Daily report for 11 May 2006
In the morning, the high-level segment continued with ministers engaging in two dialogue sessions, with UN agencies, international financial institutions and other relevant organizations, and with Major Groups. In the afternoon, ministers resumed their interactive discussion on “The Way Forward”. Ministers held their second closed meeting before the opening of the official session.
HIGH LEVEL SEGMENT I
Making a difference – Interactive discussions with UN agencies: Vice-Chair Yvo de Boer (Netherlands) opened the ministerial dialogue with Heads of UN agencies. Emphasizing the need for inter-agency coordination on energy, José Antonio Ocampo, UN Under-Secretary-General for Economic and Social Affairs, listed key issues including, inter alia, how different agencies can contribute to promoting energy efficiency and access to electricity. The Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific said regional commissions are well placed to support coordinated action in areas of policy, access, air quality, health and institutional capacity. UNDP warned that people denied access to energy will not have sufficient resources to achieve the MDGs. The UN Convention to Combat Desertification said the quest for fuelwood is a fundamental contributor to desertification. The Convention on Biological Diversity said climate change is the third most important cause of biodiversity loss. UNFCCC said it serves an important role by providing data and support for both adaptation and a carbon market. The WORLD BANKcalled for efforts to “climate-proof” development because infrastructure, production and institutional decisions taken today will determine vulnerability for many decades. WHO highlighted the enormous health impacts of poor air quality in homes, workplaces and cities.
Noting the importance of scientific data for better policy choices, the WORLD METEOROLOGICAL ORGANIZATION called for adequate support for National Hydrological and Meteorological Services. The GLOBAL ENVIRONMENT FACILITY (GEF) described instruments with a focus on climate change adaptation tailored for LDCs and SIDS, including a small-grants programme. OECD outlined work on incorporating adaptation into development cooperation, strengthening energy research, and business guidelines promoting corporate responsibility. To meet growing energy demand, the INTERNATIONAL ENERGY FORUM highlighted improved access to markets, good governance and adequate policy frameworks. OPEC described a fund established to promote socio-economic development in developing countries and South-South cooperation. UNEP said the benefits of existing renewable energy technology must be disseminated, and outlined its role in providing policy support to governments.
Discussion: IRAN expressed concern about the status of voluntary contributions to GEF. The US described programmes characterized by innovation and entrepreneurship at the local level. FRANCE pointed to problems associated with the integration of and interaction among UN organizations on the ground. ICELAND called on international financial institutions (IFIs) to remove barriers to geothermal expansion, citing problems with technical know-how and financing.
SOUTH AFRICA noted that sustainable energy is not located within a single UN agency, suggested that UNEP play a more central role in energy issues, and called for enhanced coordination across UN agencies, IFIs, the GEF and the WTO. BRAZIL called for agency coordination on biofuels, including support for South-South activities. The NETHERLANDS repeated a call for a separate funding window within the World Bank’s clean energy investment framework to address the needs of the 1.6 billion people without access to energy, to ensure that emerging markets are not the only beneficiaries.
Making a difference – Interactive discussions with Major Groups: This session was chaired by Vice-Chair Javad Amin-Mansour (Iran). NGOs noted the impact of rising oil prices on the poor, including the impact on food prices, called for the removal of subsidies for fossil fuels, nuclear and large hydro to enable a shift to renewable energy, objected to the International Atomic Energy Agency’s role in brokering and facilitating the nuclear industry, and criticized token references to corporate social responsibility at CSD-14. They attributed a lack of progress on energy to discussions at the WSSD, and called on UN DESA to produce assessments on the real costs of all forms of energy, on subsidies and on the environmental, social and health costs of energy. WOMEN recalled CSD-9 and WSSD commitments to support women’s involvement in energy decision-making. They highlighted key themes, including, inter alia: replacement of nuclear power; institutional capacity to engage with gender issues; women’s capability; gender-disaggregated data and gender analysis, and climate change. WORKERS AND TRADE UNIONS said the Chair’s Summary had omitted reference to industrial relations and adopted an unbalanced approach to the impact of trade liberalization. BUSINESS AND INDUSTRY called for a global update on energy efficient technology prior to CSD-15, to support an ambitious energy action plan. LOCAL AUTHORITIES said they are well placed to use their purchasing power to influence trade and promote energy efficient transportation and construction. The SCIENTIFIC AND TECHNOLOGICAL COMMUNITY said the launch of the Global Earth Observation System of Systems will improve the ability of science to produce climate change data, and called for greater efforts on transport technology. INDIGENOUS PEOPLE called for a moratorium on large-scale energy projects, and said their traditional knowledge is vital to climate impact assessments. FARMERS stressed that engaging farmers in renewable energy development and production contributes to job creation, environmental protection, and diversification of energy markets. CHILDREN AND YOUTH said education is an essential link between knowledge and action, and expressed regret that education had not been adequately addressed. NGOs suggested that education be a stronger component in the Matrix.
Discussion: SOUTH AFRICA and the NETHERLANDS proposed that the outcomes of Major Groups’ results-oriented initiatives be reflected in the Chair’s Summary. The DOMINICAN REPUBLIC called for a champion for the energy agenda, such as a UN High Commissioner. Northern Ireland, on behalf of the UK, said the principles of sustainable development have been placed at the heart of the region’s new governance arrangements, inspiring hope that the dark days of violence can be replaced by the onset of a better quality of life. NORWAY said renewables, sensible energy use and cleaner technology form the basis of his country’s approach to energy. QATAR called for networking to promote more efficient technologies. Noting that 1.5 million people die each year from indoor pollution and that woman carry the burden of securing fuelwood, WHO said health advocates could “champion” sustainable energy.
HIGH-LEVEL SEGMENT II
Resumed ministerial dialogue on “The Way Forward”: This session was chaired by Vice-Chair Adrian Fernández Bramauntz (Mexico).
The EU noted the primary responsibility of governments to engage in dialogue with the finance and private sectors to find win-win solutions for sustainable industrial development. Noting the need to include employment and gender issues, he said corporate social and environmental responsibility must be more forcefully implemented. Stressing the importance of the SIDS day, the PACIFIC ISLANDS FORUM called upon the UN system to provide leadership in galvanizing international support to implement the Mauritius Strategy. MOROCCO noted the increasing role of private actors in its energy sector, and called for international cooperation to develop renewable and clean energy technologies.
Underlining commitment to the principle of common but differentiated responsibilities, KENYA highlighted the need to foster economic growth in developing countries through investments in infrastructure, technology transfer and promotion of SMEs. NORWAY underlined the central role of energy in development, and said it would share its energy sector experience, also noting access to energy as a critical gender issue.
ROMANIA described unprecedented weather phenomena resulting from climate change. CÔTE D'IVOIRE described progress on electrification and outlined the economic impact of natural gas discoveries. POLAND presented on environmental improvements alongside economic growth, accomplished by decoupling economic growth from energy demand. He said the main challenge is to assist fast growing developing countries in their choice of a development path that stabilizes and reduces GHG emissions.
LITHUANIA outlined national targets for the reduction of pollutants and GHGs. TAJIKISTAN described the potential of hydro-electric generation, including energy export earnings. KAZAKHSTAN, with KUWAIT, said oil and gas will dominate the energy market for the foreseeable future, and underlined the importance of developing clean fossil fuel technology. The UK said CSD-14 had achieved its purpose, and called for action-oriented measures on: access to reliable and affordable energy in national development strategies; mainstreaming mitigation and adaptation; a lead role by developed countries on sustainable consumption and production; and indoor pollution.
BAHAMAS said energy efficiency is implemented through awareness and education programmes. BARBADOS proposed establishing partnership platforms including: technology development and export platforms, and a platform integrating trade, investment and labor. On grid interconnection projects, EGYPT noted that the Mediterranean Ring will soon be a reality. On energy security, the RUSSIAN FEDERATION referred to the G8 environmental and industrial energy safety recommendations. FINLAND suggested priorities such as technology options, market transformation and efficient financing.
BURKINA FASO described rural electrification programmes based on participatory management of natural resources. BELGIUM commended the Netherlands’ proposal “Energy for All”. LESOTHO cited high up-front costs and limited manufacturing capacity as barriers. On SIDS and climate change, MAURITIUS reiterated requests for financing, technology transfer and capacity building.
BOTSWANA and ETHIOPIA described plans to extend rural electrification. SUDAN said implementation was hindered by conflict, lack of resources and an unfavorable international climate. PAKISTAN said governments should focus on enabling conditions and the private sector lead on implementation. SURINAM noted its increase in hydropower and described experiments with solar and wind sources.
Emphasizing developing countriesï¿½ context-specific energy needs, INDIA said the barriers to using nuclear energy should be addressed. The EUROPEAN COMMUNITY stressed the need for an integrated approach in air pollution policy, to create win-win solutions. MEXICO noted the risk of biodiversity degradation due to production of biofuels.
JAPAN linked its economic competitiveness to energy efficiency and called for an effective framework beyond 2012 to promote the greatest possible GHG reduction efforts by major emitters. VENEZUELA rejected the unsustainable capitalist model of development evidenced by the consumer-driven demand for oil, suggesting a humanist and democratic alternative. She denounced manipulative attempts to link oil price rises with worsening poverty, while the accusers ignore the underlying causes of poverty.
IN THE CORRIDORS
It is reported that at the closed ministerial meetings, some major oil producers are “laying it on the line”. They are blunt in insisting that, for all the persistent exuberance shown by advocates of the “Renewables now!” lobby, there is really no alternative to fossil fuels in the foreseeable future. Their view is, rather than adopting unrealistic goals for renewable energy, countries should invest in “clean” fossil fuel technology, and get serious about energy efficiency. One minister is said to have challenged the North’s renewable energy lobby with the words: why not “light up” the dark zones of the world by “extinguishing some of the candles” in yours?
Meanwhile, signals are emanating from the Asian group who are to nominate a chair for CSD-15, that Qatar is the favorite to occupy the driving seat next year. As one participant mused, one clear advantage would be Qatar’s close involvement in energy matters – a must for guiding the CSD through its negotiating phase next year.
ENB SUMMARY AND ANALYSIS: The Earth Negotiations Bulletin summary and analysis of CSD-14 will be available on Monday, 15 May 2006 online at http://enb.iisd.org/csd/csd14/