Report of main proceedings for 13 April 2005
On Wednesday morning, delegates met for an interactive discussion on strengthening the monitoring and evaluation of water and sanitation services, and on follow-up on water and sanitation. In the afternoon, an interactive discussion took place on the linkages between water, sanitation and human settlements, and between these themes and CSD’s cross-cutting issues.
On Thursday morning, Chair Ashe’s text containing draft elements for CSD-13’s negotiated decision was distributed. Delegations met informally throughout the day to consider the text and formulate positions prior to the start of negotiations on Friday morning.
WATER AND SANITATION: On Wednesday morning, an interactive discussion was held on sanitation and water, led by a panel of experts from UN agencies and other organizations. The session focused on strengthening the monitoring and evaluation of water and sanitation services, and also on follow-up. Vice-Chair Elbakly chaired the session.
Presentations: Jamie Bertram, World Health Organization (WHO), expressed concern that, while the drinking water goal set out under the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) is generally on track, the goal on sanitation is not. He also stressed the importance of the Joint Monitoring Programme run by WHO and UNICEF.
Richard Robarts, UNEP, recalled the Millennium Assessment Report’s finding that water quality is declining worldwide. He emphasized the need to strengthen the coordinating role of UN Water in monitoring, and the importance of ensuring that information is easily accessible.
Al Duda, Global Environment Facility (GEF), underscored IWRM’s importance in achieving sustainable development, highlighting the need to incorporate agriculture and climate shifts in IWRM. Duda emphasized sewage pollution as the biggest water pollution problem. He also highlighted the need to support structured learning, exchange of experiences, and consistent and predictable assistance, adding that partnerships can help achieve policy coherence.
Noting that he was speaking in a personal capacity, Patrick Murphy, EU Water Initiative, underscored that having UN focal points is a necessity. He stressed the need for clarity in UN agencies’ roles and said the cycle of international meetings on water should be rationalized. Murphy highlighted the need for mechanisms to address transboundary water issues, and inclusion of climate change issues in water management.
Discussion: In the subsequent discussion, many participants commented on monitoring and evaluation at all levels, with some making specific recommendations on follow-up, CSD outcomes, and UN Water.
On monitoring and evaluation, the G-77/CHINA stressed that follow-up on monitoring must be maintained by CSD, highlighted the urgent need for local and national capacity building, and supported monitoring technologies such as remote sensing. The EU reaffirmed the CSD’s role in monitoring implementation and facilitating the exchange of best practices. INDONESIA supported a multi-stakeholder approach for national monitoring and evaluation mechanisms, improved database systems, and capacity building. MEXICO noted the lack of resources for monitoring, highlighted the role of UN Water, and drew attention to the Fourth World Water Forum taking place in Mexico in 2006. CUBA said developing countries need support for monitoring, adding that databases must be reliable and comparable.
TUVALU stressed civil society involvement in the Joint Monitoring Programme. NAMIBIA, supported by SOUTH AFRICA, emphasized that monitoring is most appropriate and sustainable at the local level. UGANDA supported UN-HABITAT as the lead monitoring agency. NORWAY called for the strengthening of existing mechanisms, particularly the Joint Monitoring Programme. She supported NGOs’ call for accessible monitoring information, and noted the lack of an international institutional home for sanitation. BUSINESS AND INDUSTRY emphasized the need to distinguish between monitoring of action towards targets and monitoring of water quality and quantity. Several developing countries thanked GEF for its support, although TUVALU noted concerns about the requirement to demonstrate global benefits.
On follow-up, SWITZERLAND said CSD-13 should agree on an intergovernmental and open-ended framework to ensure ongoing policy dialogue among stakeholders, greater coordination, the exchange of concrete experiences, and the mobilization of resources. BRAZIL said the Clean Development Mechanism’s role in sanitation should be recognized. JAPAN highlighted the Portfolio of Water Actions (PWA) as a key outcome of the Third World Water Forum. TRADE UNIONS expressed concern that workers were being marginalized in this process. SOUTH AFRICA, supporting the EU, called for consideration of the effects of desertification, climate change, and urbanization on water supply and sanitation. The US urged strengthened capacity for the CSD Secretariat.
On the role of UN Water, TUVALU and the US called for UN Water to improve interagency cooperation and coordination. NORWAY agreed, urging involvement of non-UN partners. SOUTH AFRICA called for strengthening the interagency coordinating role of UN Water based on instructions from the CSD, and the US said CSD could request UN Water to, in particular, facilitate country-level coordination, become the focal point for reporting on actions taken, and articulate UN agencies’ responsibilities on water issues. CANADA said the momentum generated in this CSD implementation cycle could be maintained by deciding to give UN Water clear authority and responsibilities. KENYA highlighted UN Water’s role in promoting system-wide coordination.
Reflecting on the discussion, panelist Jamie Bertram noted a “strong package” of consistent proposals from participants, including on the need for a follow-up mechanism for water and sanitation, the role of UN Water in monitoring and evaluation of services, a system gap analysis, rationalization of meetings, and development of multi-agency mechanisms. Patrick Murphy noted comments on decentralizing information systems and the effect of climate change on water quality.
INTERLINKAGES AMONG WATER, SANITATION AND HUMAN SETTLEMENTS, AND CROSS-CUTTING ISSUES: On Wednesday afternoon, interactive discussions were held on interlinkages among the three themes of water, sanitation and human settlements, and between these themes and all cross-cutting issues.
Presentations: On interlinkages among the three themes, Katherine Sierra, World Bank, underscored implementation as the major challenge faced by the development community. She highlighted, inter alia: the high price the poor pay for water; the relationship between absence of land tenure and lack of water access; the urban poor’s dependence on small-scale providers; and the acute and rapidly growing sanitation crisis in high-density slums.
Carlos Linares, UNDP, focused on the role of local private sector entrepreneurs in delivering water and sanitation services in small towns.
On interlinkages among the three themes and all cross-cutting issues, Yasmin von Shirnding, WHO, underscored the importance of health as a cross-cutting issue. Ethnè Davey, Gender and Water Alliance, focused on gender, community mobilization, and the importance of community training and education.
Discussion: In the ensuing discussion, the G-77/CHINA highlighted the importance of interlinkages and cross-cutting issues, and suggested there was a gap in the Chair’s IPM summary in this regard. The EU suggested that linkages should be tackled in every CSD implementation cycle, and should constitute a fourth section of this session’s outcome. AUSTRALIA opposed this idea. CHILDREN AND YOUTH highlighted the importance of young people in WSSD implementation and the need to include youth representatives in government delegations.
NEW ZEALAND urged the inclusion of the Mauritius Strategy in CSD-13’s outcome, stressing that monitoring plans should address SIDS’ special requirements. IRAN recommended addressing public awareness raising and education, integration of traditional knowledge, and decentralization. UN-HABITAT proposed integrating CSD-13’s themes at the human settlements level, strengthening its Water and Sanitation Trust Fund, and enabling innovative financing mechanisms that create partnerships among a diverse set of stakeholders.
NGOs said CSD-13 should commit governments to set national standards on the inclusion of women, establish a follow-up conference on development finance, and call for annual national publications on, inter alia, spending and results. SWITZERLAND highlighted the need to give serious attention to socio-cultural and gender issues. WOMEN called on governments to implement fully their commitments under the Beijing Platform for Action, remarking on the need for vocational training and the possible coordinating and stimulating role of the UN Interagency Task Force on Gender and Water. NORWAY underscored the positive externalities of legal systems that support women’s ownership rights.
SOUTH AFRICA proposed that CSD-13 make recommendations or requests relating to the work of the UN Commission on Science and Technology for Development, UNESCO and UNCTAD, as well as on climate change and its impact on the built environment, and remote sensing information. SENEGAL said sanitation needs to be prioritized. The US reflected on lessons learned from this current CSD implementation cycle, suggesting that the Secretariat apply a similar analysis and approach to the CSD-14/CSD-15 “energy cycle,” and highlighting the “user-friendly matrix” as a useful tool for considering interlinkages.
BUSINESS AND INDUSTRY discussed corruption and the need to stimulate and support local enterprise. The AFRICAN GROUP highlighted NEPAD as Africa’s key sustainable development framework, and noted issues of trade reform, debt relief, and health. FRANCE encouraged a focus on water-use efficiency. INDIGENOUS PEOPLE urged shifting from conceptual debates to specific policies and TRADE UNIONS noted inadequate investment in sanitation.
Reflecting on the discussions, panelist Yasmin von Shirnding noted the need for practical examples that demonstrate that sustainable development is an asset, not a complication. Katherine Sierra referred to delegates’ focus on local governments’ need for investment, innovative financing schemes and institutional capacity, and stressed the time factor in implementation. Carlos Linares highlighted observations on the importance of links between land, secure tenure, water, sanitation, health and poverty.
CHAIR’S DRAFT ELEMENTS FOR DECISION
On Thursday morning, the Chair’s Draft Elements for Decision were distributed to delegates, who spent the day considering the text and consulting informally. The five-page text contains a draft for CSD-13’s outcome document, with sections on water, sanitation, human settlements, and international institutional arrangements for follow-up of CSD-13 decisions.
IN THE CORRIDORS
As participants reviewed the Chair’s text on Thursday, the initial response was mixed. A number of delegates, particularly those from some of the industrialized countries and Major Groups, reacted positively to what they felt was generally a concise and clear text, although some suggested it needed further clarification and specificity. Several observers felt the text was a major improvement on some of the drafts from previous CSDs.
However, not all the reviews were positive. Quite a number of participants felt the text was too light on specifics. Developing country delegates in particular seemed to feel that the document contained little new, and was insufficiently focused on the South. More than one said it contained too much of a northern perspective, was “partnerships heavy” and oriented towards voluntary measures, perhaps at the expense of government involvement. They also felt that text on the cross-cutting issues could have been stronger and more detailed, especially with regard to financing, trade, market access and other issues of particular interest to developing countries.
With formal negotiations beginning Friday and continuing into next week, some delegates warned that negotiations might well go beyond their Tuesday deadline.