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Daily report for 26 April 2000


On the third day of the eighth session of the Commission on Sustainable Development, the first meetings of the High-Level Segment focused on land and agriculture, on preparations for the ten-year review of the United Nations Conference on Environment and Development in 2002, and on the outcome of the Intergovernmental Forum on Forests (IFF). A panel discussion on trade and indigenous people took place in the evening.


CSD-8 Chair Juan Mayr opened the first meeting in the High-Level Segment, focusing on land and agriculture.

INTRODUCTION: The UN Under-Secretary General Louise Fréchette recalled the UN Secretary-General’s Millennium Report, in which he equates "environmental freedom" - the freedom of future generations to sustain their lives - with other freedoms championed by the UN. She described the continuing human plunder of the global environment, noting that responses are often "too few, too little and too late." She recalled the Secretary-General’s call for a high-level public panel to assess biotechnology, and called for further insights into globalization, investment, trade and sustainable development.

HIGH-LEVEL STATEMENTS: The EUROPEAN UNION called for, inter alia: sustainable and productive land-use planning and management, using participatory, transparent and accountable decision-making; good governance; the primacy of domestic funding for sustainable development; and equal access to land and legal security of tenure. On sustainable agriculture and rural development (SARD), the EUROPEAN UNION noted its support for the World Food Summit targets, access to credit for small-scale farmers, improved cooperation among donors, and called for the progressive reduction of export support for agricultural commodities.

The G-77/CHINA called for measures to cushion the impact of financial volatility on developing countries, the transfer of environmentally sound technologies (ESTs) and support for indigenous technologies, debt write-off, the achievement of the ODA target of 0.7% of GDP, and political support for the World Food Summit targets. He expressed difficulty with the concepts of the multi-functional character of agriculture and land (MFCAL) and sustainability impact assessment, and called on delegations to address access to land by rural women. IRELAND highlighted the adoption of an integrated strategy for rural development, and noted the importance of international efforts to relieve poverty and of security of land tenure. SOUTH AFRICA said Agenda 21 was the height of enlightenment in a century in which mankind sank to its deepest levels. ARGENTINA opposed any reference to the concept of multi-functionality in CSD documents. CHINA called for increased ODA and poverty eradication, environmental protection legislation, and testing of agricultural biological products and technology. The UNITED STATES called for the mobilization of civil society, and emphasized land tenure security, conservation incentives and natural resource valuation, and the role of urban agriculture in achieving food security. AUSTRALIA underscored the need to empower, educate and motivate local managers and, supported by URUGUAY, opposed the concept of multi-functionality.

SAMOA, speaking for the ALLIANCE OF SMALL ISLAND STATES (AOSIS), underlined the value of sustainable plans and management schemes, Geographic Information Systems, and regional cooperation. ICELAND highlighted the benefits of removing unsustainable agricultural subsidies, supported biotechnology as an important part of the solution, and emphasized the role of the UN Convention on Desertification. SRI LANKA called on the international community to provide aid for technology and experts. URUGUAY called on developed countries to remove agricultural subsidies and technical barriers to developing country exports. TONGA, speaking for the Pacific Forum Group, called for wider application of the Environmental Vulnerability Index as an alternative to GDP and expressed concern with the intellectual property rights regime. EGYPT emphasized the need for practical action. HUNGARY highlighted the multi-functional nature of agriculture. MEXICO called for a focus on the Biosafety Protocol and deforestation. The NETHERLANDS expressed concern with the decline of interest in food security, as evidenced by decreasing levels of ODA. Supported by AUSTRIA, he stated that attacks on multi-functionality would not lead to confidence building. The NETHERLANDS also called for a consultative forum on SARD. TUNISIA emphasized the role of traditional, rural and organic agriculture.

EXPERT INPUT: Gordon Conway, President of the Rockefeller Foundation, said he defined sustainable agriculture as agriculture that is resistant to stress and shock, combining productivity, stability and equity. Miguel A. Altiere, University of California, Berkeley, outlined the achievements, trends and impacts of modern agriculture.

DIALOGUE: The REPUBLIC OF KOREA and JAPAN emphasized the multi-functional nature of agriculture. INDONESIA highlighted the need to improve access to land and ESTs. FRANCE called for continuing debate with all stakeholders. CANADA suggested avoiding a distracting debate on multi-functionality.


Chair Mayr introduced the High-Level Segment with a thematic focus on the preparations for the 2002 review of progress since UNCED. Nitin Desai, Under-Secretary General for Economic and Social Affairs, suggested that Rio+10 focus on analyzing barriers to implementation. Yolanda Kakabadse, President of the IUCN, recommended consideration of the topics of sustainable energy, finance, trade, the economy, conservation and looking at the possibility of creating a counterweight to the WTO. Klaus Töpfer, Executive Director of UNEP, called for an assessment of progress before Rio+10 and suggested locating the conference in the developing world. He recommended a focus on poverty and environmental security.

HIGH-LEVEL STATEMENTS: NIGERIA, on behalf of the G-77/CHINA, suggested that: the CSD act as the preparatory committee for Rio+10; a trust fund be created to facilitate the participation of developing countries; and that developing countries decide the location for Rio+10. PORTUGAL, for the EUROPEAN UNION, called for CSD-10 to serve as the preparatory committee for Rio+10 and for coherence between Rio+10 and follow-up to other UN conferences. He urged ratification of the Kyoto Protocol by 2002. JAPAN proposed the creation of an expert group to provide input into the preparatory process and that Rio+10 be held in Asia. FINLAND supported measurable targets for eco-efficiency and an Asian or African conference location. CANADA called for: Rio+10 to be a Head of Government level conference; the CSD to undertake preparatory work; a shift away from negotiation of a declaration document; and locating Rio+10 in a developing country. The CZECH REPUBLIC recommended mobilization of civil society and ratification of the Kyoto Protocol. GERMANY highlighted poverty elimination, participation of Heads of State, and ratification of the Kyoto Protocol. He also welcomed South Africa’s offer to host Rio+10. CUBA highlighted transfer of finance and ESTs. The UK recommended naming Rio+10 "Poverty, Development and the Environment," expressed preference for South Africa’s offer to host it, supported calls for the ratification of the Kyoto Protocol and for strengthening UN institutions, and proposed action programmes on fisheries, food, freshwater and forests. POLAND recommended that Rio+10 address poverty, consumption and production patterns, energy efficiency, capacity building and technology transfer. SWITZERLAND urged ratification of the Kyoto Protocol and strengthening UN institutions, and offered financial assistance to the developing country host of Rio+10. BRAZIL offered to host Rio+10. KAZAKSTAN emphasized regional-specific sustainable development indicators (SDIs). MONACO highlighted the role of regional bodies and SDIs. INDONESIA advocated participatory processes and recommended locating Rio+10 in Asia.The REPUBLIC OF KOREA offered to host Rio+10 and proposed the theme of sustainable development in an era of globalization. SWEDEN called for steps toward financing Agenda 21 and supported South Africa as Rio+10 host; the RUSSIAN FEDERATION supported the Republic of Korea’s offer to host.

DIALOGUE: MEXICO called for a group of eminent persons and experts to help prepare the conference. ARGENTINA supported Brazil’s offer to host Rio+10 and underlined the importance of education for sustainable development. The NETHERLANDS called for the adoption of the World Bank and IMF approach to the preparation of a final text after summits. DENMARK supported the view that stock taking should precede Rio+10 and commended the suggestion that globalization be a central theme. NEW ZEALAND underlined the popular ownership of Agenda 21 and the need for varied styles of participation at Rio+10. FRANCE said that globalization is challenging international rules, and that Rio+10 must address global institutional architecture, equity, debt, aid and investment. BOLIVIA supported Brazil’s bid to host the event. YOUTH and STUDENT NGOs called on governments to support youth participation at Rio+10 and in preparations. EGYPT called for a focused and costed agenda prepared by UNEP and DESA. GUYANA called for attention to the systemic constraints on implementation, including examination of whether the WTO process contradicts UNCED objectives. HONDURAS underlined the importance of national strategies. The UNITED STATES called for a focus on environmental degradation, gender issues and assessment of institutional arrangements. BELGIUM noted the importance of public participation. SUDAN emphasized the facilitation of developing country participation. The NGO STEERING COMMITTEE stated that Rio+10 should set target dates for the ratification of international agreements.


IFF Co-Chairs Ilkka Ristimaki (FINLAND) and Bagher Asadi (IRAN) outlined the IFF process and results, highlighting the consensus reached on proposals for action and the proposed establishment of a United Nations Forum on Forests (UNFF). Many delegations endorsed the report and outcomes of the IFF, particularly the creation of the UNFF. Many developing countries underscored the need for financial support to implement country-driven strategies. The UNITED STATES announced a voluntary contribution of $800,000 for the transition from the IFF to the UNFF. PERU called for consideration of traditional forest-related knowledge. A number of NGOs emphasized monitoring and participation.


In the evening, a panel exploring the links between trade, indigenous people and land rights was moderated by Vicky Tauli Corpus of the Asian Indigenous Women's Network. A representative of the MAORI peoples described the indigenous pre-European political economy in New Zealand. The JUDICIAL COMMISSION FOR SELF-DEVELOPMENT noted, inter alia, that indigenous peoples are affected by harmful environmental practices that result from compliance with regional economic agreements. DEFENSORIA MAYA described the current imbalance between spirituality, humanism and materialism. The AMERICAN INDIAN LAW ALLIANCE outlined problems associated with indigenous participation in economic systems.


Informal ministerial discussions are reportedly focusing on the possibility of lining up Rio+10 as the target date for countries to proceed with ratification of the UNFCCC Kyoto Protocol. Momentum has gathered behind this idea since the G-8 Meeting, where Japan and Russia joined the Europeans in pursuing this timeline.


HIGH-LEVEL SEGMENT: The High-Level Segment will reconvene at 10:00 a.m. in Conference Room 1, with a thematic focus on finance and investment. In the afternoon, the High-Level Segment will focus on trade.

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