Daily report for 13 May 2008

CSD 16

On Tuesday, CSD-16 participants continued reviewing the CSD-13 decisions on water and sanitation during morning and afternoon sessions. They received the draft Chair’s Summary for the session in the late afternoon, and offered initial comments.


Margaret Catley-Carlson (UNSGAB) said IWRM requires a series of changes in the development model, including institutional change, priority setting, protection of the interests of the poor and women, and reforms and investments on the ground. Mike Muller (South Africa) pointed out that there is no global water crisis, except challenges at local levels, and emphasized IWRM. David Molden (International Water Management Institute) noted that water is available globally, but lack of access to water is the constraint for food production, and highlighted the need for IWRM, institutional reform and a change of consumption patterns. Daniel Zimmer (World Water Council), on behalf of Loïc Fauchon, World Water Council President, proposed: viewing water as a development tool; involving policy makers on water issues as water sharing is political; and supporting international cooperation at the city level.

NORWAY underscored the need for political leadership and bottom-up approaches. Explaining that four of its five rivers originate outside of the country, GREECE shared examples of transboundary cooperation on water resources. LOCAL AUTHORITIES said they were key to improving governance, and underscored the necessity of capital work’s budgets. UNIDO highlighted the concept of technology foresight and said it can be a tool to enhance innovation.

EU stressed that water-related adaptation strategies must be rapidly developed and implemented. FRANCE emphasized the need to increase knowledge on water and sanitation. SENEGAL said the main challenges were the high costs of sanitation facilities and the remoteness of rural populations.

ESTONIA, JORDAN and NIGERIA shared progress towards meeting their water and sanitation targets. IUCN emphasized learning IWRM by doing and described principles to manage the competing needs of water for people and nature that were learned from such a process. SOUTH AFRICA said it will exceed its targets on water and sanitation, and proposed supporting the African Ministers’ Council on Water (AMCOW), increasing financial and technical transfers, and designing effective monitoring and evaluation indicators. WOMEN recommended: revision of donor criteria to ensure women can access donor finances; consideration of water and sanitation at the G-8 meeting; allocation of time at CSD-17 to consider decisions on new issues emerging from CSD-16; and ratification of the UN Convention on the Law of the Use of Non-navigable International Watercourses. PALESTINE highlighted the negative impacts on water and sanitation arising from foreign occupation. NGOs recommended: recognition of access to water as a human right; elaboration of an IWRM implementation road-map to 2015; progress by ministers on interlinkages; and scaling up UN-Water so that progress can be monitored by one body.

JAMAICA presented the results of the Caribbean Regional Workshop on Sanitation held in April 2008 in Jamaica. CHINA introduced its strategies, policies and plans in IWRM focusing on water saving and water efficiency. MOROCCO said IWRM is a priority, and highlighted cooperation with stakeholders and local authorities, the use of external financing and international cooperation.

SWITZERLAND highlighted the importance of: land use to water management; the role of wetlands; improved management of soil resources; and groundwater. FARMERS said cooperative networks in agricultural lands have helped maintain water. MALAWI stressed participation of communities, establishment of water associations, and rain-water harvesting. CHILDREN AND YOUTH called for long-term and coherent community outreach and education programmes.

BUSINESS AND INDUSTRY said public, private and community service providers face the same constraints, and called for a conducive governance environment. UK highlighted the launch, at a side event on Monday, of the Africa-EU Partnership to help achieve the MDGs and related targets on sanitation in Africa. GERMANY proposed making the IWRM review a standing element on the CSD agenda. WORKERS AND TRADE UNIONS focused on the plight of agricultural workers, and urged governments to work with employees and through inter-sectoral collaboration to manage waste.

In the afternoon session, panelist Abel Mejia (World Bank) stressed the need to balance incremental fiscal resources and to charge those who can subsidize the poor. He said decentralization is a significant challenge and highlighted the need to build capacity. Bruno Itoua (President, AMCOW) said, to meet the MDGs and related targets on water, the rate of access to drinking water needs to be doubled each year, and highlighted the EU-Africa Statement on Sanitation.

Margaret Batty (WaterAid) expressed concern that the International Year of the Potato may have a higher profile than the International Year of Sanitation. She said there was a “crescendo” of political momentum, but that political will was still a challenge. Batty invited ministers to “delight us with bold leadership and determination,” and urged states to take action on delivering taps and toilets. Omar Giacoman (Evensen Dodge International) presented case studies on the financial models his organization has developed for building basic infrastructure around the world.

UGANDA highlighted the need for: international support; experience sharing in improving water and sanitation services; attracting private sector investment; and development of collaborative arrangements with NGOs and civil society. US emphasized national commitments and the need for a country-focused approach, and suggested developing countries identify one or two priority areas for international support. INDIGENOUS PEOPLES emphasized the role of indigenous people in IWRM, and democratization and a multi-stakeholder approach in water resource management.

TOGO outlined its efforts to improve sanitation and said they deserve “massive and sincere” support. NAMIBIA said it approaches water supply to rural communities on a cost-recovery basis. NETHERLANDS called on states to recognize the right to water. BARBADOS outlined an initiative guaranteeing farming communities access to a minimum amount of water. BUSINESS AND INDUSTRY said the private sector can provide financial resources and innovative solutions. CHINA outlined its efforts to control erosion. RUSSIAN FEDERATION said the principles of IWRM need to be applied at all levels. SAUDI ARABIA described the impact of its water-saving awareness raising activities. THAILAND discussed conflicts over water between industry and farmers in his country.

WORKERS AND TRADE UNIONS supported the US on the need for the “right governance mix” and the Netherlands on “water as a natural right.” CANADA called for the explicit identification of water and sanitation as priorities in national development plans, and committed to support work to build capacity in IWRM, transboundary water management and clean sanitation.


At 5:00 pm, the 31-page draft of the Chairman’s Summary, Part I, was distributed. It contains seven sections: opening of the session; overall review of general statements; thematic discussions on agriculture, rural development, land, drought, desertification and Africa; regional discussions; SIDS Day; Review of CSD-13 decisions on water and sanitation; and interactive discussions with Major Groups.

The section on thematic discussions has six sub-sections: an introduction; obstacles and constraints; lessons learned and best practices; means of implementation; interlinkages and crosscutting issues; and continuing challenges. The section on regional discussions is sub-divided along the five UN regional economic commissions.

The sub-sections on the CSD-13 decisions on water and sanitation are organized around an introduction and issues concerning: providing access to safe drinking water and sanitation services; building partnerships for capacity building and technology transfer; improving the efficiency of water utilities; engaging stakeholders in the implementation process; strengthening monitoring and reporting; IWRM; and climate change and water issues.

At 5:45 pm, Chair Nhema invited delegates to comment on the draft summary, reminding them that it aims to reflect the CSD-16 discussions and that it is not a consensus document. NORWAY suggested that: women should be referred to as change agents, rather than a vulnerable group; text on climate change should be connected to disaster risk reduction efforts; text indicating that some suggested the need “for a new paradigm in IWRM” should indicate instead that they suggested “discussing a new paradigm;” and text indicating that “It was proposed” that a new paradigm in IWRM be discussed during CSD-17 was not an accurate reflection of the discussion. CANADA, supported by the US, suggested separating the text related to the new paradigm in IWRM from the text on discussions during CSD-17, and said the text should indicate that “some” proposed such a discussion, rather than indicating “it was proposed.”

VENEZUELA said the text lacked reference to South-South cooperation in the LAC section. BUSINESS AND INDUSTRY said text indicating that unsustainable agricultural production patterns cause 40,000 deaths from pesticide “use” each year should refer to “misuse.” He also suggested giving more recognition to the right to water and to sanitation, and to sustainable finance, including cost recovery, for water and sanitation.

AUSTRALIA suggested that text indicating that an open and non-discriminatory multilateral trading system is needed so all countries can attain sustained economic growth and “self-sufficiency” should instead refer to “food security.” MALAYSIA and the US agreed. RUSSIAN FEDERATION suggested that increasing costs for agricultural inputs have other reasons, not only high energy prices. TOGO suggested that text on water and sanitation should be on the same level as the thematic issues. The US said: text indicating that climate change is negatively affecting agricultural production should indicate it is doing so “in some regions”; and proposed changing text calling for “focusing efforts on those biofuels” to call for “continuing to develop the biofuels” that do not compete with food production. G-77/CHINA indicated that it would respond to the entire text, once it had reviewed it. EU suggested: referencing the precautionary principle and the need to set standards for biofuel production; indicating that sustainable consumption and production is a “higher” priority, not just that it remains a “high” priority; and referring to good governance in the section on Africa. MAURITIUS said text on SIDS should refer to agreed decisions. CHILDREN AND YOUTH suggested adding references to: HIV/AIDS in a section on public health; teaching young farmers sustainable development techniques; and child labor.


Following an intensive weekend retreat on Long Island attended by some African ministers and delegation heads, African states developed a statement that is likely to be presented at the High-level segment Wednesday morning, 14 May. Although most remained tight-lipped on the content of the statement, speculation suggested it highlights some of the unexploited potential of Africa, commitments by the ministers, and outlines support the region requires.

Meanwhile, later in the day, discussion in the corridors centered on the content of the Chair’s Summary, as delegates read the lengthy document at lightning speed before reconvening in plenary to respond to it. While some participants indicated that the document reflects the key issues highlighted during the meeting, feelings were mixed, and some thought that the document failed to reflect important points on water and sanitation, which had just been discussed. Participants were frustrated over the short period they had to consider the summary. One suggested that the Chair and Secretariat had done a fair job under very difficult circumstances because some contributions had turned a CSD-16 review session into a pre-negotiation of policy.

This issue of the Earth Negotiations Bulletin © <enb@iisd.org> is written and edited by Melanie Ashton, Wagaki Mwangi, Andrey Vavilov, Ph.D., Lynn Wagner, Ph.D., and Kunbao Xia. The Digital Editor is Dan Birchall. The Editor is Pamela S. Chasek, Ph.D. <pam@iisd.org> and the Director of IISD Reporting Services is Langston James “Kimo” Goree VI <kimo@iisd.org>. The Sustaining Donors of the Bulletin are the United Kingdom (through the Department for International Development – DFID), the Government of the United States of America (through the Department of State Bureau of Oceans and International Environmental and Scientific Affairs), the Government of Canada (through CIDA), the Danish Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Government of Germany (through the German Federal Ministry of Environment – BMU), the Netherlands Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the European Commission (DG-ENV) and the Italian Ministry for the Environment, Land and Sea. General Support for the Bulletin during 2008 is provided by the Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Government of Australia, the Austrian Federal Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry, Environment and Water Management, the Ministry of Environment of Sweden, the New Zealand Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade, SWAN International, Swiss Federal Office for the Environment (FOEN), the Finnish Ministry for Foreign Affairs, the Japanese Ministry of Environment (through the Institute for Global Environmental Strategies - IGES) and the Japanese Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry (through the Global Industrial and Social Progress Research Institute - GISPRI). Funding for translation of the Earth Negotiations Bulletin into French has been provided by the International Organization of the Francophonie (IOF). Funding for the translation of the Earth Negotiations Bulletin into Spanish has been provided by the Ministry of Environment of Spain. The opinions expressed in the Earth Negotiations Bulletin are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of IISD or other donors. Excerpts from the Earth Negotiations Bulletin may be used in non-commercial publications with appropriate academic citation. For information on the Bulletin, including requests to provide reporting services, contact the Director of IISD Reporting Services at <kimo@iisd.org>, +1-646-536-7556 or 300 East 56th St., 11A, New York, NY 10022, USA. The ENB team at CSD-16 can be contacted by e-mail at <lynn@iisd.org>.