Daily report for 31 January 2002
2nd Session of the WSSD Preparatory Committee
Delegates met all day in Plenary, concluding the Multi-Stakeholder Dialogue in the morning and, in the afternoon, hearing country statements on progress in the implementation of Agenda 21.
MULTI-STAKEHOLDER DIALOGUE: Opening the session, PrepCom Chair Emil Salim (Indonesia) emphasized the need to step up tangible action for sustainable development. Reporting on the previous day’s deliberations, Discussion Group I Co-Chair Jan Kára (Czech Republic) highlighted: poverty alleviation and economic stability as key for sustainability; the need for responsible and innovative partnerships; and creation of an international sustainable energy fund and a self-financing World Marshall Plan. Discussion Group II Co-Chair Maria Luisa Viotti (Brazil) noted: agreement to institutionalize the Multi-Stakeholder Dialogue (MSD) process; diversity as a principal element of sustainable development; and peace and stability as prerequisites for sustainable development.
Major group representatives made additional comments in response to the Co-Chairs’ summaries. LOCAL AUTHORITIES emphasized the need for strong partners. FARMERS emphasized frameworks to facilitate access to capital and financing. The SCIENTIFIC AND TECHNOLOGICAL COMMUNITY noted exchanges among scientists, participation in technology development, and focus on production and consumption patterns. INDIGENOUS PEOPLES stressed resource mobilization and traditional knowledge as "a resource management science." BUSINESS AND INDUSTRY highlighted performance-based reporting, level playing fields, and post-Summit partnerships.
WOMEN identified data disaggregation of women as producers and contributors to sustainable development, and proposed reforms to address negative impacts of globalization on women. TRADE UNIONS cautioned against the privatization of core development services and, while committing to mobilize highest-level political support for WSSD, called for priorities and actions justifying it. NGOs called for a debt relief agreement and stressed that the precautionary principle and risk assessment can co-exist. YOUTH reiterated the importance of a plan of action to emerge from the Summit.
In a new round of dialogue, TUVALU, with a number of major groups, emphasized the spiritual dimension of sustainable development, attributing the failure of many development projects to ignorance about cultural and human values. Spain, for the EU, reaffirmed its commitment to work on gender issues, employment, education and technology. INDONESIA emphasized the need for capacity building, time-bound strategies for technology transfer, and ethics. JAPAN committed to continue support for an electronic dialogue network on WSSD issues. BRAZIL supported addressing production and consumption patterns and, with INDONESIA, bridging the digital divide.
On gains from the MSDs, the NETHERLANDS noted: putting people first; promoting diversity in all three sustainable development pillars; and developing action-oriented outputs. SOUTH AFRICA noted the need for: addressing sustainable development governance; ensuring high-level political commitment; establishing a global regulatory framework that addresses power relations; and setting up a global plan of action with concrete, time-bound targets to implement the Rio and UNGASS+5 outputs. TURKEY noted partnerships, poverty eradication, and local initiatives.
Regarding the way forward: Local Authorities said they would bring a strong delegation to Johannesburg; the Scientific and Technological Community emphasized South-South technology transfer and capacity development at the local level in developing countries; and Business and Industry emphasized capacity building. Farmers expressed disappointment that the dialogue on sustainable agriculture lacked prominence.
CHINA expressed hope that stakeholder participation will be an opportunity to revitalize international cooperation, and BRAZIL enquired about mechanisms to guarantee technology transfer and promote training in developing countries. Women’s representatives pointed out that new communication technologies are not always readily adaptable by all groups. While noting benefits from mining, Business and Industry acknowledged there is room for improvement. NGOs urged that the WSSD commit to reversing negative trends set in motion at the WTO Doha Ministerial meeting and reviewing the CSD in order to enhance sustainable development governance. Local Authorities called for consideration of water in the WSSD agenda, and Youth stressed poverty eradication, free and equal access to information and communication, and policies to address youth employment.
The NETHERLANDS called attention to rural areas and consideration of food security and agriculture in the WSSD agenda. An NGO delegate cast doubt on attempts to achieve sustainable development by using unsustainable practices. Indigenous Peoples called for the implementation of commitments regarding forests, water and dams, and Trade Union representatives described the "brain drain" from developing to developed countries. GHANA, supported by the Scientific and Technological Community, called attention to biopiracy.
In concluding comments, Discussion Group I Co-Chair Diane Quarless (Jamaica) assured delegates that their input would be reflected in the final Chair’s Summary, and Discussion Group II Co-Chair Kiyotaka Akasaka (Japan) noted a lively discussion. A representative of the Scientific and Technological Community maintained that good governance needs good science, and a Business and Industry representative stressed the need to turn globalization into a force for global equity and sustainability.
A candle-lighting ceremony with singing to celebrate a "Summit of Hope," organized by Trade Unions and Youth, and presided over by Chair Salim, marked the conclusion of the MSDs.
REVIEW OF PROGRESS IN THE IMPLEMENTATION OF AGENDA 21: Chair Salim opened the general debate on the comprehensive review and assessment of progress in the implementation of Agenda 21.
Venezuela, for the G-77/CHINA, noted the need for capacity building and that lack of peace and security prevent sustainable development, called for a Summit focused on action through time-bound steps, and indicated key issue areas, including: globalization; poverty eradication; unsustainable consumption and production patterns; implementation; and international governance for sustainable development. Spain, for the EU, noted that human rights and good governance are preconditions for sustainable development, and growth in GDP has not helped poverty or the environment. She expressed support for core labor standards and a ‘Global Deal’ to accelerate Agenda 21 implementation and achieve sustainable consumption and production, and called for decoupling economic growth from environmental degradation.
GHANA acknowledged the achievements of the Capacity 21 programme and called for, inter alia, time-bound measures for poverty eradication and debt relief. The UK suggested that the WSSD commit to principles of sustainable development strategies as expounded by the Accra International Forum, which endorsed the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) Development Assistance Committee guidelines on the subject. EGYPT rejected the notion of the "clash of civilizations," and stressed that the WSSD should be for all people, including Palestinians. He proposed endowing the CSD with financial and capacity-building mechanisms, and that the UNEP International Environmental Governance process await results from sustainable development governance discussions. CANADA highlighted health and environment, governance, poverty alleviation, sustainable development of natural resources, community development, harnessing science, access to safe and renewable sources of energy, and private sector participation.
PAPUA NEW GUINEA proposed the inclusion of oceans, coasts and islands as a new focal area and called for technology aid for fisheries. ICELAND suggested strengthening the focus on oceans and supported the idea of a global alliance on renewable energy. NEW ZEALAND noted challenges facing small island developing states (SIDS) and identified the need, inter alia, to establish marine and coastal protected areas and address unregulated fishing. SWITZERLAND noted the development of a national assessment of, and strategy for, sustainable development and highlighted sustainable mountain development as a focus, noting links to water resources, poverty and biodiversity. JAPAN supported environmental conservation and economic development through innovative technology and called for: an energy-efficient, recycling-based society; international research cooperation on climate change; resolving mega-city issues; and environmental education.
COSTA RICA, for the Rio Group, noted that global poverty, external debt, distorted international trade, and limited market access prevent sustainable development, and called for renewable and clean energy technologies, reducing vulnerability to natural disasters, ratification of the Kyoto Protocol, and equitable distribution of benefits from the use of genetic resources. IRAN, concerned about limited progress in Agenda 21 implementation, identified necessary action areas including: transfer of environmentally sound technologies; market access for developing country products; recognition of the Global Environment Facility (GEF) as the principal UN Convention to Combat Desertification financial mechanism; a lead-free fuels initiative; and promotion of renewable energy.
INDONESIA advised against long priority lists and stressed poverty, making globalization work, means of implementation and partnerships, and called for strong, clear and user-friendly final outcomes from the Summit. NAURU, on behalf of the Pacific Islands Forum, proposed addition of oceans and islands to the WSSD priorities and emphasized the Barbados Programme of Action for SIDS. INDIA said underdevelopment is the highest priority, stressed technology transfer, the ecological debt, and suggested more emphasis on common but differentiated responsibilities.
MEXICO called for creating sustainable development measuring tools, assessing transboundary environmental impacts and protecting ocean resources. TURKEY called for decoupling of environmental degradation from economic growth and noted the importance of local initiatives. AUSTRALIA stressed the importance of oceans and noted problems such as illegal and unregulated fishing. ARGENTINA stressed: the need for new ethics; compliance with international instruments; international cooperation on poverty; trade for sustainable development; international governance; mining; and globalization. CHILE discussed the preparation of a national report and emphasized the sovereign right of countries to exploit their resources.
The OECD outlined sustainable development-related activities, including on indicators, governance and environmental taxes. The WORLD METEOROLOGICAL ORGANIZATION stressed climate change, freshwater resources, strengthening "global observing systems," monitoring networks of atmosphere, oceans, rivers and lakes, and prevention of environmental disasters. The FOOD AND AGRICULTURE ORGANIZATION discussed the linkages between hunger, poverty, sustainable rural development, agriculture and environmental sustainability. The INTERNATIONAL FUND FOR AGRICULTURAL DEVELOPMENT highlighted specific regional characteristics outlined in regional assessments, and stressed equitable access to productive natural resources and technology for the rural poor.
IN THE CORRIDORS
Informal-informal consultations on sustainable development governance are expected to start in earnest following the circulation to regional chairs on Thursday of an informal paper said to have been prepared by the Bureau Vice-Chairs, Lars-Göran Engfeldt (Sweden) and Ositadinma Anaedu (Nigeria) to solicit regional views. The paper apparently contains a non-exhaustive list of questions, and aims to provide ideas to enable the Co-Chairs to prepare an informal discussion paper that will outline the possible scope for forthcoming discussions on institutional issues in the WSSD preparatory process and identify preliminary options and ideas to strengthen the institutional framework for sustainable development governance in the post-Summit period.
According to sources, the questions cover: national interdepartmental coordination; implementation of intergovernmental decisions; coherence and consistency between intergovernmental UN decisions and international financial institutions/WTO decisions; coordination between outcomes of the 1990s global conferences, the Millennium Declaration and WSSD; synergies between the Monterrey Financing for Development Conference and WSSD outcomes; the CSD role; policy coordination between CSD and other ECOSOC functional commissions; and meaningful engagement of UN agencies involved in implementation. The informal discussions on the resultant paper are planned for Thursday, 7 February 2002.
THINGS TO LOOK FOR TODAY
PLENARY: Delegates will convene in Conference Room 1 from 10:00 am - 1:00 pm and from 3:00 pm - 7:30 pm to continue the general debate on the review of assessment of Agenda 21 organized around the main themes of the Secretary-General's Report, with the participation of representatives of international organizations and major groups.