Daily report for 15 May 2008
On Thursday, the High-level Segment of CSD-16 engaged in dialogues with representatives of international organizations and Major Groups during the morning, and continued considering “The Way Forward” during the afternoon.
DIALOGUE WITH UN ORGANIZATIONS: CSD Chair Nhema chaired the session. Michel Jarraud, WMO Secretary-General, said climate change is a critical factor that affects food security. Achim Steiner, UNEP Executive Director, emphasized the need for short- and long-term strategies, as well as concerted efforts to achieve food security, especially for the poorest, and inter-linkages. Luc Gnacadja, UNCCD Executive Secretary, called for forging an effective “land coalition” that can build on synergies among the various UN entities, and pledged that UNCCD stands ready to join any UN partnership. Andrey Pirogov (WHO) said health and well-being are at the center of sustainable development, and WHO is committed to protecting the world’s population from the effects of environmental degradation. Philip Dobie, Director, UNDP, said several early warning systems exist, but the totality of their meaning is poorly understood, and underlined defining the appropriate focus for impact.
Deborah Saidy (WFP) highlighted short- and long-term actions to address the food crisis. To strengthen regional interagency cooperation, Josue Dione (ECA) proposed: enhancing mechanisms for knowledge sharing; creating interagency and other partnerships to disseminate technology; and securing sufficient investment resources. Axumite Gebre-Egziabher (UN-HABITAT) said sustainable development requires sustainable urbanization, which in turn requires sustainable land management. Kseniya Lvovsky (World Bank) described the Bank Group’s work on sustainable development in the context of climate change. Cheryl Morden (IFAD) and CHINA described their work in agricultural development, particularly in Africa. Julia Marton-Lefevre, IUCN Director-General, highlighted the need for: action on the ground; basic infrastructure of ecosystem services; governance reform; and dialogue. She noted that second generation biofuels offer substantial opportunities.
Slovenia, for the EU, called for synergies and the delivery of donor contributions based on the Paris Framework, and said it is committed to strengthening the CSD mandate and procedures. FRANCE pledged to double its food aid in 2008, to US$100 million.
NAMIBIA said the UN system should have a coherent and integrated approach in supporting developing countries to achieve food security. SENEGAL emphasized the need for international and regional partnership, and to find a way to coordinate all the efforts.
DIALOGUE WITH MAJOR GROUPS: WOMEN said women farmers need additional knowledge and access to agricultural services, and drew attention to the high rate of suicide among farmers. CHILDREN AND YOUTH urged governments to encourage youth to take initiatives and develop accessible water resources for youth. INDIGENOUS PEOPLES said they are heavily impacted by climate change. INDIA recommended giving women property rights, a political voice and financial power.
IRAN inquired about the challenges of rural farmers and women in combating desertification, and called attention to handicraft makers. US and IRELAND highlighted the value of their children and youth programs. NGOs questioned: African ministers why they are pursuing a “green,” not an “agricultural,” revolution, given the former’s human cost in Asia; and EU ministers about the coherence of the EU’s agricultural policies. LOCAL AUTHORITIES said implementation occurs best at the local level with government and private sector support. WORKERS AND TRADE UNIONS recommended highlighting in the Chair’s Summary: the ILO core labor standards and principles; a link between public and occupational health; HIV/AIDS challenges; and the centrality of decent work and green jobs.
MALAWI sought guidance on how extension services and technology can be transferred to its 1.6 million small-scale farmers without overwhelming the system. NETHERLANDS said it would invest 50 million Euro, in addition to its ODA, to revitalize agriculture. BUSINESS AND INDUSTRY proposed a six-point framework for action, including investing in research and technology. SCIENTIFIC AND TECHNOLOGICAL COMMUNITY said knowledge often does not reach key beneficiaries, and stressed the need for data. FARMERS stressed the need for long-term national plans for agriculture and secure access to production resources for farmers, especially land.
BRAZIL highlighted the importance of land tenure to indigenous peoples. BENIN called for emergency programmes to resolve the food crisis. SOUTH AFRICA called for the promotion of gender equality and women’s empowerment. EU highlighted building technical capacities and access to resources by small farmers, and adapting the agricultural system to climate change.
THE WAY FORWARD: Chair Nhema chaired the continuation of the High-level Segment. Adou Mohamed Ali, Second Secretary of the Permanent Mission of Djibouti, on behalf of the AFRICAN GROUP, said the solution to sustainable development challenges lies in reinvigorating the commitment of the international community. He called for increased funding for UNCCD National Action Plans and technology transfer. Josep Puxeu, Secretary of State of Water and Rural Affairs, SPAIN, said research, development and innovation that will bring solutions and improve productivity and sustainability must be supported. Nasser Pangandaman, Secretary of Agrarian Reform, PHILIPPINES, highlighted the need for political will and collaboration. Batilda Burian, Minister of State, Vice President’s Office Environment, TANZANIA, underscored that CSD provides a platform to critically discuss challenges and to chart a collective way forward. Luis Do Mota Liz, Vice-Minister for Urbanization and Environment, ANGOLA, explained his country has allocated 500,000 hectares to biofuel production, which will increase employment.
Meena Gupta, Secretary, Ministry of Environment and Forests, INDIA, said developed countries must honor their obligations under the UNFCCC and developing countries’ adaptation efforts must receive financial support. Romel Garcia Prado, Vice-Minister of Environment and Natural Resources, GUATEMALA, called for research and pilot projects on biofuels that do not compete with food sources. Daniel Reifsnyder, US Deputy Assistant Secretary for Environment and Sustainable Development, emphasized science and education, empowerment of local communities, and efficient delivery of information and tools.
Rolf Erikson, State Secretary, Ministry of Agriculture, SWEDEN, suggested: treating high food prices as an opportunity as well as a threat; concluding the Doha Round with fewer trade barriers; and developing policy recommendations on water and sanitation during CSD-17. Alcinda Abreu, Minister for Coordination of Environmental Affairs, MOZAMBIQUE, noted the impact of climate variability on soil fertility and productivity. Bradford Machila, Minister of Lands, ZAMBIA, looked forward to the completion of the Doha Round.
Roberto Escalante Caceros, Vice-Minister of Environment and Natural Resources, EL SALVADOR, highlighted the importance of enhancing disaster reduction strategies. Rokhaya Sene, Director-General of Planning, SENEGAL, said integrated policies are necessary for revitalizing regional economic communities to ensure food security, and to increase revenues and basic services. Mary-Jeanne Adler, Director for Emergency Situation Management, ROMANIA, highlighted the need to enhance the role of scientific activities in the UNCCD process. Faris Al-Junaidi, Secretary-General, Ministry of Environment, JORDAN, stressed the need for collective responsibility and increased international cooperation. Janchivlamdan Choikhand, Director, International Cooperation Department, Ministry of Nature and Environment, MONGOLIA, described a green-belt programme to address desertification. Amb. Piragibe Tarrago, BRAZIL, urged the completion of the Doha Round in 2008 and stressed the need for increased investment in agriculture in developing countries.
Essowè Ouro-Djeri, Director of Cabinet of the Ministry of Environment, Tourism and Forest Resources, TOGO, highlighted infrastructure projects and renewable energy production. Lene Jensen, Head of Department, Ministry of Food, Agriculture and Fisheries, DENMARK, said CSD-20 in 2012 will give a renewed opportunity to discuss water and have a forward looking perspective beyond 2015 and the MDGs, and CSD-17 will provide input to the UN Climate Change Conference in Copenhagen. Illalkamar Ag Oumar, Chef de Cabinet, Ministry of Environment and Sanitation, MALI, said his country has agreed to be subject to the African Mechanism for Peer Evaluation, which will take place in June 2008 in Bamako, Mali. Amb. Onemola, NIGERIAN Deputy Permanent Representative, said cooperation is necessary to implement action plans and programmes such as NEPAD and the Bali Strategic Plan for Technology Support and Capacity-building.
Peter Mauer, Permanent Representative, SWITZERLAND, highlighted that biofuels had led to a reduction in greenhouse gases in only a few cases. Amb. Saviour Borg, MALTA, said decreasing precipitation rates are affecting crop yields, and the potential for using treated sewage effluent for irrigation is being explored. Permanent Representative Rodrigo Malmierca, CUBA, said the use of grains for biofuel feedstock should stop and large corporations are benefitting from the current food crisis. Permanent Representative Munir Akram, PAKISTAN, stressed the evolution of an integrated development model that combines all internationally agreed development goals and is based on national requirements, and said it was initiating a research project to develop this.
Hjalmar Hannesson, Permanent Representative, ICELAND, highlighted his country’s soil conservation efforts and the outcome of the International Forum on Soils, Society and Global Change. Charge d’Affairs Adiyatwidi Adiwoso Asmady, INDONESIA, recommended: reviving the green revolution with attention to using land properly at all times; establishing a global early warning system on food security as a means of preventing future food crises; and reflecting member states’ views in the recommendations of the task force on the food crisis. Fernando Berguño, Member of Chilean Mission to UN, highlighted the importance of focusing on means of implementation. Yukio Takasu, Permanent Representative of JAPAN, said it is essential to establish food security based on domestic production, and suggested promoting biofuels in a manner that is compatible with food security.
Gilles Hoghès, Permanent Representative, MONACO, highlighted the need to give the CSD and specialized agencies, such as UNEP and the Bretton Woods Institutions, the political will and resources they need to act appropriately. Solveiga Silkalna, Permanent Representative, LATVIA, said second generation biofuel development should be explored and adequate impact assessments should be undertaken. Dmitri Maksimychev, RUSSIAN FEDERATION, said the food crisis is evidence of the possible negative consequences for food security of a reliance on biofuel.
AOSIS DRAFT DECISION: AOSIS introduced a draft decision on the Review of the Mauritius Strategy for Sustainable Development (E/CN.17/2008/L.3), explained this was a procedural decision, recalling a previous one, and thanked states for the broad support of the exclusivity of SIDS Day.
IN THE CORRIDORS
As CSD-16 neared the final day, some notable statistics emerged. Over 100 ministerial-level delegates are expected to be in the final count, and approximately 110 Major Group organizations sent over one thousand representatives. The number of panelists exceeded 50, a record according to observers of the CSD scene. The wealth of brochures, posters, booklets and other materials on overloaded corridor tables made some delegates wonder if it could be donated to schools and colleges. A seasoned delegate recalled that remaining conference materials from the 2002 WSSD in Johannesburg were shipped to South African schools and universities, rather than recycled or landfilled.
Barring some last-minute hitches, Part II of the Chair’s summary, which intends to capture the main points of the High-level Segment, is expected to be available by mid-day Friday.
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