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Daily report for 17 April 2001


Delegates continued with the Multi-stakeholder Dialogue on Sustainable Energy and Transport. The morning session focused on sustainable choices for producing, distributing and consuming energy, and the afternoon session focused on public-private partnerships to achieve sustainable energy for transport.


OPENING STATEMENTS: The WORLD BUSINESS COUNCIL ON SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT, for business and industry, supported the reduction of energy use through legislation and standards, labeling programmes, building codes and information provision.

Stressing the role of scientists in research and development (R&D), the WORLD CONSERVATION UNION, on behalf of scientists, underscored the need to set appropriate prices by, inter alia: phasing out subsidies for polluting and unsafe energy systems; incorporating externalities and life-cycle costs; eliminating regulatory impediments; promoting hydrogen fuel use; increasing research in carbon sequestration; and accelerating research in renewable energy technologies (RETs).

Stating that the impasse on the Kyoto Protocol derives from the inability to determine "when and how" to reduce the use of fossil fuels, the COMMUNICATIONS, ENERGY AND PAPERWORKERS UNION stressed the centrality of trade unions in resolving the impasse if the "Just Transition" policy is utilized, and called on the CSD to support a joint research effort on employment.

The COUNCIL OF MAROOCHY SHIRE gave examples of technologically and economically feasible efficient energy uses and, on behalf of local authorities, called for national standards for clean energy production and for priority investment to reduce energy demand and achieve energy efficiency. A representative of the CITY OF LEICESTER highlighted local government activities on issues such as energy efficiency, awareness raising, home energy surveys and energy advice centers. He urged national governments to support initiatives such as demand-side management, energy codes, and purchasing policies. The RURAL DEVELOPMENT SERVICES NETWORK, on behalf of NGOs, recommended, inter alia: phasing out nuclear energy and fossil fuels in a reasonable time frame; increasing focus on energy conservation and RETs; promoting sustainable energy planning and construction; and disseminating information on minimum efficiency standards.

OPEN DIALOGUE: AUSTRALIA identified four key policy issues: promoting improved efficiency in the generation, transmission and use of energy; improving current conventional fuel technologies and increasing the use of RETs; attracting private sector investments; and capacity building. SAUDI ARABIA said there is no future for nuclear energy. THAILAND identified concerns relating to nuclear accidents and waste. SAMOA said sustainable energy for small island developing States means accessibility, availability and affordability, and proposed a regional approach to attract investment in RETs, capacity building and R&D.

STAKEHOLDER RECOMMENDATIONS: Representatives of TRADE UNIONS recommended: phasing out nuclear energy; increasing energy efficiency and decarbonization; improving building insulation; pursuing possibilities for job creation in renewable energy; promoting collaboration with stakeholders; and implementing systems that compensate, re-skill and employ workers.

Noting their recent actions to minimize environmental impacts, representatives of BUSINESS AND INDUSTRY said all current energy options should be kept open and recommended, inter alia: development and improved access to technology; stable investment conditions for sustainable access to energy; development and provision of natural gas to developing countries; "seriousness" in climate change assessment; and scientific studies on health impacts.

LOCAL AUTHORITY representatives elaborated the City for Climate Protection Programme and called for standards on clean energy production and air quality, the removal of obstacles inhibiting local authority provision of clean energy technologies, and investment in R&D.

Representatives of NGOs presented CSD-9 Chair Bedrich Moldan (Czech Republic) with a petition arguing that nuclear energy is not compatible with the spirit of Agenda 21, and recommended: using the Global Energy Charter as a policy tool; recognizing the role of International Standards Organization standards; introducing a moratorium on oil exploration in sensitive areas; establishing a UN clearinghouse on energy technologies; promoting small scale RETs; shifting to sustainable agriculture; setting up an international solar agency; and cooperating internationally to eliminate subsidies.

Representatives of the SCIENTIFIC AND TECHNOLOGICAL COMMUNITY highlighted the World Energy Assessment and the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s Third Assessment Report, and recommended: increasing research funding; developing standards to measure and monitor sequestration activities; setting uniform standards to assess sustainable development; and addressing the impacts of all energy sources. They also called for: gross domestic product accounting that includes environmental costs; legislation requiring triennial private company reports that include performance-based assessments; the establishment of a new discipline, energetics; and an international stakeholders’ forum. FAO proposed an international protocol on energy similar to the code of conduct for responsible fisheries.


OPENING STATEMENTS: The WORLD BUSINESS COUNCIL FOR SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT, for business and industry: described energy’s relation to the three pillars of sustainable development; highlighted the widespread use of petroleum for transport; and noted some fuel types are more appropriate for certain uses. He said growing demand for energy and fuel for transport in the developing world requires more sustainable and innovative transportation markets.

The INTERNATIONAL COUNCIL FOR SCIENTIFIC UNIONS, on behalf of the scientific and technological communities, said that affordable and environmentally-sound mobility is essential for sustainable development and called for a zero-emission transport system, increased support for research on sustainable energy, and new transport infrastructure and technology.

The INTERNATIONAL TRANSPORT WORKERS’ FEDERATION, speaking for trade unions: expressed concern with the privatization of rail networks and the negative aspects of the flags-of-convenience system in the maritime industry; shared examples of poor working conditions of transport workers; highlighted the close link between transport safety, work and environmental conditions; and called for international standards for safety, environment and labor.

Two local authority representatives, MEXICO CITY and MIAMI-DADE COUNTY, called for improvements in fuel and transportation technology and promotion of sustainable consumption. A representative from the EUROPEAN FEDERATION FOR TRANSPORT AND ENVIRONMENT, speaking for NGOs, suggested implementing strategies to promote energy efficient transport and adopting policies to reduce transport demand.

OPEN DIALOGUE: PAKISTAN said a majority of clean fuel and alternative technologies is from the developed world, and called for increased technology transfer to developing countries on a preferential basis. SWEDEN observed that transport problems of the North focus on congestion, security and service, and highlighted the impact of private sector investment decisions on production and consumption patterns.

STAKEHOLDER RECOMMENDATIONS: TRADE UNION representatives noted rail traffic is more fuel efficient than road transport, and highlighted: the need for cooperation between business and industry in worker transport programmes; transport issues related to indirect, and therefore inefficient and unsustainable, movement of market products; the relationship between HIV/AIDS and transport; and the participation of all stakeholders, including Indigenous Peoples, in the design, implementation and evaluation of programmes.

Representatives from BUSINESS AND INDUSTRY highlighted: actions to increase the sustainability of existing fuels; the formation of the International Downstream Task Force; the need for increased funding for sustainable transport projects; a public-private sector partnership programme for used oil management in South Africa; the need to ratify relevant international conventions; scientific risk analysis; and the important role that natural and liquefied petroleum gases play in developing and developed countries and in the transition to hydrogen vehicles. They recommended establishing: conditions for a sustainable market for gas-based fuels; equal access to mobility; and promoting progress in the mobility sector to contribute to sustainable development and poverty reduction.

Representatives of LOCAL AUTHORITIES emphasized walking as a form of transport and supported investing in cycling and walking routes with aesthetic and safety incentives. They recommended: national standards for vehicle emissions; the use of public leadership to promote cleaner transport; and the use of government purchasing power to expand markets for cleaner vehicles.

Representatives of the SCIENTIFIC AND TECHNOLOGICAL COMMUNITY highlighted: the creation of guidelines on work between sectors and on good practices for risk analysis and management; internalizing external costs; the effectiveness of regulations and institutional arrangements in reducing vehicle emissions and improving transport technology and fuel efficiency; increased use of cars and resulting land-use practices; vehicle congestion and pollution in Beijing; the need for more research, development, demonstration and deployment of alternative fuels; and the reduction of greenhouse gases to attain zero emissions. They recommended the establishment of global standards and coordination in the development of new fuel and engine technologies.

Representatives of NGOs highlighted: the influence of government investment on transport use; the need for land use changes and regulation to reduce emissions; non-motorized forms of transport, which require, inter alia, investment and road safety programmes; impacts of traffic; and government efforts regarding an upcoming International Civil Aviation Organization meeting on market-based measures to reduce emissions.


As the stakeholder dialogues ran their course, and with the imminent arrival of Ministers, some delegates were speculating on the possible impact on the CSD deliberations of various parallel events. First, intense consultations have been taking place on the possible outcome and implications of Wednesday’s meeting of the open-ended Group of Ministers on international environmental governance. This is the first meeting of the Group, which has been convened to review the requirements for a greatly strengthened institutional structure for international environmental governance. Delegates are linking this discussion to the possible institutional power-politics between DESA and UNEP regarding the management and content of the World Summit on Sustainable Development, as well as to the longer-term role of the CSD.

Second, some observers noted that a number of regular CSD participants were absent Tuesday, and suggested that they may have chosen to attend a climate change meeting in Washington, DC. In the wake of recent high profile political statements, there is speculation on the extent to which current "Kyoto politics" will play out during the High-level Segment.


MULTI-STAKEHOLDER DIALOGUE: The last Dialogue session, on sustainable transport planning, will be held from 10:00 am - 1:00 pm in Conference Room 3. Scheduled speakers include: International Road Transport Union, IUCN-India, Union of Autonomous Trade Unions of Croatia, the Mayors of Abuja and Chicago, Sustainable Transport Action Network for Asia and the Pacific, with Poland and Japan as respondents.

HIGH-LEVEL SEGMENT: The opening of the High-level Segment and Panel on financing energy and transport for sustainable development will be held from 3:00-6:00 pm in the ECOSOC Chamber. The Panel speakers consist of heads of financial institutions, corporate executives and government officials.

SIDE EVENTS: UNEP’s open-ended Group of Ministers, or their representatives, working on international environmental governance is scheduled to take place from 10:00 am - 1:00 pm in the ECOSOC Chamber. Several NGO Caucuses and meetings are also planned. Consult the daily list of events for the updated schedule.

Further information