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Summary report, 6–9 March 2001

CSD-9 Intersessional Ad Hoc Working Group on Transport and Atmosphere

The Commission on Sustainable Development's Intersessional Ad Hoc Working Group on Transport and Atmosphere met in New York from 6-9 March 2001. The session was held in accordance with resolution 1997/63 of the Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) establishing ad hoc working groups to assist the Commission with preparations for CSD sessions, and decision 8/8 of the Commission at its eighth meeting and a subsequent Bureau recommendation to hold an intersessional meeting on transport and atmosphere to prepare for the ninth session of the Commission (CSD-9).

Over 120 delegates, including member States, intergovernmental organizations, UN bodies and specialized agencies, and non-governmental organizations (NGOs), attended the session. Delegates considered the Secretary-General's reports on transport and on protection of the atmosphere, and prepared two documents outlining possible elements for action-oriented decisions to be taken at CSD-9, which is scheduled to take place in New York from 16-27 April 2001. The Co-Chairs also prepared two documents containing summaries of the discussions held on each issue. At the end of the four-day session, delegates expressed satisfaction with the results of the session and conduct of business, noting that the congenial environment, the willingness to listen to each other, as well as the Co-Chairs' competence, made for efficient and constructive progress.


The CSD emerged from Agenda 21, the programme of action adopted by the United Nations Conference on Environment and Development (UNCED) in June 1992. Agenda 21 called for the creation of the CSD to: ensure effective follow-up of UNCED; enhance international cooperation and rationalize intergovernmental decision-making capacity; and examine progress of Agenda 21 implementation at the local, national, regional and international levels. In 1992, the 47th session of the General Assembly set out in Resolution 47/191 the CSD's terms of reference, its composition, guidelines for the participation of NGOs, the organization of work, its relationship with other UN bodies, and Secretariat arrangements. The CSD held its first substantive session in June 1993 and has since met annually.

In June 1997, five years after UNCED, the General Assembly held a Special Session (UNGASS-19) to review the implementation of Agenda 21. Negotiations produced a Programme for the Further Implementation of Agenda 21. Among the decisions adopted at UNGASS was a new five-year CSD work programme, which identifies sectoral, cross-sectoral and economic sector/major group themes for the subsequent four sessions of the CSD. Overriding issues for each year are poverty, and consumption and production patterns.

CSD-6 met from 20 April to 1 May 1998. Participants considered the economic theme of industry and the sectoral theme of strategic approaches to freshwater management. They also reviewed implementation of the Barbados Programme of Action for the Sustainable Development of Small Island Developing States (SIDS) and discussed the cross-sectoral themes of technology transfer, capacity building, education, science and awareness raising.

CSD-7 met from 19-30 April 1999, to consider the economic theme of tourism, the sectoral theme of oceans and seas, and the cross-sectoral theme of consumption and production patterns. Participants also prepared for the UNGASS review of the Barbados Programme of Action.

CSD-8 met from 24 April to 5 May 2000. Participants considered the economic theme of sustainable agriculture and land management, the sectoral theme of integrated planning and management of land resources and the cross-sectoral themes of financial resources, trade and investment, and economic growth. The conclusions and proposals in the final report of the Intergovernmental Forum on Forests were also discussed, as were preparations for the ten-year review of UNCED.

CSD ENERGY EXPERT GROUP: The multi-year programme of work for the CSD, adopted by UNGASS in 1997, mandates CSD-9 to consider the sectoral theme of atmosphere/energy. At CSD-7, the Ad Hoc Open-Ended Intergovernmental Group of Experts on Energy and Sustainable Development was formally established to prepare inputs to CSD-9, and governments, civil society and other major groups, including the private sector, were called upon to actively participate in the preparatory process.

The first session of the Expert Group met in New York from 6-10 March 2000, and considered reports of the UN Secretary-General on "Energy and sustainable development: Key issues," and national submissions, and produced a Co-Chairs' summary of the discussions. Delegates also agreed on an intersessional programme of work and a provisional agenda for their second session.

The second session was held in New York from 26 February to 2 March 2001, and focused on key issues relating to energy, energy efficiency, renewable energy, advanced fossil fuel technologies, rural energy and energy-related issues in transportation, and regional and international cooperation. Delegates failed to reach agreement on a number of contentious issues, most notably nuclear energy and international cooperation. Delegates agreed to forward to CSD-9 a heavily-bracketed, revised Co-Chairs' proposal for elements for the draft decision on energy.


CSD-9 Vice-Chair Madina Jarbussynova (Kazakhstan) opened the meeting and invited delegates to consider organizational matters. David Stuart (Australia) was elected as Co-Chair of the Working Group. On Wednesday, 7 March, Daudi Taliwaku (Uganda) was also elected Co-Chair.

Co-Chair Stuart introduced, and delegates adopted, the agenda for the Working Group (E/CN.17/ISWG.1/2001/1). He said the intersessional working group should be recognized as preparatory meetings for CSD-9 that aim to achieve tangible, action-oriented results.


Delegates discussed transport during four sessions. On Tuesday, 6 March, the Secretariat presented the Secretary-General's report on transport (E/CN.17/2001/3). Following the general discussion, the Co-Chairs prepared a summary, which delegates considered on Thursday, 8 March. The Co-Chairs' first draft document on elements for the draft decision was presented and discussed on Wednesday, 7 March, and Thursday, 8 March, following which a revised version was prepared. Delegates made comments on the revised draft on Friday, 9 March. Co-Chair Stuart explained that the revised text was prepared on the basis of general discussions, the first reading and written proposals submitted by participants on the first draft. He said the document would provide a starting point for further deliberations and negotiations on this issue at CSD-9.

On Friday, during discussions on the revised draft, the G-77/China proposed new paragraphs, presenting a procedural dilemma that led to prolonged informal consultations, delaying the afternoon and closing Plenary sessions. Co-Chair Stuart explained that the elements for a draft decision and comments by the Working Group would be integrated into a document for consideration at CSD-9, with the exception of an amendment relating to international financial support, capacity building and transfer of environmentally sound technologies, which was briefly discussed and adopted following extensive informal consultations.

CO-CHAIR'S REVISED SUMMARY OF THE DISCUSSION ON TRANSPORT: Many delegates said the initial Co-Chairs' summary was balanced, but highlighted missing elements to be added, including an acknowledgement that countervailing views were expressed regarding the transboundary movement of nuclear waste. Saudi Arabia said references to "sustainable transport" should be reformulated to "transport for sustainable development."

Introduction:The introduction to the revised Co-Chairs' summary notes: that transport investment decisions can promote sustainable development, if they are undertaken with land-use regulations that limit urban sprawl; the need in many countries to promote non-motorized transport and mass transit systems, cleaner fuels, transfer of cleaner technologies and the better maintenance of vehicles; and that growth in air transport has implications for sustainable development.

General Considerations: Many delegations stated that: consideration of transport should be guided by the principle of common but differentiated responsibilities; access to affordable transport remains of prime importance to developing countries; and meeting the demand for transport involves high costs, bearing heavily on public spending, business expenditures, and family budgets, affecting low-income families in particular.

A number of delegations said that balancing the three pillars of sustainable development is difficult and trade-offs will have to be made at times to result in a winning situation. Some delegations highlighted: the findings of the Third Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC); the need for developing an integrated system of land, air, inland waterway and maritime transport; and the need for action to be taken at all levels and by a variety of players – including governments, international and intergovernmental organizations, international financial institutions, NGOs, the private sector and consumers – to shift transportation trends in a more sustainable direction.

Some delegations emphasized that: the transportation sector must be efficient, environmentally sound, safe, and provide mobility and accessibility on an equitable basis to all sectors of society; greenhouse gas emissions from the transport sector largely originate in developed countries; attention must be given to providing equitable access to transport for people with special needs; air pollution resulting from the transportation sector can have a serious effect on children's health and development; and it is incumbent upon all to exercise a gender-perspective approach with regard to transport. Many delegations called for: increased international cooperation in financial and other assistance in capacity building and transfer of environmentally sound transportation technology to developing countries; and expanded efforts by the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) to abate emissions and noise from aircraft, and by the International Maritime Organization (IMO) to improve maritime safety and reduce environmental pollution.

It was generally agreed that: the enhancement of people's mobility and the ability to transport goods and services are essential for economic growth and development; the demand for transport services will continue to increase worldwide given the increasing pace of globalization and the rapid growth of urbanization in the developing world; access to affordable transport remains of prime importance to developing countries; and the transport sector has been the major source of growth in energy demand, which is expected to continue to increase in the foreseeable future.


Section A: Introduction: The section introduces the possible elements the Working Group submits to CSD-9. There were no issues raised on this section.

Section B: General Considerations: This section deals with the guiding principles and transport considerations of a general nature that require attention. The first draft indicated that the CSD-9 could: stress the principle of common but differentiated responsibilities; emphasize the centrality of transport in achieving sustainable development; note that the need for efficient transport systems is increasing and will continue to increase; and reiterate the general considerations of the Programme for the Further Implementation of Agenda 21, the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) and Kyoto Protocol, and the Global Plan of Action adopted by the UN Conference on Human Settlements. The draft also highlighted the challenges of policy making in the transport sector.

In the ensuing discussions, delegates' comments were geared toward proposals for additional text or deletions that would ensure a balance of perspective. The G-77/China proposed text on: new and additional resources; technology transfer; support for capacity building; compliance with international law and agreements in the movement of nuclear waste; and affordable and accessible transport systems. He also suggested reformulating references to dialogue with multi-stakeholders to state that it is encouraged, and not acknowledged, as a precondition for effective action by governments. He also proposed deleting the references to the UNFCCC and Kyoto Protocol, to avoid being selective.

Colombia, Chile, Guyana and Saudi Arabia said loopholes exist in the international environmental regime on the transboundary movement of nuclear wastes and their disposal, and called for further work, including the conclusion of a legally-binding instrument. The Russian Federation, US, Canada and Japan objected, stating that the issue is covered in other areas of the document and that any approach to transboundary movement should be more general. The EU emphasized the importance of the three pillars of sustainable development. Switzerland emphasized the internalization of external costs and the polluter-pays principle, while Norway stressed the impact of transport on community health and safety through air pollution.

During discussion of the revised text, the EU emphasized the need for CSD-9 to, inter alia: introduce some key concepts, such as internalization of external costs and the polluter-pays principle; consider expanding the work of some international organizations, in particular the IMO and ICAO; call on international financial institutions and donors to make sustainable transport a priority; and emphasize that at the regional level, land-use planning and infrastructure planning are important tools in sustainable transportation.

Saudi Arabia suggested the inclusion of four principles: affordability, poverty eradication, common but differentiated responsibilities, and transport for sustainable development. Indonesia also underscored the need for affordable and accessible transport. India preferred using the concept of transport for sustainable development as opposed to sustainable transport. Nigeria supported Indonesia and India, and stated that whereas new concepts are important, they require acceptance by all delegations, and suggested that CSD-9 consider establishing a group to discuss such concepts.

The G-77/China also proposed new language on financial resources, technology transfer and poverty eradication. Following informal consultations, compromise text was accepted along with the revised elements for a draft decision. The compromise text reiterates the principle of common but differentiated responsibilities, elaborates on both the sourcing of financial resources, including new and additional finances to meet sustainable development goals, and access to and transfer of environmentally sound technologies.

The revised elements for a draft decision emphasize a balance between economic and social development and environmental protection in the development of transport services and systems. The document highlights the need for: additional international financial support; transport systems that are affordable, accessible, adequate, efficient, economically viable and socially acceptable; and services and systems that contribute to economic and social development. It also acknowledges the challenges faced by governments in developing transport policies due to, inter alia: their complex and multidimensional nature; the many facets of transport-related activities on the environment; and the wide variety of stakeholders.

Section C: International Cooperation: This section outlines international cooperative actions the Commission could take toward achieving sustainable development. Delegates debated text on the elimination of lead from gasoline, with many delegates preferring language from Agenda 21 on the phasing out of lead in gasoline as soon as possible, and urging technological and economic assistance to allow developing countries to make such a transition. The US, with Australia and Japan, expressed concern regarding language on financing, and suggested consulting with other groups. Colombia reminded delegates that no consensus was required during the discussion. The EU emphasized strategic environmental assessments in major transportation plans and programmes.

In addition to a number of minor amendments, the revised elements for the draft decision reflect proposals recommending that the international community:

  • ensure facilitation of the transfer of cleaner technologies, promotion of energy efficiency, and improvement of transport systems using all relevant financial institutions and mechanisms;
  • encourage international financial institutions to prioritize transport projects for sustainable development;
  • support public-private partnerships based on national priorities;
  • promote capacity building through human resource development programmes for developing countries, projects for the construction, modernization and maintenance of transport and communication infrastructure in mountainous areas and efforts to raise public awareness, as well as transport policies aimed at improving transport sector safety;
  • develop endogenous capacity for both development and production of appropriate technologies;
  • improve the compilation, assessment and analysis of transport-related information and knowledge of developments in policy making and planning at all levels;
  • implement recommendations of UNGASS-19 on the progressive phasing out of the use of lead in gasoline; and
  • undertake measures to promote the use of cleaner fuels.

Section D: Regional Cooperation: This section describes ways in which the Commission can encourage regional cooperation through the better utilization of various regional bodies. Saudi Arabia, with Colombia, proposed a paragraph stating that eradicating poverty is an indispensable requirement of sustainable development and that environmental standards applied by some countries may be inappropriate and have unwarranted economic and social costs. This proposal was discussed under Section B on general considerations during deliberations on the revised draft.

A number of delegations proposed minor changes to the text during consideration of the revised draft. The G-77/China suggested deleting a proposal encouraging the examination of the possibility to institute or strengthen transboundary pollution agreements and references to inter- and intra-regional cooperation in the exchange of best practices. Nigeria said "best" practices is value-laden and preferred confining language to "exchanging practices."

The revised text contains proposals to the UN regional commissions, existing regional development banks, and existing regional organizations and mechanisms. It proposes that the CSD encourage regional cooperation in exchanging of practices, data collection and sharing and financing transport projects for sustainable development, and refers to examining the possibility of instituting or strengthening transboundary pollution agreements, in accordance with the needs and characteristics of each region.

Section E: Recommendations at the National Level: This section states that governments, taking into account their respective national priorities and circumstances, are encouraged to consider a number of national actions. The EU, Australia, and New Zealand supported the elimination of lead in gasoline. Australia, with Canada, Norway, Turkey and the US, warned against emphasizing one pillar of sustainable development over the others, and called for mutually reinforcing solutions. The G-77/China stated that proposals deviating from agreed Rio+5 language – including overemphasis of one of the three pillars of sustainable development, externalities or subsidies – would be unacceptable, as these incur unwarranted costs in developing countries. The G-77/China also proposed language emphasizing support from the international community and stating that only affordable incentives could be provided.

Japan suggested listing examples of efficient transport, such as railroad and maritime transport, and the US added language on age-sensitive transportation. Australia, supporting the EU, urged for the use of stronger language in the provisions on transportation systems that are responsive to development needs, in light of the caveat that national action is subject to country priorities and circumstances.

The revised elements for the draft decision encourage governments, taking into account their priorities and respective national circumstances, to consider:

  • improving incentives as part of an affordable, effective blend of approaches to reduce pollution and improve energy efficiency;
  • integrating economic, social and environmental considerations in decision making in the transport sector;
  • developing transportation systems that are responsive to development needs and, where affordable, reduce negative environmental impacts, and policies on transport services and systems that recognize the potential of integrated land use and infrastructure planning, public transport networks and road planning, as tools for managing transport demand;
  • encouraging private sector involvement in improving the efficiency and emissions controls of each transportation mode;
  • continuing efforts to gradually phase out the use of lead in gasoline;
  • promoting: fuel efficiency; capacity building and appropriate use of information technology; links between different modes of transport; access to efficient, safe, affordable and environmentally sound public transport systems; gender- and age-sensitive planning for transport services and systems, which address social needs, including those of persons with special needs; public participation in decision making, involving all stakeholders; and access to information;
  • facilitating, where possible, an environment conducive to research, development and technological innovation;
  • undertaking further measures aimed at promoting road safety;
  • maintaining and promoting access to affordable transport systems; and
  • inviting governments and relevant organizations to consider measures to enhance fair and efficient pricing in transport and infrastructure use.


Delegates considered the report of the Secretary-General on protection of the atmosphere (E/CN.17/2001/2) on Wednesday, 7 March. Following the general discussion, the Co-Chairs prepared a summary of the discussion and a draft document containing elements for a draft decision on protection of the atmosphere. A first draft of the elements for a draft decision was discussed on Thursday, 8 March. Following the first reading of the draft decision, the Co-Chairs prepared a revised document taking into consideration delegations' proposals for amendments and additions. Delegates made comments on the revised elements for the draft decision on Friday, 9 March, and agreed that comments will be incorporated in the text that will be available at CSD-9.

CO-CHAIR'S REVISED SUMMARY OF THE DISCUSSION ON PROTECTION OF THE ATMOSPHERE: Following the general discussion, the Co-Chairs prepared a summary of the discussion, which delegates considered on Friday, 9 March. The G-77/China, with other developing countries, said the text was not balanced, since it tended to indicate that the problems relating to atmospheric protection lie mainly in developing countries. He noted that some issues that were raised in the discussion were not reflected, such as the need for developed countries to restructure taxes to reflect carbon content and elimination of subsidies.

Introduction: In the introduction, the Co-Chairs' summary highlights themes contained in the report that were of particular relevance to the discussion, including:

  • existing intergovernmental/international frameworks and programmes focusing on non-energy related aspects of the atmosphere and climate;
  • climate change and climate variability factors;
  • reducing climate vulnerability, strengthening resilience and building adaptive capacity;
  • improving the scientific basis for decision making with regard to greenhouse gases and ozone-depleting substances (ODS); and
  • national and regional controls and regulation of transboundary air pollution.

The introduction also notes that at the local level in urban environments, air quality is deteriorating as pollution levels rise, especially in developing countries. The effects of urban air pollution on human health, world heritage sites, and indoor air pollution are underscored.

General Discussion: This section notes specific comments made by participants in the Working Group and highlights the consensus view that climate change issues should not be addressed in the CSD's work.

Delegates noted that air pollution by particulate matter and toxic substances has serious impacts on health, ecosystems and agriculture and has disproportionate impacts on women and children. Delegates identified issues preventing effective protection of the atmosphere, including population growth, mega-cities, lack of resources, and unsustainable patterns of consumption, which need to be addressed through regional cooperation and with appropriate environmentally sound technologies.

Delegates noted the additional need for: adequate replenishment of the Multilateral Fund of the Montreal Protocol; affordable alternatives to ODS; increased assistance for capacity building, education and training, and raising public awareness; cleaner fuels, air pollution abatement technologies and sustainable consumption and production patterns; selection of measures that can be beneficial in addressing transboundary air pollution, climate change and depletion of the ozone layer; goals for the phase out of pollutants with harmful effects on air quality and the ozone layer in developing countries; and emissions inventories and systematic observations.

Delegates warned against the use of ODS not yet covered by international regulations and the need to bring these substances under the control of the Montreal Protocol. This section also notes that delegates reiterated their strong commitment to other instruments, including the Convention on Long Range Transboundary Air Pollution and the Convention on Implementing International Action on Certain Persistent Organic Pollutants (POPs). Others pointed to regional initiatives, such as the Acid Deposition Monitoring Network in East Asia. Some delegations opposed development of a legal instrument on transboundary haze.

This section also includes suggestions by the NGO Caucus on Energy and Climate Change. The NGO Caucus stated that eliminating loopholes in the implementation of the Kyoto Protocol could allow a 5% reduction in greenhouse gases but might not prevent climate change to devastate many countries, and that the CSD was the right forum to lead countries in reducing greenhouse gases.

ELEMENTS FOR THE DRAFT DECISION ON PROTECTION OF THE ATMOSPHERE: Section A: Introduction: No comments were raised on this section, which states that the Working Group submits the elements of the draft decision to CSD-9.

Section B: General Considerations: This section outlines key issues that are to be taken into account when considering protection of the atmosphere. On decisions and policy options, the G-77/China stressed taking into account the priority needs of developing countries for sustained economic growth and poverty eradication. He also urged referring to, inter alia: impacts of natural disasters on human activity; developed countries having the greatest share in polluting emissions; and additional support by the international community. The EU suggested referring to the impacts of atmospheric variations on ecosystems, while Switzerland suggested deleting text stating that addressing atmospheric issues is particularly burdensome on developing countries. Noting that discussions on vulnerability were not reflected, New Zealand suggested referring to the Secretary-General's report on the need to develop new tools for vulnerability assessment.

In the revised elements for a draft decision, the Commission is called on to, inter alia:

  • reiterate the principle of common but differentiated responsibilities and the importance to developing countries of additional international financial support and support for capacity building and transfer of environmentally sound technologies in accordance with Agenda 21;
  • emphasize that the earth's atmosphere must be considered with the oceans and the land surface; and
  • point out that addressing atmospheric issues involves dealing with many problems, such as unsustainable patterns of consumption and production, equity and historical share, increasing population, rapid urbanization, migration to urban areas, lack of financial and technological resources and the interdependency of energy, transport and atmosphere.

In ensuing discussions, the US, opposed by Saudi Arabia, suggested deleting reference to historical share and equity. In response to an inquiry by the G-77/China regarding reference to the consensus text given in paragraph 4 of General Assembly resolution 55/199, Co-Chair Stuart said that it refers to the decision stating that the World Summit on Sustainable Development and its preparatory process ensures a balance between economic, social and environmental issues.

Section C: International Cooperation: This section highlights recommendations that the Commission may wish to make to the international community. In discussing this section, delegates proposed text on, inter alia: the need for assistance to developing countries to introduce cleaner fuels; air pollution abatement technologies; and promoting sustainable consumption and production patterns, particularly in developed countries.

The G-77/China called for, inter alia, references to periodic and adequate replenishment of the Montreal Protocol Multilateral Fund, cost-effective, affordable and environmentally sound alternatives to ODS and for the IPCC to support active and more proportionate involvement of academics and experts from developing countries in the preparation of its reports. The EU and Norway suggested a new paragraph on avoiding the introduction and use of ODS not yet covered by international regulations and supported the expeditious addition of such ODS to Montreal Protocol provisions.

Delegates also suggested references to, inter alia: effectively implementing regional arrangements regarding transboundary air pollution; the integration of atmospheric observing systems at different levels; and countries with economies in transition (EITs) in paragraphs on capacity building, technology transfer and implementation of the Montreal Protocol. New Zealand, with Saudi Arabia, but opposed by Australia and Canada, suggested a paragraph on promoting international research on resilience, vulnerability and adaptation assessments.

The revised elements for a draft decision propose that the Commission recommend that the international community cooperate, including through the provision of assistance to developing countries and EITs, in order to:

  • assist in capacity building, research, education and training in combating and preventing air pollution;
  • assist with the development and introduction of cleaner fuels and air pollution abatement technologies and practices;
  • promote the transfer of cleaner fuels, including advanced fossil fuel technologies, alternative fuel and traffic management technologies, including through the involvement of the private sector; and
  • provide adequate financing for, inter alia, the transfer of environmentally sound technologies.

Issues raised in the subsequent discussion included calls by: the G-77/China to encourage the IPCC to support active and more proportionate involvement of academics and experts of developing countries in the preparation of its reports; Japan, with the US, for reference to integrated global observations in general and integrated global observing strategies; and Canada, urging countries to become Parties to the POPs Convention as soon as possible. Regarding a reference to the Montreal Protocol Multilateral Fund, the US noted that the contributions are voluntary and preferred urging countries to fulfill their pledges. Australia noted that the suggestion by G-77/China for periodic replenishment was not an issue for the CSD to address, but for the Parties to the Montreal Protocol.

Section D: Regional Cooperation: This section describes actions the Commission could encourage at the regional level. Issues raised included whether to delete a reference to strengthening the development of regional agreements and programmes. The EU suggested calling on the Commission to encourage capacity building, institutional strengthening and the involvement of different stakeholders in efforts toward improved air quality, and to search actively for synergies to mitigate local, regional and global atmospheric problems.

The revised elements for a draft decision propose that the Commission encourage: strengthening cooperation on atmosphere-related issues, which accords to each region's needs and characteristics; supporting existing regional agreements for improved air quality and control of transboundary air pollution; and improving, as appropriate, atmospheric monitoring and data compilation on air pollution.

Section E: Recommendations at the National Level: This section states that governments, taking into account their respective national circumstances, are invited to consider a number of national actions. Delegates raised the need for governments to take into account their respective priorities and national circumstances, and for support of the international community, as appropriate. Proposals included calls to governments to: improve shelter conditions, and promote planning and good design in human settlements; draw attention to the usefulness of strategic environmental evaluations on a programme level; avoid introduction and use of ODS not covered by international regulations; support conversion to non-ODS and non-global warming substances or alternative techniques; identify and address the adverse effects of air pollution on human health, in particular on people living in poverty and disadvantaged groups; and continue UNFCCC implementation.

In the revised elements for a draft decision, governments, taking into account their national priorities and circumstances, could be invited, with the support of the international community to, inter alia:

  • improve data compilation and monitoring of air quality;
  • publicize the work of the World Health Organization to develop guidelines for air quality;
  • identify and address adverse effects of air pollution on human health;
  • improve policies that reduce environmental health hazards, including through plans and strategies to prevent, mitigate and respond to diseases resulting from indoor pollution;
  • increase public information and access for all persons, including workers, to information on how to reduce health risks caused by atmospheric pollution and ozone depletion;
  • promote and give incentives to the dissemination of best available and affordable techniques to improve air quality; and
  • improve shelter conditions, bearing in mind that this will be particularly beneficial to the health of women and children.

The G-77/China sought clarification on a reference to improving shelter conditions. The EU said the language addresses indoor pollution and the effects of different types of fuels and technologies. The G-77/China suggested that the Habitat process address this issue.


Co-Chair Stuart introduced the Draft Report of the Working Group (E/CN.17/ISWG.1/2001/L.1) for adoption, drawing delegates' attention to the revised Co-Chairs' summaries and elements for the draft decisions on transport and on protection of the atmosphere. Delegates adopted the Draft Report. Co-Chair Stuart said the meeting had been very constructive, noting the spirit of goodwill exhibited by the delegates. The G-77/China thanked the Co-Chair for his professional and accommodating approach. The meeting concluded at 7:20 pm.


As the Co-Chair's gavel came down to close the meeting of the Ad Hoc Working Group on transport and atmosphere, there was an air of satisfaction among the participants with the work accomplished and the resulting documents. Participants lauded the constructive discussions, saying that the path had been paved for fruitful deliberations at CSD-9. They felt that there was a clear sense of how issues would be discussed at CSD-9, as the Working Group had managed to delineate where there were possibilities for agreement and where divergences existed.

As participants worked under tight time constraints, many delegates based their assessment of the session on the efficiency with which they accomplished their task, the content of the final draft elements, and value the session added to the overall CSD process, as well as on their ability to provide sufficient information on the issues and initiatives they were proposing for CSD-9.


In past CSD discussions on transport and atmosphere, deliberations were focused on aspects related to energy. At this session, the points of departure for the discussions were the Secretary-General's reports, which focused on transport and atmosphere as they relate to sustainable development and to human activities. To many participants, the exclusion of energy issues – which are being addressed by the ad hoc Intergovernmental Group of Experts on Energy and Sustainable Development – and atmospheric issues covered by the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change, reduced the potential for politicizing the discussions. In addition, participants cautioned against replicating discussions and preempting the outcome of ongoing processes, preferring to focus on the identification of issues that are either complementary to the work of other fora or that are not being addressed elsewhere.

This demarcation served to prevent contentious issues from seeping into the deliberations, but also provided an avenue for delegates to broaden the scope of transport and atmosphere issues under consideration. Such broader issues include the gender and age aspects of access to transport, the linkages between atmospheric pollution and health and urban planning, safety issues relating to transport, the use of indicators and strategic assessments in planning, and recognition of the need for affordable and accessible transport. Another area that delegates highlighted as being a significant indicator of progress made was inclusion of the regional aspects of transport and atmosphere protection. All of this suggests that the CSD can add value to work being undertaken in other fora without duplicating efforts.

The input by NGOs in the Group's work did not go unnoticed. One delegate said that NGO interventions had served to apprise him on the human-related aspects of transportation, such as transport challenges faced by women and the elderly, as well as the role NGOs play and will continue to play in addressing concerns on transport and atmosphere. Similarly, according to some observers the NGO input was well coordinated and representative of the broader aspects of the issues.

Participants expressed satisfaction with the conduct of the session, stating that from the outset, there was a clear understanding of what was expected of them and how their work would feed into the CSD. They also felt this clarity provided an atmosphere conducive to constructive discussions, with limited rhetoric, prompting some to say that it was evident "delegates were listening to each other." Other factors contributing to this positive working environment were attributed to the Co-Chairs' effectiveness in capturing, integrating and reflecting delegates' points of convergence and divergence to their satisfaction, and the effective use of informal consultations to resolve the more difficult issues of finance, technology and the principle of common but differentiated responsibilities. Participants were pleased with the way their work was conducted and hoped that this trend would continue into CSD-9.


Even though delegates were satisfied with the progress made at the session, they felt that one of the shortcomings was the lack of time to effectively deliberate on some of the issues raised. This made some participants, especially those from developing countries, wary of agreeing to proposals on these issues.

An example of this was the proposal to establish a network and partnership for integrated observation systems. What appeared at first to be a divergence in opinion, turned out to be an opposition resulting from insufficient information about integrated observation systems. This prompted the proponents of such systems to offer expertise anytime before CSD-9, in order to elaborate on their proposals.

There were other instances where the need for more information was raised, such as during discussions of concepts on the "internalization of external costs," the "polluter-pays principle," subsidies as they apply to transport, and on "sustainable transport" and on "transport for sustainable development." This call for information was in order to ensure "joint ownership" based on a common understanding of the concepts. There was a call for the establishment of smaller working group at CSD-9 for this purpose.

Given the goodwill demonstrated throughout the session and that the purpose of the intersessional working groups is to provide for detailed examination of the issues, some felt it was a lost opportunity that such issues were not sufficiently considered. As concerns raised about insufficient information and the need for global acceptance of the concepts are likely to recur at CSD-9, actions to ensure these gaps are addressed either before or in parallel to CSD-9 need to be undertaken.


Overall, delegates left the Working Group session confident that they had paved the way for a constructive process for deliberations on transport and protection of the atmosphere at CSD-9. Although the draft documents reflect divergent views, they are nonetheless balanced and steer clear of extremities. Delegates were also optimistic that the atmosphere cultivated among participants at the session will be maintained at CSD-9. However, deliberations during the coming week's intersessionals on information for decision making may, in the end, set the tone for CSD-9.


INTERNATIONAL THERMAL OPERATIONS AND HEAVY OIL SYMPOSIUM: This symposium will be held from 12-14 March 2001, on Margarita Island, Venezuela. There will be nine technical sessions covering a broad range of topics related to heavy-oil recovery and thermal operations. For more information contact: Society of Petroleum Engineers (SPE); tel: +1 972-952-9353; fax: +1 972-952-9435; e-mail:; Internet:

INTERNATIONAL TRADE FAIRS FOR ENERGY AND ENVIRONMENTAL TECHNOLOGY: The trade fairs will be held from 13-16 March 2001, in Leipzig, Germany. These fairs will focus on energy-related issues such as power engineering, energy services and energy trade and management. For more information, contact: Dr. Deliane Traeber, Leipziger Messe; tel: +49 0341-678-82-97; fax: +49 0341-678-82-92; e-mail:; Internet:

MIDDLE EAST OIL SHOW AND CONFERENCE: This conference will be held from 17-20 March 2001, in Bahrain. Sessions will cover topics such as reservoir engineering, well logging and improvements in drilling performance. For more information, contact: Society of Petroleum Engineers (SPE); tel: +1 972-952-9353; fax: +1 972-952-9435; e-mail:; Internet:

MANAGING YOUR ROAD ASSETS: This conference will be held from 19-21 March 2001, in Melbourne, Australia. It is organized by ARRB Transport Research Ltd., and will cover such topics as strategic issues, congestion management, traffic and local roads. For more information, contact: Margaret Husselbee; tel: +61 3-9881-1578; fax: +61 3-9887-8104; email:; Internet:

BUILDING CAPACITIES FOR MAINSTREAMING GENDER IN DEVELOPMENT STRATEGIES IN LDCS: This workshop will be held from 21-23 March 2001, in Cape Town, South Africa. The workshop is being organized by UNCTAD and the Government of South Africa and is aimed toward policymakers from LDCs dealing with development strategies, as part of the preparatory process for the Third United Nations Conference on the Least Developed Countries (LDCIII), to be held in Brussels from 14-20 May 2001. The primary objective of the workshop will be to highlight the links between gender, poverty reduction and development and emphasize the necessity to mainstream gender in LDCs' national policies and programmes. For more information, contact: Ms. Massi Sahami-Malmberg, UNCTAD; tel: +41 22-907-5537 or 907-5882; fax: +41 22-907-0050; e-mail:; Ms. Mmabatho Matiwane, Department of Trade and Industry, South Africa; e-mail:; Internet:

SEVENTH LATIN AMERICAN AND CARIBBEAN PETROLEUM ENGINEERING CONFERENCE: This conference will be held from 25-28 March 2001, in Buenos Aires, Argentina. The theme of the conference is "Upstream and Downstream: The Two Stages of the Oil Challenge." For more information, contact: Society of Petroleum Engineers (SPE); tel: +1 972-952-9353; fax: +1 972-952-9435; e-mail:; Internet:

ITE 2001 SPRING CONFERENCE: This conference, organized by the Institute of Transportation Engineers, will be held from 25-28 March 2001, in Monterey, California, USA. It will focus on improving transportation performance and productivity. For more information, contact: Conference Registration; tel: +1 202-289-0222; fax: +1 202-289-7722; e-mail:; Internet:

APEC 21ST CENTURY RENEWABLE ENERGY DEVELOPMENT INITIATIVE PRIVATE SECTOR FORUM: This meeting will take place on 26-27 March 2001, in Portland, Oregon, USA. The objective of the Forum is to promote extensive private sector involvement in the identification and implementation of renewable energy projects. For more information, contact: the Organizing Committee and APEC Sustainable Development Network, Portland, Oregon, tel: +1-503-279-9565; fax: +1-503-279-9381; Internet:

BIENNIAL INTERNATIONAL OIL SPILL CONFERENCE: This conference will be held in Tampa, Florida, USA, from 26-29 March 2001. The focus will be on prevention, and will cover the complete life cycle of oil, extending across the entire environment, from the marine to the inland regions. For more information, contact: American Petroleum Institute; tel: +1 202-682-8000; fax: +1 202-682-8223; e-mail:; Internet:

SECOND INTERNATIONAL EXHIBITION ON NEW ENERGY AND CLEAN ENERGY 2001: This exhibition will be held from 30 March – 1 April 2001, in Shanghai, China. The exhibition will profile, inter alia: solar power equipment; wind power accessories and manufacturing equipment; and application technology and manufacturing equipment of hydrogen energy. For more information, contact: Sylvia Cheng, Coastal International Exhibition; tel: +13 852-2827-6766; fax: +13 852-2827-6870; e-mail:; Internet:

SECOND ANNUAL GLOBAL CONFERENCE ON ENVIRONMENTAL TAXATION ISSUES, EXPERIENCE AND POTENTIAL: This conference will take place from 1-3 April 2001, in Vancouver, Canada. The objective of the conference is to exchange ideas, information and research findings among scholars, executives, tax professionals, non-governmental organizations and policy makers focused on environmental taxation issues. For more information, contact: Aida Burgos; tel: +1 604-453-4018; fax: +1 604-436-0286; e-mail:; Internet:

TENTH INTERNATIONAL COURSE ON THE IMPLEMENTATION OF WIND ENERGY: This course will be held from 2-13 April 2001, in Petten, the Netherlands. The course will focus on the implementation of large scale, grid-connected wind energy systems. For more information, contact: Lucia Bakker, Netherlands Energy Research Foundation; tel: +31 224-564949; fax: +31 224-563214; e-mail:; Internet:

SIXTH INTERNATIONAL CONFERENCE ON SOLAR ENERGY AND APPLIED PHOTOCHEMISTRY: This meeting will be held from 3-8 April 2001, in Cairo, Egypt, and will focus on basic and applied photochemistry, photophysics, photobiology, as well as their industrial and environmental implications. For more information, contact: Sabry Abdel-Mottaleb, Faculty of Science, Ain Shams University, Cairo, Egypt; tel: +20 12-2169-584; fax: +20 02-2447-683; e-mail:; Internet:

INTERGOVERNMENTAL PANEL ON CLIMATE CHANGE: This meeting will be held from 4-6 April 2001, in Nairobi, Kenya. The IPCC Plenary is expected to accept the Working Group III contribution to the Third Assessment Report. For more information, contact: IPCC Secretariat, c/o World Meteorological Organization; tel: +41 22-730-8208; fax: +41 22-730-8025; e-mail:; Internet:

12TH GLOBAL WARMING INTERNATIONAL CONFERENCE & EXPO - KYOTO COMPLIANCE REVIEW: This meeting will be held in Cambridge, UK, from 8-11 April 2001. For more information, contact: Sinyan Shen, The Global Warming International Center Headquarters, Naperville, Illinois, USA; tel: +1 630-910-1551; fax: +1 630-910-1561; Internet:

22ND INTERNATIONAL POWER SOURCES SYMPOSIUM: This symposium will be held from 9-11 April 2001, in Manchester, England. The overall aim of the symposium is to advance the education of the general public by improving understanding and knowledge in the field of research and development in the use of non-mechanical power sources, particularly batteries and fuel cells, as well as photovoltaic and other non-electrochemical power sources. For more information, contact: Bob Baily, International Power Sources Symposium Limited; tel: +44 1892-652881; fax: +44 1892-653459; e-mail: or; Internet:

NINTH SESSION OF THE COMMISSION ON SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT: The ninth session of the Commission on Sustainable Development will be held in New York from 16-27 April 2001. This session will focus on: atmosphere; energy/transport; information for decision making and participation; and international cooperation for an enabling environment. The topic of the multi-stakeholder dialogue segment will be energy and transport. For more information, contact: Andrey Vasilyev, Division for Sustainable Development; tel: +1-212-963-5949; fax: +1-212-963-4260; e-mail:; Internet: For information for major groups, contact Zehra Aydin-Sipos, Division for Sustainable Development; tel: +1-212-963-8811; fax: +1-212-963-1267; e-mail:

Further information