Daily report for 28 January 2002
2nd Session of the WSSD Preparatory Committee
The second preparatory committee (PrepCom II) for the World Summit on Sustainable Development (WSSD) opened at the UN Headquarters in New York on Monday, 28 January 2002. Delegates, representatives from major groups and observers met in Plenary all day to hear opening statements, adopt the agenda and organization of work, accredit organizations, and begin a comprehensive review and assessment of progress achieved in the implementation of Agenda 21 and other outcomes of the UNCED, as well as of the Programme for the Further Implementation of Agenda 21.
PrepCom Chair Emil Salim (Indonesia) opened the session at 10:25 am and emphasized: encouraging meaningful and substantial preparations for WSSD in order to attract the attention of world leaders; integrating all three pillars – economic, environmental and social – in discussions of sustainable development; ensuring major group participation; meeting new challenges such as globalization; and overcoming environmental, political and economic crises through the WSSD process.
Chair Salim then introduced, and delegates adopted, the agenda (E/CN.17/2002/PC.2/1) and organization of work (E/CN.17/2002/ PC.2/1/Add.1).
ACCREDITATION OF INTERGOVERNMENTAL ORGANIZATIONS AND NGOS
Chair Salim presented, and delegates accredited, intergovernmental organizations, namely: European Space Agency; International Energy Agency; Mines Ministries of the Americas Conference; North American Commission for Environmental Cooperation; Standing Committee of Parliamentarians of the Arctic Region; Nordic Council of Ministers; Consultative Group for International Agricultural Research; and the Intergovernmental Forum on Chemical Safety. Delegates also accredited a number of NGOs and other major groups, except the International Campaign for Tibet, whose accreditation is pending the outcome of informal consultations.
REVIEW AND ASSESSMENT OF PROGRESS IN AGENDA 21 IMPLEMENTATION
Chair Salim invited delegates to consider the agenda item on the comprehensive review of progress achieved in implementation of Agenda 21 and other Rio outcomes, which consisted of the Secretary-General’s report, nine presentations on the results of intergovernmental meetings and processes, and results of regional preparatory meetings.
REPORT OF THE SECRETARY-GENERAL: Nitin Desai, Under-Secretary-General for Economic and Social Affairs, introduced the Secretary-General’s report on implementing Agenda 21 (E/CN.17/ 2002/PC.2/7) and enumerated achievements since Rio, including: increased environmental awareness; establishment of principles such as common but differentiated responsibilities and the precautionary principle; acceptance that addressing human deprivation is a global responsibility; and changes in the corporate sector’s approach to sustainability. Highlighting challenges in the WSSD process, he called for, inter alia, establishing partnerships and reasserting high-level political commitment, which should be achieved through practical steps.
INTERGOVERNMENTAL MEETINGS AND PROCESSES: GERMANY presented the results of the International Conference on Freshwater (E/CN.17/2002/PC.2/10), held in Bonn, Germany, from 3-7 December 2001, and highlighted Conference recommendations directed to the WSSD. ICELAND presented two reports: the first on the Reykjavík Conference on Responsible Fisheries in the Marine Ecosystem (E/CN.17/2002/PC.2/3), held on 1-4 October 2001; and the second on the results of the Intergovernmental Review Meeting on the Implementation of the Global Programme of Action for the Protection of the Marine Environment from Land-based Activities (E/ CN.17/2002/PC.2/15), held in Montréal, Canada, on 26-30 November 2001. CANADA presented the report of the International Pollution Prevention Summit (E/CN.17/2002/PC.2/2), which was also held in Montréal, Canada, on 18-20 October 2001, and elaborated on substantive outcomes that include creation of a Global Information Network and action plans.
The Secretariat of the UN Convention to Combat Desertification presented a report issued by the Fifth Conference of the Parties to the Convention (E/CN.17/2002/PC.2/11) held from 2-13 October 2001 in Geneva, Switzerland, which contains conclusions and recommendations on future steps in the implementation of the Convention, and a political statement addressing the poverty and environment nexus. The Secretariat of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) presented the Marrakesh ministerial declaration, issued by the Seventh Conference of the Parties to the UNFCCC (E/CN.17/ 2002/PC.2/4), held in Marrakesh, Morocco, from 29 October to 9 November 2001.
UNESCO presented the resolution of the Executive Council of the International Oceanographic Commission (IOC) of UNESCO that was convened on 10-11 December 2001 (E/CN.17/2002/PC.2/Misc.1). It outlines the IOC’s commitments. He also discussed the deliberations and outcomes of the Global Conference on Oceans and Coasts at Rio+10, held in Paris, France, from 3-7 December 2001, which represents its input toward Chapter 17 of Agenda 21.
UNEP Executive Director Klaus Töpfer presented a progress report on international environmental governance (IEG), noting that five meetings had taken place, with the last scheduled for 12 February 2002 in Cartagena, Colombia. He described UNEP’s inputs toward WSSD, and said that the decision on IEG by the Seventh Special Session of the UNEP Governing Council scheduled for 13-15 February 2002 in Cartagena will be reported to WSSD PrepCom III.
AUSTRIA presented reports of the first and second Global Forums on Sustainable Energy (E/CN.17/2002/PC.2/14). The first Forum was held in December 2000 and addressed issues pertinent to energy for sustainable development, while the second, held in October 2001, addressed energy technologies for rural development.
RESULTS OF REGIONAL PREPARATORY COMMITTEES: In the afternoon Plenary, Chair Salim invited delegates to consider the results of the preparations in the five UN regions, as well as of the interregional preparatory meeting of small island developing states (SIDS) (E/CN.17/2002/PC.2/5/Add.1-6).
Switzerland, speaking on behalf of the UN ECONOMIC COMMISSION FOR EUROPE (UNECE), reviewed the outcome of the regional preparatory meeting held in Geneva on 24-25 September 2001. He stressed that the ministerial statement set a common regional platform that went beyond the targets set in Rio and that poverty eradication was identified as a central theme. He said the other priorities included exploring innovative sources of financing, ensuring sustainable management of natural resources, making globalization work for sustainable development, changing patterns of consumption and production, providing good governance and improving the institutional framework for sustainable development.
On behalf of the AFRICAN REGION, Zambia presented the results of the African preparatory conference held in Nairobi on 17-18 October 2001. He reviewed elements of the ministerial statement, such as the industrial decline and marginalization of Africa, the negative effects of globalization, HIV/AIDS, the need to remove obstacles to developing country exports and to ensure resource flows to Africa, debt reduction/cancellation, access to safe water, and education. The major limiting factor in implementing Agenda 21, he said, was the lack of resources for implementation, that is, financing for development. He suggested that the vision for Johannesburg be a statement of time-bound action with indicators of performance.
Yemen, on behalf of the WEST ASIA REGION, reviewed the processes that led to the Arab Declaration to the WSSD, which highlights achievements, including reduced illiteracy and the establishment of the Greater Arab Free Trade Zone. He identified remaining challenges to be addressed at WSSD, such as: escalating poverty and population; a strengthened private sector role; women’s education; the attainment of World Trade Organization objectives and market access for developing country exports; instability from the lack of peace and security in the region; research on technology transfer; implementation of the Biosafety Protocol of the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) for research on effects of genetically modified organisms; provision of finance for sustainable development; and a regular review of the attainment of sustainability objectives.
Brazil, on behalf of the LATIN AMERICA AND THE CARIBBEAN REGION, highlighted: subregional meetings; the influence of the Global Conference on the Sustainable Development of SIDS held in Barbados in 1994; regional vulnerability to natural disasters; and the need for early warning systems, technology transfer and implementation of Rio agreements. He identified sustainable development issues to be addressed at WSSD, including negative impacts of globalization, involvement of civil society, financing for sustainable development and meeting targets for offficial development assistance, ODA. He called for ratification of the CBD and the Kyoto Protocol and for sustainable development of mountain ecosystems, and proposed that the WSSD theme be "towards a new globalization that ensures that development is sustainable, equitable and inclusive."
Singapore, on behalf of SMALL ISLAND DEVELOPING STATES (SIDS), reported on the meeting of the Alliance of Small Island States, that covered topics including: the outcomes of the regional preparatory meetings; capacity building needs; the role of civil society; adaptations to climate change; and the Barbados Programme of Action.
During discussion of the reports of the regional preparatory meetings, Spain, on behalf of the EUROPEAN UNION (EU), supported the UNECE priorities and assured delegates that the EU was ready to play a prominent role in preparation for Johannesburg. He noted similarities between the meetings, including the need for an inclusive participatory process with common but differentiated responsibilities, the protection of natural resources and the need to change patterns of consumption and production. He identified potential themes for the Summit, including poverty eradication, globalization for sustainable development, strengthened governance, and finance for partnerships. JAPAN expressed support for the Asia Pacific regional report, and detailed priorities related to science and innovative technologies to be reflected in the Johannesburg outcomes. The ECONOMIC AND SOCIAL COMMISSION OF ASIA AND PACIFIC and SURINAME also made statements in support of their respective regional groups.
IN THE CORRIDORS
PrepCom II started inauspiciously on Monday, 28 January, as disappointed delegates realized that the session was definitely not going to be a negotiating one. Some spent their day in regional or like-minded groups consolidating positions on the Secretary-Generalï¿½s report and preparing input for the Chairman's text, which is expected to be presented toward the end of the second week and will form the basis for negotiations at PrepCom III.
Activity among NGOs was more upbeat, however, as discussion was underway regarding the possibility of calling for a treaty on corporate responsibility as one of the Summit's outputs. Those preparing for the Multi-Stakeholder Dialogues, scheduled to start Tuesday afternoon, were less enthusiastic. They expressed frustration at the lack of clarity about how nine sectors would effectively share three-hour dialogue sessions with governments – which would supposedly lead to real partnerships by the end of WSSD – especially after last year's dialogues were poorly attended by governments. Others were frustrated at the lack of coordination among NGOs, which was attributed in part to the break-up of the CSD steering committee in May 2001 during PrepCom I.
THINGS TO LOOK FOR TODAY
PLENARY: Delegates will meet from 10:00 am - 1:00 pm in Conference Room 1 to hear inputs from Executive Heads of UN Agencies, financial institutions and Convention Secretariats, and reconvene from 3:00 - 6:00 pm in the General Assembly Hall for the first Plenary of the Multi-Stakeholder Dialogue Segment, which will address overall progress achieved in the implementation of Agenda 21.