Read in: French

Summary report, 18 April – 3 May 1996


The fourth session of the Commission on Sustainable Development (CSD-4) completed theCommission’s multi-year thematic programme of work and began considering preparationsfor the General Assembly’s five-year review of Agenda 21 and beyond. During the High-Level Segment, one delegate voiced the opinion of many observers when he stated thatCSD-4 lacked the sense of urgency of past years. Some seasoned observers of the debateson the sectoral issues (oceans and atmosphere) said that the discussions merely echoedrecent negotiations in other fora. Others characterized the CSD as a missed opportunity toreinforce recent agreements and expressed disappointment that hard-fought details were notincluded in the final decisions. Discussions on financial issues were also revisited and, asmany delegates noted during the High-Level Segment, will not change until political willemerges.

The one issue that inspired many was the preparation for the review of the CSD during aSpecial Session of the UN General Assembly in 1997. Most delegates agreed that the CSDshould continue, but should not conduct another review of Agenda 21. Suggestions as to itsfuture work varied from concentrating on certain sectors (e.g., oceans) to pressing issues(e.g., poverty) to specific problems (e.g., megacities). Many held out hope that in thecoming year the CSD could redefine its role and accelerate progress in achieving thepromises made in Rio.

During the course of CSD-4, the Commission, chaired by Rumen Gechev (Bulgaria),examined the third cluster of issues according to its multi-year thematic programme ofwork. Delegates discussed: trade, environment and sustainable development (Chapter 2);combating poverty (3); changing consumption patterns (4); demographic dynamics andsustainability (5); integrating environment and development in decision-making (8); rolesof major groups (23-32); financial resources and mechanisms (33); transfer ofenvironmentally sound technologies, cooperation and capacity-building (34); promotingeducation, public awareness and training (36); national mechanisms and internationalcooperation for capacity-building in developing countries (37); international institutionalarrangements (38); international legal instruments and mechanisms (39); and informationfor decision-making (40).

The sectoral clusters for this year were protection of the atmosphere (Chapter 9) andprotection of the oceans, all kinds of seas, including enclosed and semi-enclosed seas, andcoastal areas and the protection, rational use and development of their living resources(17).


Agenda 21 called for creation of the CSD to: ensure effective follow-up of the UNConference on Environment and Development (UNCED); enhance internationalcooperation and rationalize the intergovernmental decision-making capacity; and examineprogress in the implementation of Agenda 21 at the national, regional and internationallevels. In 1992, the 47th session of the UN General Assembly set out, in resolution 47/191,the terms of reference for the Commission, its composition, guidelines for the participationof NGOs, the organization of work, the CSD’s relationship with other UN bodies andSecretariat arrangements.


The CSD held its first substantive session at UN Headquarters in New York from 14-25June 1993. Amb. Razali Ismail (Malaysia) was elected the first Chair of the CSD.Delegates to the first session addressed the following: adoption of a multi-year thematicprogramme of work; the future work of the Commission; exchange of information on theimplementation of Agenda 21 at the national level; progress in the incorporation ofrecommendations of UNCED in the activities of international organizations and within theUN system; progress in promoting the transfer of technology, cooperation and capacity-building; and initial financial commitments, financial flows and arrangements to give effectto UNCED decisions.


The second session of the CSD met in New York from 16-27 May 1994. The Commission,chaired by Klaus Tpfer (Germany), discussed the following cross-sectoral chapters ofAgenda 21: trade, environment and sustainable development (2); consumption patterns (4);major groups (23-32); financial resources and mechanisms (33); transfer ofenvironmentally sound technologies, cooperation and capacity-building (34); institutions(38); and legal instruments (39). On the sectoral side, delegates examined progress inimplementing the following chapters of Agenda 21: health (6); human settlements (7);freshwater resources (18); toxic chemicals (19); hazardous wastes (20); solid wastes (21);and radioactive wastes (22).

The Commission called for the establishment of an ad hoc open-ended intersessionalworking group to examine the sectoral issues to be addressed by the CSD at its 1995session. Delegates noted that, until there is an increase in ODA and an improvement in theinternational economic climate, it will be difficult to translate the Rio commitments intoaction. Many participants also agreed that unless the CSD’s format is changed, it will beimpossible to shift from rhetoric and speech-making to dialogue and action.


The CSD held its third session from 11-28 April 1995 in New York. The revised format ofthe Commission, which included numerous panel discussions, enabled the participants toenter into a dialogue. The two days dedicated to the sharing of national experiences inimplementing Agenda 21 were a departure from the CSD’s previous UN-centered focus.The Day of Local Authorities, combined with the NGO and government-sponsored panelsand workshops throughout the session, enabled the CSD to examine the local aspects ofimplementing Agenda 21.

The Commission, chaired by Henrique Cavalcanti (Brazil), examined the second cluster ofissues according to its multi-year thematic programme of work, including therecommendations of the 27 February - 9 March 1995 Ad Hoc Working Groups onSectoral Issues, chaired by Sir Martin Holdgate (UK), and Finance, chaired by Dr. LinSee-Yan (Malaysia). Delegates discussed: trade, environment and sustainable development(Chapter 2); combating poverty (3); consumption patterns (4); demographic dynamics andsustainability (5); integrating environment and development in decision-making (8); majorgroups (23-32); financial resources and mechanisms (33); transfer of environmentallysound technologies, cooperation and capacity-building (34); science for sustainabledevelopment (35); and information for decision-making (40).

The sectoral cluster for 1995 included: an integrated approach to the planning andmanagement of land resources (Chapter 10); combating deforestation (11); combatingdesertification and drought (12); sustainable mountain development (13); promotingsustainable agriculture and rural development (14); conservation of biological diversity(15); and environmentally sound management of biotechnology (16). The Commission alsoestablished the Intergovernmental Panel on Forests.


The CSD’s Ad Hoc Open-Ended Working Group on Sectoral Issues met from 26February - 2 March 1996 in New York, chaired by Svante Bodin (Sweden). Delegatesdiscussed reports from the Secretary-General on Chapters 17 (oceans) and 9 (atmosphere)of Agenda 21 and considered a UNEP draft proposal regarding implementation of theGlobal Programme of Action (GPA) for the protection of the marine environment fromland-based activities, drafted at the November 1995 Washington Conference. Delegateswere unable to complete consideration of the Chair’s Report, which highlighted thefollowing issues: integrated coastal area management; marine environmental protection,including persistent organic pollutants (POPs); living marine resources; criticaluncertainties; and international coordination. With regard to atmosphere, the Reporthighlighted: improving the scientific basis for decision making; promoting sustainabledevelopment; stratospheric ozone depletion; and transboundary air pollution.

The Ad Hoc Open-Ended Working Group on Finance and Production andConsumption Patterns met from 4-8 March 1996 in New York, chaired by Dr. Lin See-Yan(Malaysia). Delegates discussed reports from the Secretary-General on Agenda 21Chapters 4 (changing consumption and production patterns) and 33 (financial resources andmechanisms). The Chair’s Report, which was discussed but was not a negotiated text,highlighted the following on changing consumption and production patterns: interlinkageswith finance; policy implications of trends; impacts on developing countries; evaluatingpolicy measures; progress in implementing voluntary national goals; and revision of the UNguidelines for consumer protection. Relevant to financial resources and mechanisms, theReport highlighted: mobilizing external resources; mobilizing national resources;feasibility of innovative mechanisms; transfer of environmentally sound technology; and amatrix of policy options and financial instruments.


Outgoing Chair Henrique Cavalcanti (Brazil) opened the fourth session of the CSD onThursday, 18 April 1996, and commented on the CSD’s activities over the past year, andon the contribution of the CSD to the construction of peace and sustainability. He suggestedthat: the CSD Chair be elected at the end of the annual session; that the CSD Bureau’smandate be extended to two years; and that the Chair serve as Vice-Chair during the yearprior to serving as Chair.

Delegates then elected Rumen Gechev (Bulgaria) as CSD-4 Chair. He noted the importantrole of this session in finalizing the multi-year programme of work and serving as a bridgeto the preparations for the 1997 Special Session of the UN General Assembly (UNGA). Henoted the high expectations attached to CSD-4 as demonstrated by: continuing interest at ahigh political level in the work of the CSD; active involvement of civil society, majorgroups and NGOs; and strong commitment on behalf of UN institutions.

Under-Secretary-General for Policy Coordination and Sustainable Development NitinDesai stressed that this session must mark the beginning of preparations for the SpecialSession and must raise expectations about what will come out of this review. The CSD canfill the gaps in the UN system where no single institution has responsibility, such as withfresh water and oceans, and can also inject an economic sectoral perspective into issuesoften viewed only as management or environmental problems.

Joke Waller-Hunter, Director of the Division for Sustainable Development, presented abrief progress report on the work of the Intergovernmental Panel on Forests (IPF). TheNational Wildlife Federation, on behalf of several US NGOs, encouragedrecommendations for action at IPF-3 and cautioned against only focusing on the timbertrade.

Delegates then elected Paul de Jongh (Netherlands), Daudi Ngelautwa Mwakawago(Tanzania), Adam Vai Delaney (Papua New Guinea) and Enrique Provencio (Mexico) tothe Bureau. Three drafting groups were formed to consider the draft recommendations andconclusions for CSD-4. Drafting Group I considered atmosphere, oceans and seas, andsmall island developing States (SIDS). Drafting Group II considered finance, consumptionand production patterns, transfer of technology, trade, poverty and demographics. DraftingGroup III considered decision-making (Agenda 21 Chapters 8, 38, 39 and 40) and nationalreporting.


The Commission conducted its substantive work in general debate, panels, drafting groupsand contact groups. Panels were convened during the early days of the session on thesubjects of education, finance and transportation. The drafting groups began their work inearnest at the end of the first full week, and went on to overlap with the High-LevelSegment. A contact group on oceans was convened several times during the first week byAd Hoc Intersessional Working Group Chair Svante Bodin (Sweden) to addressunresolved issues from that session. Additional contact groups were used during thesecond full week to facilitate consideration of all draft decisions. Drafting Groups I, II andIII were chaired by Bureau members Enrique Provencio, Daudi Ngelautwa Mwakawago,and Paul de Jongh, respectively.


PROTECTION OF THE ATMOSPHERE: Delegates considered the Secretary-General’s report (E/CN.17/1996/22 and Add.1) as well as the report of the Ad HocWorking Group on Sectoral Issues (E/CN.17/1996/6). In the general debate on Chapter9 of Agenda 21, the EU emphasized: international agreements; the precautionary approach;and policy instruments, including reduced subsidies. The US emphasized: monitoring,especially of POPs; the Framework Convention on Climate Change (FCCC); urban airpollution; the Montreal Protocol; and transboundary air pollution. CANADA recognizedthe CSD’s role in identifying critical areas, but emphasized that it does not have a directrole in implementing international agreements. The PHILIPPINES encouraged technologytransfer for the mitigation of climate change.

SAUDI ARABIA expressed concern about selective interpretation of the SecondAssessment Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), notinguncertainty over natural climate cycles. COLOMBIA highlighted urban air pollution andreducing transportation demands. VENEZUELA stated that: the CSD should not duplicatethe work of other fora; the report neglects some air pollution sources; and there is a needfor more information on climate change. SWITZERLAND noted cost-effective measures tomitigate climate change. TRINIDAD AND TOBAGO, speaking on behalf of the Allianceof Small Island States (AOSIS), highlighted the importance of the FCCC and its BerlinMandate to SIDS. BANGLADESH underlined the responsibilities of Annex I and non-Annex I countries under the FCCC. The INTERNATIONAL COUNCIL OF SCIENTIFICUNIONS called for support for the Climate Agenda.

Some of the key issues that arose during the negotiation of the Chair’s draft decisionincluded: transfer of environmentally sound technologies (ESTs); reference to consumerpatterns, especially of developed countries; duplication of international legal instruments;and using language from the report on atmosphere of the Ad Hoc Working Group onSectoral Issues. The most difficult debate centered on reference to the Second AssessmentReport of the IPCC and whether to denote specific findings. SAUDI ARABIA requestedthat “socio-economic assessment” should be part of the scientific basis for response. Atone point, SAUDI ARABIA, supported by COLOMBIA and VENEZUELA, proposeddeveloping a simplified alternative text, rather than continuing to negotiate the Chair’sdraft. Several delegations objected.

The final decision (E/CN.17/1996/L.21) stresses several points including: the closeinterrelationship between protection of oceans and the protection of the atmosphere;Principle 7 of the Rio Declaration (common but differentiated responsibilities) andparagraph 4.3 of Agenda 21 (poverty and environmental degradation); reduction of local,especially urban, emissions; sound scientific and socio-economic bases for decision-making; and the Second Assessment Report adopted by the IPCC in December 1995. Thedecision characterizes the IPCC report as the “most comprehensive” assessment of climatechange issues to date, and notes its conclusion that the balance of evidence suggests adiscernible human influence on global climate. It also contains a footnote stating that thisconclusion must be considered within the caveats and uncertainties contained in the report.

PROTECTION OF THE OCEANS AND ALL KINDS OF SEAS: In their reviewof Chapter 17 of Agenda 21, delegates considered the Secretary-General’s report onoceans and all kinds of seas (E/CN.17/1996/3 and Add.1), the report of the Ad HocWorking Group on Sectoral Issues (E/CN.17/1996/6) and other related reports. In thegeneral debate on Chapter 17, INDIA emphasized the need for multilateral assistance, andmore data on the high seas. BRAZIL stressed the impact of sewage on coasts. PAPUANEW GUINEA, chair of the South Pacific Forum, expressed concern that the report of theAd Hoc intersessional group tried to renegotiate some fisheries agreements. The EUadvocated: the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS); the Washington GlobalPlan of Action (GPA) for the protection of the marine environment from land-basedactivities; and the Global Ocean Observing System (GOOS). The US called for reducedbycatch and regular review of progress. The EUROPEAN COMMISSION emphasizedcooperation with regional fisheries management organizations. COLOMBIA highlightedstrategies for integrated coastal zone management (ICZM) and pollution from transbordertoxic waste shipping. The REPUBLIC OF KOREA said the Washington GPA poseschallenges for coastal activities in developing countries. THAILAND emphasized thedifficulty in reducing bycatch, asking States to refrain from unilateral trade action. TheRUSSIAN FEDERATION requested future presentations on regional cooperation forcoastal management.

The final decision (E/CN.17/1996/L.23) reaffirms the common aim of promotingsustainable development, conservation and management of the coastal and marineenvironment. It highlights: integrating environmental, social and economic factors; specialrequirements of developing countries; scientific evidence and the precautionary approach;financial resources, ESTs, capacity building and resource ownership and management; andinformation exchange. The decision welcomes: intergovernmental instruments on livingmarine resources and ocean pollution; the International Coral Reef Initiative (ICRI) and itsFramework for Action; development of regionally-harmonized environmental regulationsunder the International Maritime Organization’s (IMO’s) conclusions on offshore oil andgas activities; and partnerships between governments and the private sector. It highlights:integrated coastal area management, especially in urban areas; management of waste water,POPs and radioactive contaminants; and information systems capacity for developingcountries and SIDS, including the GOOS.

IMPLEMENTATION OF INTERNATIONAL FISHERY INSTRUMENTS: Debateon implementation of international fishery agreements began with closed meetings of acontact group on Annex II of the report of the Ad Hoc Working Group. Observersstressed that there was basic agreement over fundamental issues, including: theinternational agreements on sustainable fisheries are significant and welcome; there has notyet been time to fully implement many of these recent agreements; and all nations shouldimplement these agreements as quickly as possible. There was substantial disagreementover the role of the CSD vis--vis these agreements. Some delegates and NGOsfavored an aggressive role for the CSD in emphasizing individual clauses, particularlyregarding bycatch and discards, reduction of overcapacity and reflagging of fishingvessels.

A second contact group further debated the decision. In addition to the results of the earliercontact group, a group of coastal states proposed a less-detailed text and the US proposedtext that attempted to reconcile the other proposals.

The final decision (E/CN.17/1996/L.22) calls for: urgent corrective action to rebuilddepleted fish stocks; preventing overfishing and reducing fishing capacity; applying theprecautionary approach; minimizing waste and discards; supporting regional andsubregional fisheries management organizations; and avoiding adverse impacts on artisanalfisheries. It welcomes the entry into force of the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea(UNCLOS), as well as recent legal and voluntary instruments and resolutions pertaining toliving marine resources. It notes that the FAO Code of Conduct links trade in fisheryproducts to obligations under the World Trade Organization (WTO) Agreement to avoid:obstacles to this trade; environmental degradation; and negative social impacts. It alsoinvites the FAO to prepare a report on progress toward improved sustainability, andinvites the World Food Summit to consider fisheries issues.

INSTITUTIONAL ARRANGEMENTS FOR THE IMPLEMENTATION OF THEGLOBAL PLAN OF ACTION FOR THE PROTECTION OF THE MARINEENVIRONMENT FROM LAND-BASED ACTIVITIES: Delegates used the AdHoc Working Group’s report as a basis for discussions. The final decision(E/CN.17/1996/L.19) regarding institutional arrangements for the implementation of theGPA from the Washington Conference recommends that ECOSOC, in its 1996 substantivesession, recommend to the UNGA a draft resolution that endorses the Washington GPA andstresses the need for States to implement it in cooperation with relevant UN bodies, donororganizations, and NGOs and other major groups. It calls for establishment of a clearing-house mechanism, with a pilot project on sewage to be developed with the World HealthOrganization, and for the clearing-house to consider the following additional categories:POPs; heavy metals; radioactive substances; nutrients and sediment mobilization; oils andlitter; and physical alterations.

REVIEW OF THE IMPLEMENTATION OF THE PROGRAMME OF ACTION FORTHE SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT OF SMALL ISLAND DEVELOPINGSTATES: Delegates based their discussion of this issue on the Secretary-General’sreport (E/CN.17/1996/20 and Add. 1-6). In the general debate, TRINIDAD ANDTOBAGO, on behalf of AOSIS, noted that some SIDS appear to be achieving economicprogress, but they remain vulnerable to natural disasters. PAPUA NEW GUINEA said thatmacroeconomic stability is required for sustainable development. The MARSHALLISLANDS said that the removal of nuclear waste will demand additional resources. TheEU highlighted: an upcoming assessment of the Lom Convention; the FCCC; and fisheriesmanagement. CUBA stressed coordination of UN institutions. BARBADOS called foralternative energy sources and disaster management planning. MALTA outlinedinvestments in human resources and communication infrastructure. The SOUTH PACIFICREGIONAL ENVIRONMENT PROGRAMME noted progress on climate change, wastemanagement, energy resources and biodiversity conservation.

Some of the key issues that arose during negotiation included references to: the role of theUN Department for Policy Coordination and Sustainable Development (DPCSD) ascoordinator of the Programme of Action; support from the international community toimprove air and maritime transport for SIDS; SIDS’ dependence on imported petroleumgoods; “expected” effects of global climate change and sea-level rise; human influence onclimate; and the adverse impacts of declining ODA on sustainable development and therole of the private sector.

The final decision (E/CN.17/1996/L.17) notes that the CSD’s recommendations arecomplementary to those of the Programme of Action. It highlights: concern at declininglevels of ODA; mobilizing domestic resources and the private sector for sustainabledevelopment; a vulnerability index; globalization and trade liberalization; and the role ofthe DPCSD. It also makes recommendations on: climate change and sea level rise; naturaland environmental disasters; coastal and marine resources; energy resources; tourism; andtransport and communications.

INTERNATIONAL COOPERATION AND COORDINATION: A final decisionon international cooperation and coordination on general marine and coastal issues, undersection F of Chapter 17 (E/CN.17/1996/L.20), recommends that ECOSOC approve thatthere should be a periodic overall review by the CSD of all aspects of the marineenvironment and related issues, and the Secretary-General should be invited to review theworking of the Administrative Committee on Coordination’s (ACC) Subcommittee onOceans and Coastal Areas to address the need for improved coordination.


DEMOGRAPHIC DYNAMICS AND SUSTAINABILITY: During the generaldiscussion on cross-sectoral issues and the Secretary-General’s report (E/CN.17/1996/10and Add.1), the EU called for international cooperation on the International Conference onPopulation and Development (ICPD) Programme of Action, stressing access toreproductive health services. The NATURAL RESOURCES DEFENSE COUNCIL said itsreport on ICPD implementation in 65 countries indicated low levels of high-levelgovernment participation.

During negotiations, an early reference to particular government action in support of“gender issues” was deleted by the G-77/CHINA and eventually replaced with a referenceto the ICPD. The G-77/CHINA introduced language on gender-sensitive analysis as anessential step.

The final decision (E/CN.17/1996/L.7) notes that: greater importance is being attached topopulation questions and the need to integrate population factors into environment anddevelopment planning; the importance of effective information, education andcommunications strategies to give greater visibility to critical linkages between population,development and environmental issues, and of the full and equal participation of women;and the need for ECOSOC to examine the division of labor between the CSD and theCommission on Population and Development.

COMBATING POVERTY: During a general discussion of cross-sectoral issuesand the Secretary-General’s report (E/CN.177/1996/9), the US called attention to womenand children in studies and measurements of poverty, while the EU suggested that theWorld Summit for Social Development (WSSD) follow-up should be coordinated by theCommission on Social Development. He said ECOSOC should consider the division oflabor between the Commission on Social Development and the CSD. INDIA suggested thatpoverty eradication be among the issues examined at the 1997 Special Session.

During the negotiations, the EU added a reference to country-specific target dates for thesubstantial reduction of inequality. The G-77/CHINA supported national target dates forsustainably reducing absolute poverty in the shortest possible time and introduced a newparagraph on political, economic and social marginalization in developing countries. TheUS introduced language on basic needs, and amended language on poverty eradication,preferring to commit to eradicating absolute poverty and reducing overall poverty.

The final decision (E/CN.17/1996/L.2) notes: the need to formulate or strengthen nationalstrategies to eradicate poverty, preferably by the end of the International Year for theEradication of Poverty (1996) and address issues of gender, inequality, and environmentalissues. Also noted are the Beijing Platform for Action’s recognition of the role of womenin poverty eradication and the preparations for Habitat II. The Commission is called uponto focus on the interlinkages between poverty and the environment.

TRANSFER OF ENVIRONMENTALLY SOUND TECHNOLOGIES,COOPERATION AND CAPACITY-BUILDING: During a general discussion oncross-sectoral issues and the Secretary-General’s report (E/CN.17/1996/13 and Add.1),the G-77/CHINA stressed that EST transfers should be on preferential and concessionalterms, with the necessary financial means and expertise. BRAZIL suggested usingmultilateral environmental agreements (MEAs) to facilitate EST transfers, adding that theyshould be economically feasible and socially acceptable.

In the negotiations, the G-77/CHINA added a paragraph on favorable terms, taking intoaccount the need to protect intellectual property rights and the role of ESTs in helpingdeveloping countries achieve sustainable development. INDIA expressed concern aboutthe emphasis given to the role of the private sector. CANADA cautioned against languagethat might infer that ESTs are only of interest to developing countries.

The final decision (E/CN.17/1996/L.14) notes: the need for new and efficient technologiesto increase the capabilities of countries, in particular developing countries, to achievesustainable development; the role of financial support and partnership arrangements withdonor countries and agencies, and the private sector; the need for measures to ensure equalaccess and opportunities for women; the need for appropriate legislation and policies incountries with economies in transition; and the International Organization forStandardization’s development of the ISO 14000 and other environmental managementstandards. The decision encourages governments and the private sector to promote,facilitate and finance access and transfers of ESTs on favorable terms and public-privatepartnership arrangements. It also calls for government-business cooperation to help smallcompanies access finance for technological cooperation and technology transfer, andbusiness, including transnational corporations (TNCs), to take steps to facilitate access tofinancial markets for businesses, and to promote capacity-building.

TRADE, ENVIRONMENT AND SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT: During ageneral discussion of cross-sectoral issues and the Secretary-General’s report(E/CN.17/1996/8 and Add.1), CHINA stressed the issue of barriers to trade withdeveloping countries. MALAYSIA cautioned against unilateral trade sanctions. MEXICOechoed a concern that environmental protection should not become a pretext concealingprotectionist measures. INDONESIA invited the CSD to send a clear message againstunilateral and discriminatory measures. The EU said trade liberalization and environmentalprotection can be mutually supportive and environmental policy should not be detrimentalto competitiveness.

During the negotiation of the decision, delegates debated the relative merits of the roles of“positive measures,” such as improved market access, and trade measures in securingcompliance with MEAs. The G-77/CHINA introduced language to suggest that positivemeasures should be employed to reduce or obviate the necessity for trade measures. TheUS added a subparagraph recognizing that trade measures play an important role inachieving MEA objectives. He also cautioned against CSD-4 interfering in relateddeliberations at UNCTAD and UNEP. The EU supported the view that trade provisions inMEAs can play a positive environmental role. The G-77/CHINA also attempted tointroduce language on eco-labeling, signaling a recognition that certain unilateral measurestaken by governments may be detrimental to the common interest. The US said UNCTADhad not adequately consulted on its BIOTRADE initiative and reserved judgment on itsmerits.

The final decision (E/CN.17/1996/L.15) addresses: trade measures in multilateralenvironmental agreements, including an examination of their effect on the achievement ofenvironmental goals and on trade and competitiveness; a rejection of “green countervailingduties” or other protectionist measures inconsistent with the WTO; relaxation ofenvironmental laws to encourage investment or exports; eco-labeling and publicawareness; trade liberalization, including the environmental impact of trade policies, andthe impact of imports prohibited for sale on environmental grounds by exporting countries;sustainable development of the commodity sector; biological diversity and trade issues,including the BIOTRADE initiative; and technical assistance for developing countries andcountries with economies in transition to participate in international deliberations on tradeand the environment

FINANCIAL RESOURCES AND MECHANISMS: Discussion on this issue onwas focused on the report of the Secretary-General (E/CN.17/1996/4 and Add.1) and thereport of the Ad Hoc Intersessional Working Group (E/CN.17/1996/7). Traditionalpositions on diminishing ODA resources were restated. The EU and the G-77/CHINAnoted that ODA is currently insufficient to implement Agenda 21. The EU emphasized theneed for more effective use of existing resources, and a shift to an enabling environment topromote non-ODA resources and the use of innovative mechanisms. The US reiterated thatit is not among the countries that have committed to the target of 0.7% GNP for ODA.CHINA joined those who expressed disappointment at the failure of the internationalcommunity to honor financial commitments undertaken at UNCED, and noted the historicallinks between environmental degradation and the expansion of private capital. Fears abouta shift in emphasis to private investment and national implementation were expressed bysome G-77 countries.

During the negotiations, the G-77/CHINA introduced new language: highlighting thevolatility of private capital flows and the need to examine initiatives for stabilization;noting that the expansion of flows has been limited to some developing countries; andcalling on business and TNCs to encompass sustainable development objectives. Theyalso added text on external debt and debt servicing and on Global Environment Facility(GEF) replenishment. The EU reaffirmed that, “in general,” financing for Agenda 21 willcome from a country’s own public and private sectors. The US introduced language onopen investment and non-discriminatory trade. The US opposed the G-77/CHINA’s call fora substantial replenishment of the GEF and an extension of the matrix approach to cover the“rights” of holders of traditional technology. JAPAN had “difficulty” with a G-77/CHINAproposal to delete a paragraph on improving the effectiveness of ODA and leveragingprivate investment. He added that it was not for the Commission to make recommendationson levels of GEF replenishment. Differences over referencing sustainable development andeconomic growth within the context of external debt were resolved by resorting to languagefrom General Assembly Resolution 50/92.

The final decision (E/CN.17/1996/L.18) notes that commitments made at UNCED on newand additional financial resources remain a key element and that there has been a decline inODA and an increase in private flows to some developing countries. Also noted are: theeffectiveness of ODA; the volatility of private capital flows; the role of TNCs andsustainable development goals; assistance for low-income countries with multilateral debtproblems; pollution abatement funds (PAFs); financing ESTs in a stable regulatoryframework; broadening the matrix approach to include benefits to the traditional holders ofindigenous knowledge; and the role of major groups in financing Agenda 21 activities.

CHANGING PRODUCTION AND CONSUMPTION PATTERNS: The discussionin this issue focused on the report of the Secretary-General (E/CN.17/1996/5 and Add.1)and the report of the Ad Hoc Intersessional Working Group (E/CN.17/1996/7). TheG-77/CHINA found the preliminary draft decision “unbalanced” and offered a redraftcalling for a more “action-oriented” and balanced approach to both supply and demandsides. The US said it did not want to isolate consumption from production. It is changes inproduction that are primary. The US also noted an emerging global consensus on the needfor change and proposed that governments report on their experiences to CSD-5. Therewas resistance to emphasizing the need to change consumption patterns and unsustainablelifestyles in industrialized countries, while a reference to common but differentiatedresponsibilities in the context of changing consumption and production patterns wasconceded. The G-77/CHINA qualified a reference to environmental taxes to ensure thatthese are domestic.

The final decision (E/CN.17/1996/L.16) notes: the opportunity of the 1997 review for ashift to a more action-oriented approach; supply and demand approaches; that eco-efficiency should not be a substitute for unsustainable lifestyle change; the need forimproved market access, particularly for developing countries; the need for furtheranalysis of, inter alia, eco-space and ecological footprint concepts; the role ofgovernment procurement policies; the need for analysis of policy measures, includingenvironmental taxes, market-based instruments, and removal of environmentally damagingsubsidies; that instruments should not constitute a means of arbitrary or unjustifiablediscrimination or disguised trade restriction; ongoing research by internationalorganizations including UN agencies, the Bretton Woods institutions and the OECD; andmajor group work on UN Guidelines for Consumer Protection.


MAJOR GROUPS: Delegates referred to the Secretary- General’s report on therole of major groups (E/CN.17/1996/12) during general debate on this issue. The EUsuggested that the CSD recommend that States take into account establishing programmes toreinforce awareness of sustainable development. CANADA urged the CSD to recommendconfirmation of the roster status of the CSD NGOs and explicitly invite major groups toparticipate in the preparations for the 1997 Special Session. The IUCN proposed astrategic alliance between a number of UN agencies and NGOs.

During discussion of the draft decision, the EU proposed that ECOSOC be invited toensure the continuation of the Rio arrangements regarding participation of major groups toCSD-5, and that the General Assembly be invited to ensure appropriate arrangements forthe contribution of major groups to the 1997 Special Session and its follow-up. The USrequested clarification of the Rio arrangements. The US and AUSTRALIA deleted thespecification that governments support, “through financial and other resources,” theinitiatives of major groups to make contributions to the 1997 review. The US specified thatthe contributions would be to the “preparations for” the 1997 review. AUSTRALIA andthe G-77/CHINA combined text to encourage governments to involve major grouprepresentatives in preparations for the 1997 review process and on national delegations toCSD-5 and, as appropriate, to the Special Session.

The final decision (E/CN.17/1996/L.7): encourages governments and internationalorganizations to actively support the initiatives of major groups aiming to makecontributions to the 1997 review; recommends that ECOSOC keep those NGOs accreditedto the CSD by Council decision 1993/220 on the Roster; invites the General Assembly toensure appropriate arrangements for the most effective contribution to and involvement ofmajor groups in the Special Session; and requests major groups to report to the CSD oninnovative approaches to major group participation.

INSTITUTIONAL ARRANGEMENTS: Delegates referred to the Secretary-General’s report (E/CN.17/1996/16) during general debate on this decision. The EUsuggested that the institutional implications for forging new alliances for sustainabledevelopment be examined during the preparations for the Special Session.

During the discussion of the draft decision, the EU proposed an additional paragraph notingthat the CSD welcomes the proposed review by ECOSOC of the regional commissionswith a view to strengthening their active participation in the implementation of major UNconference decisions. He also added text underlining the linkages between the various UNCommissions through their multi-year programmes of work. The G-77/CHINA stressed theneed to review the CSD’s structure. The US, supported by the EU, the G-77/CHINA andthe RUSSIAN FEDERATION, said that the participation of the regional commissions inimplementing the results of major UN international conferences should be “strengthened, asappropriate.”

The final decision (E/CN.17/1996/L.8) encourages national governments to ensure thattheir institutional arrangements promote the implementation of Agenda 21 and ensure broadparticipation of all stakeholders. It recognizes the need for the CSD to continue providingguidance on key sustainable development issues and recommends: the establishment ofcloser links between the bureaux of the organizations concerned; that the Inter-AgencyCommittee on Sustainable Development (IACSD) continue to enhance coordination; andthat the 1997 review also give special attention to post-UNCED institutional arrangements.

PROMOTING EDUCATION, PUBLIC AWARENESS AND TRAINING:Delegates referred to the Secretary-General’s report (E/CN.17/1996/14 and Add.1) duringgeneral debate on education. SWITZERLAND called delegates’ attention to the report,“Passport to the Future,” regarding education. The CZECH REPUBLIC outlined findingsfrom the Prague Workshop on Education and Public Awareness for SustainableDevelopment. The EU supported international, preferably regional, mechanisms toexchange experiences in public awareness strategies, and proposed a CSD programme ofwork on education.

During discussion of the draft decision, the G-77/CHINA added text calling for assistanceto promote education in developing countries. The EU, supported by CANADA, added textnoting that traditional knowledge should be valued. The EU also proposed language toestablish a work programme based on the operative paragraphs of the decision. CANADAadded a paragraph encouraging governments to work in partnership with youth to preparethem for sustainable livelihoods.

The decision (E/CN.17/1996/L.9) notes that the Commission agreed to initiate aprogramme of work on education. Within this context, the CSD: urges UNESCO, inpartnership with other key institutions, to pursue international initiatives that lead towardsan alliance for education for sustainable development; urges actors to implement therecommendations concerning education in the action plans of major UN conferences; andurges the Bretton Woods institutions to analyze their current investments in education.

NATIONAL MECHANISMS AND INTERNATIONAL COOPERATION FORCAPACITY-BUILDING IN DEVELOPING COUNTRIES: Delegates referred to theSecretary-General’s report (E/CN.17/1996/15 and Add.1) during general debate on thisissue. During discussion of the draft decision, the G-77/CHINA noted the need to keepcapacity building as one of the central objectives in the promotion of developmentprojects. She suggested language calling on governments and international organizations toenhance their efforts on financial mobilization and technology transfer in order to assistdeveloping countries.

The decision (E/CN.17/1996/L.10) urges governments and international organizations toshare experiences in capacity-building, and encourages further work in carrying out action-and problem-oriented research on capacity-building issues in priority areas.

INTEGRATING ENVIRONMENT AND DEVELOPMENT IN DECISION-MAKING: Delegates referred to the Secretary-General’s report (E/CN.17/1996/11and Add.1) during general debate on this issue. The EU called for market-basedinstruments, environmental dimensions of law making, raising public awareness, andenhanced international action.

During discussion on the draft decision, the G-77/CHINA changed the paragraph callingfor governments to continue efforts to establish mechanisms and develop strategies forsustainable development. Their proposal recognized that the responsibility for change lieswith national governments and encourages efforts to establish national mechanisms anddevelop participatory strategies for economic growth and sustainable development. TheUS said that “economic growth in the context of sustainable development” would beacceptable. Delegates agreed to encourage development of strategies for “sustainabledevelopment, including economic, social and environmental aspects of growth.” SAUDIARABIA bracketed “NGOs” in the paragraph calling for actors to support nationalactivities to implement Agenda 21. The final text calls on UN bodies and, as appropriate,major group organizations, to place a high priority on actions aimed at implementingAgenda 21. The EU, supported by the G-77/CHINA, presented a new paragraphencouraging integrated environmental and economic accounting for sustainabledevelopment.

The decision (E/CN.17/1996/L.11) notes that the responsibility for bringing about changesaimed at integrating environment and development in decision-making lies with nationalgovernments. It also: requests UN organizations to support governments’ efforts; calls ongovernments to review, as appropriate, their national legislation; and notes the work onintegrated environmental and economic accounting being undertaken by the StatisticsDivision of the UN Secretariat.

INFORMATION FOR DECISION-MAKING: Delegates referred to the Secretary-General’s report (E/CN.17/1996/18 and Add.1) during general debate on this issue.JAPAN described a workshop on indicators of sustainable development (ISD). TheWorkshop identified gaps, including guidance on sub-national data, including institutionalindicators for capacity building and key indicators for national decision-making.GERMANY presented the report of the Scientific Workshop on Indicators of SustainableDevelopment, held 15-17 November 1995 in Wuppertal, Germany. She stated that policymakers cannot wait for a perfect ISD system and called for testing of ISDs on a voluntarybasis.

During discussion of the draft decision, the G-77/CHINA requested the ECOSOC workinggroup on the need to harmonize and improve UN information systems to give particularattention to facilitating access by UN member States to environmental databases throughoutthe UN system. The US proposed noting that work be “within existing resources.”Delegates agreed to adopt indicators, “as appropriate.”

The decision (E/CN.17/1996/L.12) takes note of the progress made in the implementationof the work programme on indicators of sustainable development, invites governments totest, develop and use the indicators, and requests the ECOSOC working group oninformatics to give attention to facilitating access of member States.

INFORMATION PROVIDED BY GOVERNMENTS AND ORGANIZATIONS:During discussion of the draft decision, which was based on the Secretary-General’sreport (E/CN.17/1996/19), the EU proposed new paragraphs regarding consultation onreporting to future sessions of the CSD, taking account of ISDs, and streamlining reportingrequirements. CANADA cautioned that a distinction must be drawn between CSD-relatedreporting and treaty-based obligations, including the Rio conventions. The EU proposeddeleting the sentence noting the intention of several donors to consider requests forassistance favorably, but the G-77/CHINA objected. BRAZIL suggested that proposals forreporting to future sessions take into account, “among other elements,” the work onindicators.

The final decision (E/CN.17/1996/L.6) requests: organizations and donors to assist inproviding technical and financial assistance to help developing countries with nationalstrategies, Agenda 21 action plans and reports; and the Secretary-General and interestedStates to provide CSD-5 with proposals for streamlining national reporting on sustainabledevelopment, given the growing number of reporting requirements.

INTERNATIONAL LEGAL INSTRUMENTS AND MECHANISMS: Delegatesreferred to the Secretary-General’s report (E/CN.17/1996/17 and Add.1) and duringgeneral debate on this issue. During discussion on the draft decision, the US expressedreservations about references to “principles” of international law. The EU proposedparagraphs recognizing the administrative burden on developing countries and theimportance of major group participation. CANADA introduced paragraphs on complianceand monitoring, and dispute resolution. The EU deleted a paragraph calling on the DPCSDto study the issues raised by the Report of the Expert Group on Identification of Principlesof International Law for Sustainable Development. The US proposed that governments“consider, as appropriate,” rather than “take into account,” this report.

The decision (E/CN.17/1996/L.13) notes that the Commission: considers flexibleapproaches as important in international law-making; emphasizes the necessity of furtherexploring mechanisms for dispute settlement or avoidance; urges the internationalcommunity to continue to develop procedures and mechanisms that promote informeddecisions; and recommends the exploration of more effective participation of major groupsin the elaboration of international legal instruments.


Delegates heard reports on national experiences with coastal area management onThursday, 25 April 1996.

BENIN: Damien Houeto, Director of the Ministry of Environment, spoke on ICZM. Hehighlighted: erosion; over-harvesting of mangroves for firewood; sediments from inlandwaters; and water pollution from land-based activities and offshore sources. He describeda proposal for stabilizing coastlines but stated that implementation is constrained by otherdevelopment needs and insufficient resources. Regarding ICZM, he described a plan underpreparation for the following: land management including agriculture and livestock;forestry; industry; transport and infrastructure; urban development; and energy.

PAPUA NEW GUINEA: Chalapan Kaluwin, Senior Climate Change Officer, South PacificRegional Environmental Programme, described such coastal management challenges asenvironment, education, climate change, sea-level rise, institutional arrangements, cultureand finance. He stated that land and sea are owned by the people and not by thegovernment. Coastal area management includes both traditional and Western concepts. Toencourage institutional capacity for ICZM, a culturally-sensitive regional, bottom-upframework is being developed. To control marine pollution from shipping, observance ofregional agreements is important. Vulnerability assessment is being developed for sea-level rise.

CANADA: Cheryl Fraser, Assistant Deputy Minister, Department of Fisheries andOceans, stated that three different ecosystems found along the Pacific, Atlantic and Arcticcoastlines require different ICZM models. She identified the following constraints: limitedpublic and government commitment; jurisdiction overlaps; and limited scientific data.Community-based management initiatives, including those with indigenous groups in theArctic, as well as regional initiatives, are leading to a national plan for ICZM. Sheconcluded by describing: the draft Canada Oceans Act to consolidate existing legislation;an Oceans Management Strategy based on sustainable development and the precautionaryapproach; and a National Programme of Action consistent with the Washington GPA.

SWEDEN: Amb. Bo Kjelln described recent actions in the Baltic Sea region, such as aJoint Cooperation Programme. The Programme, carried out by countries and financialinstitutions, seeks to eliminate pollution from industries and sewage plants and hasproduced concrete results through a “hot spots” approach. He also described a Baltic Seaprotected areas programme that prevents development within 100-300 meters of the watersedge. Another initiative promotes modern, flexible spatial planning.

BRAZIL: Haroldo Mattos de Lemos, Secretary of Coordination for Environmental Issues,Ministry of the Environment, Water Resources and Legal Amazon, called for acomprehensive integrated plan for the coastal area, which includes the Atlantic tropicalforest and mangrove areas. Large cities and industrial zones also have an impact on theregion. Brazil has made progress in ICZM by establishing data bases, communityparticipation, and protection programmes for biodiversity, coral reefs and marine turtles.The contributions of traditional knowledge as well as science and technology areimportant.


Delegates heard reports on national sustainable development strategies on Friday, 26April 1996.

BULGARIA: Yoncho Pelovsky, Deputy Minister of the Environment, noted that Bulgariafaces serious problems with industrial pollution and that the energy generation sector is aprimary polluter, due to the high sulfur content in Bulgarian coal. He reported on chargesand fees to punish polluters and collect money to finance projects, and noted nationalstrategies regarding the conservation of biodiversity and wetlands, a water treatmentprogramme, a Black Sea programme and a programme to phase out leaded gasoline.

UNITED STATES: Jonathan Lash, Co-Chair of the President’s Council for SustainableDevelopment, described the Council’s final report, which includes: a vision statement;changes in decision making needed to achieve sustainable development; ten long-termgoals; and a set of quantitative indicators. Recommendations address: increasing the cost-effectiveness of environmental management; creating a flexible regulatory managementsystem; expanding market-driven pollution control programmes; changing tax policies todiscourage environmentally damaging production and consumption decisions; andeliminating government subsidies.

FINLAND: Jukka Sarjala, Director General, National Board of Education, describedefforts to integrate environmental considerations into sectoral policies, such as thedevelopment of partnerships with industry and local Agenda 21s. He also highlighted thework of the Finnish National Commission on Sustainable Development to coordinatemeasures and include all stakeholders. Iri Sarjala, a student, reported on a school-wideAgenda 21 and conducting eco-audits.

COLOMBIA: Ernesto Guhl-Nanneti, Vice-Minister for the Environment, noted elements ofColombia’s integrated environmental programme, including the consolidation ofinstitutional capacity and international cooperation programmes. Environmental educationis pursued through television, radio, publications and projects developed by NGOs.Environmental policy is adapted to the different regions, and popular participation is animportant component. National difficulties include insufficient human and financialresources. Difficulties at the international level include the lack of political will, theproblem of making national agendas compatible with international agendas, and the needfor technology transfer.

MEXICO: Margarita Pars Fernndez, Program Evaluation Director, Secretaria de MedioAmbiente, Recursos Naturales y Pesca, said the Mexican national strategy involvespolitical and institutional reforms, innovations for decentralized public policy, anddevelopment of social participation. Steps to restrain deterioration trends include: theprotection of resources combined with sustainable and more diversified use; the use ofresources that favor equity with a view to overcoming poverty; and the development ofpluralistic, participatory environmental management, and new negotiating methods forconflict resolution.

JAPAN: Yoshihiro Natori, Special Advisor to Director General, Global EnvironmentDepartment, Environment Agency, discussed Japan’s basic environment law and plan, andefforts related to sustainable development indicators, sustainable production andconsumption patterns and strengthening the role of major groups. Policy instruments includeemission controls, environmental impact assessments and economic instruments. Japan hascreated a “Green Purchasing Network” of enterprises, local governments and consumergroups to help promote and exchange information on products. A “Partnership Plaza” willbe established in July to serve as a focal point to facilitate the exchange of experiencesbetween NGOs, private enterprises and local administrations.


The High-Level Segment began on Wednesday, 1 May 1996. During the two-and-a-half-day segment, delegates heard statements from over 50 ministers and high-level officials.CSD Chair Rumen Gechev suggested that delegates discuss the role of the private sector insustainable development, and that the CSD focus on implementing sustainable developmentin economic sectors, such as agriculture and forestry. Nitin Desai, Under Secretary-General of the DPCSD, said that a real challenge is bringing sustainability into decisionsmade by finance ministries. Mohamed El-Ashry, Chair of the GEF, noted that in 1997 theGEF assembly will review its operations and policies. Negotiations on the nextreplenishment will also begin.

ZIMBABWE: Chen Chimutengwende, Minister of Environment and Tourism,supported a dialogue regarding the role of international trade in the promotion ofsustainable development, and noted that the question of resources polarizes debates.

EUROPEAN UNION: Paolo Barbatta, Minister of Environment and Public Works,Italy, said that the mandate for the Special Session should be to maintain the CSD as astrategic forum for policy dialogue and coordination.

POLAND: Stanislaw Zelichowski, Minister of the Conservation of Nature,Natural Resources and Forests, proposed that the Special Session discuss national reports,strengthening institutional processes, education and technology transfer.

BOLIVIA: Moises Jarmusz-Levy, Minister of Sustainable Development, notednational activities, including giving decision making authority to the people. He called forpractical decisions and commitment at the highest level.

REPUBLIC OF KOREA: Jong-Taeck Chung, Minister of Environment, notednational efforts to become a model environmental nation in the 21st century, and calledattention to the transboundary air pollution situation in Northeast Asia.

RUSSIAN FEDERATION: Victor Danilov-Danilyan, Minister for EnvironmentalProtection, called for work on flexible sustainable development indicators before the 1997Special Session.

AUSTRIA: Martin Bartenstein, Federal Minister for Environment, Youth andFamily Affairs, said that Austria attributes high priority to the role that international lawshould play in an integrated approach to environment and development.

IRAN: Hadi Manafi, Vice President, identified issues the Special Session shouldaddress, including: the provision of financial resources and EST transfer; the eradicationof poverty; internal migration and refugees; and the impacts of violence and aggression.

FRANCE: Corinne Lepage, Minister of Environment, stated that the Rio processshould not be allowed to slip into a comfortable regime. The CSD should be a place tochallenge ideas.

COLOMBIA: Jos Mogelan, Minister of Environment, stressed the need to findconstructive ways to relate trade to sustainable development.

THE NETHERLANDS: D.K.J. Tommel, State Secretary for Housing, SpatialPlanning and Environment, recommended that the CSD establish a special task force toformulate recommendations and guidelines for sustainable industrial development.

HUNGARY: Katalin Szili, Vice-Chair of the Hungarian CSD, stated that Hungaryis integrating environmental considerations into all relevant sectoral policies.

THE PHILIPPINES: Cielito Habito, Secretary of Socio-Economic Planning, statedthat they have developed a multi-stakeholder council, and proposed establishing anintergovernmental task force on the transfer and exchange of ESTs.

INTERNATIONAL COLLECTIVE IN SUPPORT OF FISHWORKERS: SebastianMathew, speaking on behalf of 25 NGOs, urged governments to ensure that artisanalfisheries and dependent coastal communities are not adversely affected by aquaculturedevelopment or operations.

CHINA: Amb. Qin Huasun stated that the Special Session should push for an earlyfulfillment of the UNCED commitments.

GERMANY: Angela Merkel, Federal Minister for the Environment, NatureConservation and Nuclear Safety, called for recognition that environmental securitycontributes to stability and peace, and for reinforcing the partnership initiated in Rio at thehighest political level.

CANADA: Sergio Marchi, Minister for Environment, asked how the CSD’s workcould be strengthened and whether the CSD is sustainable. He proposed a youth co-Chairat CSD-5 and a UN-sponsored award for local level initiatives, called “New Futures 21.”

FINLAND: Sirkka Hautojarvi, Secretary-General, Ministry of Environment, calledfor the Special Session to: assess successes and failures; agree on future politicalpriorities and a new five-year work programme; and strengthen public visibility of theCSD and participation of major groups.

GHANA: Christina Amoako-Nuama, Minister for Environment, Science andTechnology, noted that a fundamental component of Ghana’s approach to environmentalmanagement is establishing inter-sectoral bodies to promote implementation in variouseconomic sectors.

ICELAND: Gudmundur Bjarnason, Minister for the Environment, suggested that theSpecial Session identify a few issues of major international concern, such as consumptionpatterns and the relationship between sustainable development and the eradication ofpoverty.

EUROPEAN COMMUNITY: Ritt Bjerregaard, Commissioner for theEnvironment, Nuclear Safety and Civil Protection, noted the importance of the SecondAssessment Report of the IPCC, called on the CSD to raise international awarenessregarding unsustainable use of the sea, and identified EC activities regarding SIDS, aid andtrade.

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 offisheries resources using international cooperative machinery.

UNITED KINGDOM: John Gummer, Secretary of State for the Environment, notedthat too many subjects are not discussed in a spirit of wanting to push the agenda forward,but in fear of going beyond where we have gone elsewhere. The UN should ensure thatenvironmental and sustainable development concerns are taken into account in decisionstaken across the UN system, and UNEP should act as a catalyst and concentrate oninfluencing 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 to play. He also called for theimplementation of oceans agreements, asked what action has been taken regardingAntarctica, and stated that linkages between environment and trade should be discussedopenly.

SWEDEN: Anna Lindh, Minister of the Environment, said the Special Sessionwill be decisive on: fresh water; a legally binding POPs agreement; and forests. A newconcept of 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 a proposed International Court of the Environment. On behalfof the G-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 was one ofthe 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 naturalphenomena such as drought are obstacles that will impede sustainable development. Hecalled on developed countries to continue to support developing countries.

UNITED STATES: Timothy Wirth, Under-Secretary of State for Global Affairs,highlighted recommendations that the CSD: focus more on cross-cutting issues; address theincreased role of international financial institutions; and might be recast as a maincommittee of ECOSOC.

THAILAND: Kasem Snidvongs, Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Science,Technology and Environment, said his government is drafting laws to implement theBiodiversity Convention. 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 subregionalprogrammes, 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 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.

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 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.

PERU: Patricia Iturregui, Executive Committee, National Council of theEnvironment, noted that the executive body of Peru’s environmental authority includesmembers of the private sector and seeks the views of NGOs. She stressed the need for theCSD to address patterns of consumption and production, the link between poverty andsustainable development, and international trade.

BULGARIA: Videlov Mityo, Vice Minister of Territorial Development andConstruction, highlighted win-win situations with private industry. He outlined: economicinstruments and tax reform; removal of environmentally-damaging subsidies; andparticipation of major groups.

JAPAN: Sukio Iwatare, Minister of State and Director-General of the EnvironmentAgency, supported: the FCCC; the Washington GPA; and changing production andconsumption patterns through national initiatives on recycling, greening government andbiodiversity conservation.

BAHAMAS: Lynn Pyfrom Holowesko, Ambassador of the Environment, notednational activities, including the establishment of an environmental court. She suggestedthat the CSD address fresh water resources.

OECD: Makoto Taniguchi, Deputy Secretary-General, stated that the promotion ofsustainable development is part of the original mandate of the OECD, and noted theOECD’s contribution to UNCED and a study on the interlinkages between nationaleconomies.

INDIA: Nirmal Andrews, Joint Secretary, Ministry of Environment, said theinternational flow of private capital will remain very limited. He called for the CSD toinclude cross-cutting issues incorporating economic and social aspects.

INDONESIA: Amb. Isslamet Poernomo said ODA has decreased and littleprogress has been made in transfer of ESTs. There is a growing tendency to useenvironmental factors as protectionist barriers.

GUYANA: Amb. F.R. Insanally described a national biodiversity project that is atrisk of failing without international financial assistance, and the lessons of a 1995 cyanidespill from a mining company reservoir.

MOROCCO: Amb. Ahmed Snoussi noted that ODA flows to developing countriesremain below targeted levels, and suggested sensitizing public opinion to the importance ofthese flows.

BELGIUM: Amb. Alex Reyn proposed that CSD and ILO cooperate on the issue ofjob creation through sustainable development strategies. He expressed hope that thealliance with youth would continue.

VENEZUELA: Beatrix Pineda, General Director, Human Resources Developmentand International Affairs, said Venezuela’s national environmental regulatory framework,which consults with the private sector and NGOs, has served as a regional model. Shecalled for improved knowledge about natural, social and economic impacts of mitigationmeasures.

EGYPT: Amb. Nabil Elaraby raised concerns regarding the status of sustainabledevelopment activities in Africa on the multilateral level. The UN Economic Commissionon Africa initiated the first regional conference on sustainable development in March 1996,which addressed food security, population, environment and human settlements.

PAKISTAN: Amb. Ahmad Kamal stated that sustainable development isovershadowed by poverty, underdevelopment, debt and “broader issues of social justice.”He advocated education on environment and sustainable development.

ENDA-THIRD WORLD: Magdi Ibrahim, Moroccan Coordinator for ENDA-ThirdWorld, emphasized that poverty aggravated by debt burdens hamper sustainabledevelopment in Africa.

WOMEN’S ENVIRONMENT AND DEVELOPMENT ORGANIZATION (WEDO):Bella Abzug, on behalf of WEDO and the Women’s Caucus, stated that the narrowpursuit of economic growth benefiting elites and military dominance is at the core of theglobal environmental crisis. Global poverty and inequality are increasing, and women, theprincipal caretakers of the environment, and children are affected disproportionately. Shecalled for “gender-balanced representation.”

IUCN: The representative described plans for the first World ConservationCongress in Montreal in October 1996. He hoped the WTO Committee on Trade andEnvironment will have a substantial work programme on its mandate to show at theMinisterial Conference in December 1996. Implementation of Agenda 21 must be ownedand guided by stakeholders engaging a bottom-up process.

SIDS NGOS: The representative said the CSD should recognize the importance ofthe International Year of Indigenous People and organize a day to highlight their concernsregarding implementation of Agenda 21. He addressed: climate change; unfettered freetrade; unchecked activities of shipping; destruction of coral reefs; and financial assistanceto implement Agenda 21. He called on the UN to deal with the problems of the remainingcolonies.


During the course of the High-Level Segment two panel discussions were held on “Youthand Agenda 21" and the 1997 Special Session of the UNGA.

PANEL DISCUSSION ON YOUTH AND AGENDA 21: The panel on “Youth andAgenda 21,” chaired by Nitin Desai, met Wednesday afternoon, 1 May 1996. Lova Andre(Sweden) described youth activities at CSD-4 and urged the UN to facilitate theirinvolvement in all UN bodies and processes.

Ghada Ahmandein (Egypt) challenged governments to strengthen youth organizations andestablish a youth task force in the CSD to ensure youth participation in the implementationof Agenda 21 at the international level. Regarding employment and enterprise, sheproposed creating youth credit funds and encouraged youth groups to put forward businessplans. Peter Wilson (US) stated that youth involvement in local Agenda 21s is essentialand challenged governments to provide financial support for creating and maintaining them.He also challenged the private sector to be globally responsible and support youthactivism.

Satria Candao (Philippines) addressed the problem of hunger amid plenty. She called for:a ban on patented seeds; food to be produced regionally and sustainably; and industrializedcountries to be forbidden to export fertilizers that are prohibited in their own countries.Mariana Rodriguez (Argentina) stated that models developed by the World Bank, the IMFand the WTO reflect the interests of the most powerful entities in these organizations. Shecalled for new development elements to be based on respect for the human being and toallow participation.

Robert Micallef (Malta) spoke about technology transfer and climate change. He calledfor: a global tax on emissions; incentives at the national level for renewable energy andenergy efficiency; and CSD action to ensure that countries share the responsibility fortechnology transfer.

Several panelists then commented on their work on indicators. The indicators projectinvolved work with scientists to determine indicators to measure and determine whetherchanges are sustainable or not. The project has provided opportunities for youth tocooperate with youth in other nations and with their governments. Those involved in theindicator project created an “indicator pack,” which provides information for teachers tointegrate the project into their classes.

PANEL ON THE SPECIAL SESSION: Rumen Gechev (Bulgaria) chaired thepanel discussion on the 1997 Special Session of the General Assembly on Thursday, 2May 1996.

Amb. Tommy T.B. Koh (Chair of UNCED Preparatory Committee) called for greaterattention to: protection of the atmosphere; measures to address urbanization; protection ofoceans; clean drinking water; and global leadership. He said that the CSD should work as“a human bridge” between the UN and the real world. Maurice Strong (Chair of UNCEDSecretariat) highlighted motivational and practical considerations. Regarding the latter, hecalled for: remaking industrial civilization through re-examining economic incentives;designing voluntary investment guidelines; and strengthening people’s initiatives.

Barbara Bramble (National Wildlife Federation and on behalf of a number of other NGOs)called for: extending the CSD mandate and developing new priority issues; involvingministries beyond the environment ministry; coordinating national positions; reducingpoverty; resolving UN financial issues; measures on foreign direct investment and marketmechanisms for sustainable development; and sectoral priorities such as transportation,energy and tourism. Henrique Cavalcanti (CSD-3 Chair) identified gender and age, foodand water security, spatial planning and human settlements, and production andconsumption patterns as priorities for the 1997 review. He also addressed conflictprevention, and a coordinated approach to sustainable development in 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. Amb. Razali Ismail (CSD-1 Chair) said the UN must demonstrate a capacityto undertake macro-coordination with the Bretton Woods institutions and the WTO. Thestraitjacket of the traditional division of labor must disappear. The management conceptdiscussed at Rio must be revisited. The term “sustainable development” has beendangerously co-opted by agents of free change.


On Friday, 3 May 1996, delegates began the final meeting of CSD-4 by turning theirattention to Agenda Item 6.b, progress report of the Intergovernmental Ad Hoc Panelon Forests (E/CN.17/1996/24). The Secretariat read a statement regarding the financialimplications for the third and fourth sessions of the IPF.

Vice-Chair Paul de Jongh (Netherlands) then invited the Commission to consider AgendaItem 8, the adoption of a note from the UN Secretary-General (E/CN.17/1996/37) onproposals for a medium-term plan and requesting relevant inter-governmental bodies totake into account decisions of the CSD as well as the Special Session of UNGA 1997. TheCommission also adopted a decision (E/CN.17/1996/L.5) on Intersessional WorkingGroups, pursuant to paragraph 3 of General Assembly Resolution 50/113 on the SpecialSession in 1997, requesting the Ad Hoc Intersessional Working Group, which willmeet from 24 February - 7 March 1997, to assist the Commission in undertaking its review.

ACTION ON DRAFT DECISIONS: The Commission was then invited to considerItems 3, 4, 5b, 5c, and 6a, and adopt all the draft decisions negotiated by the draftinggroups:

Drafting Group I:

  • Small Island Developing States (E/CN.17/1996/L.17)
  • Global Plan of Action for Marine Environment Protection (E/CN.17/1996/L.19)
  • International cooperation and coordination (E/CN.17/1996/L.20)
  • Protection of the atmosphere, oceans and seas (E/CN.17/1996/L.21),
  • Implementation of international fisheries instruments (E/CN.17/1996/L.22)
  • Protection of oceans, seas, coastal areas and development of living resources (E/CN.17/1996/L.23)

Drafting Group II:

  • Demographic dynamics and sustainability (E/CN.17/1996/L.1)
  • Combating poverty (E/CN.17/1996/L.2)
  • Trade, environment and sustainable development (E/CN.17/1996/L.15)
  • Changing production and consumption patterns (E/CN.17/1996/L.16)
  • Financial resources and mechanisms (E/CN.17/1996/L.18)
  • Transfer of ESTs, cooperation and capacity-building (E/CN.17/1996/L.14)

Drafting Group III:

  • Major groups (E/CN.17/1996/L.7)
  • International institutional arrangements (E/CN.17/1996/L.8)
  • Promoting education, public awareness and training (E/CN.17/1996/L.9)
  • National mechanisms and capacity-building (E/CN.17/1996/L.10)
  • Integrating environment and development in decision-making (E/CN.17/1996/L.11)
  • Information for decision-making (E/CN.17/1996/L.12)
  • International legal instruments and mechanisms (E/CN.17/1996/L.13)
  • Information provided by governments and institutions (E/CN.17/1996/L.6)

The US asked that a statement, reiterating that it is not one of the countries that has affirmedor reaffirmed a commitment to 0.7% GNP for ODA, and noting that national governmentshave the primary responsibility for implementing sustainable development, be included atthe end of the CSD report.

The EUROPEAN COMMISSION said it considers that the CSD’s decision onImplementation of International Fishery Instruments (E/CN.17/1996/L.22) is withoutprejudice to the rights and obligations of States in accordance with international law, theUN Agreement on the Conservation and Management of Straddling Fish Stocks and HighlyMigratory Fish Stocks (1995) and the Code of Conduct for Responsible Fisheries (1995).He expressed regret that the very important issue of a call for States to cooperate bybecoming members of regional and subregional fisheries management organizations and byparticipating in regional and subregional fisheries management arrangements that the ECconsiders necessary to ensure the sustainablity of living marine resources is not at allreflected in the CSD’s decision.

CHAIR’S SUMMARY OF THE HIGH-LEVEL SEGMENT: The Chair noted thatCSD-4 was marked by the active participation of many ministers, and representatives ofnational governments, UN organizations and major groups. Participants welcomed theevidence of progress at the national level, but stressed the need to disseminate further themessage of Agenda 21 at the local level.

The Commission welcomed the progress in recent intergovernmental negotiations relatedto oceans and seas, and agreed that the need now is for governments to implement theseagreements. Participants expressed concern that significant fish stocks are depleted orover-exploited and considered that urgent, corrective action is needed. Regardingatmosphere, participants emphasized the need to reduce local emissions, and invitedgovernments to consider policy instruments to improve energy efficiency and to promotethe use of renewable energy resources.

Delegates welcomed the work done by the Intergovernmental Panel on Forests and thereview of the implementation of the Programme of Action for the Sustainable Developmentof Small Island Developing States. Regarding the latter, participants emphasized the needfor greater efforts in developing and implementing sustainable development policies andmeasures, as well as for building human resources and institutional facilities.

Participants recognized the need to further refine the concept of education for sustainabledevelopment and to identify what the key messages of education for sustainabledevelopment should be. With regard to changing consumption and production patterns, eco-efficiency was recognized as a tool, but not a substitute for changes in the unsustainablelifestyles of consumers.

Participants underlined the need to fulfill all financial commitments of Agenda 21, andrecognized that ODA has a special role to play in promoting sustainable development indeveloping countries. The importance of the participation of the private sector was alsonoted. A CSD task force on technology transfer and sustainable industrial development wasproposed. Governments were called on to ensure appropriate coordination between tradeand environment officials.

Finally, the vital importance of the Special Session of the General Assembly was stressed.Participants highlighted the need to: revitalize commitment to the concept of sustainabledevelopment; recognize failures and the reasons for failure; boost implementation of theRio commitments; define priorities for the period beyond 1997; and raise the profile ofissues that were not sufficiently addressed in Rio.

CLOSING STATEMENTS AND OTHER MATTERS: Delegates then adopted theprovisional agenda for CSD-5 (E/CN.17/1996/L.4), which includes a report from theIntergovernmental Panel on Forests and preparations for the Special Session of the UNGA.The Rapporteur, Adam Vai Delaney (Papua New Guinea), then presented the report of thesession (E/CN.17/1996/L.3), which was adopted. After hearing closing statements from theG-77/China, the EU, the US and Belarus, the fourth session of the CSD came to a close.


With much attention directed to the CSD’s five-year review in 1997, delegates andobservers at CSD-4 embarked on a search for “key indicators” of the Commission’s futuresustainability. Among these are renewed political will, enhanced coordination andeffective implementation of Agenda 21. Delegates expressed hope that the coming yearwould prove productive in preparing for the Special Session of the General Assembly. Inaddition, delegates considered the agenda items for the CSD-4, with mixed reviews. Thefollowing analysis highlights aspects of the debates over the five-year review and theCSD-4 agenda, and concludes with some thoughts regarding generating greater politicalwill for the implementation of Agenda 21.

REINVENTING THE CSD: The approach of CSD-5 and the Special Session ofthe General Assembly in 1997, marking the fifth anniversary of UNCED and an opportunityto review the work and role of the Commission, provided a backdrop to many of thediscussions at CSD-4. Indeed some felt the emphasis on the future to some extentovershadowed the supposed focus on atmosphere and oceans issues. The Under-Secretary-General for Policy Coordination and Sustainable Development sought to raise delegatesexpectations for the future of the CSD when he addressed the review process at the openingPlenary, and signaled his priorities: a role for the CSD in filling the gaps in the UN systemwhere no single institution currently has responsibility, e.g. fresh water and oceans; and theinjection of an economic sectoral perspective into issues often viewed only as managementor environmental problems. Other senior UN officials close to the workings of ECOSOCand other functional commissions also expressed a preference for a more focused approachby the CSD, with less emphasis on cross-cutting issues and more attention to coresustainability issues.

By contrast, more than one delegate suggested that the opportunity to discuss cross-sectoralissues not covered by legally-binding instruments is crucial to the post-UNCED process.These delegates were particularly enthused by the opportunity to bring new ideas into theUN system through the CSD, preferring this approach to debating draft decisions intendedto encourage the Conferences of the Parties of legally-binding instruments to implementtheir own mandates. Amb. Tommy Koh (Singapore), at a panel discussion on the future ofthe CSD, criticized the Commission for not acting as a “human bridge” between the UNsystem and the real world. He called upon it to play a “catalytic role,” bringing togethergovernment, business and NGOs to work cooperatively towards sustainable development.

Preparations for the Special Session generated some enthusiasm among NGOs. Theyrecognized that governments are in a quandary over the direction the CSD should follow,and seized upon the issue as one they could influence. One participant suggested that NGOswill “go where there is something to do,” and the future role of the CSD was that “place”for some NGOs. Whether they will sustain their interest in the CSD, however, remains tobe seen. The same participant noted that NGOs have bought into the vision that they mustgive the process five years to see “whether something will happen.” If the five-year reviewdoes not reveal that the CSD has been able to generate enthusiasm for implementingAgenda 21, NGOs may well turn their attention elsewhere.

At the institutional level, some of the most important decisions affecting the future of theCSD will be made within the context of the ongoing UN review. For example, theECOSOC review process is expected to produce a harmonization programme by thesummer, with proposals for functional commissions touching on common themes toimprove communication and management of input. Problems have arisen because functionalcommissions have tended to develop their territorial competence around the cross-cuttingthemes of UN conferences — but such themes, such as poverty, can result in duplicatedeffort and a lack of coordination. ECOSOC has been ceding authority to the functionalcommissions. In the words of one senior official, “We have multidimensional conferencesimposed on a sectoral system.”

INNOVATION OR RENEGOTIATION? The depth and scope of the need for acritical assessment of the CSD’s performance to date was apparent at the closing paneldiscussion where CSD-2 Chair Klaus Tpfer (Germany) reflected a consensus view thatmuch attention needs to be given to improved coordination, concentration and controlwithin the UN framework. Four years into the work of the Commission, a clear consensuson its purpose has not emerged.

This was strikingly reflected in the hodgepodge of opinions expressed by delegates andobservers in response to questions about the relative contribution of the drafting groups andthe High-Level Segment to the process. Some discounted the work of the drafting groupsentirely, calling it irrelevant to the implementation of numerous legally-binding instrumentson environment and development. Others strongly defended the drafting group process,saying that decisions so generated provide global leadership for sustainable development.Most, however, seemed to agree that the High-Level Segment is useful, for it providesimpetus to national decisions on policy making.

A similar mix of views exists on the question of the usefulness of intersessional meetings.While much of the text negotiated at this year’s Ad Hoc Working Group on SectoralIssues was cast aside during the negotiating process at CSD-4, some felt the initial debateof the Working Group was essential for focusing discussions in national capitals prior tocoming to CSD-4. Others strongly opposed the working group process, calling it a waste oftime and money.

Rewriting and renegotiating text is a constant and perhaps inevitable part of the process. Inthe words of one European Union representative, it is “at the core of UN activity.” SeveralCSD-4 delegates, however, were startled by attempts to re-open issues within legally-binding agreements on climate change and depletion of fish stocks. Some NGOs expressedstrong disappointment that an important opportunity to reinforce recent agreements hadbeen lost. However, on a more telling note, many NGOs and delegates doubted theimportance of that opportunity and pointed out that autonomous Conferences of the Partiesto these conventions would be unlikely to note the CSD’s deliberations.

GENERATING POLITICAL WILL: If an informal consensus on the role of theCommission exists, it is as a forum for generating political will to implement Agenda 21.Enhancing political will and attention given to the issues will depend on a number offactors:

a) The extent to which the UN system provides the CSD with a more effective means ofbypassing the “blanding machine effect” (Maurice Strong) the CSD currently has on theissues, attributable to some extent to the role of diplomatic culture. In this area, everydaystandards of credibility are often suspended and pronouncements are subsequently met withskeptical responses — not the least by other governments and the public. One NGOobserver captured popular perceptions when he observed that delegations to such fora asthe CSD think twice before saying nothing.

b) The success of such fora as the CSD in providing an authentic role for NGOs and theirconstituencies, so that domestic political will is generated before and after reticentGovernments address the largely normative agenda for sustainable development. NGOshave noted that all six UN working groups debating aspects of UN reform have closed theirdoors to NGO participants, demonstrating a lack of understanding of the need for publicawareness and support regarding UN processes and decisions.

c) Improved communication and educational strategies to raise the visibility andunderstanding of issues and possible responses. These have been the subject of specialpanel discussions and initiatives are under way.

d) Finally, at all levels, sustainable development must break out of traditionalenvironmental compartments in terms of decision-making structures and conceptualunderstanding. There is an urgent need for greater levels of engagement with Finance andTrade Ministries and, as discussed at some length at CSD-4, with some of the mostpowerful politico-economic players, namely the Bretton Woods institutions, the OECD,and other international financial institutions and corporations. Unless the CSD comes togrips with the forces of globalization, suspicion will grow that the UN intergovernmentalprocess has become a protective shelter where governments need not confront the erosionof traditional notions of sovereignty resulting, in the words of British Environment MinisterJohn Gummer, in decisions not read beyond a small circle of UN aficionados.

Over the next twelve months, the issues of environment and development are likely toreceive some of the closest scrutiny since UNCED. This scrutinty will be due to thepreparations to mark the fifth anniversary of the Earth Summit, and the ongoing UN reviewto address the integration of these issues into the UN system. The Commission, as a result,may receive more of the political attention and scrutiny for which it has called — and thismay well be decisive in itself.


CSD-5 AND THE 1997 SPECIAL SESSION OF THE UN GENERALASSEMBLY: The CSD will devote its intersessional working group meeting,scheduled for 24 February - 7 March 1997, to preparations for the UNGA Special Sessionfor an overall review and appraisal of the implementation of Agenda 21. CSD-5 isscheduled for 7-25 April 1997 in New York. The Special Session is expected to convenefrom 9-13 June 1997. For more information, contact Andrey Vasilyev, UN Division forSustainable Development, tel: +1-212-963-5949; fax: +1-212-963-4260; e-mail:[email protected]

CSD AD HOC INTERGOVERNMENTAL PANEL ON FORESTS (IPF):The IPF will hold its third session from 9-20 September 1996 in Geneva and hold itsfourth session in early 1997 in New York. For more information, contact Elizabeth Barsk-Rundquist, tel: +1-212-963-3263; fax: +1-212-963-1795; e-mail: [email protected] more information on the IPF and its intersessional activities, see Earth NegotiationsBulletin, Vol. 13 No. 14 or go to the UN Department for Policy Coordination andSustainable Development (DPCSD) homepage at and the TreeLink Time Page at on the Internet.

INTERSESSIONAL ACTIVITIES: During the coming months individualgovernments and non-governmental organizations will host meetings and workshops tocontribute to the work of CSD-5. During CSD-4, the following governments announcedplans to host intersessional meetings:

  • The Netherlands will host a workshop on debt-for-nature swaps later this year. For information contact, Ron Lander, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, P.O. Box 20951, 2500 EZ, The Hague.
  • The Netherlands is hosting a workshop on oil and gas exploration and exploitation, scheduled for the second half of 1997. Contact Robert Droop, Ministry of the Environment of the Netherlands, P.O. Box 20061, 2500 EB, The Hague.
  • The Philippines will convene a follow-up meeting to the expert meeting on persistent organic pollutants (POPs) in Manila in June 1996. For more information contact the Philippine Council for Sustainable Development, 3rd Floor, NEDA sa Pasig, Amber Avenue, Pasig City, the Philippines 1600. tel: +63- 2-631-2187 or +63-2- 631-3745; fax: +63-2-631-3714.
  • Finland will host the Intergovernmental Seminar on Criteria and Indicators for Sustainable Forest Management from 19-22 August 1996 in Helsinki. For more information, contact the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry; ISCI Secretariat, tel: +358 0 160 2405; fax: +358 0 160 2430; e-mail: [email protected]; Internet:
  • Australia will host the International Conference on Certification and Labeling of Products from Sustainably Managed Forests from 26-31 May 1996 in Brisbane. For more information, contact: Conference Logistics, tel: +61 6 281 6624; fax: +61 6 285 1336.
  • Zimbabwe will host the CITES Conference of the Parties in June 1997. For more information contact the CITES Secretariat, GEC, 15, Chemin de Anmones, CP 456, CH-1219 Chtelaine-Geneva, Switzerland; tel: +41-22- 979-9139/40; fax: +41-22-797-3417; e-mail: [email protected] Also try or
  • Bolivia will host the Summit of the Americas in Santa Cruz, 7-8 December 1996. For information contact the Ministerio de Desarrollo Sostenible y Medio Ambiente, Secretara Nacional de Planificacin, Av. Arce 2147, Casilla 11868, La Paz; tel: +591-2-391805; fax: +591-2-318395. Internet: the Summit of the Americas Home Page at summit/summit.html; e-mail: [email protected]; or AmericasNet at; e-mail: [email protected]
  • Belarus will hold a conference on sustainable development for countries with economies in transition in Minsk during the first half of 1997. For more information contact: the Permanent Mission of Belarus to the UN; tel: +1-212-535-3420.
  • Germany will conduct an expert workshop on traffic-induced pollution in megacities prior to the next CSD. Germany will also invite ministers to Berlin in spring 1997 for a conference on sustainable tourism. For information, contact the Permanent Mission of Germany to the UN. tel: +1-212-856-6200; fax: +1-212-856-6280.
  • Belgium and Costa Rica will co-host a meeting on indicators for sustainable development in June 1996. Contact Mr. Manfred Petters, Ministry of Environment and Energy, P.O. Box 1338-1002, San Jose, Costa Rica; tel: +506-234-6504/ 234-0973; fax: +506-234-0651.
  • IUCN will host the World Conservation Congress from 13-26 October 1996 at the Palais de Congress, Montreal, Canada. For more information, contact: Ricardo Bayon, Special Assistant to the Director General, 28 Rue de Mauverney, 1196, Gland, Switzerland; tel: +41-22-999 0001, fax: +41-22-999 0002; e-mail: [email protected] Internet: or
  • Global Environmental Action (GEA) of Japan and the CSD Secretariat will co-sponsor the Global Partnership Summit on the Environment in Tokyo in March 1997. For more information, contact the Global Issues Division, Foreign Policy Bureau, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, 2-2-1, Kasumigaseki, Chiyoda-ku, Tokyo 100. tel: +81-3-3580-3311; fax: +81-3- 3592-0364.

Further information