Report of main proceedings for 19 April 2001
Delegates met for the High-level Segment to consider the theme of energy and transport. After a number of opening statements, a general debate was held in the morning. This was followed by an interactive dialogue in the first half of the afternoon session. General debate resumed in the late afternoon and concluded at 8:00 pm.
INTRODUCTORY STATEMENTS: In his opening remarks, Under-Secretary-General of Economic and Social Affairs, Nitin Desai underlined that this was the first political-level discussion on energy at the UN. UNEP Executive Director Klaus Töpfer noted UNEP’s: preparation of the third Global Environmental Outlook; launch of a new environmental information portal; development of the Sustainable Alternative network; and enhanced support for the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. President of UNEP Governing Council David Anderson described the establishment of an Open-ended Intergovernmental Group of Ministers, or their Representatives, on International Environmental Governance, noting that its work should culminate in an input to the preparatory process for the World Summit on Sustainable Development. UNDP Associate Administrator Zéphirin Diabré described UNDP’s activities relating to environment and energy and emphasized the UNDP’s commitment to the 2002 Summit.
The G-77/CHINA said that the draft elements for a decision on energy present a good basis for negotiation and expressed hope that provision be made for the Group’s concerns about sustainable development indicators. The EU and associated countries, inter alia: called on the CSD to recognize that some countries will opt for nuclear energy; urged international financing institutions to make sustainable transport a priority; and underlined the need to support CSD work on indicators for sustainable development.
GENERAL DEBATE: IRELAND noted that some organizations were using global warming concerns to relaunch nuclear energy, and with NEW ZEALAND, said nuclear energy is unsustainable. SAMOA, on behalf of AOSIS, opposed use of the clean development mechanism to support nuclear energy. GERMANY called for the phase out of nuclear power, and highlighted the option of developing UNEP into a World Environment Organization. INDIA said nations should decide their own energy policies, providing safety measures are ensured, and added that subsidies are inevitable where energy access is constrained. The US noted an ongoing national energy policy review and said country-specific circumstances must be considered in choosing from a mix of energy options. NAURU and DENMARK stated that nuclear energy is not compatible with sustainable development, and with MONACO, CYPRUS and BANGLADESH, supported greater use of renewables.
DENMARK noted its achievements in decoupling energy use from economic growth while increasing jobs and urged governments to ensure concrete results at the 2002 Summit. AUSTRIA said developing country rural area access to affordable energy is a precondition for sustainable development. SWITZERLAND called for locally-available renewable energy resources, sustainable forms of mobility and full-cost accounting for transport, and urged CSD-9 to make a strong political statement to conclude the UNFCCC COP-6. The CZECH REPUBLIC emphasized the internalization of external costs, the importance of women in decision making, and indicators in assessing emissions. ALGERIA underlined the importance of natural gas, liquid petroleum gas, lead-free petrol, and solar energy.
Strong support for the Kyoto Protocol was voiced by, inter alia, BRAZIL, CHINA, the EU, MAURITIUS, MOZAMBIQUE, NEW ZEALAND, NORWAY and many others. CHINA said that the US position on the Kyoto Protocol demonstrated "open contempt for the international community," while NEW ZEALAND said it was a "very, very serious development." CHILE noted developed countries’ unsatisfactory implementation of the UNFCCC and, on behalf of the RIO GROUP, invited the US to reconsider its position on the Kyoto Protocol. He expressed concern about the unprecedented growth of the ozone hole over countries in the Southern hemisphere. Expressing surprise at Chile’s statement on the Kyoto Protocol, AUSTRALIA elaborated on its greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions reduction programmes, and noted the inequitable distribution of the global wealth increase.
Stating that "nature does not negotiate," FINLAND said that ambitious environmental policy stimulates technological innovation and that Finland had attained its carbon emissions reduction targets. NORWAY advocated, inter alia, international agreement on taxation of aviation fuel and the phasing out of non-regulated ozone-depleting substances. BARBADOS, on behalf of the Caribbean Community, with NORWAY and the RIO GROUP, re-emphasized concerns about environmental threats posed by the shipment of nuclear waste near their coasts. NORWAY called for stronger international regulation and liability rules for the transport of radioactive material at sea, and for an agreement on an international standard for prior notification. NEW ZEALAND said current agreements on nuclear transport issues should not be undercut by decisions at CSD-9.
POLAND supported the OECD guidelines for environmentally-sustainable transport. MONGOLIA emphasized the special needs of landlocked countries. KOREA highlighted biodiversity conservation in the demilitarized zone and incentives to increase demand for mass transit. SPAIN highlighted the need for "efficient, safe, environmentally friendly and socially fair" transport systems. MAURITIUS noted the environmental and health costs of traffic congestion and measures to address the problem. The UK urged world leaders to commit themselves to attend the 2002 Summit and called for a redoubling of efforts to make progress at the next climate talks.
CANADA, the RIO GROUP and NORWAY supported the CSD’s work on indicators for sustainable development. NORWAY called for the implementation of a globalized version of the Aarhus Convention. KIRIBATI urged addressing the digital divide through technology transfer.
SOUTH AFRICA called for a focus on an assessment of, inter alia, the outcomes of the Rio decisions, the impact of globalization on sustainable development and the environment, and the polarization of wealth. Noting the challenges of poverty eradication and meeting basic human needs, SRI LANKA urged for effective follow-up to UNCED.
GUATEMALA outlined sustainable development initiatives in his country. JAPAN emphasized the participation and support of business and the public for the promotion of technological development and assistance to developing countries. The RUSSIAN FEDERATION called for recognition of States providing global environmental services. EGYPT emphasized the need to create an enabling environment through ODA. MEXICO described efforts to cut GHGs and mainstream environmental decision making. INDONESIA and CHINA highlighted the importance of technology transfer and capacity building. MOZAMBIQUE noted the link between globalization and increased economic asymmetries, associated adverse environmental impacts, and the connection between lack of energy availability and provision of critical social services. BOLIVIA and BRAZIL said that globalization may further marginalize poor countries.
INTERACTIVE DIALOGUE: An afternoon session of interactive dialogue focused on the global challenge of the growing need for, and private and public investment in, energy and transport.
The INTERNATIONAL ATOMIC ENERGY AGENCY supported the use of nuclear power to increase technological and human capital. In response, BELGIUM called for demand-side management and highlighted the unsolved problem of radioactive waste. POLAND supported eliminating barriers to the decentralization of energy generation systems, and opposed the construction of new nuclear power plants. SAUDI ARABIA suggested deleting text on nuclear energy in CSD documentation and opposed discussing climate change issues in the CSD.
ICELAND called for increased use of renewable energy technology (RET). JAPAN discussed the importance of long-term, transparent government policies for investment and recommended privatization of the energy sector. FINLAND stated that energy and carbon dioxide taxes are one of the most cost-effective ways to control emissions. Describing patterns in energy demand, SWEDEN urged for international institutions’ involvement in financing RET implementation. The US described financing methods for their federal transport programmes.
A YOUTH CAUCUS representative questioned why the CSD-9 dialogue on energy has primarily focused on producing energy supply, not reducing demand. A representative of NGOs called for creation of an international sustainable energy agency, which will, inter alia, compensate developing countries for the ecological debt owed to them by developed countries. A TRADE UNIONS’ representative highlighted the promotion of workplace partnerships, indicators and education. A representative of the SCIENTIFIC AND TECHNOLOGICAL COMMUNITY highlighted the establishment of global observing systems. The INTERNATIONAL LABOUR ORGANIZATION noted that sustainable employment and poverty reduction require investment and social dialogue.
IN THE CORRIDORS I
"It's the mad hatter's tea party!" This was how one participant, attending her first CSD meeting, described Thursday's High-level Segment, expressing her surprise at the poor representation of next week's negotiators, and bemusement at the general disinterest of most participants regarding the Ministers' statements. Seasoned participants were more sanguine, and supported the valuable opportunity that the Segment presents for Ministers to speak freely and identify their key priorities. They cited the strong statements of certain JUSCANZ members regarding the US position on Kyoto as evidence of this, and also noted the position of various States on nuclear energy and the marine transport of radioactive material, although some were disappointed at the silence of certain EU countries over the issue of nuclear energy. A number of delegates expressed concern, both with the low level of input from developing country Ministers during the interactive dialogue, and the tendency of Ministers simply to read prepared statements. Some recalled the active efforts of Simon Upton, Chair of CSD-7, to promote meaningful dialogue, and regretted that greater efforts were not being made by all parties to stimulate a more fruitful exchange.
IN THE CORRIDORS II
The informal meeting of Ministers Thursday morning to consult on the World Summit on Sustainable Development is reported to have addressed organizational, procedural and substantive issues. Proposals included the need to emphasize globalization, income disparities, decreasing natural resources and the implementation gap. Agreement is said to be emerging on the Summit theme of globalization, with a goal of no new agreements. Critics were disappointed that input was largely in the form of recommendations, but are anticipating a more interactive dialogue Friday morning. Concerns were also expressed that there was no clear political guidance on the exact nature of outputs from the Summit or how to concretely raise the issue of globalization. Participants were quick to point to a GA resolution sponsored by the Western Europe and Others Group, calling for the submission of Bureau nominees for the process by December 2000, yet it is the only region that has not submitted its nominees.
THINGS TO LOOK FOR TODAY
HIGH-LEVEL SEGMENT: The High-level Segment reconvenes from 11:00 am - 1:00 pm in Conference Room 3 for an interactive dialogue on successful integration of sustainable development into national policies. General debate will be held in the afternoon session, from 3:00-5:00 pm, also in Conference Room 3, and the concluding session from 5:00-6:00 pm.
SIDE EVENTS: An informal meeting of Ministers and heads of delegations will be held from 8:30-10:30 am in Conference Room 5. Various side events, including NGO caucuses, are planned. Consult the list of events for the updated schedule.