Report of main proceedings for 20 April 2001
Delegates continued the High-level Segment in the morning session, starting with a brief interactive dialogue on the successful integration of sustainable development into national policies. This was followed by general debate in the afternoon.
CSD-9 Chair Bedrich Moldan (Czech Republic) opened the interactive dialogue, which addressed the questions: How successfully have we integrated sustainable development into our policies? What experiences can we share in this regard? What is the way forward?
Highlighting government sustainable development initiatives: THAILAND described rural electrification, awareness raising, and renewable energy programmes; the REPUBLIC OF KOREA discussed eco-efficiency projects, the President’s commission on sustainability, and work on sustainable development indicators; the US referred to a state-level greenhouse gas action plan; the CZECH REPUBLIC discussed strategic environmental assessments of various sectoral policies and incorporation of sustainable development into national development plans; and MOROCCO described rural electrification programmes. MEXICO referred to recent efforts to reduce energy consumption through equipment standards, and FINLAND noted that their national sustainable development committee comprised of representatives of government, NGOs, trade unions, and business.
The INTERNATIONAL FUND FOR AGRICULTURAL DEVELOPMENT pointed out their Rural Poverty Report 2001, and called for refocusing poverty eradication strategies on rural development. A representative of the SECRETARIAT OF THE CONVENTION TO COMBAT DESERTIFICATION said that addressing the effects of drought is one way to promote food security and eradicate poverty. The INDIGENOUS PEOPLES’ CAUCUS called for, inter alia: redress for Indigenous Peoples who have suffered injustices due to energy-related projects; adoption by governments of the UN Draft Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples; and a moratorium on oil drilling and uranium mining on Indigenous Peoples’ lands. The WORLD CIRCLE OF THE CONSENSUS underlined that there cannot be sustainable development without sustainable energy, and called for locally-available renewables.
During the general debate, most countries briefly outlined their energy policy initiatives. BURKINA FASO highlighted the challenges and strategies to meet national energy demands, the relation between transport and energy, and, noting the lack of private sector investments in energy provision due to unprofitability, called for international cooperation in capacity building, technology transfer and resource provision. ANGOLA highlighted problems relating to the shortage of investment capital, inadequate management skills, the lack of access to energy sources and improved technologies, and underlined the role of women in rural areas.
NIGERIA elaborated on energy and transport initiatives it had undertaken, expressed support for the use of voluntary indicators that are tested by all countries, and called for support on the use of the internet, technology transfer, capacity building and funding. He said all issues to be addressed at the World Summit on Sustainable Development should be discussed by the CSD preparatory committee. TUNISIA highlighted its initiatives to meet energy demand and reduce pollution, and appealed for the recycling of developing country debts into environmental projects.
Noting the recent Africa High-level Regional Meeting on Energy and Sustainable Development, KENYA highlighted: access to energy, the development of renewable energy technologies (RETs) and advanced fossil-fuel technologies, and ensuring an integrated approach to rural development. He outlined the African Energy Ministers’ Programme of Action, which includes: promoting energy efficiency and conservation; developing RETs; establishing a regional data base; harmonizing energy standards and procedures; enhancing sub-regional cooperation; intensifying exploration and development of natural gas; and developing a regulatory framework for the energy privatization process.
PERU highlighted the obstacles and problems it faces in energy and transport matters, including resources, technological gaps and geographic dispersion, and underlined the importance of markets to address the high initial costs of technology acquisition. BENIN elaborated its sustainable development strategies, including rural electrification and solar photo-voltaic electrification of health centers countrywide, and the development of an environmental framework. He called for support to enable least developed countries to implement multilateral environmental agreements. VENEZUELA outlined several initiatives undertaken towards attaining sustainable development, such as the adoption of a new constitution that enshrines sustainable development as a fundamental right, and that provides for mandatory environmental and social impact studies.
LITHUANIA advocated: full assessment of the environmental and social costs of energy production; stimulating renewable energy sources; and creating favorable legal and economic conditions for private sector investments. CUBA underlined the growing inequity of resource distribution, increasing environmental degradation and "the absurd models of consumption being imposed on us." He advocated the development of advanced fossil fuel technologies, and rejected the US position on Kyoto, which he suggested "shows the shortsightedness and arrogance for which they are known."
ITALY stated that the current model of development is unsustainable, called for a shift to renewable energy technologies, and said nuclear energy is incompatible with sustainability. FRANCE noted the need to review the development model, highlighted the long-term challenge of achieving fair growth, and said that a major concern is how to ensure everyday changes in lifestyle. She argued that although the Kyoto Protocol is not perfect, it is the only agreement to combat climate change and associated disasters, and thus that "we should not allow ourselves to be destabilized or distracted by the unilateral position of one state that is a major consumer of hydrocarbons."
Underlining his country’s vulnerability to climate change impacts, MOROCCO called for, inter alia: immediate implementation of international obligations regarding the transfer of financial resources and technology; programmes that promote renewables; and better co-ordination of international environmental governance, welcoming UNEP’s actions on this issue. Outlining recent initiatives in his country, including the introduction of a carbon dioxide tax, SLOVENIA emphasized: integrating the environment into other policy areas; substituting fossil fuels with renewables; and promoting energy efficiency and broad partnerships.
Recalling the Secretary-General’s report on the impact of economic embargoes on energy provision, IRAQ asked whether it is not time for the CSD to take measures on such actions that are "killing development." Drawing attention to the recent financial crisis in Southeast Asia, MALAYSIA: highlighted the challenges of globalization on developing countries, noting the need for developing country resilience in the market integration process; called for consideration of globalization as a cross-cutting issue during the session and in the 2002 Summit; and said the CSD should be ahead of developments within and outside the UN to ensure it not a moribund institution. The DEMOCRATIC PEOPLE’S REPUBLIC KOREA expressed concern regarding the negative impacts of globalization and recommended: increasing investment for sustainable development; promoting research and development on RETs and advanced fossil fuel technologies; and providing financial and technical assistance for renewables and sound nuclear energy.
On information for decision-making, the PHILIPPINES noted asymmetries regarding access to information and the implicit reliance of multilateral financing institutions and business on the market. GHANA said the 2002 Summit would not be action-oriented if political leaders went there with predetermined speeches, and urged political leaders to take the opportunity to debate with colleagues with the objective of arriving at consensus. He emphasized the role of renewables, mass transportation, and sustainable development indicators.
Recalling a number of the commitments, PAKISTAN said these had been betrayed and were being viewed primarily from an "environmental prism." He observed that the number of countries with unsustainable debt is growing, protectionist barriers continue to restrict access to developed country markets, and that ODA, which is the only other financial resource which developing countries have, is decreasing. He expressed concern that instead of receiving financial assistance, developing countries were being given inventories of best practice and prescriptive guidelines that lead to conditionalities. MACEDONIA called for government interventions in five directions: strategic, organizational, economic, regulatory and technological. He emphasized the need to strengthen the role and capacity of the CSD. NEPAL: highlighted the need for poverty alleviation; outlined their activities to promote sustainable energy practices; underlined the need for capital for clean and safe energy; and elaborated the importance of protecting the mountain ecology.
In his closing remarks, Chair Moldan commended Ministers on their productive early morning informals, and summarized the key points raised during the week’s High-level Segments including, inter alia: identification of new mechanisms for financing, such as micro-level and public-private partnerships; promotion of poverty eradication as sustainable development’s main goal; the need for renewable energy technologies, especially for decentralized rural electrification; near-unanimous support for the Kyoto Protocol; the need for effective land-use planning that incorporates the transport requirements of women; the use of scientifically-based information for transparent decision making; capacity building to overcome the digital divide; and a renewed global commitment to sustainable development at the 2002 Summit.
IN THE CORRIDORS
A feeling of inertia and lack of progress permeated the high-level informal consultations on climate change held Friday evening, 20 April and Saturday, 21 April, at New York’s Waldorf Astoria Hotel, attended by some 40 environment ministers. The meeting was convened to: express support for the Kyoto Protocol as the framework for international climate change negotiations; provide feedback on UNFCCC COP-6 President Jan Pronk’s proposal on ways to advance key political questions to be resolved at COP-6 bis; and chart a way forward, following recent US pronouncements against the Protocol.
During the discussions, delegates questioned the US position, noting, in particular, new findings that suggest that implementation costs are lower than initially anticipated, and underlining the fact that the US is the world’s largest emitter of greenhouse gases. The US is currently engaged in a Cabinet-level policy review, the results of which are to be presented at COP-6 bis in Bonn in July. The policy review process is considering working from a different track to that of the Protocol, particularly regarding developing country commitments and the IPCC’s scientific findings on, inter alia, the duration and location of climate change consequences.
Some participants are said to have urged for a middle ground instead of confronting the US, and there are also indications that there was a willingness to show greater flexibility on sinks within the clean development mechanism. Regarding Pronk’s proposal, developing countries apparently expressed displeasure at not being consulted, and indicated a preference for Pronk’s first proposal developed soon after COP-6. They urged Pronk to convene a meeting to discuss adaptation and the proposal prior to COP-6 bis. Further consultations are expected to take place in Stockholm, Sweden, during the diplomatic conference for the signing of the POPs Convention in May 2001.
THINGS TO LOOK FOR TODAY
DRAFTING GROUP ONE: Drafting Group I will convene to conduct a first reading of the draft elements of a decision on energy from 10:00 am - 1:00 pm in Conference Room 2. If necessary, the first reading will continue from 3:00-4:30 pm in Conference Room 2.
DRAFTING GROUP TWO: Drafting Group 2 will convene to conduct a first reading of the draft elements of a decision on international cooperation for an enabling environment from 3:00-6:00 pm in Conference Room 3. The Group will also convene from 7:00-9:00 pm in Conference Room 3 to conduct a first reading of the draft elements of a decision on information for decision making and participation.
DRAFTING GROUP THREE: Drafting Group 3 will convene to conduct a first reading of the draft elements of a decision on atmosphere from 10:00 am - 1:00 pm in Conference Room 3. The Group will also convene from 4:30-6:00 pm in Conference Room 2 to conduct a first reading of the draft elements on transport.