Report of main proceedings for 4 May 2006
Participants engaged in thematic discussions throughout the day. In the morning, they focused on the acceleration of industrial development for poverty eradication and, in a parallel meeting, on air pollution and atmospheric problems. In the afternoon some delegates discussed climate change and sustainable development while others addressed industrial development and sustainable natural resource management.
Accelerating industrial development for poverty eradication: Vice-Chair Azanaw Abreha (Ethiopia), chaired this meeting. David O’Connor, UN DESA, provided an overview, highlighting, inter alia, international trade and enabling conditions to attract domestic and foreign direct investment. Ogunlade Davidson, University of Sierra Leone, said that most attempts to accelerate industrial development are not appropriate in countries with per capita GDP below $5,000. Ahmed Hamza, High Institute for Public Health, Egypt, said that attracting private sector investment for industrial production is the only way to reverse poverty trends in Africa. Evans Kituyi, University of Nairobi, Kenya, reviewed barriers to attracting investment, including civil and political strife. Edward Clarence-Smith, UNIDO, described the role of small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) as the foundation for all industrial development, and stressed the impact of external barriers such as a lack of infrastructure.
Discussion: The Vice-Chair invited discussion on obstacles to industrial development in developing countries. AFGHANISTAN raised the special challenges for post-conflict societies.
Sustainable consumption and production (SCP): The EUROPEAN COMMUNITY called for the integration of education for SCP in business and industrial training. The UK noted its role in the Marrakech Process and opportunities for developing countries to leapfrog to sustainable technologies. INDONESIA underlined perceptions that environmental measures add to production costs.
Employment and gender: CHILDREN AND YOUTH commended a UNDP/UNIDO multifunctional village mechanisation initiative, which has boosted women’s income, and freed up time for girl children to attend school. The EUROPEAN COMMUNITY called on the CSD to send a clear message to ECOSOC on full and productive employment. AUSTRALIA described the job creation benefits resulting from the reform of business regulation in Vietnam, and WORKERS AND TRADE UNIONS cited the International Labour Organization agenda for decent work. WOMEN addressed their role in entrepreneurship.
Trade: MAURITIUS noted that some SMEs are closing down production to import products they once manufactured. SINGAPORE advocated SIDS to SIDS cooperation. SOUTH AFRICA called for a focus on aid for trade and diversification, high impact investment, and fair trade. The EUROPEAN COMMUNITY supported equal standing for trade and environmental agreements. CANADA underlined the role of the private sector in driving industrial growth.
Integrated approaches to addressing air pollution and atmospheric problems: This session was chaired by Vice-Chair Javad Amin-Mansour (Iran).
Walter Shearer, UN DESA, said policy and regulatory frameworks for air pollution control are weak in many countries. Stressing that health concerns are a major driver for change, Carlos Corvalan, World Health Organisation, advocated inter-sectoral approaches to detrimental energy practices. Kirk Smith, University of California, Berkeley, said rural populations are also heavily affected by air pollution, noting the cost-effectiveness of more integrated control strategies. Highlighting the expansion of mass-transit, Gianni Lopez, Molina Institute, Chile, described a lack of monitoring networks and emission standards in Latin America. Michael Walsh, Executive Council of the Clean Air Initiative, said many developing countries lack air pollution controls. He proposed focusing on implementing emissions standards in industrializing countries. On addressing poor air quality, Ivan Toms, Director for City Health, South Africa, highlighted the need for enabling legislation and multi-sectoral linkages, and noted the problem of competing priorities.
Discussion: PAKISTAN said energy demand and a fast growing transport sector are the main causes of ambient air pollution. Outlining transport initiatives, including congestion control measures, ECUADOR described problems in securing public support. SOUTH AFRICA and INDIA noted the difficulty of addressing air pollution and GHG emissions without affecting economic growth in developing countries. The REPUBLIC OF KOREA emphasized the successful reduction of sulphur dioxide while protecting economic growth. GERMANY highlighted illegal trade in ozone depleting substances.
The NETHERLANDS noted constraints associated with formulating accurate standards and policies. The EUROPEAN COMMISSION said the transition to new infrastructure is costly and takes time, and stressed the social impacts of air pollution. VENEZUELA, with CHILDREN AND YOUTH, underlined health concerns, and WORKERS AND TRADE UNIONS pointed to insufficient scientific research in health aspects. JAMAICA noted lack of public awareness and available data, while AZERBAIJAN emphasized inadequate technological capacity, monitoring networks and data collection.
To combat atmospheric pollution, CHINA highlighted the need for legislation and a market economy. The RUSSIAN FEDERATION noted the move to phase out leaded gasoline. SWEDEN encouraged increased regional and global cooperation. The US outlined partnerships to develop clean fuels. WOMEN advocated cleaner fuels and improved cooking stoves. ITALY emphasized the issue of regulating SMEs. Noting the importance of data accessibility, AUSTRALIA underlined public participation. The WORLD METEOROLOGICAL ORGANIZATION presented a recent Environmental Management Group report on cooperative UN activities on atmosphere and air pollution.
Inter-linkages between climate change and sustainable development: Vice-Chair Yvo de Boer (Netherlands) chaired this meeting. Kui-Nang Mak, UN DESA, said climate change can undermine development efforts. Jonathan Pershing, World Resources Institute, described the importance of integrating climate change into national economic, industrial, agricultural, and natural resource planning. Rajendra K. Pachauri, Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), recommended a global risk assessment, and noted projected impacts on the poor. Gordon Conway, Department for International Development, UK, suggested resilience as an approach to adaptation, noting the importance of diversification. Halldor Thorgeirsson, UNFCCC, said the climate debate had moved on to solutions. Steve Sawyer, Greenpeace, noted that development models need to be climate-friendly and climate-proof.
Discussion: The CENTRAL AMERICAN INTEGRATION SYSTEM said developing countries could accept voluntary commitments in the context of international cooperation and common but differentiated responsibilities. GUATEMALA, underlined the need for international support, and, with the EU, noted the impact of climate change on prospects for achieving the MDGs. BRAZIL looked forward to the upcoming UNFCCC discussions on subsequent commitments under the Kyoto Protocol. The EU called for consideration of a GHG pathway that would imply a reduction of between 15 and 30 percent, compared to base years, by 2030. On costs of inaction, Pachauri and Sawyer noted the need to develop site-specific estimates. The RUSSIAN FEDERATION reiterated its proposal for the Protocol to become universal. CHINA noted a five year target to decrease energy intensity by 20 percent, and with the RUSSIAN FEDERATION, described climate change as a problem of development. The BAHAMAS questioned the meaningfulness of resilience on islands where climate impacts can be total. WORKERS AND TRADE UNIONS said that social and human dimensions are largely ignored. SWEDEN reported a four percent reduction in GHG emissions achieved alongside economic growth. AUSTRALIA cited a partnership initiative, Coal 21. ICELAND called for increased efforts to leverage support from the private sector. This view was questioned by WOMEN.
AOSIS noted the devastating effects of climate change, and, supported by PANAMA and COLOMBIA, suggested specific adaptation measures. FRANCE addressed energy finance including measures to stimulate innovation. INDIGENOUS PEOPLE noted that the Clean Development Mechanism is a market tool that requires a rapid return on investment, and does not effectively encourage renewable energy. INDONESIA urged mainstreaming climate change in sustainable development.
The US emphasized partnerships and new technology, and SOUTH AFRICA called for affordable access to cleaner technology. The CENTRAL AMERICAN INTEGRATION GROUP noted that the Kyoto Protocol’s restrictions on awarding credits for avoiding deforestation is a barrier to reducing vulnerability to extreme weather events. The UK urged further development of economic incentives. JAPAN noted that the Protocol is a start, but rising emissions from non-Annex I countries will soon exceed those of Annex I countries.
Industrial development and sustainable natural resource management: This session was chaired by Vice-Chair Amin-Mansour.
Zuo Xuejin, Shanghai Academy of Social Sciences, China, outlined several urban development initiatives in Shanghai, including switching to liquid natural gas for taxis. Noting that many developing countries depend on coal, Vallampadugai Arunachalam, Centre for Study of Science, Technology and Policy, Bangalore, emphasized scaling up current energy efficient technologies. Ernst von Weizsäcker, University of California, Santa Barbara, noted the need for strong government policies to create market incentives for sustainable technologies.
Discussion: Noting barriers to sustainable consumption and production, the NETHERLANDS, with SWEDEN, highlighted the need to develop and enhance corporate social responsibility. AUSTRALIA stressed the challenge of improving the environmental performance of SMEs. NIGERIA noted lack of political will, and said linking raw material use with environmental protection is key. MAURITIUS highlighted competitive pressures to use cheap and polluting energy sources. The DOMINICAN REPUBLIC observed that a lack of financial resources hampers investment in renewables, making it difficult to meet the MDGs and promote industrial development. EL SALVADOR stressed the challenge of increasing the share of renewables in the national energy mix. Emphasizing her country’s limited natural resources and the subsequent need to focus on energy efficiency, JAPAN outlined experiences in recycling. CHINA noted the problem of sustainable resource management, and proposed reducing export controls on clean technology.
On promoting industry initiatives, SOUTH AFRICA and INDIA emphasized regional research and design collaboration. JORDAN highlighted multinational and domestic company collaboration. CANADA, with WORKERS AND TRADE UNIONS, discussed corporate governance and corporate exit strategies in remote regions. FARMERS said industrial inputs into agriculture need to be sustainable. WOMEN stressed the need for micro-credit and legislative incentives for women’s participation. WORKERS AND TRADE UNIONS noted that privatization of industries has been detrimental to sustainable resource management.
The EUROPEAN COMMUNITY said sustainable consumption and production is a prerequisite for industrial development, and called on countries to take an active part in the Marrakech Process. To encourage sustainable consumption and production, YOUTH AND CHILDREN highlighted certification schemes, and INDONESIA noted the value of public education messages with entertainment value. MEXICO emphasized shared sectoral responsibilities, and GERMANY stressed internalizing externalities. NORWAY underlined the need to address ecosystem carrying capacity. The US noted the importance of public procurement. NGOs called for increased international cooperation to ensure harmonization of international energy efficiency standards. INDIGENOUS PEOPLE said comprehensive options assessment may help overcome the absence of public acceptance.
IN THE CORRIDORS
Some Major Group representatives have lamented the sparse attendance by government representatives at the Multi-stakeholder Dialogue, expressing regret that Vice-Chairs have not done more to stimulate debate and participation. A prominent issue at the Dialogue was the nuclear energy option. Apart from the Multi-stakeholder event, however, a few participants have noted that discussion on the nuclear issue has been muted. One reason cited is the twentieth anniversary of the Chernobyl disaster. Official references to nuclear have been heavily coded in language that invites participants to consider the respective merits of all energy sources. According to a seasoned observer, the battles over the issue, which haunted CSD-9 and WSSD, and united country opponents and NGOs in an all out attack on nuclear energy, are destined to be reprocessed at the CSD-15 policy session.