Report of main proceedings for 2 May 1996


Delegates to the fourth session of the Commission on Sustainable Development (CSD-4)completed negotiations on the draft decisions, heard statements from ministers in the High-Level Segment and attended a panel on the 1997 Special Session.


CSD Chair Gechev reconvened the High-Level Segment.

SWITZERLAND: Federal Councillor Ruth Dreifuss, Minister of the Interior, saidthe CSD should give a clear political message to the Ministerial Conference of the WTO inDecember. A mechanism to prevent potential conflicts over trade and MEAs is needed.

MEXICO: Julia Carabias Lillo, Minister of Environment, Natural Resources andFisheries, said the CSD must build the level of consensus, and called for management offishing resources using international cooperative machinery.

UK: John Gummer, Secretary of State for the Environment, noted that too manysubjects are not discussed in a spirit of wanting to push the agenda forward, but in fear ofgoing beyond where we have gone elsewhere. The UN should ensure that environmentaland sustainable development concerns are taken into account in decisions taken across theUN system, and UNEP should act as a catalyst and concentrate on influencing others.

MALAYSIA: Dato’ Law Hieng Ding, Minister of Science, Technology andEnvironment, called on the private sector to finance sustainable development andemphasized that ODA still has an important role. He also called for the implementation ofoceans agreements, asked what action has been taken regarding Antarctica, and stated thatlinkages between environment and trade should be discussed openly.

SWEDEN: Anna Lindh, Minister of the Environment, said the Special Session willbe decisive on: fresh water; a legally binding POPs agreement; and forests. A new conceptof global security is needed.

BARBADOS: Elizabeth Thompson, Minister for Health and Environment, saidthere is a need for a legal instrument, with timetables, to address climate change.

SLOVAKIA: Jozef Zlocha, Minister of Environment, noted national activities,including a new act on nature and landscape protection, forest-related activities, andproduction and use of unleaded gasoline. He supported the CSD as a multi-disciplinaryrepresentative of development in the framework of the UN.

COSTA RICA: Ren Castro Salazar, Minister of Environment and Energy, notedactivities related to the 25% of his country’s territory dedicated to biodiversityconservation. He supported the proposed International Court of the Environment. For theG-77/CHINA, he noted that “new and additional” financial resources have not beenprovided to developing countries, and stressed the need for a mobilization of political willon this issue and transfer of ESTs.

BELARUS: Uladzimir Garkun, Vice Prime Minister, said Chernobyl became oneof the stimuli which led to UNCED.

ARGENTINA: Maria Julia Alsogaray, Secretary of Natural Resources and HumanEnvironment, observed problems of stagnation and the emergence of “feudal systems”within the UN. In the World Food Summit preparations there is a clear problem of definingresponsibility and jurisdiction regarding the Biodiversity Convention.

CUBA: Rosa Elena Simeon Negrin, Minister of Science, Technology andEnvironment, noted governments’ responsibility to draft and implement policies of anenvironmental nature, which cannot be guided by the laws of markets or financed solely byprivate capital. The first environmental achievement in Cuba was to eradicate extremepoverty and illiteracy.

SENEGAL: M. Baye NDoye, Directeur de Cabinet du ministre de l’Environnementet de la Protection de la Nature du Senegal, noted that extreme poverty and naturalphenomenon such as drought are obstacles that will impede sustainable development. Hecalled on developed countries to continue to support developing countries.

US: Timothy Wirth, Under-Secretary of State for Global Affairs, highlightedrecommendations that the CSD: focus more on cross-cutting issues; address the increasedrole of international financial institutions; and might be recast as a main committee ofECOSOC.

THAILAND: Kasem Snidvongs, Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Science,Technology and Environment, said his government is drafting laws on the BiodiversityConvention. Integrated and inter-sectoral approaches can help achieve targets.

WORLD METEOROLOGICAL ORGANIZATION: G.O.P. Obasi, Secretary-General, called for improved provision of meteorological, hydrological and agro-meteorological information, the promotion of coordinated regional and sub-regionalprogrammes, and the promotion of a dialogue with private enterprise.

HIGH-LEVEL ADVISORY BOARD ON SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT: EmilSalim, Vice-Chair, stated that the Board concluded that the issue of transportation andenergy is not adequately addressed by existing fora in the UN system and that no realprogress is being made toward limiting the consumption of natural resources.

NORWAY: Bernt Bull, State Secretary of the Ministry of Environment, highlightedthree priorities for the Special Session: sustainable consumption and production patterns;the fight against poverty; and a more equitable distribution of wealth within and betweencountries and groups. He also expressed concern for the Arctic ecology.

DENMARK: Poul Nielson, Minister for Development Cooperation, noted that aprecondition for achieving sustainable development is the eradication of absolute povertyon a global scale, and called for action on debt relief measures.

AUSTRALIA: Ian Campbell, Minister for Environment, stated that the CSD shouldnot renegotiate decisions that have been concluded in the post-UNCED period, especiallywith respect to fisheries and climate change. He noted the establishment of a NaturalHeritage Trust, to be funded through the partial sale of the government ownedtelecommunications utility.

UKRAINE: Anatoliy Dembitski, Deputy Chief of Division of EnvironmentalProtection, called for the development of sustainable development indicators and notedefforts to address problems related to the Chernobyl accident.

BRAZIL: Aspasia Camargo, Vice-Minister of Environment, Water Resources andthe Legal Amazon, suggested that the CSD should be strengthened, stated that little has beenachieved in changing life styles and conspicuous consumption, and noted a nationalmechanism called the “Green Protocol” to provide public credit to environmentally-friendly enterprises.

SOUTH AFRICA: Minister B. Holomisa stated that the CSD should guard againstthe duplication of effort and use existing institutions more effectively. He called for aid tohelp communities and countries to develop sustainable use practices.

UNEP: Elizabeth Dowdeswell, Executive Director, outlined UNEP’s four focusareas: wise management of natural resources; sustainable production and consumption;human health and well-being; and globalization. She highlighted the role of education andpublic awareness in achieving a sustainable future.


Rumen Gechev (Bulgaria) chaired the panel discussion on the 1997 Special Session of theUNGA.

Tommy Koh (Chair of UNCED Preparatory Committee) called for: protection of theatmosphere; measures to address urbanization; protection of oceans; clean drinking water;the CSD to work as “a human bridge” between the UN and the real world; and globalleadership.

Maurice Strong (Chair of UNCED Secretariat) highlighted motivational and practicalconsiderations. Regarding the latter, he called for: remaking industrial civilization throughre-examining economic incentives; designing voluntary investment guidelines; andstrengthening people’s initiatives.

Barbara Bramble (National Wildlife Federation) called for: extending the CSD mandateand developing new priority issues; involving ministries beyond environment; coordinatingnational positions; reducing poverty; resolving UN financial issues; measures on foreigndirect investment and market mechanisms for sustainable development; and sectoralpriorities as transportation, energy and tourism.

Henrique Cavalcanti (CSD-3 Chair) identified gender and age, food and water security,spatial planning and human settlements, and production and consumption patterns aspriorities for the 1997 review. He also addressed conflict prevention, and a coordinatedapproach to sustainable development in the most populous countries.

Klaus Tpfer (CSD-2 Chair) focused on improved coordination, concentration and controlwithin the UN framework. He stated that addressing energy efficiency and urbanization arethe peace-keeping and disarmament policies of the future. He also highlighted linkagesbetween globalization, identity, new communications technology and sustainabledevelopment.

Razali Ismail (CSD-1 Chair) said the UN must demonstrate a capacity to undertake macro-coordination with the Bretton Woods institutions and WTO. The straitjacket of thetraditional division of labor must disappear. The management concept discussed at Riomust be revisited. The term sustainable development has been dangerously coopted byagents of free change.


The second revision to the draft Chair’s text on atmosphere was considered by DraftingGroup I. A new paragraph to follow the paragraph urging MFIs to use lending policies topromote ESTs was proposed by BRAZIL and adopted. The paragraph refers to thedecision on financial resources and mechanisms regarding international cooperation. Theremainder of the revised text was adopted by the Drafting Group.

Drafting Group I then resumed consideration of a draft decision on the implementation ofinternational fishery instruments. In the decision, the CSD, inter alia: welcomes theadoption of recent fishery agreements, resolutions and initiatives; notes the concern thatsignificant fish stocks are depleted; and considers that urgent, corrective action is needed.The CSD recommends implementation to: prevent overfishing and excess fishing capacity;apply the precautionary approach; rebuild fish stocks throughout their range; minimizewaste and discards; strengthen or create regional and sub-regional fisheries managementorganizations; and avoid adverse impacts on artisanal fisheries. The CSD recommends thatthe World Food Summit consider fisheries and recommends that the FAO prepare aprogress report on sustainable fisheries.

NEW ZEALAND proposed reflecting the legally binding or voluntary nature of theagreements. The US, supported by VENEZUELA and the REPUBLIC OF KOREA,proposed implementation of waste and discard measures in accordance with the StraddlingStocks Agreement and the Code of Conduct. The REPUBLIC OF KOREA said the problemof depleted fish stocks should be included in the first paragraph to denote its importance.The EU proposed ensuring “full,” rather than “a high level of,” compliance.


Asked to assess the contribution of the Drafting Groups and the High-Level Segment toCSD-4, delegates and observers gave a divided response. Some stated that the mostcritical role of the CSD is to bring together high-level government officials to exchangeviews and to receive guidance for the implementation of national policies. Others felt thatthe relative prominence of this year’s High-Level Segment overshadowed the issue-basedwork of the Drafting Groups. These observers were more likely to express disappointmentwith the work of CSD-4.


HIGH-LEVEL SEGMENT: The High-Level Segment will continue during themorning in the Trusteeship Council Chamber.

CLOSING PLENARY: The Plenary will meet from 4:00-6:00 pm in theTrusteeship Council Chamber to hear the Chair’s summary of the High-Level Segment,adopt a number of items and conclude the work of CSD-4.

FRANCOPHONE MEETING: The Francophone countries will meet from 3:00-4:00 pm in Room 8.

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