN headquarters in New York. CSD-13 is the second session to be held since the new multi-year programme of work was adopted at CSD-11 in 2003. The new work programme restructured CSD’s work on the basis of two-year “Implementation Cycles.” Each Implementation Cycle is comprised of a Review Year and a Policy Year, and focuses on a thematic cluster of issues. Building on the outcomes of CSD-12 (which was the Review Year of the first cycle), CSD-13 will focus on policies and options to expedite implementation of commitments in the areas of water, sanitation and human settlements, as contained in Agenda 21, the Programme for the Further Implementation of Agenda 21, the Johannesburg Plan of Implementation and the Millennium Declaration. Various cross-cutting issues will also be addressed.

Following CSD-13’s official opening on Monday morning, 11 April, delegates will convene in the afternoon to consider regional perspectives on water, sanitation and human settlements. Interactive discussions led by representatives of UN agencies and other intergovernmental organizations (IGOs) are scheduled over the following two days (12-13 April). On 14 April, delegates will receive text from CSD Chair John Ashe (Antigua and Barbuda) containing draft elements for the session’s negotiated outcome. Deliberations and negotiations on this text are expected to take place from 15 April.

CSD-13 will conclude with a high-level segment from 20-22 April, when ministers will gather in both closed and open meetings, including dialogues with Major Groups, UN agencies and IGOs. In addition to the negotiated policy outcomes, CSD-13 is also expected to generate further dialogue among key stakeholders and support for voluntary commitments to mobilize further action on sustainable development. A Partnerships Fair, Learning Center and numerous side events are also taking place during the session.


The Commission on Sustainable Development emerged from Agenda 21, the programme of action for sustainable development adopted in June 1992 by the United Nations Conference on Environment and Development (UNCED), also known as the “Rio Earth Summit.” Agenda 21 called for the creation of the CSD to ensure effective follow-up of UNCED, enhance international cooperation, and examine progress in the implementation of Agenda 21 at the local, national, regional and international levels. In 1992, the 47th session of the UN General Assembly adopted resolution 47/191, which established the CSD’s terms of reference and composition, organization of work, relationship with other UN bodies, Secretariat arrangements, and guidelines for the participation of Major Groups. The CSD held its first substantive session in June 1993 and has met annually since. During its first five years, the CSD systematically reviewed the implementation of all chapters of Agenda 21.

UNGASS-19: In June 1997, five years after UNCED, the 19th Special Session of the UN General Assembly (UNGASS-19), also known as “Rio+5,” was held to review the implementation of Agenda 21. Negotiations produced a Programme for the Further Implementation of Agenda 21. Among the decisions adopted at UNGASS-19 was a five-year CSD work programme, which identified sectoral, cross-sectoral and economic sector/Major Group themes for the subsequent four sessions of the CSD.

MILLENNIUM SUMMIT: The UN Millennium Summit, held from 6-8 September 2000, in New York, adopted the Millennium Declaration, which contains, inter alia, a number of international development goals. Two of these goals relate directly to water and human settlements, namely, the goals to halve by 2015 the proportion of people who are unable to reach or afford safe drinking water, and to achieve by 2020 a significant improvement in the lives of at least 100 million slum dwellers. These and other development and poverty-related goals contained in the Millennium Declaration were elaborated and developed into the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), as contained in the September 2001 Report of the Secretary-General on the Road Map towards the Implementation of the Millennium Declaration. The MDGs, which have become commonly accepted as a framework for measuring progress in development, comprise eight overarching goals, 18 targets and 48 indicators. The safe drinking water and human settlements goals appear as “targets” under Goal 7 on ensuring environmental sustainability.

WSSD: The World Summit on Sustainable Development met from 26 August to 4 September 2002, in Johannesburg, South Africa, and adopted two main documents: the Johannesburg Plan of Implementation (JPOI) and the Johannesburg Declaration on Sustainable Development. In the JPOI, governments reaffirmed their commitment to the safe drinking water and human settlements goals agreed in the Millennium Declaration, and further committed to halve by 2015 the proportion of people who do not have access to basic sanitation. Governments also agreed to develop integrated water resources management (IWRM) and water efficiency plans by 2005. In addition to the JPOI and the Johannesburg Declaration, over 200 non-negotiated partnerships/initiatives for sustainable development were launched at the Summit, supplementing the commitments agreed to by governments through the intergovernmental process.

CSD-11: The eleventh session of the CSD (CSD-11) took place from 28 April to 9 May 2003, at UN headquarters in New York. The session decided that the Commission’s multi-year programme of work for the period 2004-2017 would be organized as a series of two-year Implementation Cycles, each comprising a Review Session and a Policy Session and considering a thematic cluster of issues and a number of cross-cutting issues. The CSD further decided on the modalities for reporting, partnerships, and enhancing both UN system coordination and Major Groups’ contributions. A Partnerships Fair and Learning Center courses took place concurrently with the session.

CSD-12: CSD-12 was held from 14-30 April 2004, at UN headquarters in New York. The first three days of CSD-12 (14-16 April) served as the preparatory meeting for the International Meeting on the 10-year Review of the Programme of Action for the Sustainable Development of Small Island Developing States (SIDS). The following two weeks (19-30 April) were devoted to the CSD-12 Review Session.

CSD-12 undertook an evaluation of progress in the implementation of Agenda 21, the Programme for the Further Implementation of Agenda 21 and the JPOI, focusing on identifying constraints, obstacles, successes and lessons learned with regard to water, sanitation and human settlements. The Commission also heard reports from the UN Regional Commissions on the status of implementation, and from the Major Groups on their contribution to implementation. A high-level segment, attended by over 100 ministers and addressed by UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan, was held from 28-30 April. At the conclusion of CSD-12, the Commission adopted the report of the session, which included a Chair’s Summary, reflecting inputs from the session and records of activities held as part of the Partnerships Fair and Learning Center.


WORLD WATER WEEK – SEMINAR ON PREPARATIONS FOR CSD-13: This seminar, which was held during World Water Week (August 2004, Stockholm, Sweden), addressed options for responding to the challenges identified by ministers at CSD-12, and considered how best to ensure that CSD-13’s outputs are focused and operational.

WORLD URBAN FORUM: Organized by UN-HABITAT, the second session of the World Urban Forum (September 2004, Barcelona, Spain), discussed progress towards achieving Goal 7 of the MDGs on environmental sustainability, including target 10 on water and sanitation and target 11 on improving the lives of at least 100 million slum dwellers by the year 2020.

FIFTH ORDINARY SESSION OF THE AFRICAN MINISTERS’ COUNCIL ON WATER (AMCOW): The fifth AMCOW session (November 2004, Entebbe, Uganda), addressed various water policy challenges in Africa, including meeting the goals of the African Union and the New Partnership for Africa’s Development, financing issues, and strategies to achieve water and sanitation targets.

GLOBAL WASH FORUM: The first Global Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) Forum (November-December 2004, Dakar, Senegal) sought to accelerate action in the areas of water, sanitation and hygiene with a view to achieving the MDGs. The Forum resulted in the Dakar Statement, which outlines actions that need to be scaled-up to achieve international goals on water and sanitation.

INTERNATIONAL CONFERENCE ON INTEGRATED MANAGEMENT OF WATER RESOURCES: Organized by the Japan Water Forum, this conference (December 2004, Tokyo) produced recommendations on the development of IWRM and water efficiency plans.

FIRST AFRICA MINISTERIAL CONFERENCE ON HOUSING AND URBAN DEVELOPMENT (AMCHUD): The first AMCHUD meeting (January-February 2005, Durban, South Africa) focused on the theme “Urbanization, Shelter and Development: Towards an Enhanced Framework for Sustainable Cities and Towns in Africa.” Ministers discussed policy tools to address the challenges of urbanization in Africa and adopted an Enhanced Framework of Implementation and Related Outputs for more effective African urban development priorities and strategies. The enhanced framework set out Africa’s priorities for the UN-HABITAT Governing Council, CSD-13 and the Millennium Review Meeting, highlighting poverty as a cross-cutting issue for water, sanitation and human settlements.

FAO/NETHERLANDS INTERNATIONAL CONFERENCE ON WATER FOR FOOD AND ECOSYSTEMS: Organized by the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) and the Dutch Ministry of Agriculture, Nature and Food Quality, this conference (January-February 2005, The Hague, Netherlands) aimed to assist governments in identifying management practices and enabling environments necessary for sustainable water use and harmonizing food production and ecosystem management.

UNEPGC-23/GMEF: The 23rd session of the UN Environment Programme’s Governing Council/Global Ministerial Environment Forum (February 2005, Nairobi, Kenya) included ministerial consultations on poverty and environment, environmental sustainability, and gender and environment. The outcomes of these discussions are reflected in a President’s summary.

CSD-13 INTERGOVERNMENTAL PREPARATORY MEETING: The Intergovernmental Preparatory Meeting (IPM) for CSD-13 (28 February to 4 March 2005, New York) sought to discuss policy options and possible actions to enable the implementation of measures and policies concerning water, sanitation and human settlements. Throughout the week, delegates considered policy options for the three themes and discussed interlinkages and cross-cutting aspects. These deliberations were reflected in a Chair’s text, which is expected to form the basis of further discussions during CSD-13.

SECOND INTERNATIONAL FORUM ON PARTNERSHIPS FOR SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT: This meeting (21-23 March 2005, Marrakesh, Morocco) focused on the theme, “Advancing Implementation on Water and Energy.” The Forum considered partnerships and the partnering process. A report from the meeting will be presented at CSD-13 and is expected to inform the CSD’s preparations for the UN Millennium +5 Summit.

TWENTIETH SESSION OF UN-HABITAT’S GOVERNING COUNCIL: The 20th session of the Governing Council of the UN Human Settlements Programme (UN-HABITAT, 4-8 April 2005, Nairobi) focused on issues such as inputs to CSD-13, the adequacy of the UN Millennium Declaration goal on improving the lives of 100 million slum dwellers, and cooperation and partnerships. A Chair’s Summary of the session, for consideration at CSD-13, was developed that highlights issues such as integration of CSD-13 themes at the human settlements level, reconstruction in post-conflict and natural disaster situations, decentralization and strengthening of local authorities, enhancing the participation of civil society in local governance, and financing. The Chair’s Summary also indicates that CSD-13 needs to recognize the role of UN-HABITAT as the designated focal point in the UN System for the follow-up on access to basic services, and states that the urban dimension will continue to play a key role in future CSD implementation cycles.

Further information