Daily report for 13 May 2010

CSD 18

The High-Level Segment of CSD 18 continued on Thursday, with a dialogue with the UN system and major groups during the morning, and roundtable dialogues on transport and chemicals and waste management in the afternoon.


MINISTERIAL LEVEL DIALOGUE WITH THE UN SYSTEM AND MAJOR GROUPS: The morning session was chaired by Chair Ferraté. UN Under-Secretary-General Sha Zukang outlined several points, including increased financial assistance by UN agencies and technology transfer. The EU called for full integration of the principles agreed at the CSD into UN system activities, highlighted further linkages in chemicals, and urged continued discussion of SCP implementation. UNEP Executive Director Achim Steiner discussed the recent GCSS-11/GMEF decisions, and described UNEP initiatives, including partnerships, on the five themes of the CSD cycle.

FARMERS indicated the link of the themes with food security and appealed for dissemination of technologies to reduce the footprint of agriculture. The SCIENTIFIC AND TECHNOLOGICAL COMMUNITY highlighted the importance of ensuring sustainable post-mining use of land. BUSINESS AND INDUSTRY said the CSD should consider supporting partnership implementation workshops. PAKISTAN outlined the formation of a National Sustainable Development Commission. IRELAND suggested Rio+20 develop an institutional framework for sustainable development. ARGENTINA stressed the need to reduce “red tape” in the system, and focus on outcomes. The US asked UN agencies to report on their follow-up to CSD 17 decisions. ILO said its decent work agenda is an important development tool. The STOCKHOLM, ROTTERDAM and BASEL CONVENTIONS highlighted the ExCOPs’ outcome as a “shining example” of enhanced international environmental governance (IEG). UN-HABITAT discussed its publication on informal recycling systems. WORKERS AND TRADE UNIONS called for a fair, regulated and ambitious future. LOCAL AUTHORITIES said local governments can develop waste, transport and sustainable procurement solutions. NGOs said SCP is the heart of sustainable development. 

KAZAKHSTAN called for incentives for transferring and employing green technologies. KENYA stressed waste reuse, and urged international cooperation for achieving the MDGs. VIET NAM emphasized UN agency coordination. SERBIA called for strengthening UNEP’s role in IEG. INDIA said reliance on markets is insufficient, and governments will have to take center stage in financing climate change technologies and adaptation. WHO described work done in the sound management of chemicals. GEF announced yesterday’s decision on its replenishment. INDIGENOUS PEOPLES called for attention to violations of human rights and the social impact of mining.

YOUTH AND CHILDREN stressed transitioning from ideology to action. WOMEN highlighted the relevance of the Aarhus Convention on Access to Information, Public Participation in Decision-making and Access to Justice in Environmental Matters and said it is difficult for major groups to access GEF funds. GHANA stressed policy coordination, coherence and support for partnerships.

SWITZERLAND supported a task force to monitor the implementation of CSD decisions and an intersessional on SCP, and said SAICM could be a model for 10YFP. EGYPT discussed its efforts to improve mining. COLOMBIA said science must be bolstered at the regional level. MEXICO noted Rio+20 is an opportunity to enhance the work of institutions. UNEP reported on collaboration with UNIDO on National Cleaner Production Centres, and with UNDP on mainstreaming chemicals. BUSINESS AND INDUSTRY highlighted its Responsible Care Global Charter and the Global Products Strategy.

MINISTERIAL ROUNDTABLES: Transport: Humberto Rosa, Secretary of State for the Environment, Portugal, and Clifford Everald Warmington, Minister of State for Water and Housing, Jamaica, co-chaired this roundtable and Thomas Stelzer, Assistant Secretary-General for Policy Coordination and Interagency Affairs, introduced the discussion. Jens Huegel, International Road Transport Union, noted their voluntary commitment to reduce CO2 30% by 2030.  James Leather, Asian Development Bank, described work with SLoCaT and multilateral development banks to improve transport data in developing countries. Ján Kubiš, Executive Secretary, UN Economic Commission for Europe, said regional cooperation is a lever for change. Brigid Hynes-Cherin, US, discussed federal programs on spatial planning.

Pakistan, for the G-77/CHINA, stressed that adequate, accessible and affordable transport empowers people, and is crucial for eradicating poverty. The EU insisted on providing better mobility opportunities for people, and said capacity building is necessary. SOUTH AFRICA said innovative funding mechanisms are needed. UKRAINE proposed establishing regional and national efficient transport centers, and, with the DOMINICAN REPUBLIC, reported on national activities. INDIA described its transport peculiarities regarding pollution, ineffectiveness of space licensing and widespread use of compressed gas vehicles.   

GERMANY said electric power used to achieve climate goals must come from renewable sources. SUDAN looked forward to the proposal from CSD 17 Chair Verburg regarding the creation of a task force to boost implementation of CSD decisions. The SCIENTIFIC AND TECHNOLOGICAL COMMUNITY said transport must be decoupled from fossil fuel use. AUSTRIA said its national climate programme has already reduced 400 tons of carbon emissions. The US said its new standards for light duty vehicles are equivalent to taking 50 million cars and light trucks off road by 2030.

IRAN recounted national road and rail projects and policies, including efforts related to compressed natural gas and scrapping old vehicles. NIGERIA said it is participating in the Trans-Saharan Highway project. BRAZIL supported efforts to consolidate an international market for biofuels. LIBYA noted efforts to increase transportation links with other countries on the African continent.

LOCAL AUTHORITIES said improved pedestrian, bicycles and other non-motorized transportation choices are necessary. NGOs emphasized spatial planning and the need for adequate animal shelter, water and veterinarian services in rural areas where animals are an important means of transportation. PALESTINE referred to the destruction of the transport sector by the occupying power. CAMBODIA commended lessons learned, making the switch to public transport, and land management and pollution control. ARGENTINA spoke of its practice of integrating its transport into regional systems, subsidizing public transport, and the use of bioethanol and biodiesel. PERU called for affordable transport and promotion of ecotourism. GUATEMALA urged public transport and traditional forms in rural areas. CHILDREN AND YOUTH said transport policy affects them disproportionally. WOMEN explained the ways they are affected by lack of transport in developing countries and proposed wider use of waterways. WORKERS AND TRADE UNIONS and FARMERS called for building storage structures to prevent food waste and harvest losses.

Sustainable Chemicals and Waste Management: This session was co-chaired by Kazuhiko Takemoto, Vice Minister for Global Environmental Affairs, Japan, and Oliver Dulić, Minister for Environment and Spatial Planning, Serbia. Nikola Ružinski, State Secretary of Environment, Croatia, noted his country had decided not to build landfills on islands, but to use waste transfer stations. N.C. Vasuki, Solid Waste Management Consultant, discussed sustainable environmental service systems (SESS) and said the cost is more efficiently recovered through user fees, as opposed to taxes. 

Having noted progress made in chemical management, Donald Cooper, Executive Secretary of the Stockholm Convention, highlighted challenges, including, inter alia: establishing partnerships; making use of economic instruments; and financing. Martin Kayuser, International Council of Chemical Associations (ICCA), advocated a balanced combination of regulations and voluntary programs to achieve safe management of chemicals.

Tanzania, for G-77/CHINA, noted developing countries lack sufficient scientific information and resources. The EU said substitution needs to become a driving force of chemical and waste policy and SAICM should be reinforced. FRANCE said it was making waste part of its green economy activities. SWEDEN used her running shoe as an example of the complexity of products and waste.

ROMANIA looked forward to addressing emerging issues being considered under SAICM. ESTONIA explained how taxes on businesses had forced industry to reduce waste. IRELAND noted its plastic bag levy had reduced use by over 90%. THAILAND highlighted the usefulness of incentives and economic instruments. INDONESIA said the SAICM Quick Start Programme should be extended. SPAIN stressed the importance of good governance at the local level. 

POLAND recognized the need for collective action in the management of chemicals and wastes. JAPAN reiterated its commitment to promoting the 3Rs. ISRAEL pledged to achieve 50% recycling of wastes by 2015. NIGERIA highlighted the need for legislation and international support. GUATEMALA called for focusing on compliance with the Basel, Rotterdam and Stockholm Conventions.

ARGENTINA urged those who have benefited from natural resources take social responsibilities. IRAN stressed waste minimization and recycling, and development of zero-waste technologies and transfer of technology. SWITZERLAND urged CSD 18 to give a clear signal to strengthen the international chemicals and waste legal regime. AUSTRALIA suggested strengthening governance, investing in research and development, transferring technology, and early identification of risks.

SOUTH AFRICA said key unresolved challenges include limited capacity to complete risk assessment in developing countries. COLOMBIA described measures to encourage industry to follow best practices. The REPUBLIC OF KOREA said it was introducing “green chemistry.” TURKEY underscored global cooperation against illegal trafficking as a key challenge. FINLAND underscored the historical significance of the ExCOPs.  KENYA outlined a pilot project developing a model sanitary landfill in Nairobi. MONGOLIA said international laws assist in improving domestic legislation. MEXICO called for developing capacity for risk management in developing countries. The CZECH REPUBLIC stressed strengthening the Basel Convention Regional Centres, and their regional ownership. SUDAN discussed its waste management and reduction workshops. INDIA said it has developed a web-based chemical emergency response system. UNDP highlighted the issue of equity and urged pro-poor approaches. FARMERS encouraged increased focus on food security.


As Thursday’s morning discussion with the UN system and major groups opened, the number of empty agency seats spurred some speculation in the corridors. Participants noticed that UNEP’s Achim Steiner was the only agency head present, and wondered about the reasons for this apparent lack of interest on the part of UN agencies. One explanation was the sheer number of sustainable development meetings in 2010, and their drain on staffing resources. A more serious reason was suggested to be the lack of interest in making a three-minute statement at the CSD and mingling for a while in the hallways. Several other agency heads were noted to have been on the High-Level Segment agenda for other roundtables, and may have seen that interaction to be adequate, given their busy schedules. Others pointed to the steady drift, or “de-linking,” of these bodies from the CSD process, leading some to consider the viability of proposals such as the suggestion for a task force to consider ways to increase implementation of CSD decisions as well as to return to earlier structures, such as the UN sustainable development coordination committee that was put in place after the 1992 Earth Summit. There was speculation on another proposed task force – one that would prepare proposals related to a 10YFP on  SCP – with some indicating they expected CSD 18 would take action this proposal on Friday. 

ENB SUMMARY AND ANALYSIS: The Earth Negotiations Bulletin summary and analysis of CSD 18 will be available on Monday, 17 May 2010, online at: http://enb.iisd.org/csd/csd18/

This issue of the Earth Negotiations Bulletin © <enb@iisd.org> is written and edited by Stephanie Aktipis, Ph.D., Melanie Ashton, Andrey Vavilov, Ph.D., Lynn Wagner, Ph.D, and Kunbao Xia. The Digital Editor is Leila Mead. The Editor is Pamela S. Chasek, Ph.D. <pam@iisd.org>. The Director of IISD Reporting Services is Langston James “Kimo” Goree VI <kimo@iisd.org>. The Sustaining Donors of the Bulletin are the United Kingdom (through the Department for International Development – DFID), the Government of the United States of America (through the Department of State Bureau of Oceans and International Environmental and Scientific Affairs), the Government of Canada (through CIDA), the Danish Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ), the German Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation and Nuclear Safety (BMU), the Netherlands Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the European Commission (DG-ENV), and the Italian Ministry for the Environment, Land and Sea. General Support for the Bulletin during 2010 is provided by the Government of Australia, the Austrian Federal Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry, Environment and Water Management, the Ministry of Environment of Sweden, the New Zealand Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade, SWAN International, Swiss Federal Office for the Environment (FOEN), the Finnish Ministry for Foreign Affairs, the Japanese Ministry of Environment (through the Institute for Global Environmental Strategies - IGES), the Japanese Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry (through the Global Industrial and Social Progress Research Institute - GISPRI), the Government of Iceland, the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), and the World Bank. Funding for translation of the Bulletin into French has been provided by the Government of France, the Belgium Walloon Region, the Province of Québec, and the International Organization of the Francophone (OIF and IEPF). Funding for translation of the Bulletin into Spanish at this meeting has been provided by the Spanish Ministry of the Environment and Rural and Marine Affairs. The opinions expressed in the Bulletin are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of IISD or other donors. Excerpts from the Bulletin may be used in non-commercial publications with appropriate academic citation. For information on the Bulletin, including requests to provide reporting services, contact the Director of IISD Reporting Services at <kimo@iisd.org>, +1-646-536-7556 or 300 East 56th St., 11A, New York, New York 10022, USA. The ENB team at CSD-18 can be contacted by e-mail at <lynn@iisd.org>.