Report of main proceedings for 10 May 2007
The high-level segment began in the morning with statements by the UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, CSD-15 Chair Abdullah Bin Hamad Al-Attiyah (Qatar) and Gro Harlem Brundtland. This was followed by official statements by ministers, and roundtables, held in parallel, focusing on energy for sustainable development and industrial development, and air pollution/atmosphere and climate change.
Delegates also met through the day in informal consultations to continue negotiating the Chair's revised draft negotiating document.
Chair Abdullah Bin Hamad Al-Attiyah (Qatar) introduced the CSD's agenda, underscoring the inter-relatedness of the thematic areas. He highlighted the potential benefits of taking action and called for the replication of successful cross-sectoral initiatives.
UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon drew attention to the 20th anniversary of "Our Common Future." Noting that climate change is at the top of his agenda, he underscored the IPCC's findings, called for integrated action to mitigate climate change and hoped for a breakthrough at UNFCCC COP-13. He urged delegations to bring their collective expertise to bear on the issues, calling for strong UN inter-agency collaboration.
UN Special Envoy on climate change, Gro Harlem Brundtland, provided a critical history of the multilateral environmental agenda since the Report of the World Commission on Environment and Development, highlighting the successes and setbacks. Characterizing climate change as a moral issue and a unique challenge affecting every country and sector of the economy, she called on developed countries to lead the global effort to achieve a "green economy."
TURNING ACTIONS INTO COMMITMENTS: WORKING TOGETHER IN PARTNERSHIP
The G-77/CHINA noted the need to turn commitments into action, work in partnerships based on common but differentiated responsibilities, use global and integrated approaches, and support a World Solidarity Fund for Poverty. The EU highlighted the central role of new approaches to energy, its ambitious targets and timetables and the increasing role played by energy efficiency and biofuels. He also called for support for UNIDO/UNEP Cleaner Production Centres. AOSIS noted that climate change already threatened the existence of many SIDS, and stressed the need to promote financial mechanisms sensitive to the special needs of SIDS. He also noted the pressure that disaster recovery places on sustainable development budgets.
Most statements highlighted national efforts on the thematic issues. In addition statements also highlighted the following. The US noted the success of CSD's current cycle illustrated by, inter alia, phase out of leaded gasoline in sub-Saharan Africa, improved indoor air quality for over a million households and increased energy access through the Global Village Energy Partnership.
The CZECH REPUBLIC reported on voluntary and regulatory mechanisms to increase efficiency and reduce emissions. The NETHERLANDS highlighted their goal of becoming the most efficient economy, with 20% of energy based on renewable sources. The REPUBLIC OF KOREA stressed the need for a post-2012 approach that involves all the main emitters and called for greater cooperation on technology, and research and development.
BOTSWANA noted the need for an integrated approach, and greater attention to the cross-cutting issue of gender. FINLAND highlighted rural development and the growth of mega-cities as areas in which the CSD has been less active. THAILAND called for technical and financial support on advanced fossil fuel technologies, and technology to reduce methane emissions from rice fields. SWEDEN underscored the need for CSD to produce strong, relevant and focused policy recommendations. ESTONIA noted the need for meaningful time-bound targets, increased energy efficiency, and adequate review arrangements for energy and sustainable development. ITALY stressed the need to accelerate the international climate dialogue, and supported a UN Environment Organization. EGYPT sought increased international support for regional cooperation activities, enhanced diversification of primary energy sources and increased technology cooperation. GABON called for strengthening international cooperation to achieve the MDGs. CROATIA supported the fulfilment of Kyoto targets and noted that they had recently ratified the Kyoto Protocol. PORTUGAL stressed the need to solidify long term architecture to combat climate change.
The UNITED ARAB EMIRATES highlighted the use of technology for cleaner fossil fuels, securing energy flow and renewable energy utilization. MEXICO stressed energy security, energy diversification and increasing the role of renewables. CHINA urged implementation of the principle of common but differentiated responsibilities, suggested that progress on the environment can be successful only in the framework of sustainable development, called for an equitable trade system and urged technology transfer.
Highlighting energy problems in Africa, SENEGAL proposed that oil super profits be redistributed to compensate losses incurred by non-oil producing countries and to reduce adverse effects on energy prices. SAUDI ARABIA emphasized access to energy resources as a major factor to achieving the MDGs.
AUSTRIA affirmed its commitment to begin negotiating post-2012 commitments at UNFCCC COP-13. LESOTHO made assurances that it would achieve most of the MDGs by 2015 with a minimum increase in emissions. The UK emphasized the importance of access to energy and suggested that energy efficiency could be achieved by sharing experiences, transferring clean technology and financial mechanisms. The EUROPEAN COMMISSION detailed two of its flagship sustainable development initiatives: the Infrastructure Trust Fund for Africa and the Global Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy Fund. BARBADOS explained its solar water heating programme that was recognized by the CSD as an example of best practice. NORWAY called for a focus on climate change by promoting energy efficiency, renewable energy and carbon capture and storage. LATVIA proposed a coordinated approach and underscored the importance of science. TAJIKISTAN detailed its water crisis and called for increased research and a regional approach. BULGARIA underscored the importance of market mechanisms and the carbon market. MOROCCO suggested GEF play a role in disseminating clean and renewable energy technology. ISRAEL urged delegates to achieve a forward looking and operational outcome document. KUWAIT stressed the importance of improving fossil fuel efficiency. Noting that all countries are both part of the problem and the solution, SLOVENIA called for an integrated regional approach. VIETNAM highlighted education and public awareness programmes. TANZANIA said that any solutions to climate change should be based on equity and the principle of common but differentiated responsibilities.
ROUNDTABLE FOCUSING ON ENERGY FOR SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT AND INDUSTRIAL DEVELOPMENT
The Roundtable was moderated by Chair Abdullah Bin Hamad Al-Attiyah (Qatar). Panel presentations were followed by discussion. Daniel Yergin, Cambridge Energy Research Associates, welcomed the application of biology and biotechnology to energy. Noting that energy efficiency is the priority, Valli Moosa, Eskom, called on the UN to implement an energy saving programme in its buildings. Suleiman Jasir Al-Herbish, OPEC Fund for International Development, called for an appropriate mix of energy sources.
The discussions focused on several issues including: increased use of natural gas; energy efficiency win-win opportunities; modern energy services to eradicate poverty and meet the MDGs; carbon fixing; agriculture for fuel production; "resuscitation" of the Doha round of trade talks for developing countries; harmonizing energy labeling with trade partners; technology to reduce the ill effects of fossil fuel on the environment; negative aspects of nuclear power; and women as a resource for the implementation of energy efficiency schemes.
ROUNDTABLE FOCUSING ON AIR POLLUTION/ATMOSPHERE AND CLIMATE CHANGE
The Roundtable was moderated by Martin Bursik, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of the Environment of the Czech Republic. Panel presentations were followed by discussion.
John Holdren, Harvard University, focused on adaptation strategies and the possible role of the UN in addressing specific climate change issues, including studies and action plans. Laurent Corbier, International Chamber of Commerce, spoke on the role of business, the importance of synergistically addressing the areas of technology, funding policies and collaborators. Abdalla El-Badri, OPEC, stressed that, with growing demand, fossil fuels will command a lion's share of energy in future decades. He highlighted the need for new technologies, carbon capture and storage, and a shift from biomass to cleaner energy. Halldor Thorgeirsson, UNFCCC, emphasized the upcoming Bali climate conference, and highlighted the need to use the next two years to prepare for the post-2012 negotiations, build frameworks and market-based mechanisms, provide technological solutions and focus on adaptation.
In the ensuing discussion, observations were offered by several ministers and representatives of Major Groups. The main messages expressed included: failure in Bali "is not an option"; there is a need to price carbon; access to affordable energy will play a critical role in poverty alleviation; adaptation is important; and greater understanding is needed of countries' vulnerabilities to climate change.
Vice-Chairs Frances Lisson (Australia), Luiz Alberto Figueiredo Machado (Brazil), and Alain Edouard Traore (Burkina Faso) held consultations with regional groups and key delegations to address unresolved issues on energy, climate change and air pollution/atmosphere.
In the consultations on energy, delegates removed brackets in some paragraphs. No agreement emerged on the chapeau text. Differences prevailed on other language, including: increasing the global share of renewable energy in the energy mix; diversifying the energy supply; adopting time-bound targets; phasing out subsidies; promoting energy efficiency and modern energy services; adopting incentives to encourage investment by the public and private sectors; and reducing flaring.
In the consultations on climate change, delegates provisionally removed brackets in some paragraphs, and agreed to the Chair's compromise language in others. They have yet to agree on the chapeau text. Disagreements also persist on, inter alia: whether to "provide support to" or "continue to support" developing countries in achieving community resilience to climate change-related disasters; and, whether references to "financial and technical assistance" for developing countries should be placed in specific paragraphs given the global reference to such assistance elsewhere.
In the consultations on air pollution/atmosphere, delegates cleared brackets on most of the text, although some areas of disagreement remain, including on: "promotion of synergies" between multilateral environmental agreements; and supporting efforts to tackle air pollutants from aviation and maritime sources "through" the IMO, ICAO and "other relevant international frameworks."
IN THE CORRIDORS
The process bifurcated on the first day of the ministerial segment. Ministers engaged in speech-making while the negotiations continued in side rooms. One observer was surprised that ministers were not more progressive in their statements, noticing that a number of speeches resembled those given by delegations at the beginning of the first week. The same was said of the negotiations, with a participant despairing at the seeming inability of negotiators to build on the momentum of previously agreed text. As negotiations intensified, one delegate leaving the afternoon's ministerial round table wondered "whether the ministers' lofty words will be translated by their negotiators into wording that delivers."